Biodiv Sci ›› 2023, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (9): 23256.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2023256

• Special Feature: Construction of the National Botanical Garden System • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Historical review, current status and future prospects of global botanical gardens

Jingping Liao1,2,3#, Dujuan Ni1,2,3#, Tuo He4, Hongwen Huang1,2,3,5,*()   

  1. 1. South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510650
    2. South China National Botanical Garden, Guangzhou 510650
    3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
    4. Wildlife Conservation Monitoring Center, National Forestry and Grassland Administration, Beijing 100714
    5. Lushan Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Jiujiang, Jiangxi 332900
  • Received:2023-07-14 Accepted:2023-08-02 Online:2023-09-20 Published:2023-08-16
  • Contact: *E-mail:
  • About author:#Co-first authors


Background: Botanical gardens have deep historical roots, drawing inspiration from the ancient “Shennong Herbal Garden” that has played a pivotal role in China’s herbal civilization. While the origins of modern botanical gardens can be traced back to the medicinal gardens of early European universities, their predecessors lie in medieval herb gardens, representing the rich heritage and evolutionary path of traditional botany and ancient gardens.

Review findings: Over the course of 500 years since the European Renaissance, modern botanical gardens have evolved into vital centers of science and art. They have transcended their roles as mere repositories of flora and fauna to become institutions that seamlessly blend nature, culture, art and science. These gardens have consistently embraced new challenges, adapted to changing circumstances, and taken on new missions, propelling them into an era of sustainable development, in which multiple models coexist harmoniously and at the heart of this transformation lies the core mission of ex situ conservation.

Recommendations: Looking ahead, the construction of China’s national botanical gardens should focus on creating efficient ex situ conservation networks while adhering to rigorous scientific standards. This entails implementing exemplary professional curation practices that bridge the historical legacy of botanical gardens with contemporary conservation imperatives. Prioritizing ex situ conservation efforts, China’s botanical garden community should curate national living collections and conduct high-level scientific research. This approach should be rooted in a renewed emphasis on the value of ex situ flora, ultimately contributing to the establishment of a world-class national botanical garden system. This system will advance plant conservation research, facilitate resource exploration and application, and foster sustainable economic and social development.

Key words: global botanical gardens, historical retrospectives, current status, future prospects