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My West Michigan

Unusual plants in the Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory

Cherries on a coffee tree

Cherries on a coffee tree less

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - See some of the more unique plants that you can check out at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. 

Allspice Tree Pimenta dioica

  • Native to: West Indies, Mexico, Central America, Caribbean-grown commercially in Central America
  • Called Allspice because the leaves and fruit smell like a combination of cloves, pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon
  • Two trees in conservatory, the fruit is used commercially for allspice but the leaves carry the same fragrance

Double Coconut Lodoicea maldivica

  • Native to one small group of islands in the world, the Seychelles
  • Largest seed in the plant kingdom
  • Can weight 30-60 lbs

Chicle Tree Manilkara zapota

  • Native to Mexico, South America and the Caribbean
  • Also called Sapodilla or Chewing Gum Tree
  • Originally the bark was slashed and the rubbery sap was bled as a natural chewing gum

Coffee Tree  Coffea arabica

  • Native to NE Tropical Africa
  • It takes about 35 cherries (70 beans) to make one cup of coffee
  • From flower to ripe coffee cherry it takes about 9 months

Chocolate Tree Theobroma cacao

  • Native to South America
  • Can have flowers, pods, ripe and unripe all at the same time
  • Cacao trees don’t lose their pods even when ripe

For more information, please visit www.meijergardens.org.

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