Selby_Cattleya_luddenmanniana_smSarasota, Florida

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Named one of America’s Top Ten Botanical Gardens by Country Living Gardener magazine in 2003, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is a renowned research center and the legacy of the late Marie Selby.

Selby Gardens is perhaps best known for its living collection of more than 6,000 orchids. The approximately 13-acre bayfront property is an open-air and under-glass museum of more than 20,000 vibrant plants, many collected in the wild on over 150 scientific expeditions to tropical rain forests by Selby Gardens research staff. The eight greenhouses are the heart of botanical research and plant identification, and Selby Gardens is internationally recognized for its Bromeliad, Gesneriad, and Orchid Research Centers.

Highlights include the Tropical Display House with its rain forest atmosphere, the Bamboo Pavilion, Banyan Grove, Cactus and Succulent Garden, Cycad Collection, Mangrove Forest, Fern Garden, Hibiscus Garden, Bayfront Restoration Project and Baywalk Sanctuary. Also on the grounds is the former Christy Payne Mansion, a unique example of eclectic Southern Colonial architecture. The Mansion, on the National Register of Historic Places, is the home to ever-changing botanical art and photography exhibits.

What’s special: Epiphytes

Selby_brom Billbergia brachysiphon var. breviflora2 MSBG1993-0272A_0The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is known for its knowledge of and astounding collection of epiphytes — plants that live on other plants. Epiphytes are sometimes called “air plants” because they have no roots in the soil themselves.  They obtain water and minerals from rain and debris on the plants supporting them, which they also use as a means to reach more sunlight. Epiphytes are classified as non-parasitic.

Common epiphytes of Florida  are Bromeliads (Bromeliaceae), Orchids (Orchidaceae), and Ferns (Pteridophyta).  According to the gardens: “Florida has the richest epiphyte flora in the United States. Of the approximately 85 native epiphytic ferns and flowering plants, nearly two-thirds are found in Florida only in swamps of the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve and Big Cypress National Preserve, and tropical hammocks of Everglades National Park.”

Download a Guide to Common Epiphytes of Florida

Open daily except Christmas Day. Handicap accessible.

811 South Palm Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236
Phone: 941-366-5731[ info ]