The University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum
Arb Parking Tip
Free street parking spaces are sometimes available on Oswego St. near the Arb's Geddes Street entrance.
Click here for a map.
Few places on Earth are as beautiful as Michigan on a fine fall day. Stroll through the trails & gardens during the early morning or later afternoon at this special time of year.
Check out the bloom calendar.
study spots
Looking for a location to hold a group meeting? We have some of the University's best study spots.

Plump, short, spiny, and weird all describe plants in the arid house. These plants are from hot, frost-free deserts in Africa, the Americas, and Asia. All are specialists at surviving droughts. The collection has many examples of unrelated plants with very similar forms from similar environments around the world—a phenomenon known as convergent evolution.

The peak season for the arid house is late winter to early spring. Many succulent plants flower at this time, including the aloes (Aloe species), Easter lily cactus (Echinopsis species), and the spiny-trunked pachypodiums (Pachypodium). Among the rarest plants are the Namibian Welwitschia, which looks like a broad green ribbon and, as shown by DNA studies, is distantly related to pine trees.

The Arid House is in the Conservatory at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens site.

back to conservatory

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