We do not offer plants for sale but will gladly
try to direct you to quality sellers.
The goal of this site is to provide clear yet scientifically accurate information.
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What is in the Exotic Rainforest?
....many rare Philodendron, Anthurium, and exotic rain forest species!
The Exotic Rainforest main walk
Epiphytic tree with Bromeliad and
Waterfall and pond
Trained scientists working with qualified growers to help you learn more!
ahead and ask! The IAS
is on Facebook
Ready to take the tour?
Ready to take the tour?
tropical Rain Forest
Janice and I took our three children and moved to the island of Jamaica where we lived and
worked for almost
two years. To this day we miss all the
time we spent roaming around the
island as well as its people, food, incredible beaches and rain forests.
For many years I was able to travel hundreds of times to islands such as St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the U.S. Virgins Islands, and the Bahamas. I was fortunate to do work for, the Cancun Hotel Association, the Cayman Islands Tourist Association, hotels and properties in South America, Central America as well as other Caribbean governments and hotels.
Needless to say, we have tropical "blood" flowing in our veins.
The jungles and rain forests of South America, Central America, the Caribbean, S.E. Asia and the tropical Pacific are alive with a varied selection of unusual and often rare plants. Regrettably, far too many are being destroyed and my grandchildren may never see one. By doing nothing more than logging on to Google Earth you can see vast areas of Brazil that have been almost totally stripped of forest!
Fortunately my work as a writer
as well as a commercial and
underwater photographer took me on journeys to many of these exotic destinations
so, at least in my memory, they will live forever. In the years that followed
our first rain forest visit I was privileged to
make many flights to countries around the world that have living,
thriving rain forests. Part of the goal of this site is to introduce
you to their natural beauty as well as encourage you to visit, preserve
and protect them for your children to see as well.
Living in Miami, Florida
from 1980 to 2001 I had the
perfect location to house my collection of plant species. Everything lived in my yard,
my entire ½ acre was landscaped with three tropical ponds with flowering water
lilies and hundreds upon hundreds of
exotic aroids and other rare plants. So just before 2000 when my wife Janice began
to want to move closer to our grandchildren, adult children and her parents after 25 years
in Florida I was determined to move the entire collection and make rare tropical
plants accessible to folks who have never seen a rain forest. We
now own the only living rain forest in Arkansas and likely in most of the
central United States. We've hosted as many as 60 visitors on a single
weekend and people are often amazed such exotic plant species live in our
artificial rain forest behind our 119 year old home exactly the way they do in nature.
I did have
reservations about leaving Florida but my only restriction
on the move was I
would take all my plants! So now in the
tiny rural community of
Siloam Springs in Northwest Arkansas right on the
border with Oklahoma and not far south of Missouri we own a flourishing rain forest!
Unlike most plant collections which live in pots our collection resides in an atrium designed to be as close as possible a true rain forest. Just like it rains in any rain forest our plants are watered almost daily via an automatic system. The entire building is designed to duplicate nature as closely as possible and hopefully it gives everyone that enters the feeling of visiting the tropics.
Many of our specimens are planted in the ground which was specially prepared to be "tropical" Our rarest specimens are in large pots with soil prepared to suit each individual specimen. Learn how we built the Exotic Rainforest here.
We love to share our plants and gladly answer questions. We welcome anyone who wishes to visit. We also make the Exotic Rainforest available to educators as a teaching tool and both public, private and home schoolers are welcome to visit the garden as a field trip but due to size we must limit group size to approximately 20 people at one time. Please call before you visit.
As of mid 2009 there are many plant species as well as over 300 species of Araceae (uh-RAY-see ee) known as aroids in the collection. Our aroid collection includes a full 10% of all the nearly 2000 Anthurium and Philodendron species known to science. A number of those were acquired through associations with accredited botanical gardens and we have the exact locations including GPS coordinates where they originated in the rain forests of the world. Having acquired many rare plants we also share specimens not in the collections of some public gardens with those institutions. The collection even includes specimens which have never been identified to science.
This site was created to give my
adult children Brad, Stephanie
and Kari as well as grand children
Jeff, Emma, Justin, Sophie, Ellie, Jordan, Hayes and Nash insight as to "what is what" in
the collection and where it originated in nature. I purposely
designed the site to give them a "note book" along with my photos they can
use to learn about my passion .
The information on this site would have never been possible without the constant guidance, assistance and input from a large number of botanical scientists and plant experts. I must thank my mentor world renowned aroid botanist Dr. Thomas B. Croat Ph.D., P.A. Schulze Curator of Botany of the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis who often allows us time in his office and answers an incessant stream of questions. Dr. Croat has personally collected more than 100,000 specimens in the tropics.
In addition my thanks to Dr,
Simon Mayo of the Royal Botanic Garden Kew in London, Dr. David Scherberich
Jardin Botanique de la Ville de Lyon,
la Tete d'Or, France, Dr. Eduardo
Gonçalveswho is the Curador Botânico
of Inhotim in Brazil,
Dr. Marcus A. Nadruz Coelho, Diretoria de Pesquisas, Instituto de
Jardim Botanico do Rio de Janeiro (Rio
de Janeiro Botanical Garden)
in Brazil, Dr. Alistair Hay formerly of the
Sydney Botanic Gardens, Sydney,
Australia, aroid botanist Peter C. Boyce of Malaysia, Harry Luther at the
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, FL, 2008 International Aroid Society president Denis Rotolante
along with his son "Big Bill", 2009
International Aroid Society president Ron Weeks, International Aroid Society
founding member Tricia Frank, taxonomist Christopher Rogers, and many others.
All of these individuals freely answer my requests for scientifically accurate information as well as photographs. Some even donate their time to proof the information on the site. With their input and help the Exotic Rainforest website achieved its 1,500,000th hit in mid September, 2010 after just over fourf years on the internet, a goal we never conceived possible when the site went on-line on December 6, 2005.
In addition to all the species
shown on this site there are well over
plant species in the Exotic Rainforest collection not
described. We attempt to add new specimen pages to the site frequently.
If you are visiting or live near Northwest Arkansas and love exotic plants as much as we do you are always welcome to visit. There is no charge to see the garden and Wizard the macaw will be glad to see you, and so will we!
By the way, if any of you know Tom and Linda White or visit their Zone Ten Nursery and Garden in Miami will you please pass along this message? "Tom. I built the Exotic Rainforest exactly the way I told you I would. You wouldn't believe what can be done if you set your mind to it!"
A kind word from
This website is intended to be a
source of information!
* The background sounds of the Exotic Rainforest Private Botanical Garden are professionally recorded and used with the permission of Andrew Skeoch & Sarah Koschak's Listening Earth. You can listen to samples and CD's of many different rainforest sounds on their website: http://www.listeningearth.com.au/
See what's new!
Monstera pinnatipartita Schott
Commonly sold as
"Philodendron Silver Queen"
Often confused with
Monstera siltepecana Matuda
(N.E. Br.) Bogner
The African Embossed Aroid
Epiphyllum phyllanthus subspecies phyllanthus (L.) Haw.
Anthurium hookeri Kunth
The real Anthurium hookeri
is not common
Philodendron mamei André
Philodendron Angra dos Reis,
Heart Leaf Philodendron
from the collection of
Joep Moonen in French Guiana
Philodendron cordatum Kunth
Philodendron 'Angra dos Reis'
Heart Leaf Philodendron
Why you may find it difficult it identify a
What is a petiole?
Is a stem the stalk that
supports a leaf?
Learn about the
Rare Thailand Parrot Flower
Design your own
is not from Australia!
Read how we found out.
Maybe you're growing it..
and maybe you aren't!
A verified photograph
Trying to Buy Anthurium seeds?
Is the plant you bought really
Not Likely! (Click here)
The Curse of the Common Name!