Even in the dead of winter, the conservatory offers an oasis of warmth and humidity. Here palms and cacti brought to campus by Cornell's most eminent professor of horticulture nearly a century ago continue to thrive.
Liberty Hyde Bailey was an expert in American blackberries and sedges, and he established a herbarium at Cornell which has grown to one of the 10 largest in the United States. It houses one of the most complete collections of palm specimens in the United States, as well as significant samples of legumes, oaks, mosses, mallows, and brambles.
The herbarium also houses the Ethel Zoe Bailey Seed and Nursery Catalogue collection, which holds more than 130,000 seed and plant catalogs from the 1700s through the present.