The University of Bern operates one of the nation's most extensive botanical gardens in an idyllic setting along the river at Lorrainebrücke. Gardens extend in vast descending terraces down to the banks of the Aare. What is amazing about these gardens is the number of exotic plants from around the world that survive alongside native alpine greenery. The collection includes both medicinal and fiber plants, woodland and water plants, and an impressive collection of botanical wonders from the cold steppes of Central Asia. Vegetation from various ecological zones from around the world grow both in greenhouses and outdoors. The giant lily pads in a tropical greenhouse are a wonder to behold.