I absolutely love it when you are walking around some hidden corner of a botanical garden and discover a new plant - it's like finding a twenty dollar bill in recently-unpacked summer clothes. I saw this from afar and was intrigued. The hanging racemes almost looked like little beaded curtains.
Turns out this plant is Stachyurus praecox or spike-tail. It's a Japanese native with beautiful, creamy white flowers in racemes that are easily 6" long. Evidently the spring foliage is a bright chartreuse, however the fall color is unremarkable.
Stachy- means 'spike' and oura means 'tail'. Thus the genus name and common name both refer to the flowers. Praecox derives from the Latin word praecoquere which means 'early,' 'preripened' or 'unseasonable.' We can even break that word down further: prae means 'before' and coquere means 'to cook' or 'boil'.
These blossoms should last a bit longer, so if you check out the Orchid Show before it closes this Sunday, walk around to the south side of the conservatory and visit this hidden treasure.