General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 28 Feb 2021/5 Monkey
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Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens, London

Not somewhere you immediately associate with the Aztecs, yet Kew is resource rich..

Vanilla orchids, Kew Gardens
Vanilla orchids, Kew Gardens (Click on image to enlarge)

Living examples of Mexican prickly pear cacti (hosts to the cochineal insect used to provide the red dye for Moctezuma’s imperial robe), vanilla orchids with their pods, many species of Mexican chillies (in the Temperate House), the tequila cactus with its fierce spines, and rainforest chocolate trees.

If you take your school on a Rainforest Explorer activity at Kew you’ll be able to feel fresh cacao seeds and smell the exotic aroma of pure Mexican cacao/chocolate; Kew even has some of the Mexican cacao discs (originally used as money by the Aztecs) made from a special rainforest recipe that won’t melt in the steamy rainforest heat of the Palm House at Kew.

Princess of Wales Conservatory, Kew Gardens
Princess of Wales Conservatory, Kew Gardens (Click on image to enlarge)

In the Princess of Wales Conservatory you can see and learn about how Mexican cacti and agaves survive in the ‘Dry Tropics Zone’.

You should easily spot examples of the Mexican ‘barrel cactus’ - a beautiful Aztec stone sculpture of which was found in 2005 under Mexico City centre! Learn more by following the link below...

Barrel cactus, Kew Gardens
Barrel cactus, Kew Gardens (Click on image to enlarge)

Photography by Maria Mursell

‘How the cactus stone was unearthed’

Kew Gardens website
‘The Dry Tropics Zone’, Princess of Wales Conservatory
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