Plants of the World

Category: Exhibitions

Exhibition Summary

Included with Basic admission

All ages

Alert

Included with Basic admission

All ages

About the Exhibit

Always in bloom: the artistry and science of true-to-life plant models.

The specimens you see behind the glass in Plants of the World are meticulous, lifelike recreations of their natural counterparts.

The hall opened in 1983 with 300 plants—representing nearly a third of all plant families—on display in its grand wooden display cases. A stroll through Plants of the World is an introduction to the varied uses of plants, from medicines, dyes, and rubber, to delicious chocolates and teas.

In 1909, the museum’s first plant models were created from latex, glass, wire, wax, and later plastic—by an acclaimed denture maker! And we still have some of these models in storage for visiting scientists to admire.

While there are just a few plant specimens on display in this hall, we preserve millions of them behind the scenes in our herbarium. This library of dried and pressed plants is among the largest and most valuable in the world; it helps us understand evolution, track how environments change over time, and explore the different roles these organisms play in human cultures.

Wander Plants of the World for a glimpse of the world of botany, from exotic specimens to plants you might spot in your own backyard.

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