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Travel topics > Natural attractions > Botanical tourism

Botanical tourism

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Botanical tourism is travel for the purposes of viewing the varied flora of a region, district or in the case of some species even a single plant!

Understand[edit]

Botanical tourism is travelling to see plants, either in their native environment or in managed botanical gardens and parks. Generally a greater variety of plants can be seen in the one place by visiting a botanical garden and no special preparation is needed, so gardens are a good introduction to the subject.

Parks and gardens have been created and managed over many centuries. Gardens are said to have been created in Mesopotamia around 3,000 years ago. Botanical gardens started to appear during the Renaissance in the sixteenth century, although there were some earlier physic gardens devoted to medical herbs. These gardens were used for research, often connected to universities, and received plants from returning explorers.

The nineteenth century saw the establishment of many botanical gardens, and the building of parks for the general public (rather than a select few) to enjoy. Heated glasshouses (greenhouses) enabled gardens to grow and display plants from around the world.

Prepare[edit]

Know in advance, if there are any plants you want to see specially, Specialist guides like Wikispecies can help you get a detailed taxomony, if you already have the technical name of a plant you are really interested in.

Equip[edit]

This is in general up to the traveller, but should be picked appropriately for the region visited. If you are visiting wilderness areas to look at native plants, ensure that your equipment is thoroughly cleaned, so that you don't introduce seeds, diseases or pests from home. Some botanical gardens require you to clean your feet on entry.

See[edit]

Map of Botanical tourism

It is outside the scope of Wikivoyage to act as a detailed botanical guidebook to where individual species might be specifically found. The listings given below are either major tourist sites, or regions visited specifically because of their floral or botanical heritage.

Africa[edit]

See also: African wildlife
  • 1 Socotra. A isolated island of Yemen off the coast of Africa with very high biodiversity. Socotra (Q82859) on Wikidata Socotra on Wikipedia
  • 2 Namib-Naukluft National Park. A desert park close to the Atlantic with a notable amount of wildlife Namib-Naukluft National Park (Q1773441) on Wikidata Namib-Naukluft National Park on Wikipedia

Asia[edit]

See also: Eurasian wildlife, South Asian wildlife

China[edit]

Indonesia[edit]

  • 3 Bogor Botanical Gardens (Kebun Raya Bogor), Jl. Ir. Haji Juanda No.13, Bogor. 8:00-17:00 daily. The extensive botanical gardens were established in 1811. Today, the gardens stretch out over 87 hectares, including some carefully manicured gardens as well as areas that look and feel like wild jungle. Fountains, lakes, two rivers and hilly trails make for interesting walking. If you visit in January you may be able to spot a blooming giant arum (Amorphophallus titanum), the world's tallest inflorescence (flower cluster) which can reach an astounding 2.5 m and smells like rotting meat. Bogor Botanical Gardens (Q1123665) on Wikidata Bogor Botanical Gardens on Wikipedia

India[edit]

See also - Botanical Gardens in India ...

Japan[edit]

As well as specific tourist sites, there are myriad examples of Japanese Gardens, ranging from the traditional to not so traditional.

  • Japan's Top 100 Cherry Blossom Spotshanami, or looking at the cherry blossom, has been a Japanese tradition for centuries. A popular pastime all around the country (and nowadays in other parts of the world too), the Japan Cherry Blossom Association has compiled a list of 100 locations where a large number of cherry trees grow in historically important and naturally beautiful environments.
  • Hiraizumi – Temples, Gardens and Archaeological Sites Representing the Buddhist Pure Land

Malaysia[edit]

Singapore[edit]

See also: Botanical tourism in Singapore
  • 4 Botanic Gardens, Bukit Timah Rd (next to Botanic Gardens MRT). 05:00-24:00. This UNESCO World Heritage site was once considered among the finest botanical gardens in the British empire, and it is still a firm favorite for visitors and locals alike. Features trees and plants from tropical climates around the world. Walking and jogging trails are throughout, and you can register for regular free guided tours highlighting different themes or areas such as the rainforest, and the healing garden. Outdoor sculptures dot the gardens. Look for the girl on the swing that appears to hang from an invisible chain in the air. Picnicking is allowed, but there are also quite a few cafes and restaurants (see Eat). Sunday evenings often see musical concerts showcasing light classics, Chinese or SE Asian performances from local orchestras at the bandstand. Free.

Europe[edit]

See also: Eurasian wildlife

Austria[edit]

Belgium[edit]

  • Royal Greenhouses in the garden of the royal palace in Brussels.
  • Arboretum of the Sonian Forest near Tervuren.

Czech Republic[edit]

Gardens and Castle at Kroměříž, South Moravia

France[edit]

France has over 100 botanical gardens and arboretums. There are also many formal gardens around chateaux (castles) open to the public.

  • 5 Jardin botanique de Bordeaux, Bordeaux. daily summer: 8:00 - 20:00; winter 8:00 - 18:00. Started as a garden of medicinal herbs in 1629, the present garden dates from 1858 and covers 0.5ha. In 2003 an offshoot garden Jardin botanique de la Bastide was opened across the river on a 4ha site. free. Jardin botanique de Bordeaux (Q3162390) on Wikidata Jardin botanique de Bordeaux on Wikipedia
  • 6 Jardin des Plantes (Garden of Plants), Paris/5th arrondissement. daily summer 7:30 - 20:00, winter 8:00 - 17:30. The Paris Botanical Garden, founded as the royal medicinal garden in 1626 by King Louis XIII's doctor, contains over 10,000 species. The garden covers 28ha and includes a zoo, and museums. free. Jardin des plantes (Q730948) on Wikidata Jardin des plantes on Wikipedia

Germany[edit]

  • Mainau — the "flower island" in Lake Constance is made up of several parks, including an Italian rose garden, an arboretum and a palm house with tropical plants.
  • 7 Palmengarten ("palm garden"), Siesmayerstraße 61, Frankfurt, +49 69 2123-3939, fax: +49 69 212-37856, e-mail: . Nov-Jan: 09:00-16:00; Feb-Oct: 09:00-18:00. The Palmengarten is Frankfurt's botanic garden. There are special exhibitions and events throughout the much of the year. €7 adults, €2 children, reduced rate €3, family €16..
  • Würzburg Residence with the Court Gardens and Residence Square, Bavaria, Franconia
  • 1 Wörlitz Gardens. Make a tour to the largest English landscaped park on the continent. Created in the 1770s, it shows finest garden architecture, animated by parks in England like Kew, Stourhead, Stowe. Vistas within the park and to surrounding landscape. The access to the park is free, some passerger ferries which shortcut lakes 0,60 -1 Euro. Wörlitz Palace, Gothic House, Stein (with artificial volcano) have exhibitions, admission 3 to 5 Euro. 17 km to the east of Dessau, a good hour of cycling, or take the Wörlitzer Eisenbahn from the Dessau main station (approx 8 Euro return). Dessau-Wörlitz Garden Realm (Q157543) on Wikidata Dessau-Wörlitz Garden Realm on Wikipedia

Ireland[edit]

Italy[edit]

  • Medici Villas and Gardens, Tuscany
  • Padoa Botanical Garden

Netherlands[edit]

  • Bulb fields can be found in the Bollenstreek, the region surrounding Lisse. This is also where Keukenhof tulip park, one of the county's most popular attractions, is located. But the Bollenstreek is not the only region in the Netherlands with these fields. If you're looking for more, try the area between Haarlem and Alkmaar in North Holland. While relatively unknown, the largest tulip fields can actually be found in the Noordoostpolder, and a signed bicycle route is set up every spring to give more prominence to the occasion.

Norway[edit]

  • Arctic Alpine Botanic Garden in Tromsø, Norway, northernmost botanical garden globally.

Russia[edit]

  • Polar-Alpine Botanical Gardens in Kirovsk, Russia, previously the northernmost.

Sweden[edit]

  • Garden of and museum on Carl von Linné, Uppsala

United Kingdom[edit]

Many horticultural organisations in the UK, including the Royal Horticultural Society, hold annual shows or Gala's. The best known being that held in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea. During the late summer, there are countless local horticultural shows in many areas, so ask around, or check local media. You may be surprised at the efforts exhibited!

Floral or botanical displays in public parks are widespread. In many cities and towns, their design and upkeep are a matter of considerable civic pride.

England[edit]
  • 9 Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London/Richmond-Kew (Tube: Kew Gardens), +44 20 8332-5655, e-mail: . From 9:30AM everyday except Dec 24-25, closing time seasonal. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, these extensive, historic and beautiful gardens feature elements illustrating significant periods of garden and landscape art from the 18th to the 20th centuries, as well as a plant collection second to none in the world. Since their creation as a royal estate in 1759, Kew Gardens (as they are commonly known) have made a significant and uninterrupted contribution to the study of plant diversity and economic botany. The gardens cover 120 hectares (300 acres) and are over 1.5 km long. They contain several major glasshouse complexes, not least the famous Palm House opened in 1848, together with a museum and several follies. Adult £16 (including £1.50 voluntary Gift Aid donation), concession £15, children 16 and under free.. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Q18748726) on Wikidata Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew on Wikipedia
  • 10 Chelsea Physic Garden, London/South Kensington-Chelsea. Apr–Oct: Tu–Fr & Su 11:00–18:00. Garden founded by apothecaries in the 17th century to the medicinal properties of plants. It was only opened to the public in the 1980s when it became a charity. The heat-sink caused by its thick walls, combined with the general waste heat of London itself, keeps the garden much warmer than it would otherwise be at this latitude. Due to this, the garden contains the world's most northerly example of a grapefruit outside of a greenhouse, and the largest fruiting olive tree in the country. The collection contains thousands of different plant species. £10.50. Chelsea Physic Garden (Q1069148) on Wikidata Chelsea Physic Garden on Wikipedia
  • 11 Pavilion Garden, The Pavilion Gardens St. John's Road, Buxton Derbyshire SK17 6BE. Landscape garden and lakes; Also noted is a "Conservatory" or Winter Garden next to Buxton Opera House.
  • Gardens of the Rose, near St Albans. early June - early August daily 10am – 5pm.
  • 12 RHS Garden Wisley, Wisley, Surrey, GU23 6QB (near Guildford), +44 1483 224234. Mar–late Oct: M–F 10AM–6PM; Sa, Su, bank holidays 9AM–6PM; late Oct–Mar: M–F 10AM–4:30PM; Sa, Su, bank holidays 9AM–4:30PM. Closed 25 Dec.. The Royal Horticultural Society's (RHS) flagship garden is one of the world's great horticultural gardens, with thousands of plants from every continent across dozens of themed areas including formal gardens, borders, arboreta, rockeries, orchards and glasshouses. Adult £14, children 5-16 £7, free for RHS members. RHS Garden, Wisley (Q5679170) on Wikidata RHS Garden, Wisley on Wikipedia
  • 13 Hever Castle, Hever, nr Sevenoaks, +44 1732 861710. Well maintained landscaped Italian style garden restored by William Waldorf Astor in the early 1900s. Hever Castle (Q1132683) on Wikidata Hever Castle on Wikipedia
  • 14 The Eden Project, St Austell. Open Every day all year except Christmas Eve & Christmas day, 9AM to 6PM (Last entry at 4:30PM). Dubbed by many as The Eighth Wonder of the World, Eden is well worth a visit if you don't mind the theme park atmosphere. A fabulous collection of flora from all over the planet housed in two 'space age' transparent domes. Eden Project (Q596642) on Wikidata Eden Project on Wikipedia
  • Compton Acres, Poole.
  • 15 The Poison Garden. This unique tour at Alnwick Castle's garden, behind the 'locked gate' of a dedicated area, may scare as well as fascinate. The tour, identifies as well as discusses the lore behind, many plants which if not respected are to die for! Not suitable for small children or those with a nervous disposition. By tour only. The Alnwick Garden (Q7713211) on Wikidata The Alnwick Garden on Wikipedia
  • 16 Alton Towers. Although better known for the modern amusement park, Alton Towers was a resort long before this, and the Grade 1 listed Gardens of a former Earl of Shewsbury, are a relaxed delight overlooked by many visitors. Alton Towers (Q443909) on Wikidata Alton Towers on Wikipedia
Northern Ireland[edit]
  • 17 Botanical Gardens, Belfast. The Palm House contains local and interesting plants, such as carnivorous plants. Beside it is the Tropical Ravine, unique to the British Isles, where visitors walk around a raised balcony observing tropical flora and fauna. With large lawns and well maintained planting, the park is a popular destination in the summer. Botanic (Q3115229) on Wikidata Botanic Gardens (Belfast) on Wikipedia
Scotland[edit]
  • 18 Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh/Stockbridge and Canonmills. Open daily except 25 Dec and 1 Jan. Very impressive gardens with a collection of interesting plants. Great place to wander around on a sunny day, or to sit and have a picnic. Highlights include the Rock Garden; the 165m long herbaceous border, backed by a huge, century old beech hedge (a hedge may not sound too exciting but this one has to be seen to be believed!); and the Victorian Temperate Palm House, which is the tallest of its kind in the UK. Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (Q1807521) on Wikidata Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh on Wikipedia
  • 19 Benmore Botanic Gardens, Dunoon, Argyll. Open daily 1 March to 31 October. Site of one of the finest collections of conifers as well as rhododendrons in the world, Benmore Botanic Gardens, managed by the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh, offers a 130 acre estate filled with trees and plants from around the world. Benmore Botanic Garden (Q2371650) on Wikidata Benmore Botanic Garden on Wikipedia
  • 20 Glasgow Botanic Gardens, Glasgow. A major park in the West End (the most popular aside from Kelvingrove), the Botanic Gardens contains extensive tropical and temperate plant collections from around the world. Glasgow has several other good parks. Free. Glasgow Botanic Gardens (Q894634) on Wikidata Glasgow Botanic Gardens on Wikipedia
Wales[edit]
  • 21 Powis Castle and Garden, Welshpool (a short distance out of town on the Newtown road), +44 1938 551944, e-mail: . Medieval fortress turned grand manor house, now in the care of the National Trust. The castle has a large collection of important paintings and furniture, as well as numerous treasures from India in the Clive Museum. The extensive gardens look much as intended when they were laid out in the 1770s are an attraction in their own right. Powys Castle (Q1377263) on Wikidata Powis Castle on Wikipedia

North America[edit]

See also: North American wildlife

Canada[edit]

Western Wood Lily, Kananaskis
  • 22 Bow Valley Provincial Park, Kananaskis Country. Leaflet from the centre on a number of short easy walks around the area. Drive to a number of parking spots around the campsite where you can then walk trails. In June lots of opportunities to see alpine meadow plants and wet land plants in their natural environment including orchids. Bow Valley Provincial Park (Q15710089) on Wikidata Bow Valley Provincial Park on Wikipedia
  • 23 Royal Botanical Gardens, 680 Plains Rd. West, Burlington, Ontario, +1 905 527-1158, toll-free: +1-800 694-4769. Founded in 1941, Canada's largest botanical garden comprises a mix of five landscaped gardens and various wild natural areas spread out over 900 hectares (2,250 acres) and intertwined with a number of scenic trails including a segment of the Bruce Trail. 1,100 plants are represented among the collection, including many, such as the Bashful Bulrush and the red mulberry tree, that grow nowhere else in Canada. As well, the Ontario Garden Show each spring is the second-largest in Canada. Adult $12.50, senior/student $10.50, child $7.50, family $30.50. Royal Botanical Gardens (Q3162650) on Wikidata Royal Botanical Gardens (Ontario) on Wikipedia

United States of America[edit]

Alpine flora Logan Pass, Glacier National Park
  • Cholla Cactus Garden, Joshua Tree National Park. A short walk leads through a thick stand of cholla cactus, noted for its especially prickly exterior.
  • 24 Dow Gardens, 1809 Eastman Avenue, Midland (Michigan), +1 989 631-2677. Landscaped botanical garden. $5. Dow Gardens (Q5302612) on Wikidata Dow Gardens on Wikipedia
  • 25 Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver. May-Sept: Sa-Tu 9AM-8PM, W-F 9AM-5PM. Sept-May: 9AM-5PM daily.. A 23-acre garden established in 1951, with an array of flowers and plants from around the world. Above the gardens' bistro, you'll find Denver's first public green roof. Space and science buffs won't want to miss the OmniGlobe exhibit, a spherical simulation of the Earth from space. $12.50 adults, $9.50 seniors, $9 students/children. Denver Botanic Gardens (Q3003810) on Wikidata Denver Botanic Gardens on Wikipedia
  • 26 International Rose Test Gardens, 850 SW Rose Garden Way, Portland, Oregon, +1 503 823-7529. Daily 7:30AM-9PM. The largest rose test garden in U.S., perched on a hill overlooking downtown Portland, with thousands of roses planted in every possible way: rows, bushes and vines. Best to come between May and July, when it gets fragrant as everything's in bloom. Volunteer gardeners offer free guided tours at 1PM during the summer months. Free. International Rose Test Garden (Q2682829) on Wikidata International Rose Test Garden on Wikipedia
  • 27 Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, 18220 N Highway 1, Fort Bragg, CA (Approximately 4 hours north of the San Francisco Bay Area.), +1 707 964-4352. 9AM–5PM. Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens is one of only a handful of public gardens with ocean frontage. These 47 acres encompass manicured gardens, fern-ringed ponds, intimate pocket gardens, coastal pine forests, and wildflower-strewn bluffs at ocean’s edge. The mild maritime climate of the Mendocino Coast offers ideal growing conditions for rhododendrons, heaths and heathers, dahlias, heritage roses, succulents, conifers, and many other plants. $15. Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens (Q6816681) on Wikidata Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens on Wikipedia
  • 28 National Garden Festival, Buffalo, New York. Buffalo, New York plays host to this "five-week-long garden party" in July and August that's the largest festival of its kind in the U.S. The centerpiece is the five-mile-long Garden Walk Buffalo, but there are also about a dozen smaller garden walks passing through different neighborhoods of Buffalo and its suburbs, with over a thousand gardens participating overall. You can also take a bus tour of area urban farms, nurseries, and community gardens, take a weekday tour of one of the Open Gardens, attend your choice of symposia on varous garden topics — and of course, the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens, Delaware Park's Rose Garden and Japanese Garden, and many of the local farmers' markets get in on the act too.

South America[edit]

See also: Central and South American wildlife

Oceania[edit]

See also: Australasian wildlife

Australia[edit]

New Zealand[edit]

  • The mild temperate coastal climate, and relative remoteness has resulted in New Zealand retaining many areas of temperate rain forest, which can be explored when walking (tramping) in the country.
  • There are many good parks and several botanical gardens. Of particular note are the botanical gardens in Christchurch, Wellington and Dunedin, and the parks in Hamilton and New Plymouth.

Eat[edit]

In conservation areas you should take care that the food that you bring with does not cause biosecurity breaches. Check your bags for any pests that may be trying to hitch a lift. Avoid bringing any food with you which would grow if accidentally dropped - you may need to leave fresh fruit and nuts behind, although cooked fruit may be fine.

Many botanic gardens have cafes which provide a pleasant setting to eat in, but the cafe may open for shorter hours than the garden and be closed on some days.

Drink[edit]

Buy[edit]

Many botanical gardens have shops, selling guidebooks and souvenirs and often gardening tools and plants. On long summer days, the shop may close earlier than the garden.

The purchase of cut-flowers, which are not easy to transport, and perish easily should be considered very carefully. In Europe commercial cut flowers are often a nice thank-you, but be aware of any cultural meanings attached, sending lilies or roses for example, certain colours, or an even number of flowers, may well be mis-read in some areas.

It should also be borne in mind that nearly all plants (including their seeds and bulbs) are subject to tight import controls regardless of jurisdiction, in order to prevent the spread of plant pests and to protect native ecosystems from non-native invasive species. If buying plants to take home check the regulations carefully. It is often much easier to buy seeds or plants once you have returned home, and the varieties which you buy are more likely to be suitable for your climate.

Stay safe[edit]

A number of plants are toxic or act as irritants; see Dangerous plants for some with which contact should be avoided.

Pollen allergies should also be borne in mind.

Respect[edit]

Plants look their best when in a natural environment, so resist the temptation to remove even "just one" specimen. If visiting a formally arranged garden, collecting "specimens" is also going to get you ejected, without discussion. In some regions, you may also find that owing to a highly specific ecology, you are unable to get very close to some flora, this is done for protective reasons as the cumulative effect of many visitors could destroy the very flora that visitors come to see!

See also[edit]


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List of botanical gardens