The Bonsai/Camellia House contains our seven historic camellia trees from the original Durfee Conservatory built in 1867. Flowering during the winter months, the camellia trees’ beautiful blossoms in shades of red, pink, and white are a welcome sight during the cold weather. This house also contains a Sweet Olive Tree (Osmanthus fragrans ) whose clusters of small yellow flowers produce an intoxicately sweet scent that perfumes the entire greenhouse. Durfee’s bonsai collection is composed of both coniferous and deciduous tree species, including Western Yellow Pine (Pinus ponderosa), Trident Maple (Acer buergerianum), Chinese Elm (Ulmus parvifolia) and Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba).
This house contains plants that grow on other plants (epiphytes) and vines. The types of plants in this house include orchids, bromelids, tillandias, anthiriums and vining plants. Our orchid collection includes beautiful and fragrant orchids such as catteleyas, oncidiums, dendrobiums, paphiopedilums, and maxillarias. Vining plants in this house include Blue Sky Flower (Thunbergia grandiflora), Jasmine (Jasminum grandiflorum), and Pakalana Vine (Telosum cordata).
The Tropical House, our largest greenhouse, contains a variety of tropical and sub-tropical plants, including Banana (Musa species), Mexican Breadfruit (Monstera deliciosa), Rubber tree (Ficus elastica), Starfruit tree (Averrhoa carambola), Chocolate tree (Theobroma cacao) , Shell Ginger (Alpinia zerumbet), and Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae). In the center of this house is a 4,000 gallon fish pond traversed by a wooden bridge. Throughout the Tropical House you will find numerous benches which will allow you to relax among the lush tropical foliage. Students have found this greenhouse to be an ideal place to study while enjoying the natural sunlight and warm, humid air.
The Collections House displays the wide range of diversity that can exist within specific plant families and genera. This house contains our passiflora (passionfruit) vine collection with its beautiful and exotic-looking flowers. Other plants in this house include our orchid cactus (epiphylum) , rex begonia , and coleus collections. One of the Conservatory’s most popular plants, the Sensitive Plant (Mimosa pudica), is found in this house. This plant has the unique ability to fold its leaves when touched.
Succulents are plants that are capable of storing water, usually in fleshy leaves or swollen stems. Many succulents grow in harsh, arid conditions such as the desert. One of the best-known examples of this plant group are the cacti (Cactaceae). Succulent plants have been gaining in popularity due to the practice of xeroscaping (landscaping designed to reduce the need for irrigation). In addition to their use in xeroscaping, these plants are also ideal plants for the creation of greenroofs since their low height, waxy leaves, and ability to store water allow them to survive the harsh conditions found on rooftops.