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Hot colors blast away cold winter days.

Anthuriums in the Winter Fire Color Show

Posted January 23, 2013. Photo by Jon Stewart/ABQ BioPark.

It’s the dead of winter, but the Botanic Garden’s Mediterranean Conservatory is filled with fiery hues. Hundreds of anthuriums (Anthurium andreanum hybrids), along with blooming cyclamens, frilly ferns and lush greenery, transform the glass building into a tropical paradise.

With a name meaning “tail flower” in Greek, anthuriums [an-thoor-ee-uhms] are native to rainforests from southern Mexico to South America. Many species are epiphytes, plants that grow on tree branches high in the canopy. Above the rainforest floor, anthuriums get ample sunlight and pull nutrients and moisture from the air and rain.

Anthuriums are the perfect heart-shaped prelude to Valentine’s Day. The colorful “flower” is actually a spathe, or modified leaf, that anchors a long spike called the spadix. As the reproductive part of the plant, the spadix produces tiny flowers, visible only with a magnifying glass. Anthuriums and other tropical flowers heat up the Mediterranean Conservatory during the Winter Fire Colors Show through February 24.

What are your favorite ways to warm up on a cold winter day? Tell us and join the conversation on Facebook.

'Winter Fire Colors' Slideshow

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