Definition of a Botanic Garden

The following is a list of criteria that may be met in part or whole by any institution that is considered to be a botanic garden.

  • A reasonable degree of permanence.
  • An underlying scientific basis for the collections.
  • Proper documentation of the collections, including wild origin.
  • Monitoring of the plants in the collections.
  • Adequate labelling of the plants.
  • Open to the public.
  • Communication of information to other gardens, institutions and the public.
  • Exchange of seed or other materials with other botanic gardens, arboreta or research institutions.
  • Undertaking of scientific or technical research on plants in the collections.
  • Maintenance of research programs in plant taxonomy in associated herbaria.


The above list does not, however constitute a comprehensive summary of the activities undetaken by botanic gardens.

BGCI has considered what makes a botanic garden different from a public park or pleasure gardens.

In the international Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation the definition is as follows:

Botanic gardens are institutions holding documented collections of living plants
         for the purposes of scientific research, conservation, display and education.