Cloud Forests : Conserving Our Botanical Treasures

San Francisco Botanical Garden's Southeast Asian Cloud Forest
Rhododendron Konori
   Rhododendron konori

San Francisco Botanical Garden is developing a display garden of Vireya rhododendrons in an area that was historically called "The Burma Road". This collection will be expanded and developed into the Southeast Asian Cloud Forest, featuring cloud forest plants collected from Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, and New Guinea. These countries are endowed with mountains rising to at least 7,000 feet in elevation - high enough to harbor cloud forest communities.

How is it possible for tropical cloud forest plants to thrive out-of-doors in Coastal California?

Historically, only orchids, African violet relatives (gesneriads), and some of the colorful Vireya rhododendrons have been brought into cultivation from Southeast Asian cloud forests. Most of the plants acquired for this collection have never been cultivated before, implying an experimental approach to care and maintenance.

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New Conifer Discovered
(The Garden: Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society)

Ethnobotanical Conservation Organization for SE Asia

Philippine National Herbarium

Indonesian Botanic Gardens

Flora Malesiana

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Kumbakarna battles the monkey army.
Bali Botanic Gardens, Indonesia

San Francisco Botanical Garden's Southeast Asian Cloud Forest will serve three purposes: introduce new species to the horticultural palette of the Bay Area; assist in ex situ conservation of rare and endangered species; and educate visitors about the threats to cloud forests from human population and development, and the importance of preserving natural habitat. Partnerships with botanical institutions in these countries also allow documentation and conservation of SE Asian flora, and capacity-building for institutional partners to further their own missions of biodiversity conservation and conservation education.

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