There are few places where a visitor can wander a tropical rainforest and explore a shortgrass prairie in a matter of minutes. Our plant collections provide food and shelter for our butterflies and other invertebrates as well as excellent opportunities to learn about gardening and biology. Conservation inspires our horticulture programs – from sustainable gardening to education about the importance of healthy habitats around the world.
Heavily blooming species such as Coral Vine (Antignon leptopus) and Porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis) are especially important food sources for our tropical butterflies. Foliage plants provide shelter and roosting sites. Our displays of bromeliads, orchids, cycads, and carnivorous plants offer visitors opportunities to learn about some of the amazing plant adaptations that contribute to the rainforest’s outstanding diversity.
The outdoor landscape at Butterfly Pavilion welcomes people, plants, and wildlife. Our habitat gardens are specifically designed to attract butterflies and other beneficial insects at all stages of their lives. Shrubs, trees, and groundcovers provide shelter for chrysalides and roosting adults. Other plants, such as dill and Maximilian sunflowers, provide food for hungry caterpillars. And, of course, our colorful flowers are nectar sources for native butterflies from May to October. Our gardens emphasize sun-loving and drought-tolerant perennials that thrive in Colorado’s climate.
Shortgrass Prairie Plants
Shortgrass prairie plants are true survivors. Not only do they receive less than fourteen inches of precipitation per year, but they can withstand wild temperature fluctuations, drying winds, and even fire. The plants found along our Big Dry Creek Nature Trail often have dense root systems, small leaves, and wind-pollinated flowers to thrive under these extreme conditions.