The Whitman Tropical Fruit Pavilion

First of its kind in the United States. . .

The Whitman Tropical Fruit Pavilion provides visitors with a trip to the tropics where they will be able to view, feel and even possibly taste some of the most exotic tropical fruit species found in places like Borneo, the Amazon, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia. Our pavilion was dedicated on November 8, 2003.  The pavilion, funded by a five million dollar donation from the Whitman family,  features specially chosen and grafted trees that will allow them to fruit earlier, with superior quality, making them horticulturally significant from their wild counterparts.  The fruit trees located in the pavilion are indigenous to the acidic soils of the jungles and in order to protect these trees from the alkaline rocky soil of Florida, engineers were required to excavate the area below the pavilion. The acidic soil is maintained by using mulch and water from an acidic cistern.  The pavilion must provide both a warm humid environment above and acidic soil below, protecting the rare specimens from root to canopy.

To take a tour to the Whitman Tropical Fruit Pavilion, click here.

The Edible Garden Plaza is a formal landscape design with an urban forestry focus. This display has a strong component to the landscape design; with radiating plots of economic crops, transecting rows of select fruit trees and a synopsis of the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Tropical Fruit Program


 William (Bill) Whitman

"Bill spent a lifetime traveling the world to collect the most exotic of tropical fruit—now these rare edible jewels have a permanent home at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden," —Dr. Richard J. Campbell, Senior Curator of Tropical Fruit.

Bill Whitman was born in Chicago in 1915. He began spending winters in Miami Beach with his parents when he was 2 years old. This sparked his love of Florida and aquatic adventure.  While Bill graduated with a business BA from the University of Florida, his life took a decidedly different turn. With his love of the sea, Bill began working with Warner Brothers Studios on various documentaries about sea sports and wildlife. He had been selected for this work because he was a world-class surfer and a spear fisherman. Working in the South Pacific, he developed his love of exotic fruits, particularly the breadfruit and mangosteen. Upon his return to the United States in 1955 he, along with other horticultural visionaries, founded the Rare Fruit Council International (RFCI).  Bill carried many firsts in his life and held many titles but he will be remembered for his horticultural passion, his love for family, and his dedication to Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. The Whitman Tropical Fruit Pavilion, a gift from Bill and his wife Angie, symbolizes his passion for tropical fruit.  Mr. William "Bill" Whitman (1915-2007) personified all that is admirable about a life dedicated to horticulture. He will be missed.