The Ray Ethan Torrey Botanical Greenhouse, housed at the south end of the Morrill science complex, houses a fantastic collection of living plants. There are plants from the jungles of Cameroon (Dorstenia multiradiata), the Indonesian rainforest (Orchidantha siamensis), and from the deserts of southern Africa (Stapelia sp.).
Many of the plants growing in the greenhouse cannot be seen in the wild unless a person travels to distant, hard to reach places. For example, we have numerous seedlings and adults of the rare, extremely unusual relative of conifers, Welwitschia mirabilis. Welwitschia grows in the Namib desert, on the east coast of Africa, and produces only two leaves during it’s entire, decades-long lifespan. This is an ancient plant that most UMass students would never have the opportunity to know, and we have many of them growing right here in our greenhouses.
This campus treasure has remained largely invisible to most of the campus community, and we would like to change that. We would like to make the greenhouses a destination on campus, where the UMass community can find a quiet haven on campus, while also learning about some of the world's most interesting plants. UMass Gives will allow us to update and redesign our houses, and build a new exhibit that showcases the evolution of plant life on earth.
Link to the NHC website: http://bcrc.bio.umass.edu/nhc/