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Permanent Exhibit
Plant Life Through the Ages:
A Mural of Plant Evolution

Lyman Plant House, Palm House Corridor

Panel 6 - Age of Gymnosperms


The Botanic Garden is proud to unveil a new 60-foot mural, consisting of eight panels depicting great moments in plant evolution. While there are numerous depictions of animal evolution, until now there has been no mural devoted specifically to the evolution of plants. Seeing this opportunity, the Botanic Garden stepped in to commission a mural and fill the void.

The stunning paintings were created by muralist Robert Evans. With a specialty in natural history, ethnography, and history, his work can be found at the Smithsonian, Mount Vernon, and numerous museums, zoos, and aquaria. This is his first installation at a botanical garden.

To celebrate the opening of Plant Life Through the Ages, we have invited paleobotanist James W. Walker to speak about plant evolution and the mural.

The eight panels will permanently reside along the corridor to the Palm House.


Plant Life Through the Ages: Fossil Display
December 3, 2015 - March 31, 2016
Church Exhibition Gallery, Lyman Plant House


Take a journey, back through time, to the beginnings of plant life on Earth with this display of plant fossils, plant reconstruction drawings, and informational panels relating to significant events in the Earth’s timeline.

This exhibit opened for the unveiling of Plant Life Through the Ages, our plant evolution mural on permanent display in the corridor leading from the Church Exhibition Gallery to the Palm House. The eight-panel 60-foot-long mural depicts great moments in the evolution of plants.

The fossils on display are from the extensive collection of the Beneski Museum of Natural History at Amherst College and one, a Pagiophyllum fossil collected locally at the dam in South Hadley Falls, is on loan from John Nicholson.

Special thanks are due to Kate Wellspring, Beneski Museum Collections Curator, for her sharing of knowledge and expertise and the willingness to work with us and lend us materials to create this wonderful paleobotanical showcase.


Permanent installation of 178 different kinds of wood.
Lyman Plant House
See exhibit

Article about botanic garden exhibitions in Public Garden  
Smith College