Desert Botanical Garden
Since 1939, the Desert Botanical Garden, nestled amid the buttes of Papago Park, has been home to one of the finest and most diverse collections of succulent plants, including rare, threatened, and endangered species from around the Southwest.
The Desert Botanical Garden sits on 145 acres and has more than 50,000 plants on display. The Living Collection contains over 21,000 accessioned plants representing 3,931 taxa in 139 plant families. The Garden’s living collections in the cactus and agave families are designated as United States National Collections by the North American Plant Collections Consortium, part of APGA.
The Desert Botanical Garden has five thematic trails that illustrate a variety of topics. The Garden’s Desert Discovery Trail showcases desert plants from around the world.
The Plants and People of the Sonoran Desert Trail explores how desert plants are used for nourishment and tools. The Sonoran Desert Nature Trail illustrates the relationship between desert plants and animals. The Center for Desert Living Trail represents modern living in the desert. The Harriet K. Maxwell Desert Wildflower Trail showcases desert wildflowers.
It is the only botanical garden in the world whose mission, from its early inception, is to focus solely on the conservation of desert plants and one of the few whose collections comprise a library, herbarium, living specimens, and rare and endangered plants.
Mrs. Gertrude Divine Webster, an environmentalist ahead of her time, in conjunction with a small group of Valley citizens, gathered in Papago Park to create a botanical garden whose precepts would encourage an understanding, appreciation, and promotion of the uniqueness of the world’s deserts, particularly the Sonoran Desert. They foresaw the Valley’s potential and unique identity, envisioning the need to conserve their beautiful desert environment. The Desert Botanical Garden continues to be a testament to their vision.