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Giant London glasshouse with world´s rarest plants reopens
LONDON: A gleaming monument to the ambition and creativity of its age, the world´s largest Victorian glasshouse reopens to the public on Saturday after a lengthy facelift to show off some of the world´s rarest plants.
“Temperate House” in Kew Gardens in west London is large enough to house three jumbo jets and has been shut for the past five years for a £41 million ($57 million, 46 million euros) renovation project.
The botanical gardens glasshouse will house around 1,500 species split into geographical areas: Africa, the Americas, Australia, the Himalayas and Asia.
“It´s been amazing watching this project unfold, the building emerge gloriously and some of the world´s rarest plants safely reach their home,” said Richard Barley, director of horticulture at Kew Gardens.
One of the rarest plants on display is the South African Encephalartos woodii, a palm-like cycad with leathery, green leaves.
Only one such specimen was ever found growing in the wild, and it has long-since disappeared from the natural world.
The wrought iron and glass structure was designed by esteemed Victorian architect Decimus Burton in 1860 and opened in 1863.