What are botanical gardens used for?

A botanical garden is a controlled and staffed institution for the maintenance of a living collection of plants under scientific management for education and research purposes, together with the libraries, herbaria, laboratories and museums that are essential to their particular activities. Botanical gardens offer city dwellers a part of the natural environment to which they no longer have access; in addition, they offer a mental escape from demographic pressure and suggest new interests and hobbies related to the natural world. In the early 19th century, Jean Gesner, a Swiss physician and botanist, noted that by the end of the 18th century there were 1,600 botanical gardens in Europe. However, Handerson (198) documented 800 of them in the “International Directory of Botanical Gardens”.

We emphasize that the Kunming Botanical Garden focuses primarily on the ex situ conservation of plants in southwestern China, especially endangered, endemic and economically important plant species native to the Yunnan Plateau and the southern Hengduan Mountains. It also includes greenhouses, a library, a herbarium, research laboratories and several diverse resources, such as photographs, paintings, illustrations, reprints, notebooks and specimens of various types, making it not just a garden but a botanical institution. Botanical gardens provide valuable information on various plants. Local flora, bonsai, rare plants, etc.

Plants that once had medicinal value and were extremely important in early botanical gardens are now of historical interest and are not particularly represented in contemporary collections. . At the end of the 16th century there were five such gardens in Europe and, by the middle of the 20th century, several hundred. What can be called the roots of the botanical garden as an institution dates back to ancient China and to many of the countries that border the Mediterranean.

As the world's populations become more urbanized, botanical gardens are increasingly recognized as one of the important cultural resources of industrialized nations. An exhibition garden that focuses on woody plants (shrubs and trees) is often called an arboretum. Carolus Clusius, a prominent 16th century botanist, for example, assembled an extensive collection of flowering bulbs in the Leiden Botanical Garden (The Netherlands), which turned out to be the beginning of the Dutch bulb industry. Botanical gardens and herbaria are important places for systematic study and research on the flora of the region.

Luca Ghini was the first person to establish a scientific botanical garden in 1543 in Pisa (Italy). In modern times, most botanical gardens are mainly concerned with displaying ornamental plants, as far as possible in a scheme that emphasizes natural relationships. Botanical gardens are reservoirs of valuable hereditary characteristics, potentially important in the reproduction of new varieties of plants.