Arden DeardenDarwin Botanic Gardens in spring

Tropical Darwin Botanic Gardens sits close to the centre of this vibrant city in Northern Australia. The town itself has wonderful gardens established since the devastating Cyclone Tracey in 1974. The gardens are easily accessible and extend over many acres.

There are many trees here that are not represented in collections or gardens elsewhere in Australia and it is filled with gems that survive in this rather harsh dry tropical environment, with its intense heat and high humidity.

Visiting in October we were there for some spring flowers.

Cordia subcordata in Darwin Botanical Gardens

Cordia subcordata in Darwin Botanic Gardens

Sunset at Mindil Beach

Sunset at Mindil Beach


Cordia subcordata is as orange as the setting sun on Mindil Beach. Here the diverse cultures of the city are found in an explosion of food and market stalls. Cordia subcordata can be found from East Africa to Tropical Australia. The tree is 4-5 metres tall and has dense foliage.

Tabebuia rosea-alba in Darwin Botanic Gardens

Tabebuia rosea-alba in Darwin Botanic Gardens


Tabebuia are very adaptable and grow well here in the dry Darwin climate as well as those on the east coast of Australia. Here they have one of the less common species, Tabebuia rosea-alba. This species originates in Brazil. The white flowers with pale yellow centres smother the tree making it a sight to behold.

Baikea insignis in Darwin Botanic Gardens

Baikea insignis in Darwin Botanic Gardens


Nothing prepared us for the next gem, Baikea insignis. This little known genus is also from Tropical Africa. The flower is larger than the outstretched hand with four large white petals,white and ruffled like crepe paper and a single yellow petal. The foliage is also attractive with its pendent leaves and the new foliage has a pink flush. The flowers are held above the foliage.

Ficus auriculata in Darwin Botanic Gardens

Ficus auriculata in Darwin Botanic Gardens

Leaf of Ficus auriculata

Leaf of Ficus auriculata


If flowering trees are not your thing the foliage trees are also interesting. Not far from the front gate is Ficus auriculata. The large leaves are beautifully textured and shaped.

Serpentine branches of Moringa in Darwin Botanical Gardens

Serpentine branches of Moringa in Darwin Botanic Gardens


Further afield one finds the unusual serpentine branches of the Moringa species arising from its bottle shaped trunk. This plant is a valuable food source in some parts of the world. The trunk is for water storage in dry times making it a perfect plant for the darwin climate.

Adansonia suarezensis in Darwin Botanic Gardens

Adansonia suarezensis in Darwin Botanic Gardens


Adansonia suarezensis also has this water storage mechanism.It is one of the rare species from Madagascar.

If you love trees, a visit to the George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens is certainly worthwhile.


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Arden Dearden

About Arden Dearden

Arden developed an interest in tropical plants in his late teens after finding a small nursery supplying aroids and other interesting and unusual plants on Latrobe Tce, Paddington Brisbane. That interest gradually grew and diversified. Information and species were limited so he felt the only way to learn more about the plants was to travel to the countries from which they come. So in 1992 he traveled to PNG. Since then he has traveled extensively in the tropical areas of the New and Old World with his partner Chris, exploring and searching for plants and observing the environments from which they originate. Arden owns Equatorial Exotics nursery in Cairns.

4 thoughts on “Darwin Botanic Gardens in spring

  1. Wow. Baikea insignis is surely one of those flowers that needs to go on the ‘bucket list’ to see. I’m guessing that single yellow petal is a perfect pollinator’s guide.

  2. SpicyRedHead on said:

    I am so pleased to see someone do a write up on Darwin’s Botanic Gardens. We visited Darwin a few years ago and were absolutely amazed at the beauty within these gardens, such a gorgeous place to visit. Must admit the Cannonball Tree really had us intrigued! The only place I had ever seen it and the flowers were so beautiful it looked as if they had been hand made. Well worth a visit indeed. ( and the sun setting at Mindil Beach is another thing not to be missed)

    • brennie lee on said:

      Townsville’s Anderson Gardens (tropical north queensland) also has the cannonball tree. It was flowering in early February when my sister and i visited earlier this year. I highly recommend a visit to these gardens also.

      • That’s good to know – thanks brennie! I’m writing a Garden Travel Guide to northern Queensland (Townsville to Cape) at the moment so will make sure to include it.

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