At the heart of BBG is our living plant collections. The Gardens was started by Ken duPlooy as a collection of orchids and exotic tropical fruit trees. Today we continue to hold invaluable collections of exotic plants native to Belize and from around the world.
Our living plant collection represent a diverse set of orchids, palms, cycads, tropical fruits, flowering trees, native plants and other horticultural oddities. We grow plants strictly for their aesthetic qualities while others represent our efforts to help conserve the world’s floral diversity.
To help us manage our plant collections we created a software application for managing living plant collections for botanical gardens. With Bauble we are able to record historical data on all the plants in the Garden. Not only did we create Bauble for our personal use; we allow anyone to use it freely and without restriction.
Currently our most important collection is our orchid collection. Since 1997 we have been working with Brendan Sayers of the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Ireland to collect, grow and study the orchids of Belize. So far, this collaboration has resulted in twenty orchids species added to the known orchid flora of Belize, including one newly described species to science.
We also maintain a complete list of orchids native to Belize with photos of the majority of the species here.
Belize is home to approximately forty native palm species. One, Schippia concolor, is endemic to Belize meaning that it can only be found occurring naturally in Belize. Our palm collection contains nearly all the exotic palms of Belize as well as an additional fifty palm species from around the world.
With help from Montgomery Botanical Center we are quickly becoming a center for conservation of cycads native to Belize. Come and visit our Cycad Circle to see some of the exotic species we have on display at the Gardens.
Included in our palm collection are two Cuban palm species which are threatened with extinction. By maintaining and conserving these palms here at Belize Botanic Gardens, and other gardens with these palm species, we are able to offer ‘insurance’ that these species can continue. If anything happened to wipe out these palms in Cuba, such as natural disasters or human factors, we would be able to send seeds or seedlings to replant.
BBG is recognized for having the largest collections of tropical fruits in Belize. We are well known not only for the different types of fruit trees we grow but also that we may be the only place in Belize to grow these trees. Presently, we grow Lychee, Rambutan, Mangosteen, Breadfruit, Jackfruit, Mango, Avocado, Starfruit, Jaboticaba, Mammy Apple, Malay Apple, Black sapote, Sweetsop, Soursop, Java Apple, Governor’s Plum, Bilimbi and many many more.