Sunday, January 16, 2011


It just so happens that our Rice Paper Plants dodged the frosts and put out their otherworldly bloom spikes. They attract quite an array of flying insects including this strange little guy in the bee or wasp family.
Visit our wonderful host, Lisa, at  to see this week's macros.
Click on photo to enlarge for the macro. As I stood under these hundreds of flower balls, the bee and fly traffic sounded like a tiny airport with miniature planes taking off and landing. :0)

A few fun facts about this plant.
Rice paper plants look very tropical, but are root hardy in zones 8 and 9.
They grow very large, palm-like leaves. They can grow in full sun or shady spots.
They can grow up to 15 feet tall and even develop a trunk about the size of a broom handle.
They bloom every year starting in long as it doesn't freeze.
Once mature, the stems can grow back their leaves even after a hard freeze. Amazingly, my plants regrew after a 21 degree freeze last year.
Handle the leaves with care! Some people find the 'dust' on the leaf surfaces irritating to the throat and nose.
Baby plants can come up as suckers up to 10 feet away. I just pull up any baby I don't need.
They don't transplant easily. Cut all the leaves off except the top one and replant in early Spring.
Rice paper plants needs water, but they can take a short dry spell. They like high humidity.
Thanks for stopping by my tropical garden blog. David :0)
Bonus shot: Palm shadows across palm leaves.


  1. a wonderful plant with lots of small details, Wish I could have one of those, would be great!

    Christina, Sweden

  2. The blossoms are lovely! It must be heavenly to have a tropical garden. :)

  3. That's a very busy bee. Lovely photos.

  4. I had not heard of nor seen this plant before I stopped by here.

    Wonderful details and light!

  5. Great photos...interesting facts.


    Hope your Monday is treating you well!!!!

  6. Found your blog from a comment you left on Kala's blog... thought I'd give you a reference for the "strange little guy" on your rice paper plant... s/he is most likely a member of the Hoverfly (Syrphidae) family. See here for a poster of 16 members of this species (takes awhile to load) and here for what Wikipedia has to say about this family of insects. (and here for a macro of one on my blog) :-)

  7. Very cool! I have never seen one of these! I miss my Sago Palms and cactus garden though - you do make me miss my Texas gardens. :( Love your shadow palms!


I always appreciate your comments & questions! Happy Gardening from David/ Tropical Texana

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