The Conservatory of Flowers is one of my favorite places to visit in San Francisco. The gorgeous Victorian-style conservatory is located in Golden Gate Park and is surrounded by a large park with plenty of places to picnic, ride a bicycle and enjoy the sun. On cold days, the interior of the conservatory is an inviting place with warm, tropical weather and lush green foliage.
Aquatic Plant Section
The aquatic plant section of the Conservatory of Flowers features a large pool of water with floating water lilies, hanging pitcher plants (Nepenthes) and orchids. Also lining the outside of the pools are taro plants, the main ingredient in poi.
The highland tropics display was created to depict the cloud forests of tropical mountain tops. Plenty of orchids are found in this section, including the intriguing Dracula orchid. The odd shape of the flower is an example of mimicry. In order to attract flies to pollinate it’s flower, the orchid mimics the look and odor of a fleshy mushroom. The story of the Dracula orchid is just one of many interesting plant trivia found inside the Conservatory.
The lowland tropics area has tons of edible plants and fruit to see. During my last visit I looked up into the vast reaches of the top of the building and was delighted to see a beautiful burgundy banana flower and a large cluster of bananas! You can also see a coffee tree, a chocolate tree and pineapples. Not all plants have fruit or flowers all the time, it depends upon the season you visit. The website has a great tab called “in bloom” that describes which plants are blooming in each section. http://www.conservatoryofflowers.org/inbloom
The potted plants area is filled with what I call “houseplants of unusual size.” It’s so neat to see these plants growing to the type of proportions that could only be called epic but that occur naturally in tropical places. The section also features a cement “window” that makes a great photo op. The end of the section has a small seating area that’s a nice spot to relax and take everything in.
The Featured Exhibit
Featured exhibits never disappoint! I’ve been to see “Chomp,” “Wicked Plants,” “Aquascapes,” and many more. Each time I visit is a new opportunity to learn something fun about plants. Brand new exhibits are always in the making and easily lure me back to the Conservatory.
If you visit the Conservatory of Flowers, walk slowly otherwise you might miss something! It’s the type of place you can walk through in under 20 minutes, but if you did that you would miss SO much! I challenge you to try and find a chocolate scented orchid, the taro plants the Dracula orchid and at least one type of tropical fruit. And don’t forget to look UP while you are walking. Please write me if you go or if you’ve been, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Learn more about visiting the Conservatory of Flowers.
All photos on the website by Holly Guenther.