botanical garden

botanical garden

botanical garden, public place in which plants are grown both for display and for scientific study. An arboretum is a botanical garden devoted chiefly to the growing of woody plants. The plants in botanical gardens are labeled, usually with both the common and the scientific names, and they are often arranged in cultural or habitat groups, such as rock gardens, aquatic gardens, desert gardens, and tropical gardens. Botanical gardens perform diversified functions, e.g., the collection and cultivation of plants from all parts of the world, experimentation in plant breeding and hybridization, the maintenance of botanical libraries and herbariums, and the administration of educational programs for adults and children.

The two most important gardens in the United States are the New York Botanical Garden, Bronx Park, New York City (est. 1891) and the Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Mo. (est. c.1860 and affiliated with Washington Univ.). The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, formerly Blaksley Botanic Garden, Santa Barbara, Calif. (est. 1926), is noted for its collection of desert and subtropical ornamental plants. Other well-known botanical gardens are the Arnold Arboretum, near Boston, Mass. (est. 1872 as part of Harvard); Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn, N.Y. (est. 1910); Highland and Durand-Eastman parks, Rochester, N.Y.; Bartram's Gardens, Philadelphia (founded 1728); the United States Botanic Gardens (est. 1820) and the National Arboretum (est. 1927), Washington, D.C.; Fairchild Tropical Garden, Coconut Grove, Fla. (est. 1938); Fort Worth Botanic Garden, Fort Worth, Tex. (est. 1933); Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden, Anaheim, Calif. (est. 1927); Huntington Botanical Garden, San Marino, Calif; the botanical gardens at Ottawa, Montreal, and Toronto, Canada; and the numerous botanical gardens of Europe, including the Royal Botanic Gardens, known as Kew Gardens, London; and the Jardin des Plantes, Paris.

See D. Wyman, The Arboretums and Botanical Gardens of North America (rev. ed. 1959); V. Heywood et al., ed., International Directory of Botanical Gardens (5th ed. 1990).

or botanic garden

Originally, a collection of living plants designed to illustrate relationships within plant groups. Most modern botanical gardens are concerned primarily with exhibiting ornamental plants in a scheme that emphasizes natural relationships. A display garden of mostly woody plants (shrubs and trees) is often called an arboretum. The botanical garden as an institution can be traced to ancient China and many Mediterranean countries, where such gardens were often centers for raising plants used for food and medicines. Botanical gardens are also reservoirs of valuable heritable characteristics, potentially important in the breeding of new varieties of plants. Still another function is the training of gardeners. The world's most famous botanical garden is Kew Gardens.

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Botanical gardens grow a wide variety of plants primarily to categorize and document for scientific purposes. Botanists and horticulturalists tend the flora and maintain the garden's library and herbarium of dried and documented plant material. Botanical gardens may also serve to entertain and educate the public, upon whom many depend for funding. However, not all botanical gardens are open to the public: for example the Chelsea Physic Garden. According to the Botanic Gardens Conservation International, "Botanic gardens are institutions holding documented collections of living plants for the purposes of scientific research, conservation, display and education."

Research

From the late 18th century onward, European botanical gardens began sending plant-collecting expeditions to various parts of the world and publishing their findings. Voyages of exploration routinely included botanists for this purpose. Subsequent scientific work studied how these exotic plants might be adapted to grow in the garden's locale, how to classify them, and how to propagate rare or endangered species. The Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, near London, has continuously published journals and more recently catalogues and databases since this time.

Educational work

Educational projects at botanical gardens range from introductions to plants that thrive in different environments to practical advice for the home gardener. Many have plant shops, selling flower, herb, and vegetable seedlings suitable for transplantation. Some gardens such as the UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research and the Chicago Botanic Garden have plant breeding programs and introduce new plants to the horticultural trade.

History

The first modern botanical gardens were founded in Northern Italy in connection with universities:

Other European towns and universities then followed suit:

Egypt has several botanical gardens. One them, the Orman Garden in Giza, is over 130 years old.

See also

External links

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