KEY WEST, Florida Keys -- Twenty-six species of Florida Keys plants and trees from the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden are on display in Washington, D.C., this summer as part of an exhibit titled "Celebrating America's Public Gardens."
The Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden is one of 20 U.S. garden institutions invited to participate in the exhibit, spearheaded by the United States Botanic Garden and the American Public Gardens Association to celebrate the diversity and importance of the nation's public gardens.
The Florida Keys garden exhibit stands on the terrace of the U.S. Botanic Garden Conservatory, located on the National Mall at the foot of the U.S. Capitol. It was designed and constructed by a Keys team that journeyed to Washington from the Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden.
Species represented in the exhibit -- many of them endangered -- include the buccaneer palm, Florida thatch palm, satinwood tree, locust berry shrub, Florida silver palm and lignum vitae tree.
Created to suggest a tropical hardwood forest, the Keys garden display features plant labels explaining how early settlers used the flora in their daily lives as well as informative signage detailing the biodiversity of the Florida Keys.
The Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden, the only frost-free tropical moist forest garden in the continental United States, is a 15-acre tract containing more than 600 species of trees and plants, including more than 60 endangered species. Attractions include a visitor and biodiversity center, waterfall courtyard, three self-guided tours, 1.5-acre butterfly habitat and nature chapel.
Located at 5210 College Road, the Key West garden is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 15 through Oct. 15 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 15 through June 15. Admission is free.
The exhibit in Washington, also free, can be viewed daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Oct. 8, 2007.
For more information, visit www.keywestbotanicalgarden.org
For lodging information in Key West, contact the Key West Chamber of Commerce at 1-800-LAST-KEY (800-527-8539), or visit the Keys Web site at www.fla-keys.com