National Zoo, Washington D.C.

August 31st, 2011

Last weekend I had the pleasure to spend the day at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Following Hurricane Irene, there were relatively few folks there, but the weather was fantastic. I wanted to share some of my pictures from the day’s excursion. One of my favorite exhibits at the zoo is the Amazonia exhibit. This exhibit features a huge aquarium with large Pacu, catfish, and my favorite, an Arapaima.

Amazonia Exhibit Large Tank

The exhibit also has a large rainforest area above the aquarium that has monkeys roaming, birds flying, and lots of plants from the Amazon region.

Orangutan Young Female

Outside, a young female orangutan was climbing around on the lines they have that allows them to get their exercise in full view of the visitors.


In a pool nearby, the american alligator floats still while enjoying the sun on a clear day in the park.

Lions Wrestling

All the while, several lion cubs are chasing each other, wrestling around in the lion pit. At one point, these two cubs get a little too rowdy for papa, who was people watching up until that point.


The park itself is landscaped wonderfully, and for us aquatic plant enthusiasts, there are several wet areas to check out. The Nymphoides above were flowering while we were there.


Inside the small mammal house, an incredibly cute and popular meerkat stoically stood and peered at the crowd checking him out.


Likewise, in the ape house, this female ape was seated on a branch about 20 feet off of the ground, relaxing.


The lemur was bright eyed as always! And of course, the elephants were roaming around outside smile as the pleasant weather.


I was happy to see that the animals were all behaving normally after an earthquake and hurricane swept through the area in the same week. If you missed this story, many of the animals reacted to the impending earthquake prior any shaking. All in all, we had a wonderful time at the National Zoo, and recommend it to visitors to the area.

Several more pictures are available on my Flickr stream.


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Nymphoides sp. ‘Taiwan’ Flower

August 26th, 2011

I was very happy to walk out to my raised brick pond this evening and find a single¬†Nymphoides sp. ‘Taiwan’ flower. This particular Nymphoides species is fairly rare to flower, which is exactly why I put it outside for the summer.

Nymphoides sp. 'Taiwan' Flower

Every summer I try to put a number of previously unidentified aquatic plants in the hobby outdoors in hope that they’ll flower for me so that more botanically inclined folks can use my photos and pressed specimens to properly identify them.

Nymphoides sp. 'Taiwan' Flower

This particular flower is only about nickel sized in diameter, and sits about 2-3″ above the small lily pad below. It has four sepal and very delicate petals.

Nymphoides sp. 'Taiwan' Flower

The plant itself is a very easy to grow plant indoors in your aquarium, or outside in the pond. Indoors, if you continually trim any of the leaves that reach toward the surface, it will eventually grow fully submerged. One of the neat things about¬†Nymphoides sp. ‘Taiwan’ is that roots eventually grow from the underside of each lily pad, producing a fully viable plantlet. That makes propagation very easy, and possibly also explains why it rarely has cause to produce reproductive flowers.

Nymphoides sp. 'Taiwan' Flower

Nevertheless, I’m very pleased that my plants cooperated and flowered! Now, I can feel justified to clear the water surface, as nearly the entire area is covered by overlapping¬†Nymphoides sp. ‘Taiwan’ leaves! I’ll be sure to post soon if we’re able to properly identify this plant.

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