Take a Stroll Through the San Juan Botanical Garden
Covering an area of 300-acres, 75 of which are open to the public, the San Juan Botanical Garden is affiliated with the University of Puerto Rico and serves as a living laboratory for the study of both native and exotic flora on the island. The gardens are located in Río Piedra, with the project known as Bosque Urbano del Nuevo Milenio situated on the eastern side. This urban forest project studies the importance of vegetation in built up areas such as cities, towns and suburbs. With the ability to filter air, water and sunlight, as well as to provide shelter for animals and recreational zones for people, urban forests are vital to the ecology and should be protected and expanded where possible.
Visitors to the San Juan Botanical Garden will find beautifully landscaped areas featuring lakes and streams, with the various collections connected by pathways that make exploring the natural wonders of the garden a pleasure. Arranged in themed areas, the botanic garden is home to a wide variety of tropical and subtropical plants, interspersed with sculptures by Puerto Rican and Latin American artists. The themed gardens include the Bamboo Chapel consisting of a small chapel surrounded by a forest of bamboo. The Garden of Heliconias includes specimens native to the tropical regions of the Americas, as well as some Asian heliconias, while the Orchid Garden boasts a spectacular collection of orchids, including the renowned Cattleya orchids. Monet’s Garden is a recreation of the artist Claude Monet’s aquatic garden in Giverny, France. As the name may suggest, the Palmetum is home to a huge collection of palms – more than 125 species of them. The Taíno Garden features a collection of local trees used for a variety of purposes by the Taíno Indians, while The Herbarium contains more than 36,000 specimens for study by University students and researchers.
Plants endemic to Puerto Rico are featured in an area in the northern part of the garden. Some of these are in danger of becoming extinct and many of them carry the name of Puerto Rican botanist, medical doctor and scientist Agustín Stahl (1842-1917) who first identified and recorded them.
Nature lovers will certainly enjoy a stroll through the San Juan Botanical Garden when visiting the capital city of Puerto Rico.