New Growth

Missouri Botanical Garden opens the Jack C. Taylor Visitor Center and Emerson Conservatory to show species diversity.

By Kristina DeYong 

Photography by Mary Olson and Tom Incrocci


This August brings the opening of the transformative Jack C. Taylor Visitor Center at the Missouri Botanical Garden, including the Emerson Conservatory. This brand-new Conservatory creates a space for visitors to experience plants from Mediterranean climates around the world, including California, South Africa, Western Australia, Chile and the Mediterranean itself.

Permanent in-ground displays and hanging baskets will adorn the Emerson Conservatory. The building will be the setting for the annual Orchid Show and Holiday Show as well as other floral events and exhibits.

Conservatories are an especially meaningful element of botanical gardens. They provide a window for the public to see species diversity that cannot necessarily grow and thrive in the natural outdoor conditions of the region. Extensive travel would be required to see such a wide variety of plants growing in their natural habitats. Through conservatories, botanical gardens can simultaneously share the beauty of these plants with their visitors while protecting species with ex situ conservation.

Isoplexis isabelliana is an excellent example of one such species. This show-stopping flowering shrub, also known as Canary Island foxglove, boasts beautiful, tall orange flowers and is listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. It is endemic to the Canary Islands, meaning that it occurs naturally there and nowhere else on Earth. This magnificent plant is just one of the many rare and unique species the Garden is excited to display in the new Emerson Conservatory. To learn more about the new gardens of the Jack C. Taylor Visitor Center project, visit