Current Issue 13thFebruary 2016 - 19 February 2016, i.e. No. 45


- Dr. Surender Kumar Bhardwaj

A botanical garden is a centre of collection of living plants maintained for both pure and applied research. In the beginning, botanical gardens were established mainly for the training of medical students and for the study of drug yielding plants. During the 18th century a few of the drug gardens cultivated not only medicinal herbs but also many other types of flowering plants. The original concept included the cultivation of flowers for beauty and delight. In the period of 19th century, botanical gardens in the tropics became the centre of extensive botanical research, resulting in a number of useful plants which became known or better known for their usefulness to mankind. Just to mention a few, para rubber (Hevea brasiliensis), quinine (Cinchona officinalis), coffee (Coffea Arabica) and tea (Camellia sinensis) are widely used and well known plants which have been studied in detail for their economic, therapeutic and industrial aspects.


It was the landmark in the history when the idea of development of botanical gardens was originated in the human’s mind. As the knowledge about plants became progressively scientific, many pleasure gardens were converted into botanical gardens, which not only became the centre of advanced learning but also began to play a vital role in the economic and aesthetic needs of various nations. The Bogar (Buitenzorg) Botanical Garden, Java, gave impetus to the cultivation of cinchona, rubber and coffee to the Economic Gardens of the Dutch cultivated of spices and Oxford Botanical Garden, England introduced of some of the parents of modern asters, chrysanthemums, dahlias, fuchsias, irises, narcissi and roses. In the fundamental research, it may be recalled, that the Laws of genetics were worked out by Mendel in monastic garden in Austria. The research problems being studied by the present day gardens vary from the development of the drought-resistant varieties of the plants and weed control. However, behind the apparent diversity in various lines of work lies the common function which all botanical gardens share, namely the collection, display of and research on plants of medicinal, horticultural and other economic interests.


More than 1800 Botanical Gardens and arboreta are situated in about 148 countries, which together keep up more than 4 million living plants belonging to more than 80,000 species of vascular plants. Thus, the Botanic Gardens and other plants conservation centres in the world play a very crucial role as centers for rescue, recovery and rehabilitation of rare, endangered and extinction prone species of plants and other valuable plant genetic resources. The Botanical Gardens also play an important role in education and as a centres of training in areas such as horticulture, gardening, landscaping, ex-situ conservation and environmental awareness.


India is among the biodiversity rich countries in the world. There are about 140 Botanical gardens in India, out of which about 75 Indian Botanical Gardens are enlisted in the Botanical Survey of India. Apart from Government and University botanic gardens there are many gardens of public and academic interest in India.           

Botanical Survey of India (BSI) was established in 1890 with the basic objective of carrying out floristic surveys, supported by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, manages botanic gardens throughout India and is actively engaged in the ex-situ conservation through its chain of Botanic gardens established in different regional circles. The Directorate of the Survey is at the Indian Botanic Garden, Howrah, and there are thirteen Regional Circles/ Field Stations in different parts of the country, eleven of which have experimental gardens as shown in Table:

S. No. Name Location Area
1. Indian Botanic Garden Howrah 212 ha
2. Botanic Garden of Indian Noida 80 ha
3. Experimental Botanic Garden Andaman & Nicobar Circle Dhanikheri 30 ha
4 Experimental Botanic Garden Arunachal Field Station Sankie View 48 ha
5. Experimental Botanic Garden Arid Zone Circle Jodhpur 4 ha
6. Experimental Botanic Garden Central Circle Allahabad 3 ha
7. Experimental Botanic Garden Eastern Circle (Shillong) Barapani 10.4 ha
8. Experimental Botanic Garden Northern Circle Pauri 14 ha
9. Experimental Botanic Garden Northern Circle Khirsu 8 ha
10. Experimental Botanic Garden Northern Circle Dehradun 2 ha
11. Experimental Botanic Garden Sikkim Himalayan Circle Gangtok 1.5 ha
12. Experimental Botanic Garden Southern Circle Yercaud 18.6 ha
13. Experimental Botanic Garden Western Circle Mundhwa (Pune) 17.8 ha


In the world, some botanical gardens have made the necessary shift in focus that underpins scientific research and conservation of plants, making them an essential component of the global conservation goals. Therefore, such gardens, which provide the necessary expertise for replication at regional or local levels, could be termed as ‘Lead gardens’ or models. Lead gardens should serve the present day need of conservation and education vis-à-vis the obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation ( GSPC) as well as in context of the present WTO regime and the Country’s National Environmental Policy, 2006 which encompasses Conservation Policy. Several Lead Gardens in the world have initiated various biotechnological and bio-prospecting programmes, based on their valuable plant collection and knowledge base. National Botanic Research Institute (NBRI), Lucknow and Tropical Botanic Garden & Research Institute (TBGRI) Trivandrum, in India are examples of those Botanic Gardens involved in active research in biotechnology and bio prospecting.

Various Botanical Gardens are providing professional training and most comprehensive ranges of courses for anyone looking to develop their career in botany, horticulture, garden design or botanical illustration. Various courses such as, Practical Certificates, Diplomas & Degrees (B.Sc., M.Sc. & Ph.D.) are being offered by many botanical gardens. Among these Botanical Gardens, some are Indian Botanical Gardens, Shibpur, Kolkata, National Botanical Garden, Lucknow, India, Llyod Botanic Garden, Darjeeling, India, Muzaffarpur Botanical Research Institute, India.


With certificate, diplomas, under graduate and post graduate degree in botany, horticulture, medicinal and aromatic plants, one can easily enter into any research and teaching institution as botanical assistant, scientific assistant, preservation assistant, research assistant, field man, herbarium keeper, or related jobs. One can take up research/ teaching as a career with M.Sc. and Ph.D. degree in botany, horticulture or equivalent qualifications. Depending upon qualification and experience, one can serve as Curator, Superintendent, Botanist, Taxonomist or Scientist in botanical gardens, research institutions, experimental/ field stations including Botanical Survey of India and other related organizations.

(The author is Superintendent Botanical Garden), M.D. University, Rohtak-124001, Haryana e-mail:

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