Definitions of Terrarium, Wardian Case, Vivarium, etc.
Terrarium, vivarium, wardian case, orchidarium, conservatory, insectarium, paludarium, riparium, formicarium or mini-greenhouse? These words can all mean about the same thing yet differ greatly in use. When I started researching terrariums for this website, I had no idea how complex and useful some of these systems designed to house living things can become.
Types of Terrariums:
VIVARIUM definition: is an enclosed container, usually made from glass, or some other transparent material. The vivarium is used to keep plants or small animals in a replica environment of what they might experience in nature. Some vivariums include lighting and temperature considerations. The vivarium is often used for research, pets and décor. The size of the vivarium can range from tabletop to large buildings.
FORMICARIUM definition: is a vivarium that is designed to hold ants. Again, the formicarium has transparent sides for viewing of the ant colony. Most formicariums are small in size and many are sold commercially as children’s toys and curiosities.
PALUDIARIUM definition: is a basically an aquarium with provisions for a land mass so the living creatures inside can exit the water yet remain in a humid, safe environment. The paludarium can mimic a swamp, marsh, bog, rainforest or bog. The paludarium can house frogs, lizards, salamanders, fish, eels, newts, snails, certain water loving snakes, turtles, insects and other critters and moisture loving plants.
INSECTARIUM definition: is basically a vivarium that is designed to hold insects. Other terms for this enclosure are insectary, insectaria, and insectaries. The insectarium is designed to be a controlled environment that affords the insects a replication of natural life. The insectarium can be tabletop size to as large as a walk through butterfly home in a museum. Philadelphia has a bug museum called the Insectarium!
RIPARIUM definition is a paludiarium with circulating pools of water. It is an aquarium with provisions for a land mass so the living creatures inside can exit the water yet remain in a humid, safe environment. The paludarium can mimic a swamp, marsh, bog, rainforest or bog. The paludarium can house frogs, lizards, salamanders, fish, eels, newts, snails, certain water loving snakes, turtles, insects and other critters and moisture loving plants.
WARDIAN CASE definition: was invented by Dr. Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward around 1829. The wardian case is the forerunner of the terrarium, the transparent enclosure designed to hold plants in a semi-controlled environment. As the story line goes, Dr. Ward was an amateur botanist with up to 25,000 plant specimens. He lived in London where the acrid air from coal fires was killing his more fragile plants. He had a carpenter build him some glass enclosed cases to protect some of these plants and found that they did very well in the controlled environment. This gave rise to his book “The Growth of Plants in Closely Glazed Cases.”
ORCHIDARIUM definition: is a terrarium that is fitted to optimally growing orchids. The orchidarium has systems to control the light, temperature, air movement and humidity of the environment to grow orchids.
MINI-GREENHOUSE definition: is a smaller than a normal sized greenhouse but affords the same benefits to man and plants. The mini-greenhouse is designed to allow plenty of sunshine in through a transparent surface such as glass or plastic. It can be heated by the sun and also by artificial means. Generally a means to circulate air is also incorporated in the mini-greenhouse system.
AQUARIUM definition: is a transparent enclosure designed to hold either salt or freshwater fish and other underwater living organisms. The aquarium is generally built from glass or plastic and can be tabletop size to museum quality size.
CONSERVATORY definition: is a greenhouse that is used to display plants as in a museum rather than growing plants for profit or production.
JARDINIERE definition:is an ornamental stand or receptacle for plants, flowers, etc., used as a piece of decorative furniture in room. Another plant based definition has it being a circular form being a base with a bell glass that fits on top. The jardiniere can be tilted up on one corner when moisture gets excessive.
The TERRARIUM started out being a wardian case but the name changed when it came to America. The terrarium is a garden or plant habitat in miniature with see through sides generally made from glass or plastic. Most terrariums are designed to be decorative. Terrariums are helpful in that they keep a higher humidity level inside relative to the room they are kept.