Plants at the Zoo and Safari Park
Gardens of Earthly delight
Welcome to the botanical gardens of the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park! You are not alone in your interest in the wealth of plant life that graces our grounds. San Diego's mild Mediterranean climate makes it possible to grow more different kinds of plants than almost anywhere else in the United States. With more than a million plants on a total of 1,900 acres (770 hectares) at the Zoo and the Safari Park, our grounds make up a truly world-class botanical garden and they have been recognized as such.
We're on a mission
Our horticulturists, arborists, and gardeners have established themselves as among the best in the world at creating outstanding naturalistic habitats for exotic animals. They include world-class browse specialists, ranging from bamboo experts who grow and harvest a variety of bamboo species to keep our pandas healthy to eucalyptus experts who provide the freshest new growth for our koalas. Our staff often acts as a resource for other zoos, botanical gardens, and universities, and aids the scientists who come to our grounds to do research with rare and endangered plants. The Zoo and Park also act as "rescue centers" for rare and endangered plants. Our horticulture staff firmly believes that the lush and varied gardens they care for are not only critical for keeping our animals healthy and content, but are also crucial in helping to educate the public about biodiversity and the importance of habitat preservation. When visitors experience the beauty and uniqueness of one of our Asian, African, or Australian rain forest habitats and the animals that live in them, for example, they're more likely to take an interest in how such habitats can be saved in the wild.
This plant section contains a number of anecdotes about how plants have been used historically or are still used by indigenous people. This is strictly for the education and entertainment of the reader. We make no claims as to the validity of any of these uses, especially the medicinal practices. Many plants with medicinal properties are also toxic; don't try any of the remedies unless you first check with a physician who has a background in botany.