Cabinet of curiosities

Cabinet of curiosities, rare tropical plants or trees naturally grown

In our cabinet of curiosities, you'll find two categories of plants:

- Our rarest and most original tropical plants : you'll be able to add to your collection, with the extremely rare Syzygium longifolium for example, and discover or rediscover real plant nuggets, such as Ylang ylang ! Difficult to produce, they're not always in stock, but your patience will be rewarded - a rare exotic plant deserves a little ;-)!

- Our unique specimens : you'll be able to buy not just ONE plant, but YOUR plant! We'll show you a photo of the specimen you're about to adopt, along with its specific characteristics. It may be a well-branched specimen, or variegated, or in flower, or so rare that we only offer one.

Don't hesitate to come back regularly to browse through this section, as new items are regularly added ! (Continued at bottom of page)

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    What is a cabinet of curiosities?

    A cabinet of curiosities is a piece of furniture, or by extension a room, where rare, singular, new things are going to be displayed. These bizarre, even monstrous things are intended to arouse our curiosity, surprise us, bewitch us or even frighten us.

    These spaces are usually open to the public, and gradually form the collections of museums such as natural history museums and botanical gardens. Their aim is to open our minds to the diversity, complexity and beauty of the world, and to help us understand it better.

    What can be found in curiosity cabinets?

    The collections in these cabinets are highly varied. You can find minerals, animals, plants and man-made objects.

    There's real science for scientific discovery, such as cult objects from distant tribes, exotic animals or animal parts such as turtle shells, unusual and improbably shaped shells, and of course lots of seeds, unique flowers, and leaves of rare exotic plants. But there's also fake science, the so-called remains of mythical animals, such as unicorn horns, phoenix feathers, werewolf hairs, dragon scales... all of which arouse fantasy and imagination and satisfy the human urge to dream or be frightened!

    What rare and original tropical plants can be found in curio cabinets?

    The cabinets were to contain mainly rare exotic and tropical plants not yet known on the European continent. Indeed, they would be brought back by the great botanical explorers, such as James Cook or Samuel Wallis, who collected, studied and began to classify these unique plants and flowers.

    The world of exotic plants is well suited to this kind of cabinet, with its diversity of leaf shapes (Hardy tapioca), flower colors (Kalahari Christmas tree), sizes and fragrances; from lianas to huge trees, orchids, shade plants living under canopies... the list is endless.

    Unusual exotic plants can also give rise to legends, superstitions and ritual practices, such as Mandrake and its roots reminiscent of a human foetus, or Deadly nightsade used by witches...

    What happened to the cabinets of curiosity?

    Due to the development of science and ease of travel, cabinets of curiosity have nowadays somewhat lost their appeal and fascination. True discoveries are rarer, even if new plant and animal varieties continue to be catalogued every year. And science has desacralized mythical animals... Curiosity cabinets are now themselves part of curiosity cabinets!

    On the botanical front, rare exotic plants have gradually moved out of the cabinets and into our homes, taking on the status of original houseplants! They are also much in evidence in paintings, where tropical plant backdrops, such as Birds of Paradise or Traveller's Trees, were used to plant characters.

    But let's not forget the ever-present appeal of the bizarre, of myths, beliefs, dreams and the desire for discovery, which means that curiosity cabinets and their rare animals, objects and plants have lost none of their lustre!

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