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Did You Know?


  • Denver Botanic Gardens is recognized as one of the top botanic gardens in the western United States and is home to more than 34,000 plants belonging to over 14,000 taxa (types of plants) representing over 250 plant families.
  • This incredible plant diversity, ranging from arid to tropical plants, is showcased in about 45 different individual gardens in just 24 acres in the middle of the city. Plant collections from over 90 countries around the world are showcased with an emphasis on high altitude climates similar to Colorado’s.
  • The Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory is one of the ten major conservatories in the country and is the only major tropical plant conservatory in the Rocky Mountain region.
  • The Rock Alpine Garden, Plains Garden, Japanese Garden and Water Gardens are world-renowned for their plant breadth and diversity.
  • Denver Botanic Gardens features more than 45 gardens that contain collections of plants from more than 90 countries around the world with high altitude climates similar to Colorado's.
  • Denver Botanic Gardens, Colorado State University and Colorado landscape and nursery professionals work together on PlantSelect®, a plant introduction program designed to discover and distribute the very best plants for Rocky Mountain gardeners.
  • Denver Botanic Gardens has an extensive orchid collection containing nearly 1,200 species representing more than 250 genera.
  • The bromeliad collection contains 330 species, 34 genera and several rare and endangered plants.
  • The seven major living collections at Denver Botanic Gardens include: Alpine, Amenity, Aquatic, Cactus & Succulent, Native, Steppe, and Tropical collections.
  • Denver Botanic Gardens is a member of the North American Plant Collections Consortium (NAPCC). As a NAPCC participant, our oak (Quercus) collection is part of the national collection. The orchid collection contains nearly 1,200 species representing more than 250 genera, rotating on display in the Marnie's Pavillion.

Research and Conservation

  • Denver Botanic Gardens has had a research department for more than 15 years. Our department was officially formed in 1996 but we have been conducting research at the Gardens since the early 1980’s.
  • We work with roughly 70 of the state’s most rare and imperiled plants through surveys, monitoring, and seed collection.  Most of these species are endemic to this region (they can be found nowhere else in the world), and in most cases, The Gardens is the primary entity working to conserve many of these species.
  • We have been collaborating with the Bureau of Land Management to monitor four of Colorado’s rarest plants (two of them for almost 20 years).
  • Our Sam Mitchel Herbarium of Fungi houses 18,000 accessions of dried preserved specimens of Rocky Mountain mushrooms. This collection is the most diverse, extensive, well-documented collection of fleshy fungi in the Rocky Mountain region. 
  • The Kathryn Kalmbach Herbarium houses approximately 50,000 specimens that primarily represent the southern Rocky Mountains. Strong collections include the graminoids (Poaceae and Cyperaceae), orchids (Orchidaceae), Astragalus (Fabaceae) and Draba (Brassicaceae).
  • We have an Ethnobotany Collection, which includes plants that have medicinal, religious, cultural or other human use, either historically or currently, for people of our region. 
  • Our work has helped lead to the Endangered Species Act candidate status listing of Astragalus microcymbus.
  • We have been asked by the Fish and Wildlife Service to steward all listed species through seed collection and long-term storage (ex-situ conservation).


  • The Gardens’ on-site school program participation reaches over 17,000 students throughout the Denver metro area.
  • The Helen K. Fowler Library houses more than 30,000 titles and is the largest horticultural library in the Rocky Mountain region.
  • The Certificate in Botanical Art & Illustration is the Gardens’ most successful certificate program. Approximately 400 students participate in the program each year, and nationally acclaimed collectors and presenters show their work at the Gardens.


  • The Gardens has more than 1,100 volunteers who donate their time and efforts to help with horticultural and research projects, educational tours and events.


  • With its wide pathways for wheelchair accessibility, raised beds and container gardens, the Sensory Garden is particularly well suited to those with mobility, sensory and cognitive impairments. This garden not only offers beauty, but is also a model for accessible landscape design and “healing gardens” at nursing homes, hospitals, prisons and other facilities.

Satellite Gardens

  • Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield is home to wetlands, grasslands, wildlife and a historic farm homestead. It also hosts the annual Corn Maze, Pumpkin Festival and Trail of Lights, as well as some of the concerts in the Summer Concert Series. Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield is also home to the Gardens’ Community Supporting Agriculture (CSA) program. Shares of this community farm are sold to members of the public who then receive weekly portions of the garden’s fresh produce during the harvest season, from June through October.
  • The M. Walter Pesman Trail on Mount Goliath is operated by Denver Botanic Gardens and contains 1,500-year old bristlecone pine trees and alpine wildflowers including alpine forget-me-nots, fairy primrose, chiming bells and sky pilot. The Pesman Trail is a downhill trek winding through subalpine and alpine areas where wildflowers and animals of the fragile subalpine and alpine tundra live. Wildflower guides lead free hikes during the summer season on the Pesman Trail. The Alpine Rock Garden at Mount Goliath and the Pesman Trail feature six of the seven alpine plant communities: dry meadow, wet meadow, krummholz, fellfield, bristlecone pine forest, and crevice, talus and scree. Plants in these gardens were propagated at our greenhouses from seeds collected from surrounding habitats.

Updated Dec. 2013