The blue, the gold and the greenhouse

Biology department builds $1.95 million greenhouse

By Kaitlin Trujillo
On October 5, 2017

Photo Contributed by Facilities Planning and Construction

ASU’s state-funded greenhouse is on track to be completed by mid-March 2018 and improve the biology department.
The project is funded through state money and not student fees or designated tuition, Cody Guins, director of facilities planning and construction, said
With a budget of $1.95 million, the Higher Education Assistance Fund is financing the greenhouse. 
Three different ecosystems-temperate, tropical and desert, will be housed in the greenhouse.
“The plan is to create a greenhouse plant community that is fascinating, beautiful and educational,” Dr. Bonnie Amos, biology professor, said.
A miniature and medicinal plant garden will also be used in the temperate room.
Gardens will be created to entice the human senses, Amos said.
A temperate climate is mild and does not experience extreme changes in temperature.
“The tropical room will have tanks for aquatic plants and one large living wall designed to house a variety of epiphytes,” Amos said. “Epiphytes are sometimes called air plants because they grow up in the canopy of forests, nowhere near the ground. Plants for the wall include orchids, bromeliads, ferns, mosses, and cacti; there will also be an area dedicated to carnivorous plants.”
Tropical climates experience high humidity and keep plants well watered.
The desert room will have hot and dry conditions, a suitable environment for cactuses and other succulents.
This climate experiences extreme temperature changes and a lack of water.
“Scattered here and there in the greenhouse will be some very unusual plants such as a corpse plant and maybe a few black bat plants,” Amos said.
The on-campus nursery will be home to a wide variety of plants that students would otherwise be unable to observe.
Undergraduate, graduate and faculty research will be conducted in the greenhouse, as well as lab projects and demonstration material.
“Living plants are so much easier and fun to study than pressed, dried specimens or plants preserved in some stinky fixative,” Amos said.
Multiple opportunities for grants will be available once the building is finish.
The greenhouse will allow the department to pursue and expand its plant research.
“Many people don’t know much about plants even though plants are the foundation of life on Earth and are critical, vital resources for the well-being of humans,” Amos said.

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