Plants of the Elephant Habitat

Lush Landscaping – The Plants of the Elephant Habitat

The plants of the elephant habitat were chosen from the areas in and around the elephants’ native habitat in Asia. The horticulture team selected plants that are hardy enough to survive the climate of Oklahoma when planning the exhibit for maximum eye appeal! The plant design is geographical in nature and consists of four separate biomes (geographical areas characterized by certain types of plants and animals):

The Mountain Forests Biome: This area is made up of deciduous trees like Asian oaks and elms, and coniferous trees such as Asian junipers and pines. The Mountain Forests biome is located along the north end of the habitat near the additional yard and along the covered bridge.

The Savanna biome: The savanna area consists of low shrubs and grasses interspersed with sparse trees, and is located along the extra yard and the bull yard.  Examples of plants in the savanna area are Asian shrubs, Japanese roses, ornamental grasses and Chinese pistache trees.

 Tropical Moist Deciduous Forests Biome: (seasonal – Mid-April through Fall) This area is located along the ZooZeum pathways between the sidewalk and the extra elephant yard towards the boardwalk, and is represented by a diverse selection of Asian trees and a variety of tall bamboos such as Japanese maples, Chinese parasol trees  and black and striped bamboos.  

 Tropical Rain Forest Biome:  (seasonal - Mid-April through Fall) This biome can be found by the Elephant Pavilion and is represented by many different tropical plants, vines, flowering trees and shrubs such as hibiscus, cannas and kiwi vines.


Plants of the Elephant Habitat:


  • Chinese Junipers
  • Japanese Red Pines
  • Sawtooth Oaks
  • Bosque Elms
  • Cedar Elms
  • Chinese Pistache
  • Ginkgo
  • Shantung Maples
  • Japanese Maples
  • Crape Myrtles
  • Chinese Silver Grass
  • Black Bamboo
  • Golden Bamboo
  • Cannas
  • Kiwi Vines
  • Bananas
  • Hibiscus
  • Palms

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The Zoo is a fully accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the American Association of Museums (AAM) as both a living museum and a botanical garden. AZA accredited facilities are dedicated to providing excellent care for their plants and animals, a great experience for guests and a better future for all living things.

A New Breath of Fresh Air: As of Nov. 1, 2007, state law prohibits smoking inside zoological parks. Please help us abide by this law by refraining from smoking within the Zoo. Thank you for maintaining a smoke-free environment for all living things!