Part of the Department of Geography, Environment and Planning in the College of Arts and Sciences at USF, the Botanical Gardens is located on the campus of the University of South Florida. The site consists of 7 acres of developed gardens plus 6 to 9 acres of natural greenbelt. Many of today's temperate, subtropical, and tropical trees and shrubs were planted in the early 1970s. During the late 1970s and 1980s the palm garden, the wetland forest, and sand scrub beds were planted. New structures and demonstration gardens were built in the 1990s.
The gardens display fruit trees, bonsai trees, grasses, begonias, orchids, bromeliads, palms, aroids, bamboo, gingers, carnivorous plants, cycads, cactus and succulent plants, an herb and scent garden, wetland forest, temperate forest, subtropical shade garden, and Florida upland scrub and sandhill habitats. The gardens also has a medicinal herb garden, which is used by the USF College of Pharmacy for research purposes.