This week at the Aquarium, plant-loving visitors can enjoy a flower called a blue flag. A member of the iris family, this flower is unusual for its beautiful blue color (it is not a natural color typically found in flowers).
Because the blue flag can tolerate sun to part sun and moist to wet soils, it can be found along fresh to moderately brackish tidal marshes, meadows, swamps, forest wetlands, and in the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Waterfront Park (an outdoor Aquarium exhibit that is free an open to the general public). The park is a great spot to relax in the bustling harbor, and has nearly 70 other species of native plants among the landscaping and 120,000 custom-made recycled pavers.
The Amazon River Forest exhibit is in full bloom this spring! In addition to seeing an amazing collection of animals, visitors to the Aquarium can also learn about beautiful plants and flowers that are found in various habitats.
One of the most recognizable flowers right now is the Aristolochia gigantea, or Dutchman’s pipe. These odd flowers are 6-8 inches across with a mottled maroon and white coloration. They are designed to attract flies by mimicking rotting flesh in scent and appearance (ew!). Flies that enter the hole at the center of the flower are trapped temporarily inside a chamber, where they inadvertently act as pollinators. Special hairs in the tube leading to the chamber allow the insects to enter, but make exiting much more difficult!
The Aquarium’s Conservation team celebrated a momentous achievement on Saturday, May 3rd – their one millionth grass planted! Volunteer Mary Sidlowski put the millionth plant, a coastal panicgrass, in the ground at Dam Neck Annex located in Virginia Beach.
To participate in the Aquarium’s next planting, visit aqua.org.