Epiphytes In A Crape Myrtle, French Quarter, New Orleans

Billbergia nutans in a Crape Myrtle tree

If you were asked where is your favourite tree, and what kind of tree is it, what would you answer? This hospitable crape myrtle, growing in the garden of a purple house on Dumaine Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans, is one of my favourites. I am several thousand miles away, so can only think back fondly to the last time my sweetheart and I saw it.

Crape Myrtles are beautiful flowering trees widely grown in the Southern States of America, but are not hardy enough to withstand winter in the North of England. Their smooth, muscular bark, often has an attractive blotchy pattern, like the tree version of a giraffe’s neck.

Queen's Tears flowering in a tree, French Quarter, NO
Queen’s Tears (Billbergia nutans)

The reason I love this tree so much is because its branches cradle epiphytes: big bromeliads, including Queen’s Tears (Billbergia nutans), also called friendships plants because they are so easy to share.

Epiphyte growing on a Crape Myrtle tree

Epiphytes always seem to have a magical quality because they don’t need soil. Their small roots fasten on to trees although, in this case, wire mesh has been tacked to the tree to give them a helping hand.

Bromeliads growing in a tree, Dumaine Street, French Quarter, New Orleans

So much of this scene offers a new perspective for me. I’m used to English ivy climbing a tree, but this is something else; I assume the plants are not as heavy as they look. I don’t see many pink and purple houses. Even the idea of having fans on the outside of a house makes me smile, thinking of the rain drizzling steadily outside here in Lancashire, a week or so past midsummer.

If you were wondering about the green exterior shutters you can see at the far end of the picture, here’s a better view:

Green exterior shutters on a traditional wooden house
Green exterior shutters on a traditional wooden house

Shared for Becky’s JulySquares: Perspectives.

Wishing a happy July 4th to my American readers. It’s a weird year – I hope you’ll find a way to celebrate safely. 

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