Built like a boat, a Kew Gardens greenhouse where marooned palms flourish.
The Palm House at London’s Kew Gardens, completed in 1848, looks like a steamship plowing through a sea of green. The metaphor is apt because the explorers of that era would compete by sailing home from foreign travels with the most bizarre species they could find and bringing them to Kew. One highlight, for example, is the Madagascan suicide palm, which flowers once in 50 years then promptly expires. The Palm House’s oldest plant, an Encephalartos altensteinii palm, was picked
Photograph:Charles Chusseau-Flaviens/George Eastman Museum/Getty Images
This story appears in a print issue of Kinfolk. You’re welcome to read three stories from each print issue of Kinfolk for free. To continue reading this story, click here.
If you'd like to enjoy unlimited access to our online archive, subscribe here. If you’re already a subscriber, please sign in.
Alternatively, keep browsing Kinfolk.com to enjoy more free content.