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Public Gardens
United States


Strybing Arboretum at Golden Gate Park, San Francisco 
Gesneriads growing outdoors in natural settings. 

Sherman Library & Gardens, Corona del Mar A small horticultural retreat with a museum of living plants, including gesneriads.

The Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens, San Marino The gardens cover 120 acres, with more than a dozen specialized gardens arranged within a park-like landscape of rolling lawns, including a conservatory with gesneriad specimens.


University of Connecticut EEB Greenhouses, Storrs 
This facility is primarily arranged taxonomically so most of the gesneriads are conveniently located on one bench. More details can be found at the web site with complete online inventory. 


Palm Hammock Orchid Estate, formerly known as The Daisy Farm, Miami 
A pretty good assortment of some of the Caribbean species and the better tropical garden cultivars on display during their times of bloom.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota 
16 genera, 200 species. 


Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Atlanta 
Many gesneriads displayed in the Fuqua Conservatory. 


Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe 
They have a few gesneriads in several of their tropical conservatories. The gardens as a whole are definitely worth a visit. 


Des Moines Botanical Center, Des Moines 
5 genera, 5 species. 


National Aquarium, Baltimore 
The display is designed to display birds more than plants, but there are gesneriads present in the exhibit. 


University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Garden, Ann Arbor

An excellent gesneriad collection. In addition to several beds in the conservatory, impressive baskets of vining gesneriads can be found scattered throughout the conservatory. 


Missouri Botanic Gardens (Shaw Gardens), St. Louis 
Gesneriads displayed in the Climatron. 

New York

Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park Oyster Bay
Extensive collection of gesneriads and other tropical plants.

North Carolina

University of North Carolina at Charlotte Botanical Garden, Charlotte 
24 genera, 70 species.
Used to show morphological adaptation to ecological niche 


Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square 
The garden displays gesneriads on occasion. Everything there is so beautiful that its worth the trip in any case! 


Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Museum of Art, Nashville 
Collections from Central American cloud forests. 

Washington, DC

United States Botanic Garden 
15 genera, 20 species. 


Olbrich Gardens, Madison 
A number of gesneriads growing in their tropical rainforest habitat... A truly impressive colony of Gesneria cuneifolia, a couple of the different cultivars of same... some almost 2 foot tall... Also a number of episcia ground covers, codonanthe, and a nematanthus. Most things are well labeled. Several other tropical plant families are also well represented. 



Allen Gardens, Toronto 
A smaller display than that in Montreal, but still very nice. 


Jardin Botanique de Montreal, Montreal 
45 genera, 250 species
This is a place with a rich collection of gesneriads in the research greenhouses, but also with a good display in the public area. 

Other Countries Worldwide


Kew Gardens, London 
Kew has nematanthus, saintpaulia, episcia, paliavana, true gloxinia, streps, and aeschynanthus (and probably more) displayed in the Princess of Wales Conservatory. Also petrocosmea in the cloud forest compartment. Ramonda and haberlea are planted out around the alpine house and cooler growers are in the refrigerated bed inside including lysionotus and petrocosmea. There is a large clump of Hemiboea henryi and several shrubs of Mitraria and seasonal displays of achimenes hybrids in the greenhouse beds. 


Museum of Paris (at the "Jardin des Plantes"), Paris 
The "jardin alpin" has 5 species of Ramonda and Haberlea, hybridizing freely in spite of the gardeners' efforts. 


Hyogo Prefecture Flower Center(Botanic Gardens), Kasai, Hyogo, 675 
Hundreds of species and hybrids of tropical genera, chirita and streptocarpus. This garden has specific areas in greenhouse devoted to gesneriads with good display. 


Edinburgh Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh 
RBG/Edinburgh has probably the largest colony of Fieldia australis anywhere. It's planted in a conservatory bed and it runs all over as groundcover and then climbs the trees and flowers! Many, many streptocarpus species planted in natural settings in the conservatory. The rock garden is outstanding, with cabbage-size ramondas and haberleas planted in low rock walls. 

The Netherlands

Hortus Botanicus at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam 
This is a wonderful garden, with a series of conservatories,surrounded by outdoor gardens and walking paths. It's in the middle of the univerisity grounds, surrounded by canal on all sides (lovely). Importantly, there is ample parking available on the street just outside. AND, they propagate their collection and have divisions and seed grown plants for sale!

This botanical garden is probably the world's oldest botanical garden, founded in 1638 originally as a medicinal herb garden. Physicians and pharmacists were trained here in the preparation of prescriptions. In the 17th and 18th centuries, in addition to herbs and spices, the VOC (Dutch East India Company) ships also brought exotic ornamental plants to the Hortus, some of which are still growing there. Different areas were added in the 17 and 1800's and improvements made in the early 1900s. Most of the buildings date from the late 1800s and very early 1900s. Today it is one of very few botanical gardens which is maintained in the center of a busy city. It has over 6000 different species (among all plant families), including particularly good collections of cacti & succulents, orchids, and native European plants. Free admission. Open Mon-Fri, 8-4:30, and other times by prior arrangement. For more information. Review contributed by Nina Rach with corrections and additional information by Marilyn Allen. 

Have you seen gesneriads displayed at public gardens? Tell us about it! 

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