Botanical Garden of the University of Szeged
1. BGs as living treasuries – maintenance and development of living collections
The 100 years-old botanical garden (it was founded in 1922) covers 17 hectares (24acres) area, is divided three main parts: The Park, Arboretum and the Hungarian wooden plant communities. Besides that, threre are three large greenhouses. The tematical plant collections (Greenhouses, Living fossils, Rock garden, Rose garden, Japanese garden, Medicinal plants and herbs, Taxonomical collection, Cultivated plant collection) contain about 5000 plant species and varieties from different parts of the world. The garden’s main attraction is the indian lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) stand thas has been in the lake from 1930.
2. BGs as green laboratories – scientific activities and research infrastructure
The BG’s main research activity is the ex-situ conservation of native endangered and protected plant species of the Hungarian flora: outdoor propagation of plant species and re-plantation to their natural habitat. Besides that, during the last decades the flowering and reproduction characteristics of several protected and endangered plant species such as Adonis vernalis, Iris sibirica, Astragalus dasyanthus, Dianthus diutinus have been investigated in the garden.
3. BGs as experience-based class-rooms – education activities and infrastructure
As part of the university, the botanical garden participates in the outdoor practical education of biology students. The other important task is to promote environmental awareness through public education. In 2006 the garden was the first in Hungary, where environmental education had been introduced. Currently, regular outdoor environmental-education classes and thematic workshops for school pupils and pre-school children are offered in all seasons.
4. BGs as custodians of biodiversity – conservation activities, saving endangered species, gene banking
The BG contributes to the genome conservation of numerous protected plants. More than 140 protected species, which belong to the national heritage of Hungary, are on display for the visitors.
Recognizing the importance of ex situ plant propagation very early, the BG participated in a project of the EU’s LIFE Programme between 2006-2011, which established the protection of Dianthus diutinus. 19.000 individuals were propagated and replanted to their natural habitat. After the success of this project, 31745 individuals of 75 rare or protected plant species of loess steppes were propagated and replanted to their natural habitat in cooperation with the Körös-Maros National Park between 2011-2021.
6. BGs as eco-attractions – recreation areas, touristic activities and operations, visitor experience and comfort
Weekend family programmes, and temporal exhibitions are important activities in the garden. Special days are organized anually, like Plant Day, which aims to present the diversity and the value of plants. Besides that, there are other cultural and public events, like Lavander Days, Lotus Days, Pumpkin day where the plants, its area of origin and related cultural elements are on display.