Ethnobotanical Sanctuary

Hidden Garden is collecting important plants that have been traditionally used for survival by local Caribbean people. Our Ethnobotanical Sanctuary serves as a community resource, supporting those who wish to continue the healing traditions of their ancestors, as well as an educational institution for documenting and disseminating information and stories about these practices. Take a tour!


1. Open dialogue between elders, youth, community, doctors and academia about ancestral medicine

2. Locate, propagate and conserve plants which are identified as having Afro-Caribbean roots

3. Document, organization and disseminate information about these plants

4. Catalog endangered local medicine plants and collect live specimens to reproduce

5. Provide plant material and plant starters for members of the community free of charge

Current Activities

1. Creating a formal catalog of plants used traditionally by Afro-Costa Ricans

2. Collecting and planting those which are currently missing from the garden

3. Propagating featured cataloged plants in a nursery, for dispersing in the community.

4. Creating and implementing survival plans for those plants which are endangered
Currently under propogation – Red Cuculmeca (Smilax domingensis), Sarsaparilla (Smilax officionalis), Bissy (Cola Acuminata), Congolala (Eclipta prostrata), Man to Man (Peperomia Pellucida)

5. Identifying elders & community members and collecting information

6. Researching uses and botanical identifications for cataloged plants

7. Year-round internship program

8. On-the-job training for Caribbean staff members

Future Activities

1. Host university groups to study and participate in on-going research and development

2. Formalize network with academic, government and cultural organizations.
3. Create ancestral gardens in schools using propagated material from the Sanctuary
3. Create website to feature local elders/healers and facilitate botanical documentation

Hidden Garden is a proud member of the United Plant Saver's Botanical Sanctuary Network