Although they occupy about 10 percent of Earth’s surface, its equatorial regions are home to more than half of the plant and animal species in the world. The Fuqua Conservatory’s Tropical Rotunda contains hundreds of plant species from tropical regions around the world, including Central America’s lowland forests, central Africa, southern Mexico and Southeast Asia. Special attention is given to plants from regions with high degrees of endemism – species that grow natively nowhere else on Earth.
Many of the Earth’s tropical regions are under threat from deforestation, development and climate change. The plants that grow in these regions are tremendously important to humans, both those who live among them and those who live around the globe. Visit the Tropical Rotunda to explore the many relationships that humans have forged with plants and learn about the ways they feed, shelter, heal and even poison us.
The plants in the Tropical Rotunda include key groups of ferns, cycads, melastomes, epiphytic plants, tropical conifers and rich collection of tropical palms. Of the 2,600 palm species worldwide, 170 grow in the Fuqua Conservatory.
The sounds you'll hear in this space are real. A combination of vocal birds and frogs can be heard throughout the day. One of the Fuqua Conservatory's residents you won't hear, however, is the alligator snapping turtle in the waterfall pond.