Best Strange Stuff - 2003
Natural Selections Exotics
Natural Selections sells strange plants. There are plants here with blossoms so luxurious they should come with parental advisories. The voodoo lily is pornography, though, plain and simple, with its thick fecund and penile-like stamen emerging from a delicately curled and vulvate flower. Other plants don't so much sex you as scare you. Natural Selections sells lurid monster versions of innocuous backyard plants so common as to have become vegetative wallpaper here in South Florida. Witness the sea grape. This protected plant with saucer-sized leaves and snarled trunk is everywhere -- growing into an impressive tree alongside A1A or taking on a tangled form close to the ground as it climbs over dunes or keeps a red mangrove company close to shore. At Natural Selections, they sell the Colossus of sea grapes, a variety whose leaves grow to about four feet in diameter. And that's not the nursery's behemoth. Nooooo. When the Borneo giant unfurls, its elephant ear plant-like leaf becomes a king-size bed of green, six feet wide and ten feet long. Natural Selections sold its wares for two years online until earlier this year. Now you can wander through the feverish greenery in a compound off South Andrews Avenue. Contemplate the 12-inch whiskers of a white bat plant. Admire the dramatic red spine of a red sealing wax palm. Languish with a vanilla orchid. Lose your dread of the corporal coil. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.