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Summary of the International Review of the Ex Situ Plant Collections of the Botanic Gardens of the World

Volume 3 Number 7 - December 2001


This is a summary of the main findings of the review printed in BGCNews 3(6) June, 2001, about the plant genetic resource collections of botanic gardens worldwide, as a contribution to decision V/26 on Access to Genetic Resources of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity.

According to the present study there are currently 2,204 botanic gardens known in the world. Over 500 botanic gardens occur in Western Europe, more than 350 in North America and over 200 in East and Southeast Asia, of which the majority are in China.

Most of the southern Asian botanic gardens are to be found in India.

Most regions of the world have a range of botanic gardens although there are relatively few in North and Southern Africa, the Caribbean islands, South West Asia and the Middle East.

The full original text can be found at

Regional Distribution of Botanic Gardens

Countries are listed in order of numbers of gardens.

1. Western Europe

The greatest number of botanic gardens in Western Europe occur in France, Germany, Italy and the U.K. Amongst the larger Western European countries only Greece has a relatively small number of botanic gardens and most of these are small or new institutions.

Italy (107), France (104), Germany (102), U.K. (80), Netherlands (40), Belgium (28), Switzerland (25), Austria (18), Spain (15), Denmark (5), Portugal (10), Sweden (9), Finland (8), Norway (8), Greece (4), Iceland (2), Ireland (10), Gibraltar (1), Luxembourg (1), Malta (1), Monaco (1).

2. Eastern Europe

The largest number of botanic gardens in Eastern Europe are to be found in the Czech Republic and Poland. However, significant numbers occur in most countries in the region.

Czech Republic (25), Poland (25), Hungary (22), Romania (10), Bulgaria (9), Slovakia (8), Macedonia (FYOM) (7), Lithuania (6), Slovenia (6), Yugoslavia (F.R.of) (5), Bosnia-Herzegovina (4), Estonia (3), Latvia (2), Albania (2).

3. C.I.S. except for the Caucausus and central Asia

Russia, the Ukraine, Belarus and Modova are all well provided with botanic gardens.

Russia (102), Ukraine (35), Belarus (7), Moldova (4)

4. Australasia and Oceania

The majority of botanic gardens are in Australia and New Zealand. There are relatively few in the Pacific Ocean Islands (other than in Hawaii - included under the U.S.A.). There are no botanic gardens known in the following countries: the Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Guam, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, New Caledonia, Palau, Pitcairn Islands, Saipan and Tinian, Tonga, U.S. Pacific Trust Territories, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

Australia (128), New Zealand (20), Fiji (2), Western Samoa (2), Solomon Islands (1), Palau (1).

5. South West Asia and the Middle East

Including Caucasian and Asian members of the C.I.S. There are small numbers of botanic gardens in the majority of countries of South West Asia and the Middle East, although there are no botanic gardens in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, Syria, or Yemen.

Kazakhstan (9), Israel (8), Georgia (6), Iran (6), Turkey (6), Tajikistan (5), Kyrgyzstan (4), Uzbekistan (4), Armenia (3), Azerbaijan (3), Oman (2), Palestinian Territories (2), Iraq (1), Kuwait (1), Saudi Arabia (1), United Arab Emirates (1), Turkmenistan (1).

6. North Africa

North Africa has a small number of botanic gardens scattered throughout the region, other than in the following countries where none are known: Central African Republic, Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Somalia. Botanic gardens in Morocco and Tunisia have recently been redeveloped and expanded.

Egypt (6), Algeria (3), Ethiopia (3), Morocco (3), Tunisia (3), Libya (1), Sudan (1).

7. West, Central and East Africa

Nigeria has the most botanic gardens in this region (16), followed by Kenya (which has 9) although there are one or more in most major countries. No botanic gardens are known in the following countries: Burkina Faso, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Congo, Sao Tome and Principe.

Nigeria (16), Kenya (9), Ghana (5), Senegal (5), Cameroon (4), Tanzania (4), Burundi (2), Dem. Rep. Congo (2), Rwanda (2), Sierra Leone (2), Uganda (2), Benin (2), Cape Verde Islands (1), Gabon (1), Gambia (1), Ivory Coast (1), Liberia (1), Togo (1).

8. Indian Ocean Islands

Botanic gardens occur in four of the Indian Ocean Island territories and countries: the Seychelles, Mauritius (where the oldest tropical botanic garden in the world still thrives), Réunion and Madagascar. No botanic gardens are known in the British Indian Ocean Territory, the Maldives, Comoros, Mayotte or Rodrigues.

Réunion Island (4), Madagascar (2), Mauritius (2), Seychelles (1).

9. Southern Africa and the Southern Atlantic Islands

The largest number of botanic gardens in this region are in South Africa. In recent years new botanic gardens have been established or expanded in several countries. No botanic gardens in the Falklands, Ascension Island, South Georgia, the South Sandwich Islands or Tristan da Cunha.

South Africa (19), Malawi (4), Zimbabwe (4), Mozambique (3), Lesotho (2), Angola (1), Botswana (1), Namibia (1), St Helena (1), Swaziland (1), Zambia (1).

10. Southern Asia

There are botanic gardens in every country in Southern Asia, although the vast majority are in India. In recent years the first botanic garden has been established in Bhutan.

India (122), Pakistan (7), Sri Lanka (6), Bangaldesh (4), Myanmar (Burma) (2), Nepal (1), Bhutan (1)

11. East and Southeast Asia

The majority of botanic gardens in these regions occur in China where there are more than 100 and Japan where there are more than 50. There are no botanic gardens known in Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia and the Lao People's Democratic Republic.

China (106), Japan (55), South Korea (11), Malaysia (10), Philippines (10), Thailand (7), Indonesia (5), Vietnam (5), Taiwan (4), Papua New Guinea (4), Mongolia (1), North Korea (1), Singapore (1).

12. Central and North America

The majority of botanic gardens in these regions occur in the United States, Mexico and Canada. All central American countries have at least one botanic garden.

U.S.A. (296), Mexico (89), Canada (59), Belize (1), Costa Rica (1), El Salvador (1), Greenland (1), Guatemala (1), Honduras (1), Nicaragua (1), Panama (1).

13. The Caribbean Islands

The largest number of botanic gardens occur in Cuba. Many of these are newly developed institutions focused on biodiversity conservation and education. Most of the major island countries have at least one botanic garden, which are generally either old historic colonial gardens or else relatively recent establishments. There are no botanic gardens known in the following countries: Haiti, St Lucia and the Turks & Caicos.

Cuba (11), Jamaica (5), Puerto Rico (4), Trinidad & Tobago (2), Bahamas (2), Barbados (2), Guadeloupe (2), Martinique (2), U.S. Virgin Is. (2), Bermuda (1), British Virgin Is (1), Cayman Islands (1), Dominica (1), Dominican Republic (1), Anguilla (1), Antigua/Barbuda (1), Grenada (1), St Kitts & Nevis (1), St Vincent and the Grenadines (1).

14. South America

The majority of botanic gardens in this region are in Argentina, Brazil and Colombia. Many of these have been recently established, particularly in Brazil and Colombia.

Brazil (29), Argentina (26), Colombia (25), Venezuela (10), Chile (9), Peru (7), Ecuador (6), Bolivia (4), French Guiana (2), Guyana (2), Paraguay (1), Suriname (1), Uruguay (1).

Countries and Territories Without a Botanic Garden

The following table lists countries and territories where there are currently no botanic gardens (or none known). Most large countries have one or more botanic gardens. There are still relatively few counties in the Middle East and Pacific Ocean regions with botanic gardens. There are also very few botanic gardens in the countries of the Sahel in northern Africa.



  • Andorra
  • Cyprus
  • Liechstenstein
  • San Marino
  • The Vatican

South West Asia and the Middle East

  • Afghanistan
  • Bahrain
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Qatar
  • Syria
  • Yemen

East, South and South-East Asia

  • Brunei
  • Cambodia
  • Lao Peoples Democratic Republic

Australasia and Oceania

  • Cook Islands
  • French Polynesia
  • Guam
  • Kiribati
  • Marshall Islands
  • Micronesia
  • Nauru
  • New Caledonia
  • Pitcairn Islands, Henderson and Ducie
  • Saipan and Tinian
  • Tonga
  • Tuvalu
  • U.S. Pacific Trust Territories
  • Vanuatu

Africa, Indian Ocean Islands and the South Atlantic Islands

  • Ascension Island
  • British Indian Ocean Territory
  • Burkina Faso
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Comoros
  • Congo
  • Djibouti
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Eritrea
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Maldives
  • Mali
  • Mauritiania
  • Mayotte
  • Niger
  • Sao Tome and Principe
  • Somalia
  • South Georgia
  • South Sandwich Islands
  • Tristan da Cunha

Central America, South America and the Caribbean

  • Falkland Islands
  • Haiti
  • Monserrat
  • St Lucia
  • Turks and Caicos