The flora of Brazil is truly unique. Thousands of tropical and subtropical plant species abound in this unique ecosystem. Among them, hundreds of types of orchids, palm trees, and lilies. The Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro opened in 1808, was made to demonstrate this incredible natural biodiversity. It covers an area of 1.4 square kilometers and is a landmark of not only ecological but also historical and archeological value. Some rare orchid species are presented in an annual spring orchid exhibition. Don't miss your chance to see an amazing cannonball tree with large woody fruits. In the Lago Frei Leandro pond grows the world's biggest water lily—Victoria Regia. Its leaves reach about two meters in diameter, it blooms at night and has an exceptional fragrance. Besides the plants the garden is home to birds, monkeys, and other wild animals, so it's always noisy, cheerful, and lively. If you want to experience the nature of Brazil fully without leaving the city, visit the Botanical garden in spring when the flowers and trees are in bloom.