University of Wisconsin–Madison


Our 8,000 square foot growth space and ~1 acre of land houses the Department of Botany’s extensive collection of more than 1,500 unique species of plants. Come and visit each of the 8 greenhouse rooms that take you through a journey of the tropics, desert, bog, and fern forest. This collection of aquatics, succulents, bryophytes, ferns, orchids, herbs, and woody plants are used for teaching general botany, systematics, taxonomy, plant ecology, and plant anatomy to name a few. These houses also provide a space for the students and faculty of the Department of Botany to carry out research on a diverse array of species with extensive morphological variation. The Botany Garden and Greenhouses become an integral part of the student’s experience here on campus, as well as provide public tours throughout the year. The Botany Garden is just a small walk down the hill (also reachable by University and Mills) where our collection continues and showcases over 100 different plant families.

Birge Hall

Greenhouse Curatorial Manager

Cara Streekstra has been with the Botany Garden and Greenhouses for over six years, and has become our resident expert! She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Botany here at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Cara then gained 7 years of experience in production horticulture in Oregon before she returned to Madison to join our team.

Working in extremely hot conditions with outside temperatures close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, Cara Streekstra, horticulturalist, waters plants in the Birge Hall greenhouse at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on June 28, 2012. The heat and humidity level inside the greenhouse were even higher than those outside. (Photo by Bryce Richter / UW-Madison)


New Botany Garden and Greenhouses Director

The Botany Department has invited a new Director of the Botany Garden and Greenhouses! Dr. Ingrid Jordon-Thaden, an Omaha native, comes to us from a strong background of horticulture, taxonomy, and systematics of plant teaching and research. She received her bachelor degrees from University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Horticulture and Chemistry, then a masters of biology from UNL in corn biology. Her PhD in Plant Systematics and Biodiversity of Brassicaceae (mustard family) was obtained from the University of Heidelberg. She then continued her research in plant speciation at the University of Florida, University of California-Berkeley, and Bucknell University.