The Botanical Gardens is open year-round and offers a large indoor conservatory with surrounding grounds. It is accessible and offers plenty of free parking.
The Botanical Gardens consists of many indoor greenhouses that are interconnected. When you visit the Botanical Gardens you will embark on a self guided tour throughout the greenhouses, each displaying a different exhibit and collection of plants. There are also several seasonal outdoor gardens that are always free and open to the public. Visitors spend anywhere between 45-120+ minutes on their self guided tour.
Palm Dome House 1 Standing at 67' tall, the Palm Dome is full of magnificent palms and tropical fruit trees. The long-term renovation project, “The Buffalo Meridian”, started here. This plan takes visitors on a tour through the Gardens and around the world along the Buffalo Meridian connecting us to other people, places and plants. The Palm Dome is home to a beautiful and diverse collection of palms and other tropical plants native to areas throughout the world.
Old Man Palm, Coccothrinax crinita - Native to Cuba, this palm has beautiful fan like leaves that form a crown at the top of the palm. However, the trunk is what makes this palm so special. It is covered in a thick layer of wool like fibers, often called thatch. This thatch helps the palm absorb moisture from its environment. The thatch looks similar to hair, making it look like the old man palm is growing a beard on its trunk!
Foxtail Palm, Wodyetia bifurcata - This rare palm is native to Queensland, Australia and was entirely unknown to botanists until 1978. Its long, feather like leaves almost give it the appearance of a bushy fox’s tail, resulting in the palm’s common name.
Chocolate Tree, Theobroma cacao - This tropical tree, native to Central and South America, is now grown on plantations throughout the world. Its seeds, referred to as cacao beans, are used to make chocolate and cocoa powder. The chocolate tree produces tiny little flowers that cover its bark and must be hand pollinated here at the Gardens.
Ponderosa Lemon, Citrus limon × medica - Ponderosa lemons are a citrus hybrid of a citron and a lemon. It produces extremely large fruit with a very thick rind that turns yellow when ripe. The fruit tastes very similar to a true lemon, although it can be a bit sweeter. Ponderosa lemons can take up to a year to fully ripen and can grow to be as big as your face!
Aquatic Garden House 2 This exhibit includes a peaceful pond and a family of koi, and a beautiful flowform water feature that is surrounded by a collection of amazing plants native to southeast Asia.
Asian Rainforest House 3 A redesigned waterfall is surrounded by a collection of bamboo and other horticulture treasures found in southeast Asia. This exhibit also features a decorative tea house, a moon gate, a collection of orchids, bonsai and more.
The exhibits in House 2 and 3 feature a number of remarkable plants native to areas throughout Asia. In addition to beautiful plants, the exhibit includes a newly resurfaced waterfall and koi pond, a Japanese inspired decorative tea house, a moon gate and more!
Bamboo, Bambusoideae - Bamboo is a tall and fast growing grass. It is used in construction, making furniture, musical instruments, food, and more. Bamboo species can range in height from one foot to 100 feet tall. Bamboo is considered to be a sustainable resource. It is able to reach its full height in an average of five years, as opposed to trees which may take 30 or more years to reach mature height. Due to the rhizome structure of bamboo, it does not have to be replanted after harvesting. We feature many varieties of bamboo in this exhibit.
Tea, Camillia sinensis - Tea is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world. Its origin can be traced back to Ancient China where it was used for medicinal purposes. All types of true tea come from Camillia sinsensis. Sometimes teas are made from a number of other plants, such as peppermint or chamomile. These teas are referred to as herbal teas. Different varieties of true tea are created through the way the Camillia sinensis is harvested and processed.
Water Lilies, Nymphaeacae- There are roughly 70 species water lilies found in temperate and tropical climates throughout the world. The rhizome, a type of stem, is buried in the mud or in pots, allowing the leaves and flowers to reach up and float. Water lilies are spread by seed and rhizome. Due to this, waterlilies grow and spread at an incredibly fast rate.
Bonsai Collection - Bonsai is a horticultural art form that originated in Asian cultures. The word bonsai consists of two words, ‘bon’ and ‘sai’. ‘Bon’ means tray and ‘sai’ means planting. Therefore, the literal meaning of bonsai is tray planting. Bonsai are ordinary trees that are kept small through regular maintenance, including pruning of the branches and roots and repotting. Any woody plant has the potential to become a bonsai. The tray and tree should complement each other in color, shape and texture.
The tree is pruned and trained to maintain a specific look. Trunks and branches can be shaped during training using wire. You may be able to see some wire twisted along some of the trees in the collection. While many bonsai are kept outdoors, the ones displayed indoors are tropical plants that grow well in a greenhouse environment.
Moss is frequently used as a groundcover for bonsai since it retains water and holds the soil in the container. Being a tiny plant, moss maintains the miniature image of bonsai. Many bonsai are also paired with an accent plant. Little hostas and some varieties of cacti or succulents are commonly used as accents in their own tiny tray!
The collection is cared for by the Bonsai Study Group and the Buffalo Bonsai Society.
Cacti and Succulents House 4 This collection features many varieties found in American deserts, including the giant cacti and agave plants. Highlights include lithops, euphorbs and sansevierias found in African deserts and a unique collection of succulents from South Africa. Giant cacti and agave plants from the Americas are featured, as well as a variety of euphorbia and succulents.
Barrel Cactus, Echinocactus sp. - There are a number of species of barrel cacti that live in American deserts. Their large, cylindrical shape allows them to store large amounts of moisture. Barrel cacti are covered in large, thick spines which help protect them from any animals that might eat them.
Prickly Pear Cactus, Opuntia sp. - Like all other true cactus species, prickly pears are native to dry and arid regions of the Americas. However, they are surprisingly cold tolerant and can grow in cooler regions. Prickly pears produce an edible fruit that varies in color depending on species. Prickly pear fruit, sometimes called cactus figs, is covered in tiny spines that must be carefully removed before consumption.
Ivy, Carnivorous Plants & Medicinal Garden House 5 The largest public ivy collection in the world is featured here. Highlights also include herbs, bonsai, carnivorous plants, the ever popular sensitive plant, flowering tropical plants and the Medicinal Garden. Made possible by D’Youville College School of Pharmacy and Mercy Hospital, part of Catholic Health, the Medicinal Garden is a place to learn how plants relate to our everyday lives. Check our website for upcoming special presentations. Special collections in this greenhouse include:
Medicinal Garden Collection - Our Medicinal Garden Collection, developed in collaboration with D’Youville School of Pharmacy and Mercy Hospital of Buffalo, provides visitors with a better understanding of the importance of medicinal plants and how they are used in traditional, herbal and modern medicines. The Collection further strengthens public awareness of the interdependence between humans and plants. This collection varies from month to month, depending upon the highlighted theme.
Carnivorous Collection - Venus fly traps, sundews, butterworts and pitcher plants make up our terrifying (to insects, spiders, small rodents and birds, that is) collection. Learn how these dastardly fellows lure unsuspecting prey to their deaths, thus providing these predator plants with the nitrogen that is missing in the soil where they grow.
Thank you to the Western New York Carnivorous Plant Club for helping to get our collection underway!
Ivy Collection (Hedera) - We are proud to have the largest public ivy collection in the world housing over 400 varieties. Ivies, like a number of other plants, have a juvenile stage (or form) in which the overall appearance differs markedly from the adult or flowering phase. But don’t worry - we don’t have poison ivy – which isn’t really ivy, at all! Thank you to the Western New York Ivy Society for helping to care for our Ivy Collection!
Begonias House 6 Begonias have vibrant colors and unusually textured leaves. A special begonia traced back more than 100 years calls this greenhouse home. Rotating seasonal exhibits can also be found here.
Wegmans Family Garden Children of all ages will delight in a place to dig, discover and dream as they plant a seed, build a sand castle, water a garden, smell a flower, examine a bug or touch a fuzzy plant. Activities take place select Saturdays.
Arcangel Gallery The Gallery is home to changing photography and art exhibits presented by professional and amateur artists.
Orchids House 8 Enjoy an exotic variety of common and unusual species of orchids displayed in full bloom. Our Orchid collection has numerous species on display throughout the Gardens. The magnificent fragrances emanating from these tropical beauties will call you back time and time again.
Thank you to the Niagara Frontier Orchid Society for helping to care for our Orchid Collection!
The Niagara Frontier Orchid Society works at the Botanical Gardens on Wednesday mornings - Visit between 10am-12pm on Wednesdays for free orchid advice and re-potting services.
Niagara Frontier Orchid Society - Joe DiDomenico – 716.683.7343 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Tropical Plants House 9 Home to amazing flowering tropical plants, highlights include soothing water features, a vine-covered gazebo and a relaxing place to play checkers.
Event Space House 10
This house is available for weddings, cocktail parties, showers, meetings and more. Seasonal exhibits may also be seen here throughout the year.
Panama Cloud Forest House 11 Visitors experience epiphytes the way they would live 200’ above the rainforest floor. Exotic orchids, bromeliads and tillandsia varieties are part of this exhibit. The Cloud Forest highlights a number of plants native to Panama and other areas of Central America. These tropical plants are largely epiphytic and are used to living high up in the canopy of the rainforest. Exotic orchids, bromeliads, and a number of tropical trees can be found in the Panama Cloud Forest.
Bromeliads, Bromeliaceae - Bromeliads are a family of plants native to the tropics and subtropics of the Americas. They are known for their vase-like leaf structure, which allows them to collect and store little pools of water at their center. The majority of bromeliad species are epiphytic, living high up in the canopy of the rainforest on top of trees and other plants.
Sapodilla, Manilkara zapota - Sapodilla is a slow growing evergreen tree found throughout much of Central America. It is known primarily for its white, latex sap called ‘chicle.’ The Mayans and the Aztecs used to boil the chicle and mold it into thin blocks. They would then cut them into small pieces and use it as chewing gum.
Papaya, Carica papaya - Papayas are large, tree-like plants that grow in the tropical regions of the Americas. Its stem is tall and long, with leaves only growing towards the top of the plant. This gives it the appearance of a tree. However, the stem is actually hollow and considered to be herbaceous.
Florida Everglades House 12 This immersive exhibit showcases the importance of maintaining wetlands, the natural water filtration system of the world. Highlights include native habitats, a vivarium, mangrove trees and a honey bee observation hive.
Sea Grape, Coccoloba uvifera - Sea grapes are flowering plants native to coastal beaches throughout the tropical Americas, including Florida. Although it is not related to the grapes we eat, it does produce green fruits that grow in grape-like clusters. Recently, they have become integral to the survival of sea turtles. Sea grapes that grow along the shore block light from houses and streets from hitting the beach where sea turtles lay their eggs. Upon hatching, sea turtle babies are naturally drawn towards light. The densely packed sea grape plants ensure that they are not accidentally drawn inland by city lights and are instead drawn by the natural light reflected in the ocean.
Red Mangrove, Rhizophora mangle - Red mangroves are one of over 50 species found throughout tropical and subtropical areas of the world. They are typically found in wetland regions and thrive in brackish water. Mangroves are easily recognized by their tangled roots that provide important shelter and food for many different animal species living in the Everglades.
Magnolia ‘Little Gem,’ Magnolia grandiflora ‘Little Gem’ - This magnolia is a cultivar of the southern magnolia, which is native throughout the Southeastern United States. It is known for its beautiful, white fragrant leaves. Magnolia leaves are dark green and are covered with a layer of wax, giving them an almost leathery texture.
Front Entrance Garden March through October This garden greets visitors as they approach the main entrance highlighting thousands of spring bulbs and tropical plants (depending on the season) and a masterful collection of annuals, perennials, and shrubs.
Peace Garden March through October Designated as an Honorary International Peace Garden, this beautiful garden offers an outdoor sanctuary to find peace and harmony. Honor someone special in your life by dedicating pavers, benches, planting a tree or creating a new tribute in our Peace Garden. This garden is also the perfect place for special occasion photos and includes a gazebo for wedding vows.
Healing Garden March through October This garden is a place for spiritual healing, meditation and reflection where visitors can enjoy the simple healing power of the natural world. This garden is made possible by support from Mercy Hospital, part of Catholic Health, and Plant WNY.
Outdoor Children’s Garden June through October Designed to stimulate the senses, this hands-on garden includes fragrant herbs, a colorful butterfly garden, a cascading water feature and more. Soil exploration, planting and digging areas encourage kids to explore.
Native Garden May through October We have so many wonderful, colorful and amazing plants native to our area – celebrate by planting some in your own garden.
Patio Garden All seasons This garden includes magnificent greenery and blooms during the warm months and provides interesting shapes and winter foliage during the cold months.
Arboretum All seasons Our outdoor gardens have been designated as a Level II Arboretum through ArbNet. Tree highlights include a weeping European beech, a dawn redwood, a katsura and many more. Follow ArbNet on Facebook and Twitter for more information about our arboretum and others.