With nearly 13,000 accessions, the Living Collection at Selby Gardens is the best in the world for its representation of warm-tropical epiphytes, and the best in the world for bromeliad species richness. It is a world-renowned scientific resource, and provides the source material for programs of education, horticultural display, research, and conservation.
Along with the bromeliads, other epiphyte-rich families, such as Orchidaceae, Araceae, Pteridophyta, and Gesneriaceae are particularly well-represented. More than 200 expeditions to the tropics and subtropics have contributed to the collection which include some 5,000 species in 1,200 genera from 200 plant families. The collection includes (using numbers of accessions) 4450 Orchidaceae, 3650 Bromeliaceae, 1050 Araceae, 880 Pteridophyta and Lycophyta, 250 Gesneriaceae, and 3200 representatives of other plant groups.
The collection is comprised of (using numbers of accessions) 4400 orchids, 3500 bromeliads, 900 aroids, 460 ferns, 240 gesneriads, and 3400 other accessions. A strength of the collection is that it contains the world’s highest percentage of well-documented species with known provenance. Selby Gardens also conserves a number of historic orchids and bromeliads from 19th century introductions.