After trekking through the tropics respite can easily be found among the fronds in the West Gallery. From the New Zealand Tree Fern dominating the southwest corner to the delicate looking Tassel Fern hanging from above, and coupled with ample seating, the West Gallery offers a gentle recharge.

You can visit all the galleries: Aquatic Plants | Highland Tropics | Lowland Tropics | Potted Plants | West Gallery

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Dicksonia squarrosa
Common Name: Rough Tree Fern, Wheki
Family Name: Dicksoniaceae
Native to: New Zealand

The Rough Tree Fern or “Wheki” as it is known in it’s native New Zealand, has a slender black trunk covered in stiff bristly hairs. Due to this plants ability to spread from  underground rhizome it is one of the most common tree ferns in its native range. The fronds emerge almost horizontally giving an umbrella-like appearance to the crown. Tolerant to cold conditions this tree fern has been planted around the world as an ornamental. Maori people indigenous to New Zealand also used the dead trunks to fortify their hill forts.

Huperzia squarrosa
Common Name: Tassel Fern
Family Name: Lycopodiaceae

Spores of this aerial fern are highly flammable, and were once a primary ingredient in fireworks and in flash powders used in photography. The dry spores are also hydrophobic, which makes them repel water, and were used as a waterproofing powder for pills, and surgical gloves. Plants in this genus were once a part of the genus Lycopodium from which they differ by not having specialized spore-bearing cones.

Microsorum musifolium
Common Name: Crocodile Fern
Family Name: Polypodiaceae
Native to: Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines to New Guinea, Polynesia

Owing to the texture of the leaves the Crocodile Fern comes to us from the Malaysian Archipelago and makes a great house plant. It can tolerate medium shade and prefers to stay moist but well drained. The genus Microsorum is a combination of the Greek words mikros meaning small and soros meaning a cluster of spore capsules which refer to the small spore patches on the underside of the leaves.


Whether you’re a native San Franciscan, a visitor from another side of the world, or a classroom of budding botanists, the Conservatory of Flowers offers an intimate up-close experience with rare and endangered plants unlike any other. Come see what treasures await you!

Golden Gate Park | 100 John F. Kennedy Drive | San Francisco, CA 94118 | 415-831-2090