Denver Botanic Gardens

Search again Edit this page
United States of America - Colorado - Denver

Institution Code: KHD

International Agenda Registration: Yes

BGCI Member: Yes

View from the Romantic Garden
View from the Romantic Garden

About the Denver Botanic Gardens

With more than 15,000 taxa from such far-away places as Morocco, Kazakhstan, South Africa and the Himalayas, Denver Botanic Gardens is recognized as one of the top five botanical gardens in the United States. There's something for all ages -- and all five of your senses.

Explore 24 acres of fragrance and foliage any time of the year at our beautiful facility at 1005 York Street. Additional sites at Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms, a 750-acre wildlife and native plant refuge in Littleton; and Mt. Goliath, a high altitude trail and interpretive site on the Mt. Evans Scenic Byway, extend this experience throughout the Front Range.

The Research & Conservation Department at the gardens plays a critical role in the conservation, preservation, and documentation of native Colorado flora by serving as an active center of biodiversity research.

Plant herbarium: > 49,000 specimens
Mycological herbarium: > 14,000 specimens.

Main Address:
Denver Botanic Gardens
909 York Street
Colorado 80206 United States of America

Telephone: (720) 865-3529
Fax: (720) 865-3713
Primary Email:

Staff Details

  • Director's Name: Brian Vogt, CEO
    Curator's Name: Jennifer Ackerfield
    Plant Records Officer's Name: Cindy Newlander, Associate Director of Horticulture
  • Total Staff:
    Horticultural Staff Number: 38
    Educational Staff Number: 18
    Research Staff Number: 12
    Administration Staff Number: 4

About the Garden

  • Institution Type: Botanic Garden
  • Status
  • Status: Private: No
    Status: State: No
    Status: Educational: Yes
    Status: Municipal: No
    Status: Satellite: Yes
    Status: Trust: No
  • Date founded: 1951
  • Physical Data
  • Total Area: 9 Hectares
    Latitude: 39.7319727
    Longitude: -104.9609083
    Annual Rainfall: 391 mm
    Altitude: 1609.00 Metres
  • Additional Locations
  • Satellite Garden Names: Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms, Mt. Goliath
  • Locality: Information
  • Locality: Garden Name: Denver Botanic Gardens
  • Local Address: 909 York Street
  • Locality: City: Denver
  • Locality: State: Colorado

Features and Facilities

  • Herbarium: Yes
    Herbarium: Number of Specimens: 64000
    Arboretum: No
  • Micropropagation/ Tissue Culture Facilities: Yes
    Seed Bank: Yes
    Published Plant Catalogue: Yes
    Computer Plant Record System: Yes
  • Open to public: Yes
    Friends society: Yes
    Retail Outlet: Shop: Yes
    Retail Outlet: Plant Sales: Yes
    Disabled access: Yes
  • Number of Visitors: 1300000
    Number of Volunteers: 2900

Plant Collections

  • Accession Number: 36180
    Cultivation Taxa Num: 19838
  • Special Collections:7 major collections in the following areas: Native, Alpine, Steppe, Cactus & Succulents, Tropical, Aquatic and Amenity.

    Major concentrations by family or genus include: Bromeliaceae (44 genera, 446 spp., 617 taxa), Orchidaceae (218 genera, 995 spp., 1455 taxa), Cactaceae (87 genera, 392 spp., 597 taxa), Nymphaeaceae (27 spp., 280 taxa), Acantholimon (33 spp., 41 taxa), Allium (105 spp., 158 taxa), Eriogonum (43 spp., 82 taxa), Iris (102 spp., 1019 taxa), Lilium (27 spp., 119 taxa), Nelumbo (3 spp., 34 taxa) Penstemon (153 spp., 236 taxa), Rosa (29 spp., 244 taxa), Syringa (25 spp., 100 taxa), Hemerocallis (11 spp., 232 taxa), Paeonia (23 spp., 166 taxa). (updated January 2020)
  • Invasive Species Monitoring: Yes
    Invasive Species Policy: Yes
    ABS Policy: Yes
    Plant Collection Policy: Yes

Conservation Programmes

  • Conservation Programme: Yes
    Medicinal Plant Programme: Yes
    Ex Situ Conservation Programme: Yes
    Reintroduction Programme: Yes

Research Programmes

  • Biotechnology: No
    Plant Breeding: Yes
    Conservation - Biology: Yes
    Conservation - Genetics: Yes
    Data Management Systems and Information Technology: Yes
    Ecology: Yes
    Ecosystem Conservation: Yes
    Education: Yes
    Ethnobotany: Yes
    Exploration: Yes
    Floristics: Yes
    Horticulture: Yes
    Invasive Species Biology and Control: Yes
    Molecular Genetics: No
    Pollination Biology: Yes
    Restoration Ecology: Yes
    Seed/Spore Biology: Yes
    Systematics and Taxonomy: No
    Sustainability: No
    Pharmacology: No
    Agriculture: Yes
    Land Restoration: Yes
    Urban Environments: Yes

Education Programmes

  • Visitor/Education Centre: Yes
    Education Signs in Garden: Yes
    Public Lectures/Talks: Yes
    Education Booklets/Leaflets: Yes
    Guided Tours: Yes
    Permanent Public Displays: Yes
    Special Exhibitions: Yes
    Courses for School Children: Yes
    Courses for University/College Students: No
    Courses for General Public: Yes
    Education Programme: Yes

Riparian Restoration in Colorado

Denver Botanic Gardens is committed to plant research and conservation and has active programs related to ex situ and in situ conservation and monitoring of rare plants, biodiversity surveys of regional flora, restoration, phenology, conservation genetics, phylogenetics, and taxonomy. One of the gardens sites, Chatfield Farms, is a 700 acre property 15 miles south of the Denver metro area (and the gardens urban campus) which has been intensively managed since the mid-1800s. Today, Chatfield is a mosaic of plant communities that can be divided into three broad categories: agricultural pasture, grasslands, and riparian plant communities. The mission of Chatfield Farms is to inspire the public to be good stewards of the environment by connecting people to our past, present and future relationships with native plants of the Rocky Mountain Region. One of the initiatives laid out in the master plan for Chatfield Farms is to offer publicly accessible examples of prairie and riparian restoration. While we have long-term plans to restore prairie habitat, we are currently working to restore 5.5 acres of degraded riparian habitat along Deer Creek, which not only serves as a heavily used wildlife corridor but is also the area most used by visitors.

A graduate research assistant collects seeds of native plants at Chatfield Farms to be used in restoration efforts.

This reach of creek has been impacted by past agricultural practices and by recent urbanization of the watershed. During the early twentieth century the creek was channelized to provide more efficient use of the land for farming. Spoil piles from excavating the new channel were discarded in the floodplain. Toward the end of the twentieth century and into this century, residential and commercial development in the watershed has modified the hydrology with increased volume and intensity of runoff to the creek. This channelization forces most of the increased runoff to stay in the channel generating bed scour which creates an even deeper channel. Denver Botanic Garden Chatfield Farms restoration project includes the installation of small channel structures that function like beaver dams to facilitate overbank flows to move water from the stream channel and distribute it across the floodplain, which will restore the hydrologic conditions suitable for the regeneration of cottonwoods and willows. This will, in turn, encourage more beaver activity in the reach over the long-term by increasing food availability. The end result is a more diverse flood plain habitat and habitat for fish and macroinvertebrates. The aquatic habitat is currently degraded due to high flow energies in the creek. Restoration efforts will reduce flow energies in the creek and greatly reduce the potential for erosion in the channel. This will provide the opportunity to create floodplain habitat without excavation to recreate oxbow areas. The oxbow wetlands would be connected to the creek to provide additional refugia habitat. The newly created riparian areas will be planted with a variety of native vegetation, mostly locally-sourced willows and cottonwoods.

So far over 1150 native willows and cottonwoods have been planted in a 2.2 ha area and weed removal is ongoing. Other elements of the restoration plan include a hands on restoration opportunity for metro area youth, protecting desirable trees from beaver (tree painting), removing Siberian elms, Russian olives and other noxious weeds, long-term vegetation monitoring, and public education through botanical illustration, a demonstration garden and an interpretive trail. A key objective of this project is to use the riparian demonstration garden and interpretive trail to educate the c.150 000 visitors that come to Chatfield Farms annually, mostly from nearby urban areas, about the need for restoration work to protect waterways.

Please contact Rebecca Hufft for more information about this project.


Beavers have helped improve riparian habitat at Chatfield Farms by reducing the impacts of previous creek channelization.