Greenhouse to showcase sensitive plants, Vinca rosea

Employee says succulents, cacti, ferns, orchids get a majority attention



Chuck Cody, plant growth facilities manager for the School of Biological Sciences at WSU, discusses the upcoming greenhouse open house for mom’s weekend and the ins and outs of taking care of WSU’s greenhouses on Tuesday afternoon at the Abelson Greenouse.

DAISY ZAVALA, Evergreen managing editor

The Abelson Hall Greenhouse is filled with a variety of plants from all over the world, and each with distinctive personalities.

The plants can be seen during the scheduled open house between 2-5 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Chuck Cody, plant growth facilities manager for the School of Biological Sciences, said Mom’s Weekend is a great time to relax and learn about the plants in the greenhouse.

“It’s a pleasant environment. It’s a great place to come to,” Cody said. “It’s warm, sunny and green,” 

Madison Lucas, a greenhouse employee and senior chemistry major, said she could stay in the greenhouse for years. She has worked at the greenhouse for about two years.

She said the succulents, cacti, ferns and orchids are a few plants that capture the majority of attention during Mom’s Weekend.

“Everything is worth looking at,” Lucas said. “You could come here 10 times and still find new plants.”

Cody said the greenhouse offers a tropical collection of plants, which is always open and located on the seventh floor of Abelson Hall.

Some students who have had classes in the greenhouse before know it is always open, he said, and will bring their families before the official open house starts.

Cody said the greenhouse has held open house events every Mom’s Weekend since 1986.

During last year’s Mom’s Weekend, about 500 people visited the greenhouse on Saturday alone, he said.

Cody said families will look around the greenhouse, and he answers questions they have about any of the plants. He said he gets more questions about gardening than the greenhouse plants.

“I feel like an extension agent,” he said with a hearty laugh. “I’m answering all these gardening questions, which is fine. I enjoy doing that too.”

The sensitive plant is a perennial favorite among visitors, Cody said. The leaves close and shrink when touched. The lighter leaves on the tips tend to be more reactive to touch than the older leaves.

Lucas said the Vinca rosea, also called the Madagascar periwinkle, a plant with white and pink flowers, is a medicinal herb.

She said that although plants are pretty to look at, they also hold secrets that are interesting to learn about.