Plants of the sub-tropics are native to southern Florida & Central America, as well as other warm temperate regions of the world. This section is dominated by the palm-like cycads situated on benches throughout the room. Rare and protected in their native environment, the cycads are living fossils - descendants of species that thrived during the age of the dinosaurs! Some of them here are over 80 years old! An extensive orchid collection overflows the north wall and onto surrounding benches, producing a cascade of blooms at most times of the year. Two large in-ground pools feature aquatic plants for classes and laboratories.
Adapations to life in arid regions of the world produce the many and diverse forms in this collection. The true cacti, native only to the Americas, are located on the bench along the east wall. Here are found golden barrel cacti, among others. The main feature of the desert section is its extensive planting of succulents in the center of the room. The most noticeable specimens are the large Euphorbias that dominate the bed.
Stepping into the Tropical Room is like stepping into a mini-rainforest - vines & epiphytes (airplants) climb to the upper canopy. Tall trees reach toward the peak of the 25 foot glass roof, as their branches and aerial roots drape over the walkways. The 800 square foot in-ground planting bed contains numerous unusual and rare genera that include banana, Anthurium, palm, Ficus, screw pine and bromeliads. A meandering pathway through the bed allows visitors to experience the rainforest atmosphere close-up.
Many of the plants in this section are native to tropical and warm temperate zones, but they thrive only in the cooler, frost-free regions of their higher elevations. Here you can find representative species that are native to southeast Asia, southern Africa, and South and Central America. Some of these may require lower growing temperatures and periods of dormancy before they can flower and produce fruit. Color abounds here in the spring and summer months - amaryllis and Camellia produce a stunning display in early spring, while Fuschia and geraniums bloom abundantly throughout the growing season.
Last Updated: 9/13/10