This morning we toured the facilities of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Botany. Located directly across the street from the Beijing Botanical Garden, this site houses several research centers, and a scientifically based botanical garden. Deputy director, Dr. Kang Chong, gave us an overview of the work of the Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Botany.
The institute, which has research stations throughout China, collaborates heavily with the Missouri Botanical Garden and other public gardens worldwide. We were also given an amazing tour of the Institute’s herbarium, which houses over 2.3 million specimens, and its efforts to digitize its holdings in an online incarnation, the Chinese Virtual Herbarium .
Dr. Hongxia Cui gave us an overview and tour of the institute’s botanical garden. Though its roots go back to 1930, the garden marks its official founding in 1956. Covering over 70 hectares, the garden has always has a strong emphasis on native plant conservation and the development of new ornamental cultivars. It features several specialized collections such as lilacs, crepe myrtles, and peonies, as well as a Chinese medicinal plant display.