Jardín Botánico Lankester

Some of us are planners and some of us are fly-by-the-seat of our pants kind of people. I personally like to plan—but to an extent. Being that I was in the Orosí Valley, I knew the Jardín Botánico Lankester (Lankester Botanical Gardens) were nearby and the destination was already on my "to do" list. But an opportunity came up to travel with the founder of the Ecolodge to an off-the-beaten track hot springs over the weekend, so with some convincing decided to do that my first day. It proved probably the better option because by the time Monday rolled around, I headed to Lankester Gardens and there was just two other souls in the whole place.

Those who enjoyed the Orchid Show at the New York Botanic Gardens or are just straight up orchidphiles would LOVE this place, but there are more than just orchids at Lankester. I'm going to pilfer a little history straight from their website, so you at least have a little overview of the gardens, "which date back to the 1940s when British naturalist Charles H. Lankester became interested in cultivating and studying the epiphytic plants of Costa Rica. As an amateur botanist, he collaborated with the most outstanding orchidologists of the time and dedicated his life to the creation of a private garden on his estate. After his death the importance of preserving his garden was evident. Through the joint efforts of the American Orchid Society and the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust, the "Don Carlos" garden was donated to the University of Costa Rica on March 2, 1973 with the commitment to transform it into a botanical garden."

The El Salto Ecolodge where I was staying, was literally a 15-minute drive from this place, so it was easy to get to. The Botanical Gardens were undergoing construction, so part of it was closed down, but there was still ample grounds to see—ranging from cacti, forests, and even a Japanese zen garden. This garden had little in the way of identification, so I dd my best identifying plants and insects, so if you see anything that is mislabeled, please do send me a note!

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 A  Monstera deliciosa  climbs high with intent at the Lankester Botanical Gardens in Costa Rica. 

A Monstera deliciosa climbs high with intent at the Lankester Botanical Gardens in Costa Rica. 

  Monstera deliciosa  wrapped tightly around tree. 

Monstera deliciosa wrapped tightly around tree. 

  Philodendron bipinnatifidum  has similar leaf structure to  Monstera,  but side-by-side, it's simpler to tell them apart

Philodendron bipinnatifidum has similar leaf structure to Monstera, but side-by-side, it's simpler to tell them apart

 A close-up of the  Monstera deliciosa  leaf. I had been told by a greenhouse owner that it was to let water fall through so leaves wouldn't rip, but the more up-to-date information is for sunlight to get through to the bottom leaves of the plants. 

A close-up of the Monstera deliciosa leaf. I had been told by a greenhouse owner that it was to let water fall through so leaves wouldn't rip, but the more up-to-date information is for sunlight to get through to the bottom leaves of the plants. 

  Philodendron  sp. 

Philodendron sp. 

  Monstera obliqua

Monstera obliqua

 Ironclad beetle ( Zopherus jansoni ): The elytra are fused on this beetle and the antenna are relatively stubby, so I was able to make a firm identification on this bug.

Ironclad beetle (Zopherus jansoni): The elytra are fused on this beetle and the antenna are relatively stubby, so I was able to make a firm identification on this bug.

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 This is an example of guttation, which shouldn't be confused with dew drops. These droplets are actually coming out of the leaf tip glands, which are called hydathodes, and it's caused by root pressure, often because the soil is wet. 

This is an example of guttation, which shouldn't be confused with dew drops. These droplets are actually coming out of the leaf tip glands, which are called hydathodes, and it's caused by root pressure, often because the soil is wet. 

  Heliconia bihai  at the Lankester Botanical Gardens, Costa Rica. 

Heliconia bihai at the Lankester Botanical Gardens, Costa Rica. 

  Heliconia rostrata  was just one of many species of Heliconia that I saw in Costa Rica. 

Heliconia rostrata was just one of many species of Heliconia that I saw in Costa Rica. 

   Stromanthe  sanguinea ' Triostar'  has become a more popular variety in homes as well, but it was fabulous to see growing strong at the Lankester Botanical Gardens. 

 Stromanthe sanguinea 'Triostar' has become a more popular variety in homes as well, but it was fabulous to see growing strong at the Lankester Botanical Gardens. 

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 Prayer plants, from the family Marantaceae do a characteristic "folding up" at night, as if hands were in prayer, which is where they got their name. Lankester Botanical Gardens, Costa Rica. 

Prayer plants, from the family Marantaceae do a characteristic "folding up" at night, as if hands were in prayer, which is where they got their name. Lankester Botanical Gardens, Costa Rica. 

 A wild banana was a common site throughout Costa Rica. 

A wild banana was a common site throughout Costa Rica. 

  Dieffenbachia oerstedtii variegata  had some very attractive white midribs. 

Dieffenbachia oerstedtii variegata had some very attractive white midribs. 

  Philodendron bipennifolium  looks as if it has been slightly warped by some insects. 

Philodendron bipennifolium looks as if it has been slightly warped by some insects. 

 Some young  Monsteras  sending down some aerial roots. 

Some young Monsteras sending down some aerial roots. 

 Epiphytes, like this  Tillandsia,  abounded in Costa Rica. 

Epiphytes, like this Tillandsia, abounded in Costa Rica. 

 A "Strangler fig" is a generic term for many species of plants that tend to wrap around a host species. 

A "Strangler fig" is a generic term for many species of plants that tend to wrap around a host species. 

 When most people see spiders they run away, but I run towards them. This is an exquisite  Argiope argentata , silver argiope spider that I found to the roof of the succulent and cacti section. 

When most people see spiders they run away, but I run towards them. This is an exquisite Argiope argentata, silver argiope spider that I found to the roof of the succulent and cacti section. 

  Echeveria  plants at the Lankester Botanical Gardens, Costa Rica. 

Echeveria plants at the Lankester Botanical Gardens, Costa Rica. 

 A large  Kalanchoe  stands amongst the  Optunia. 

A large Kalanchoe stands amongst the Optunia. 

 Wonderful to see such variegation in a cacti!

Wonderful to see such variegation in a cacti!

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 Lichen and moss are not to be overlooked at the Botanical Gardens!

Lichen and moss are not to be overlooked at the Botanical Gardens!

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 A bee makes its way to the pollen of a flower. 

A bee makes its way to the pollen of a flower. 

 Some robber bees seen stealing nectar from a  Alpinia zerumbet  flower.

Some robber bees seen stealing nectar from a Alpinia zerumbet flower.

  Alpinia zerumbet  inflorescence in Costa Rica.

Alpinia zerumbet inflorescence in Costa Rica.

  Colocasia esculenta  'Black Magic' at the Lankester Botanical Gardens, clearly stood out. 

Colocasia esculenta 'Black Magic' at the Lankester Botanical Gardens, clearly stood out. 

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Orchids

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  Phragmipedium Longifolium  Lady Slippers orchid in the Lankester Botanical Gardens, Costa Rica. 

Phragmipedium Longifolium Lady Slippers orchid in the Lankester Botanical Gardens, Costa Rica. 

 Unclear as to what this species of orchid is, so if you have clues, let me know. It's a beautiful buttery orange color from Lankester Botanical Gardens, Costa Rica. 

Unclear as to what this species of orchid is, so if you have clues, let me know. It's a beautiful buttery orange color from Lankester Botanical Gardens, Costa Rica. 

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 These red and white mottled orchids at the Lankester Gardens in Costa Rica were reminiscent of holiday peppermint candies. 

These red and white mottled orchids at the Lankester Gardens in Costa Rica were reminiscent of holiday peppermint candies. 

 A gorgeous fuschia orchid, likely in the  Cattleya  genus.

A gorgeous fuschia orchid, likely in the Cattleya genus.

 I believe this orchid is in the  Cattleya  genus. 

I believe this orchid is in the Cattleya genus. 

 This orchid looks like a squid, but is commonly called a clamshell orchid ( Prosthechea cochleata ). Lankester Botanical Gardens, Costa Rica. 

This orchid looks like a squid, but is commonly called a clamshell orchid (Prosthechea cochleata). Lankester Botanical Gardens, Costa Rica. 

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 An  Oncidium  or dancing lady orchid, which was also prominently displayed at the New York Botanical Garden Orchid Show as well. 

An Oncidium or dancing lady orchid, which was also prominently displayed at the New York Botanical Garden Orchid Show as well. 

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 I'm absolutely flabbergasted by this growth structure, as I had never seen an orchid growing out from a leaf base. It's best known as a "bonnet orchid" and my friend  @botanicalbogota  had identified this as a  Pleurothallis  sp. 

I'm absolutely flabbergasted by this growth structure, as I had never seen an orchid growing out from a leaf base. It's best known as a "bonnet orchid" and my friend @botanicalbogota had identified this as a Pleurothallis sp. 

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  Lycaste  orchid, as identified by  @botanicalbogota  

Lycaste orchid, as identified by @botanicalbogota