Conservatory of Flowers

Set in a landmark building — the oldest public wood-and-glass conservatory in North America — the Conservatory of Flowers inspires awe and fascination with its rare and exotic plant collection.

This Week’s Hours

Open Thursday – Tuesday, 10am – 4:30pm

Last entry is 4pm

All Hours
Conservatory of Flower Aquatic Plants Drew Bird

Aquatic Plants

The magical pools in the Aquatic Plants Gallery simulate the flow of a river winding through the tropics. The gallery features a diversity of aquatic plants and colorful water lilies including the Giant Water Lily with its majestic, spiny leaves visible during all but the coldest months of the year.  Carnivorous pitcher plants, warm-growing orchids, and brightly painted Heliconia and Hibiscus are scattered throughout the gallery. Giant taro leaves line the pond and the flowers of bromeliads emerge from their water-filled buckets amidst a diversity of epiphytes, creating an eye-catching display of colors and textures.

Conservatory of Flowers Highland Tropics Gallery - Drew Bird

Highland Tropics

Conservatory of Flowers is one of only a handful of institutions in the United States to feature a Highland Tropics display, given the challenge of creating such a cool and humid climate. The gallery mimics the misty cloud forests of tropical mountaintops. Dense mosses, Impatiens, and Gesneriads engulf rocks. Majestic Rhododendrons and tree ferns grow from the forest floor. Also featured is the renowned collection of delicate high-altitude orchids. Many of these orchids are epiphytes, which are plants that grow on other plants, including the infamous Dracula orchids that peek from hanging vines and through tree branches throughout.

Conservatory of Flowers Lowland Tropics Drew Bird

Lowland Tropics

In the steamy, lush jungles of the Lowland Tropics Gallery, a light rain falls on the canopy of majestic palms. An enormous kapok tree lies on the forest floor while brightly colored orchids and falling water cascade around it. Coffee berries, cacao pods, and tropical fruits hang heavily from branches, and the sweet fragrance of jasmine and Stanhopea orchids mingle in the air. The gallery is also home to the Conservatory’s centenarians, including the towering Imperial Philodendron, a pygmy date palm from San Francisco’s 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exhibition, and several rare and ancient Cycads, which are primitive gymnosperms that pre-date the dinosaurs.

Conservatory of Flowers Potted Plants Richard Tauber

Potted Plants

The Potted Plants Gallery pays homage to the Conservatory’s late 1800’s Victorian roots when plant collectors stored their exotic tropical treasures in opulent glass greenhouses to protect them from cold European climates. This ever-changing garden of curiosities features a rotating host of unique, charismatic, and rarely-seen plants from tropical places throughout the world. Lush flowering trees and shrubs are held in an incredible assortment of decorative urns and containers from all over the world including copper containers from India, Javanese palm pots, ceramic pots from Burkina Faso, and a historic urn from San Francisco’s 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition.

Conservatory of Flowers West Gallery Corpse Flower Saxon Holt

West Gallery

After trekking through the tropics respite can easily be found among the fern fronds of the West Gallery. Ferns are an ancient group of plants that have their earliest ancestors dating back approximately 400 million years.  Many Victorians had a passion for fern collecting, housing their most delicate species in tropical conservatories like this one. Today, ferns are found on every continent except Antarctica. Look out for a New Zealand Tree Fern in the southwest corner, and a delicate-looking Tassel Fern amongst the many ferns hanging from above. With ample seating among these peaceful plants, the West Gallery offers a gentle recharge. Note: A rare Corpse Flower bloom (pictured) will occasionally occur in the West Gallery. This photo does not reflect the current plants in bloom.

Explore

Nepenthes bicalcarata - Fanged Pitcher Plant

Nepenthes bicalcarata

Common Name

Fanged Pitcher Plant

The fanged pitcher plant, native to Borneo, is named such because of the ‘walrus-tooth-like prickles’ that protrude from the pitcher.

Hibiscus schizopetalus Common Name | Japanese Lantern, Spider Hibiscus

Hibiscus schizopetalus

Common Name

Japanese Lantern, Spider Hibiscus

Hibiscus schizopetalus is native to Kenya and Tanzania but is commonly referred to as ‘Japanese lantern’ because it resembles traditional Japanese lanterns.

Lasimorpha senegalensis Common Name | Swamp Arum

Lasimorpha senegalensis

Common Name

Swamp Arum

Lasimorpha senegalensis is a very large aquatic plant from west Africa, found in swamps, ponds, and other areas with slow moving water. Beneath the water’s surface, this plant grows quite vigorously by lateral shoots, or rhizomes.

Anguloa

Common Name

Tulip Orchid

The Anguloa orchid is commonly known as a tulip orchid because of the way the leaves resemble tulip leaves when they emerge from…

Dendrobium Smillieae

Common Name

Bottlebrush Orchid

Dendrobium smillieae is a robust orchid that is found in Queensland Australia and New Guinea. They grow epiphytically on tree limbs…

Masdevallia

Common Name

Kite Orchid

Masdevallia is a genus of 350 cool growing orchid species. They are best known for their unusual triangle-shaped flowers made…

Dioon spinulosum

Common Name

Giant Dioon

This cycad specimen is over 100 years old. Dioon spinulosum is one of the tallest cycad species in the world, growing to 50 feet high…

Crescentia Cujete

Common Name

Calabash Tree

Crescentia cujete, more commonly known as the calabash tree, has been cultivated throughout tropical Central and South America since…

Heliconia Psittacorum

Common Name

False Bird-of-Paradise

Heliconia is a genus of flowering tropical plants with approximately 225 species. The majority of Heliconia species are native to tropical…

Adenium Obesum

Common Name

Desert Rose

This beautiful plant is native to regions ranging from West Tropical Africa to the Arabian Peninsula. Adeniums are appreciated…

Heliamphora

Common Name

Sun Pitchers

Heliamphora is a genus of approximately 18 carnivorous plant species. Plants of this genus are endemic to Venezuela, Guyana…

Pachystachys Lutea

Common Name

Lollipop Plant

Pachystachys lutea is a popular landscape plant in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. The plant’s long-throated, short-lived…

Huperzia Squarrosa

Common Name

Tassel Fern

Plants in this genus were once a part of the genus Lycopodium from which they differ by not having specialized spore-bearing cones…

Microsorum musifolium

Common Name

Crocodile Fern

Microsorum musifolium is especially noteworthy for the texture of the leaves, the Crocodile Fern comes from the Malaysian…

Platycerium

Common Name

Staghorn Fern

Staghorn ferns have two types of fronds, basal and fertile. The sterile, oval-shaped, basal fronds not only help the plant adhere…

Plan your perfect event with us

Celebrate in one of our exotic galleries or outside with the beautiful backdrop of the conservatory in view. Whether you’re hosting a ceremony, working lunch, cocktail hour, or seated dinner, find flexible accommodations in our five unique event spaces.