The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 25, 1992- Page 7
U-M botanical gardens brings the Everglades to Ann Arbor
by Pete Matthews
When the would-be world trav-
eler is hunkered down in the fall and
winter semesters, with credit cards
on the verge of melting and frost bite
setting in, the U-M's Matthaei
Botanical Gardens is a unique place
for either vegging-out or taking a
couple more bites from the Tree of
Knowledge - for free.
The Botanical Garden's conser-
vatory - containing the region's
finest collection of world flora -
was conceived in the 19th century as
a research facility for the study of
the medicinal uses of certain plants.
Although much of the sprawling
complex is still dedicated to research
concerning plant morphology, medi-
cal applications, and ecology, the
garden's conservatory has become
an attraction and asset to the
The conservatory is divided into
three temperature-controlled sections
- each housing flora representative
of a particular climate zone.
The first zone is tropical, the sec-
ond temperate and the third desert.
Docent Rita Piper's tour would
make even Morticia Addams green
with envy. Piper introduces her
group to such maleficent vegetation
as the Belladonna - a flowering
Brazilian tree better known as the
'When he's heard the angel's trumpet he's had
enough of the tree.'
-Docent Rita Piper
Pat Hopkins, acting director of the
conservatory, said the criteria for the
selection of the conservatory's spec-
imens is their rarity, their value to
human societies and their aesthetic
On weekends, guided tours called
"Plants from Nearby and Far Away"
highlight the informative and enter-
taining flora in the gardens.
S EN IORS!
Remember to have your
senior portrait taken this
week in the basement of
the UGLi from 8:30 a.m. to
4:45 p.m. Monday -
Friday. There is a $5
sitting fee, so please bring
that as well. Don't miss
your chance to be a part of
Questions? Call 764-9425
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ROSH HASHANA SERVICES at Chabad
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"Angel's Trumpet." The plant
received its name from the flower
and its seeds, which in small doses
have medicinal and hallucinogenic
effects but are fatal if too many are
popped. Used for torture, it is said
"When he's heard the angel's
trumpet he's had enough of the
Piper also presents plants from
the insectavora family, including
plants such as the Venus flytrap and
the "monkey cup." Thirsty natives
and jungle explorers would drink the
soupy water from the "monkey cup."
Peering into one of the "cups" a re-
cent audience was horrified to see
the ingredients of its batch of soup
- four two-inch cockroaches - one
Piper also highlights the Cycads
- fern trees which were contempo-
raries of dinosaurs. She introduces
the "Deliciosa Monstera" - the pine
cone-shaped fruit which tastes like a
combination of pear, pineapple and
Other attractions for the nearly
50,000 yearly visitors include the six
miles of nature trails, a five acre
grass prairie, a recreation of a 17th
century culinary and medicinal herb
garden, volunteer opportunities and
mini-courses in horticultural
Work-study jobs, research grants
and facilities are all available to stu-
dents wishing to become involved
with the facility. Currently research
is being conducted on the effective-
The Brontosaurus is extinct, but cycads thrive in the Tropical House at the U-M Matthaei Botanical Gardens in Ann
ness of cattails and bulrushes for
waste water management, the rea-
sons plants produce fragrances, and
the medicinal uses of mescaline
which will be extracted from dozens
of peyote cactus - fenced in and
locked up lest some Aldous Huxley
or Carlos Castaneda should wander
So in November when stark
branches silhouetted by gray skies
hang over frosty ground, in this
Eden under glass the air will be sul-
try, the soil pungent and all around
and above the verdancy of banana,
papaya and avocado will continue to
The Gardens are located two and
a half miles north of Geddes at 1800
North Dixboro Rd. and are open
daily from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
HOUSEMATE WANTED: lbdrm. in 2
bdrm. house close to campus. on bus line.
Washer/dryer, sundeck/fenced yard, parking,
pets ok. 450/mo. + 1/2 utils. 741-9437.
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$300 XT computer loaded $250. 769-7820
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