Desert Botanical Garden
Since 1939, the Garden has created the world’s finest collection of cacti and desert plants, and worked to preserve and protect the desert. This year, our efforts are elevated through an exciting community campaign called Cactomania.
The Central Arizona Conservation Alliance (CAZCA) was created as the solution to a problem. If you were to look globally, you would learn that despite tremendous efforts, we have not been very successful at conservation.
Biologists recognize the Sonoran Desert as the most biodiverse of all deserts, with more than 3,000 plant species and nearly 800 vertebrate animal species.
Desert Botanical Garden is equal parts museum and garden. Approaching the Plants & People of the Sonoran Desert Loop Trail, the combination of garden and museum becomes more evident as the 1/3-mile trail brings to life the history and stories of Native peoples.
Desert Botanical Garden has a vision to become a leader in promoting community gardens in the Phoenix area and to create a model that demonstrates vegetable gardening best practices in a desert environment.
Desert Botanical Garden celebrates 77 years since the first cactus was planted on the property. On December 12, 1939 the first formal planting ensued with plants from the personal collections of the founders and donations by other plant enthusiasts.
In the Physiology Lab at the Desert Botanical Garden, research staff specifically focuses on how desert plants have evolved to maximize photosynthesis when faced with difficult conditions such as drought, extremely warm temperatures and other environmental challenges.
In North America, there are more than 200 orchid species, and more than half of them are endangered or threatened. The Canelo Hills ladies’-tresses orchid, Spiranthes delitescens, which is only known to grow in five localities in southern Arizona, was described as a new species in 1990 and listed as an endangered species in 1997.
The Desert Botanical Garden’s longest-running tradition is Las Noches de las Luminarias (Luminaria). On a cold December night back in 1978, volunteers and staff worked to light 700 luminarias and welcome 600 guests for a one-night experience at the Garden.
In 1997, the Garden launched the Desert Landscape Certificate School program that provided education on all aspects of desert landscape installation and maintenance. The program was later redesigned and a new model has been piloted and will be launched in the spring of 2017.