Plants in a Modern Zoo

The many different plants we have help to make the zoo an even more beautiful place for you to visit.

As you explore our animal houses and stroll around our magical maze of zoo pathways and gardens delight in the array of colourful flowers we grow, along with shrubs and trees with attractive bark, juicy fruits or fascinating leaf shapes and textures.

Plants are hugely attractive to look at but they also have other important functions and are vital to the survival of the human race. In and around our zoo you'll see examples of some of the incredible uses of plants.

For instance we use them as windbreaks, to disguise buildings, they shelter animals from the rain and shade them from the heat of summer.

Modern zoos, like ours, use plants to reflect the many different wild habitats that animals live in naturally. This helps you understand and appreciate the kind of environments both animals and plants thrive in.

Our goal is to create planting schemes similar to tropical rainforests, savannahs, wetlands and deserts.

Due to our British climate and for practical reasons it isn't always possible to grow the actual plants that come from the plains of Africa or the Amazon rainforests, but we try to use species that are as near as possible to those our animals would encounter in the countries and regions they come from in the wild.

Animals rely on plants for food and shelter. In turn, plants rely on animals to pollinate flowers, spread around seeds, and to chomp through stems and stalks to make way for new growth.

When creating our planting schemes we try to demonstrate that interdependence.

Venture into our indoor animal houses and you'll see how our array of plants and shrubs add to the exotic atmosphere, from the stately palms and ficus trees in our Tropical Realm, where birds fly freely through the branches, to the luxuriant rainforest plants of our Islands in Danger exhibit.

Our zoo also has a vital role in the conservation of rare plants. We grow species which are now in danger of extinction in the wild and we support valuable conservation projects, both in the UK and overseas.

These work to safeguard individual plant species and whole habitats, such as forests, grasslands and wetlands, for future generations. Without these plant and vegetation habitats, the survival of many of the animal species you'll see here at our zoo is under threat.

Every time you visit, make a donation or become a Chester Zoo member you help us continue our support for these vital conservation projects.

Get ready to be impressed, intrigued and educated by our amazing array of plant species.