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Plants: Gardens: Sun Bear Forest

With its cascading waterfalls, bubbling streams, thousands of exotic plants, and Indochinese animals, Sun Bear Forest is the closest you'll come to experiencing a southeast Asian rain forest in Southern California. You will, however, see a few non-Asian residents there as well. Whenever the Zoo constructs a new exhibit, there are often long-standing trees that don't exactly fit the new bioclime's theme, but would be harmed if transplanted (such as, for example, a thriving macadamia from Australia). In those cases the tree stays. Our horticulturists value the trees in their care too much to risk their health!

In spite of the surprises here and there, Sun Bear Forest has a spectacular collection of Asian plants including a number of gingers, which are actually an extension of Fern Canyon's gingers. While most people know about Zingiber officinale, the common cooking spice, many don't realize that there are more than 85 species of ginger in the Zingiber genus alone, and that the ginger family has about 40 additional genera.