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Missouri Botanical Garden

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United States of America - Missouri - St. Louis

Institution Code: MO

International Agenda Registration: Yes

BGCI Member: Yes

About the Missouri Botanical Garden

Founded in 1859, the Missouri Botanical Garden is the nation's oldest botanical garden in continuous operation and a National Historic Landmark.

The Garden is a center for botanical research and science education, as well as an oasis in the city of St. Louis. The Garden offers 79 acres of beautiful horticultural display, including a 14-acre Japanese strolling garden, founder Henry Shaw's original 1850 estate home, and one of the world's largest collections of rare and endangered orchids.

Main Address:
Missouri Botanical Garden
4344 Shaw Boulevard
St. Louis
Missouri 63110 United States of America

Telephone: (314) 577-5100
Fax: (314) 577-9521
Primary Email:

Staff Details

  • Director's Name: Dr. Peter Wyse Jackson, President
    Curator's Name: Andrew Wyatt, VP Horticulture
    Plant Records Officer's Name: Rebecca Sucher, Living Collections Manager
  • Total Staff:
    Horticultural Staff Number:
    Educational Staff Number: 52
    Research Staff Number: 130
    Administration Staff Number:

About the Garden

  • Institution Type: Botanic Garden
  • Status
  • Status: Private: Yes
    Status: Educational: Yes
    Status: Trust: Yes
  • Date founded: 1859
  • Physical Data
  • Landscaped Area: Yes
  • Total Area: 32 Hectares
    Latitude: 38.6167030
    Longitude: -90.2579640
    Altitude: 0.00 Metres
  • Additional Locations
  • Satellite Garden Names: Shaw Nature Reserve

Features and Facilities

  • Herbarium: Yes
    Herbarium: Number of Specimens: 6589861
  • Seed Bank: Yes
    Published Plant Catalogue: Yes
    Computer Plant Record System: Yes
  • Open to public: Yes
    Friends society: Yes
    Retail Outlet: Shop: Yes
    Retail Outlet: Plant Sales: Yes
    Disabled access: Yes
  • Number of Visitors: 1045000
    Number of Volunteers: 2000

Plant Collections

  • Accession Number: 31388
    Cultivation Taxa Num: 16222
  • Special Collections:Arizoaceae, Araceae, Asclepiadaceae, Cactaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Nymphaeceae, Orchidaceae, Camellia (11 spp., 86 taxa), Haworthia (44 spp.), Ilex (16 spp.), Iris (144 taxa), Quercus (21 spp., 21 taxa), Rhododendron (60 spp., 98 taxa), Rosa mediterranean pla
  • Invasive Species Monitoring: Yes
    Invasive Species Policy: Yes
    ABS Policy: Yes
    Plant Collection Policy: Yes

Conservation Programmes

  • Conservation Programme: Yes
    Medicinal Plant Programme: Yes
    Ex Situ Conservation Programme: Yes
    Reintroduction Programme: Yes

Research Programmes

  • Conservation - Biology: Yes
    Conservation - Genetics: Yes
    Data Management Systems and Information Technology: Yes
    Ecology: Yes
    Ecosystem Conservation: Yes
    Education: Yes
    Ethnobotany: Yes
    Exploration: Yes
    Floristics: Yes
    Horticulture: Yes
    Invasive Species Biology and Control: Yes
    Molecular Genetics: Yes
    Pollination Biology: Yes
    Restoration Ecology: Yes
    Seed/Spore Biology: Yes
    Systematics and Taxonomy: Yes
    Sustainability: Yes
    Pharmacology: Yes
    Agriculture: Yes
    Land Restoration: Yes
    Urban Environments: Yes

Education Programmes

  • Visitor/Education Centre: Yes
    Education Signs in Garden: Yes
    Public Lectures/Talks: Yes
    Education Booklets/Leaflets: Yes
    Guided Tours: Yes
    Permanent Public Displays: Yes
    Special Exhibitions: Yes
    Courses for School Children: Yes
    Courses for University/College Students: Yes
    Courses for General Public: Yes
    Education Programme: Yes

Restoring diversity in the St Louis Region

Missouri Botanical Garden manages the Shaw Nature Reserve. The ecological restoration goal at the is the creation or rehabilitation of a mosaic of habitats that can support healthy populations of the maximum possible number of plant and animal species native to the St. Louis region. This will enhance the Reserve's role as a refuge for the biological heritage of east-central Missouri. Approximately half of the Reserve's 2400 acres are currently set aside as the "Native Habitats Area" and are managed to favor native biodiversity. The habitats represented include glades, prairies, wetlands, and woodlands. Management methods include assessment of existing diversity, control of exotic species and aggressive natives (such as Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana)), reintroduction of native plants and occasionally animals, properly timed mowing and prescribed burning.

Restoration began in earnest in 1979. The first effort was the planting of 48 acres of prairie. Prairie restoration sites in the core of Shaw Nature Reserve now comprise over 250 acres of authentic tallgrass prairie similar to that which, two centuries ago, occupied perhaps 40 percent of Missouri. Wetlands consist of about 32 acres of “swell and swale” topography along Brush Creek, reshaped in stages, in 1991, 1993 and 1996, with earth-moving equipment. The earthwork was followed by ample rains and sowing of species-rich seed mixes, along with some direct plantings of wetland flora. The wetlands include seasonally flooded pools, marsh, wet prairie and moist woodlands, watered by rainfall runoff from the prairie uplands nearby.

Approximately 50 acres of naturally occurring dolomite glades, native grassland, in the Shaw Nature Reserve have been reclaimed through restoration from encroaching Eastern red cedars and other trees since 1991. The portions in good condition are serving as natural sources of native plant and pollinator species for both glade and prairie restorations.

More recently, ecological restoration, including invasive species control and prescribed burns have been applied to the woodlands.  Eastern red cedar and other fire-sensitive tree species being removed from the woodlands to allow more light and air-flow, and to increase herbaceous plant diversity. Ozark woodlands were inhabited for centuries by Native Americans and maintained by their "fire culture". As modern restoration progresses, selective cutting and prescribed burning have yielded an oak and hickory-dominated woodland with "orchard-like" appearance described by European settlers 150- 200 years ago. As the woodland structure becomes more open, a carpet of grasses and flowers, some of which are best adapted to growth in the dappled light of the woodlands, has flourished.

Madagascar: Preserving and Restoring a Rich and Diverse Flora

Madagascar is known for its extraordinary diversity, with 11,600 plant species native to the island and found nowhere else on earth. Sadly, only 10% of the original vegetation remains on the island.

Over the last decade, the Missouri Botanical Garden has initiated forest regeneration projects with eleven local communities, on sites encompassing 228 square miles. The sites represent a wide range of native vegetation types that will be designated as protected areas. Restoration activities include:

  • Thorough botanical inventories of each site, providing key information for science-based restoration
  • Eliminating destructive activity in partially degraded forests to facilitate natural regeneration
  • Establishing nurseries that produce seedlings of native keystone trees for forest restoration projects, as well as fruit and spice trees to provide food and income for local people
  • Planting pioneer tree species—those trees that are the first to repopulate a disturbed area—to provide suitable conditions for other species to germinate and develop
  • Planting fast-growing trees as sources of fuel wood and timber for local people, thus helping to provide an alternative to the unsustainable use of dwindling native forest resources

Efforts are also underway with local communities to improve livelihoods, develop alternative sources of food and fuelwood, and improve income generation, which in turn reduces pressure on the forests.