Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
||This article relies entirely upon a single source, the National Register Information System (NRIS) database or one of its mirrors. Articles based solely on the NRIS may contain errors. (November 2013)|
The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens (7 acres; 2.8 hectares) are extensive botanical gardens dedicated to research and collections of epiphytes, especially orchids and bromeliads, and their canopy ecosystems. They are located on the grounds of the former home of Marie and William Selby (of the Texaco Oil Company) at 811 South Palm Avenue, in the heart of Sarasota, Florida, USA, and open to the public during business hours every day but Christmas.
The Gardens reportedly maintain the most diverse collection of bromeliads in the world, and feature over 20,000 plants from some 6000 species in 1200 genera from 214 plant families, including 6,000 live orchids. More than 150 expeditions to the tropics and subtropics have contributed to these collections.
For the casual visitor, the Gardens maintain over 20 habitats, with banyans, bamboo, live oaks, palms, mangroves, succulents, wildflowers, cycads, bromeliads, and a koi pond, on a site bordering Sarasota Bay and the Hudson Bayou neighborhood of Sarasota.
Christy Payne House
|Architectural style||Colonial Revival|
|NRHP Reference #||98001201|
|Added to NRHP||September 25, 1998|
Major divisions of the Gardens are as follows:
- The Mulford B. Foster Bromeliad Identification Center was established in 1979 in honor of Mulford Foster, one of the leading bromeliad collectors to provide information on the horticultural and botanical aspects of the Bromeliaceae. It maintains taxonomic files for over 2800 species, genera, and subfamilies, and houses more than 2000 photographic slides for use by individuals, institutions and societies. It is supported by local and international bromeliad societies.
- Greenhouses contain over 10,500 accessions in more than 600 genera representing 92 plant families, including 4900 orchids, 3600 bromeliads, 660 aroids, 240 ferns, 140 gesneriads, and 1300 other plants.
- Gardens contain approximately 2300 recorded tropical and subtropical plantings, representing some 1200 species, 620 genera, and 165 plant families. A significant portion are well-documented, vouchered species collected from native habitats.
- The Herbarium contains more than 100,000 specialized collections of tropical flora, largely neotropical, with an emphasis on epiphytes. Ecuador flora and epiphytic flora of the Andes are well represented. Current collections of families, with number of types for each, is: Orchidaceae (1200), Bromeliaceae (109), Gesneriaceae (105), Araceae (62), Marantaceae (16), Heliconiaceae (14), and miscellany (61).
- The Orchid Identification Center was established in 1975 to study and curate wild-collected and conservatory grown orchids, and to serve as a center for their identification. It has amassed a collection of more than 20,000 taxonomic reference files, a collection of photographs, and 24,000 spirit preserved specimens, with particular strengths in collections from Mexico, Central America, Andean South America, and Venezuela.
- The Christy Payne House serves as the Garden's gallery for changing exhibits of botanical art and photography. It is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, to which it was added on September 25, 1998.
- The Research Library houses approximately 7000 volumes, dealing primarily with tropical plants, and especially epiphytes. It includes a rare book collection dating to the late 18th century, 14,000 issues of scientific journals, 2500 microfiche of early botanical references and herbaria, a photographic slide collection, and other related holdings.
- The Spirit Collection contains nearly 26,000 vials of flowers in preservative fluids, making it the second largest such collection in the world after the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. The collection includes 24,000 vials of the orchid family (Orchidaceae); 2000 vials of gesneriads (Gesneriaceae); and 300 vials of bromeliads (Bromeliaceae).