Introduction The history of botanical gardens dates back to the ages of Theophrastus (300-200 BC) who is known as the father of botany. In early days, botanical gardens were established for enjoyment and fun. But nowadays, Botanical Gardens act as an educational institution for researchers, conservation of endangered plants and as reference for identification of plant specimen to prepare herbarium .
Role of Botanical Gardens The botanical gardens play many important roles. Some are:
Now I am going to explain different important national and international botanical gardens.
Royal Botanical Garden, Edinburgh, Scotland This was established in 1670 and regarded as one of the oldest botanical gardens of the world. This is one of the most beautiful botanical gardens of Europe. The first director of Royal Botanical Garden, Edinburgh, Scotland was J. Sutherland. Royal Botanical Garden, Edinburgh, Scotland is mostly known for its beautiful collection of Rhododendron
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England This was established in 1760 due to the interest of Princess Augusta of Wales. This was officially opened in 1841 with the name of Royal Botanic gardens. This is the largest botanical gardens of the world. After 1838, this garden was transferred from the British Crown to the British parliament and Sir William Jackson Hooker took over as its first director.
The present area of this garden is about 300 acres. It is well-known for some of its famous publications such as: Flora of British India, Index Rewensis, Kew bulletins, Hooker's Icones Plantarum, botanical magazines, papers, journals and books on numerous botanical subjects. This garden is popularly called as Capital of Botany.
Indian Botanical Garden, Shibpur, Calcutta At one time this was known as Royal Botanical Garden. This garden was established in 1787 by Lt. Col. Robert Kyd. This garden is spread over an area of about 273 acres of land. The credit for its botanical expansion goes to William Roxburgh, the father of Indian Botany. The credit of setting up the Herbarium also goes to William Roxburgh. This is the head office of Botanical survey of India.
Leoyd Botanic Garden, Darjeeling , West Bengal This garden is spread an area of 40 acres and situated at an elevation of about 6,000 feet in eastern Himalayas. The flora of this garden represents the plants of eastern Himalayas and Sikkim. This was established in 1878 by Sir Ashby Eden on landscaped areas donated by William Leoyd.
National Botanical Garden, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh This is popularly known as Sikander baug. This was originally established by Nawab Sadat Ali Khan (1789 - 1814). Finally it was converted into a Botanical garden in 1946 by its first director Prof. A. K. Kaul. This garden has an area of 75 acres and is situated at the bank of Gomati river.
F.R.I. botanical Garden, Dehradun This was established in 1874.This is one of the richest botanical gardens of India. It covers an area of about 20 acres in Dehradun. This is known as the main Indian center of researches in problems related with plant introduction. Students of botany visit this garden especially to see exotic and indigenous species of gymnosperms like Pinus, Ginkgo, Taxus, Cupressus, Juniperus, Taxodium, Cunninghamia, Podocarpus, Araucaria, Agathis, Abies etc.
Botanical Garden, Allahabad University, Allahabad This is associated with the Allahabad university's Botany department, famous for its herbarium holding over 15,000 dried specimens. It contains about 1500 plant species and especially known for the collections of algae, bryophytes, pteridophytes, gymnosperms and many important angiosperms. In bryophytic specimens, luxuriantly growing species like Riccia, Fluitans, Marchantia, Plagiochasma, Lanularia, Targionia, etc. can be observed. Botanical Garden of Allahabad University has good collections of gymnosperms like Cycas revoluta, C. circinalis, C. rumphii, Thuja, Cupressus, Zamia, Ginkgo, Agathes, Podocarpus, Pinus roxburghii, Taxodium, etc.
Botanical Garden, Sagar University, Sagar This is managed by the Dept. of Botany, H.S. Gaur, Sagar university, Sagar, Madhya Pradesh. It is the richest botanical garden amongst the gardens of Indian universities. It has a good collection of medicinal plants like Rauwolfia serpentina, R. tetraphylla, Tua, Tura, Baccopa, Centella, Camphor, Asoka, medicinal Cassias , medicinal Ocimums, etc. It has a good arboretum with many important angiospermous and gymnospermous plants. Many varieties of palms can be seen in luxuriantly growing condition. A specific banyan tree Ficus krishnii is also situated in this garden. Among the gymnosperms mention may be made of Ephedra foliata, Cycas, Juniperus, Ginkgo biloba, Agathes robusta, Araucaria cooki, Taxodium glabra, Pinus roxubrughii, Cupressus, etc.
You can visit these gardens for recreation or for educational purposes.
Hakimuddin Kuwakhedawala is based in India with over 15 years experience as a teacher. Teaching and writing are his passion. Most of the articles of Hakimuddin are related to education, exam, environmental problems, etc.
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Lalbagh (The Red Garden) Botanical Gardens
Lalbagh is a famous botanical garden in Silicon City - Bengaluru, India. The Ruler of Mysore commissioned this beautiful garden and was later completed by Tipu Sultan. Lalbagh covers an area of 250 acres and has four gates. Lalbagh is famous for conducting annual flower shows during the week of Republic day and Independence day every year in the famous glass house. Thousands of people visit Lalbagh during the flower shows. The flower shows are a visual treat for visitors. The flower shows are held to educate people about various plants and its conservation. The garden has India's largest collection of tropical plants. There are trees more than 100 years old. There are over 1000 species of flora in the garden. The garden is a home to many birds which are commonly seen such as crows, heron, common egret, myna, parakeet, etc. The major attractions of the garden are the glass house, the lake, Lalbagh rock and the tower erected by the founder of Bengaluru, Kempegowda. The garden surrounds the tower and gives a view of Bengaluru from the hilltop. The garden has been planned on the lines of Mughal Gardens and is aesthetically designed. Visit Bangalore to see the most beautiful gardens Lalbagh in India.