Autumn plant highlights

Our expert horticulturist, Shirley Walker, has these suggestions of what to spot at Eden this summer.


Outdoor Gardens: Dahlias, Dahlia spp.

Did you know that dahlias were used as water pipes by the Aztecs? Originally a native of Mexico
and Central America, there are now more than 50,000 different varieties of this ever-popular plant worldwide. Our specimens are looking superb from late summer through autumn.

Rainforest Biome: Star fruit, Averrhoa carambola

This lovely little fruit tree will be covered in its delicious (but sharp tasting) and unusually shaped fruits this September. Come and find it growing in our traditional Malaysian home garden.

Mediterranean Biome: Cut flowers, assorted varieties

The showy flowers in the cut
flower exhibit are looking particularly beautiful during autumn. This year’s mix includes cockscomb (Celosia), butterfly bush (Asclepia), chrysanthemums, zinnia and carnations (Dianthus).


Outdoor Gardens: Pumpkin, assorted varieties

As All Hallows’ Eve draws near, the pumpkins are starting to appear at Eden. And it’s not just evil spirits that this versatile plant wards off; in Central and North America pumpkins were traditionally used as an effective tapeworm remover.

Rainforest Biome: Bromeliad

Found growing up in the canopy of the rainforests and cloud forests of tropical South America is a startling array of Bromeliads. These plants often feature red, green, striped or spotted leaves and, when in flower, display some spectacular splashes of colour. Some species do grow on the ground, including the Bromeliad we are all familiar with, the pineapple.

Mediterranean Biome: Grape vines, Vitis vinifera

One of the oldest fruit crops and the main source of Old World wine and table grapes. The vines are now colouring up for autumn, changing from vivid green to shades of fiery red
and orange.


Outdoor Gardens: Sweetgum tree, Liquidambar styraciflua

From east USA, and ablaze with orange, red and purple this month. Once the leaves are gone, keep an eye out for the hard, spiny fruits instead.

Rainforest Biome: Cocoa tree, Theobroma cacao

A tree that grows chocolate,
what more could you ask for? Come and see the many different kinds growing in our chocolate exhibit, including varieties from Mexico, Ecuador, French Guiana and Brazil. The tree trunks will be covered in pods at this time of year (only the trunks and major branches are strong enough to support their weight).

Mediterranean Biome: Capsicum exhibit

These pretty chilli peppers originated in the Americas and Christopher Columbus was one of the first Europeans to encounter them. We grow a variety, ranging from sweet peppers, with no heat at all, to the Dorset Naga, one of the hottest chillies in the world.