In Search of Osa Pulchra: Logee’s Mission to Find Rare & Unusual Plants
by Sheryl Felty, Logee’s Merchandise Manager
I first saw Osa pulchra in the U.S. Botanic Garden, Washington, DC, in the summer of 2014. It had the most unusual, pendant, trumpet-shaped flowers with a heavenly nighttime fragrance. I took this photo at the U.S. Botanic Gardens and vowed to source Osa pulchra for Logee’s rare plant collection. After much research, I found out just how rare this plant is.
Native to the Osa peninsula of Costa Rica, Osa pulchra, until very recently, was thought to be almost extinct in the wild. There are a few remaining wild plants on a private estate in Costa Rica and the family has been caring for these plants for generations.
In 1996, a single seed was brought to the United States by Dylan Hannon and he grew a plant at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, and propagated some additional plants from this original plant. In 2004, Dylan brought some Osa plants to an American Public Gardens Association meeting at the New York Botanical Gardens and these were given away to a few select botanical gardens so this rare plant could be seen by more horticultural enthusiasts.
In January, 2017, Byron Martin and myself, visited the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, FL. We met with Angel Lara, the Assistant Director of Horticulture at the Gardens. They have an Osa pulchra plant that had originally come from the NY Botanical Gardens. It was blooming the day we visited.
Angel and his wife had explored Logee’s Greenhouses when they were working at the NY Botanical Gardens. He was familiar with Logee’s and our mission to bring rare plants to our customers.
Today, courtesy of Angel Lara and the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, we are fortunate to have an Osa pulchra (pulchra means beautiful) young plant residing at Logee’s in our rare plant collection. We can’t propagate this plant, but we are honored to have it in our collection, since it is so rare and hard-to-find.
We highly recommend a visit to the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens for its unparalleled horticultural displays and collection of rare plants.
Our quest to find Osa pulchra and other rare plants continues daily. It’s an interesting quest and wonderful career path. We recommend horticultural pursuits to young people who have a passion for plants and the natural environment. Thank you, Angel Lara for fulfilling our dream of having an Osa pulchra plant in the Logee’s collection!
(Photo courtesy of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens)