Greenhouse Mandarin tree (Citrus reticulata) Credit: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Gilles Murray) The Tropical Food Plants Greenhouse Credit: Michel Tremblay Papaya tree (Carica papaya) in fruit Credit: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Lise Servant) Peach tree (Prunus persica) Credit: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Gilles Murray) Fig tree (Ficus carica) Credit: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Michel Tremblay) Akee (Blighia sapida). The fruit must be harvested at full maturity, when it opens naturally. Here, it's still not ripe Credit: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Lise Servant) The jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) usually weighs several kilograms, up to 25 kg Credit: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Michel Tremblay) Banana (Musa sp.) Credit: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Michel Tremblay) The Tropical Food Plants Greenhouse Credit: Michel Tremblay OngletsDescription An entire greenhouse devoted to tropical food plants? Why all the attention? It’s easy to figure out if you just take a look in your refrigerator and cupboards and count all the tropical fruit, vegetables and spices. Coffee, bananas, avocados, cashews, ginger, vanilla, pineapples – the list goes on and on, because these foods have become so much a part of our everyday diet. Here’s to diversity! Tropical food plants come in an incredible variety of shapes and colours. Nearly 80 species are on display in the Tropical Food Plants Greenhouse at the Botanical Garden, ranging from ground-hugging plants to others that reach for the sky. Visitors will also discover that it’s not only the fruit of these plants that we eat (like pineapples, grapefruit and avocados), but in some cases the rhizomes (ginger, arrowroot), stems (sugar cane), bark (cinnamon), leaves (tea, curry ingredients) and even the seeds (rice, coffee, carob)! All kinds of plant parts can be used to feed humankind. Amidst all these tropical food plants, we had to make room for spices. Eight of them (to be specific) – cardamom, star anise, vanilla, allspice, black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and mace – are displayed in transparent cylinders along the pathway through the greenhouse. You won’t find any recipes here, for the focus is on an interesting aspect or surprising fact related to the plant that yields each spice. The Tropical Food Plants Greenhouse encourages visitors to think about the importance of tropical food plants within the plant world and within our societies. Their fabulous diversity and special features are a delight for the senses, sparking curiosity and fascination. When you next visit a supermarket, we bet you’ll see the produce section in a whole new light! Area504 m²Temperaturedaytime 24°C, nighttime 22°CHumidity35%For more informationIndoor plants Map Shade garden Flowery Brook and Lilacs Tree House Aquatic Garden Reception Gardens Peace Garden Courtyard of the Senses Chinese Garden Youth Gardens Alpine Garden Japanese Garden Leslie Hancock Garden Shrub Garden Toxic plantsMedicinal plantsMonastery GardenQuébec Corner Garden of Innovations Economic (Useful) Plant Garden Perennial Garden Arboretum Rose Garden First Nations Garden ExploreWorth exploring Highlights Step onto the elevated walkway in the Tropical Food Plants Greenhouse: it rises above the greenery and offers an unexpected look at the plants surrounding you. Just like a climbing animal or bird, you can see them from above, perched high in their foliage – some of these plants grow pretty tall! An interactive terminal below the walkway offers a host of details about the plants in the greenhouse. The touch screen makes it easy to find your way around all sorts of useful and sometimes surprising information. Did you know?Did you know? Biodiversity Biodiversity is evident not only in the number of species of different plants, but also in the plants’ genes and in the natural habitats where they are found. The disappearance of a single link in the chain upsets the entire balance. Just think of all the apple varieties that we have here and how much we enjoy their distinctive flavours. What can we do to protect this extraordinary diversity? How can we prevent the diseases and insect pests that could destroy entire plantations? The Tropical Food Plants Greenhouse looks at all these questions, using the case of banana plants as a starting point. Powerful economic engines Food plants are central to the economies of a number of tropical countries that grow these plants. Harvesting and transforming all these foodstuffs creates hundreds of thousands of jobs and affects the lives of billions of people! Some plants, like rice and cassava, are staple foods for many people: growing them is essential to survival. Others, like coffee and cocoa, play a key economic role because they are prized export goods in great demand around the globe. Fruit like bananas and mangoes are produced in enormous quantities to meet rapidly growing demand worldwide. Special attention is also paid to plants like sugar cane and dates, whose production has a major environmental impact.