From tropical temperatures to Mediterranean retreats to historic splendor, the conservatories of the Missouri Botanical Garden offer an escape in any season.
Covering more than a half-acre, the Climatron® is an ever-changing ecosystem and a symbol of the Garden. The geodesic domed structure was inspired by the futuristic design of R. Buckminster Fuller, the first such design to be used as a conservatory.
Stepping into the Climatron transports visitors to a tropical rainforest rich with dense green foliage, sparkling waterfalls, rocky cliffs, a river aquarium, and nearly 3,000 exotic plants reflecting 1,400 different species. These include banana, cacao, coffee, as well as exotic, rare plants such as the double coconut, which produces the largest seed in the plant kingdom, and the jackfruit, which bears the largest fruit of any tree in the world.
Shoenberg Temperate House
Just north of the Climatron (and accessible via the indoor Brookings Exploration Center) is the Shoenberg Temperate House, a nearly 9,000-square-foot recreation of a typical “Mediterranean” climate characterized by warm, dry summers and cool, moist winters. A computerized climate control system maintains temperatures between 40 and 90 degrees even on the coldest winter mornings and hottest summer afternoons.
Citrus trees and colorful rotating displays highlight the Moorish walled garden at the center of the conservatory, a popular spot for photos and quiet reflection. Visitors will also discover important economic plants (olives, figs, cork oak), rare and endangered species from around the world, and carnivorous plants of the southeastern U.S. nestled among the picturesque rock formations and boggy pools of the Temperate House.
Located just a few steps from the Garden’s entrance in the shadow of Spoehrer Plaza, the Linnean House conservatory has a long history of sheltering plants and people from the often unpredictable St. Louis weather. Constructed in 1882 to preserve the Garden’s citrus trees, palms, and tree ferns throughout winter months, the Linnean House is the oldest continually operating public greenhouse west of the Mississippi River, and the only remaining conservatory built during Garden founder Henry Shaw’s lifetime.
Citrus plants, succulents, and even the occasional corpse flower are among the diverse highlights on rotating display throughout the year in the Linnean House, but the conservatory takes on an especially romantic flavor in February as many of the Garden’s camellias come into bloom.
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