500+ Species from Five Continents
Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory
The five-story Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory, the largest of its kind in Michigan, features tranquil waterfalls and streams winding around lush vegetation. From the massive Bismarck Palm, a native of Madagascar, to the fragrant Orange Jessamin, a native of the tropical Americas, visitors will find plants from tropical habitats all over the world. Each March and April, the conservatory is home to the largest tropical butterfly exhibition in the nation. Thousands of butterflies, imported as chrysalises from Africa, Asia, and South and Central America, fly freely within the conservatory.
The Leonard and Dora Rosenzweig Orchid Wall—a favorite destination in the Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory—features flora from Meijer Gardens’ 3,500-piece, always-changing orchid collection.
In the center island of the Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory, several cacao (chocolate) trees grow. Look for their thin brown branches and light-green long, narrow leaves that often hang straight down. The cacao tree has small white flowers that develop into orange fruit, which is where the raw ingredient for chocolate comes from.
A vase-shaped plant, the Pandan has giant leaves that can reach up to 20 feet long.
All birds in the Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory are native to the tropics and were raised in captivity. These birds include the Northern Red Bishop, Red-cheeked Cordon Bleu Finch, Chinese Painted Quail and Canary, among others.
This tree, which grows in the far northwest corner of the Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory, has large emerald-green leaves and a smooth, grey, sinewy trunk. Breadfruit is grown and eaten throughout the tropics.
Crown Gum Tree
In the lush environment of the Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory grows the Crown Gum (sapodilla) tree, with glossy, dark-green oval leaves. This tree is famous for its white gummy sap called chicle, the origin of chewing gum.