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Finding sunshine on a cloudy day

Students looking for the best study spaces on campus should add Central Michigan University’s Greenhouse to their list. 

Built in 1994, it’s home to approximately 200 different species. CMU’s Greenhouse includes seven different rooms, four of which are different climates. Visitors can find tropical plants in the main tropical room; plants that have adapted to grow in hot, dry climates in the desert room; ferns and other plants that love humid and moist conditions in the Paleozoic room; and plants that have either flowed or submerged in water in the aquatic room. 

European water clover gently floats in the aquatic room.
European water clover gently floats in the aquatic room.

One of the original plants in the greenhouse is the agave. It’s the oldest and largest plant, standing at about 6 feet tall in the desert room. Karin Johnson, manager of the CMU Greenhouse and botanical gardens, said another fan favorite is the powder puff tree, which has bright pink flowers. 

The pink powder puff tree in full bloom.
The pink powder puff tree in full bloom.

Introductory biology and ecology classes come to the greenhouse every semester for labs, Johnson said. The greenhouse also produces plants for many different biology classes to use in their experiments, as well as plants for on-campus gardens, including the Fabiano Botanical Garden.

The greenhouse is welcome to everyone, and Johnson encourages students to visit.

“In the winter, when you just want to be warm and feel the humidity, it’s a great place to relax,” she said. 

Sun shines through the glass ceiling a the CMU Greenhouse.
The CMU Greenhouse offers students an escape from chilly days.

Visitors coming to the greenhouse should stay on the paths. Visitors are no longer required to wear a mask in the greenhouse; however, if the visit is part of a lab or classroom experience, university mask guidelines apply. The greenhouse is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each weekday.

See more greenhouse photos on the CMU Facebook page.