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Cloud Forest at San Francisco Botanical Garden

Featured Plants

Deppea splendens (golden fuchsia)
Deppea splendens by James Gaither

Believed to be saved from extinction in its native home of Chiapas, Mexico through cultivation at three U.S. botanical gardens including SFBG, the show-stopping large yellow tubular flowers with contrasting deep-red calyx can take full sun/partial shade in the Bay Area.

Dahlia australis (tree dahlia)
Dahlia imperialis by James Gaither

This wild dahlia with nodding flowers grows on rocky hillsides of pine-oak forests. D. australis and a handful of other wild species from Central America have been used as hybrid parents in the thousands of named cultivars that pass under the umbrella of multi-flowered Dahlia x pinnata, a garden hybrid that is unknown in the wild.

Montanoa spp. (tree daisy)
Montanoa spp. by James Gaither

The real show of the Mesoamerican Cloud Forest collection, these towering trees can reach over 50' and are covered with large white daisies. Several species are grown at SFBG, so be sure to look down on the forest floor, as well, for the petals some call "San Francisco snow."

Pinus pseudostrobus var. apulcensis
Cloud Forests at San Francisco Botanical Garden

Previously known as the Oaxacan Pine, this graceful long-needled pine is most common in the highlands of Oaxaca, Mexico, but its range extends into Central America. It is an outstanding ornamental, best adapted to warm temperate climates and can take severe freezes and some drought. Because of the long drooping needles it is also known as "waterfall pine."

Telanthophora grandifolia (giant groundsel)
Telanthophora grandifolia by James Gaither

In their struggle for sunlight in the cloud forests of Central America, some normally herbaceous plants have a tree habit, developing huge leaves, large flowers and woody trunks. One such fascinating specimen, a member of the daisy family, grows over 18' tall, with large scalloped leaves up to 14' long and its dinner plate-size golden inflorescences (flower clusters).

Ceroxylon quindiuense (Andean wax palm)
Saurauia madrensis by James Gaither

Growing to 150 feet tall, this is the tallest recorded palm in the world. A protected species, in the wild it grows in dense stands in the Andes of South America. The genus Ceroxylonis special at SFBG, as it cannot be easily grown at other botanical gardens in the United States.

Brugmansia spp. (angel's trumpets)
Saurauia madrensis by James Gaither

Strikingly beautiful when in bloom, angel's trumpets are much sought after for their dramatic pendulous and fragrant flowers and the variety of their colors. Native to Central and South America, their "magical qualities" have been known and used by the native people of these countries for centuries.

Salvia confertiflora
Saurauia madrensis by James Gaither

This summer to fall bloomer from Brazil can grow to 6 ft or more and has long flower stalks with crimson flowers, all covered with reddish-brown velvety hairs. The rough textured dark green leaves are also a striking feature. A popular pollinator plant for hummingbirds.

Bomarea spp.
Saurauia madrensis by James Gaither

Bomarea is a mostly vining plant closely related to Alstroemeria, a common garden plant popular as a cut flower. They are both cousins of the true lilies. Most of the more than 100 species of Bomarea grow in the Andes, but some reach north to Central America. A few are grown as ornamentals. They readily hybridize, and thus can be difficult to identify.

Iochroma spp.
Saurauia madrensis by James Gaither

Iochroma is a genus of shrubs or small trees native to forests of South America. Their hummingbird-pollinated flowers are tubular and may be blue, purple, red, yellow, or white. Most are not frost hardy but do well at SFBG due to our mild winters.

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