Indian Botanic Garden

Indian Botanic Garden

      botanical garden in Calcutta, famous for its enormous collections of orchids, bamboos, palms, and plants of the screw pine genus (Pandanus). The garden covers more than 109 hectares (270 acres), on which about 1,700 plant species are cultivated. It was founded in 1787 by the East India Company, primarily for the purpose of acclimatizing new plants of commercial value and growing spices for trade. A major change in policy, however, was introduced by the botanist William Roxburgh after he became superintendent of the garden in 1793. Roxburgh brought in plants from all over India and developed an extensive herbarium. This collection of dried plant specimens eventually became the Central National Herbarium of the Botanical Survey of India, which comprises 2,500,000 items. Over the years attractive display gardens for the public have been developed and many kinds of plants have been cultivated for scientific observation. During the 1970s the garden initiated a program to introduce improved food plants and other varieties of economic benefit to the people of India. The best-known landmark of the garden is an enormous banyan tree that is more than 300 m (1,000 feet) in circumference and thought to be two centuries old.

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Universalium. 2010.

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