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United States Botanic Garden

United States of America - District of Columbia - Washington

Institution Code: USBG

International Agenda Registration: Yes

BGCI Member: Yes

About the United States Botanic Garden

The United States Botanic Garden traces its beginning to 1816, when the constitution of the Columbian Institute for the Promotion of Arts and Sciences in Washington, D.C., proposed the creation of a botanic garden to collect, grow, and distribute plants of this and other countries that might contribute to the welfare of the American people. The Institute's garden was established by Congress in 1820 to the west of the Capitol Grounds, extending from First Street to Third Street between Pennsylvania and Maryland Avenues. This facility functioned until shortly after the organization stopped holding meetings in 1837.

In 1842, the idea of a national botanic garden was reestablished when the return of the United States Exploring Expedition to the South Seas (the Wilkes Expedition) brought to Washington a collection of living plants from around the globe. Placed initially in a specially constructed greenhouse behind the Old Patent Office Building, the plants were moved in late 1850 into a new structure on the site previously occupied by the Columbian Institute's garden.

The Garden was moved to its present location in 1933. The complex is bordered by First Street and Third Streets, S.W., and located along the north and south sides of Independence Avenue. The Garden includes the Conservatory and two acres of surrounding exterior grounds, the outdoor display gardens in Frederic Auguste Bartholdi Park surrounding Bartholdi Fountain and the three acre National Garden directly west of the Conservatory. A plant production and support facility moved to the present location in 1993 and includes 25 acres of growing space, 85,000 sg ft of greenhouses and maintenance shops.

Under the direction of the Joint Committee on the Library (Legislative Branch of the US Federal Government), which is charged by law with control over the USBG, the Architect of the Capitol is responsible for the maintenance and operation of the Garden.

Main Address:
United States Botanic Garden
245 First Street, SW
Washington
District of Columbia 20024 United States of America

Telephone: (202) 226-8333
Fax: (202) 225-1561
URL: www.usbg.gov
Primary Email: rmims@aoc.gov

Staff Details

  • Director's Name: Ari Novy, Executive Director
    Curator's Name: Ray Mims, Plant Conservation & Sustainability
    Plant Records Officer's Name: Jaclyn Leahy, Plant Records
  • Total Staff:
    Horticultural Staff Number: 31
    Educational Staff Number: 15
    Research Staff Number:
    Administration Staff Number: 5

About the Garden

  • Institution Type: Botanic Garden
  • Status
  • Status: State: Yes
    Status: Educational: Yes
    Status: Municipal: No
    Status: Trust: No
  • Date founded: 1816
  • Physical Data
  • Natural Vegetation Area: Yes
    Natural vegetation area: Size: 3 Hectares
  • Landscaped Area: Yes
    Landscaped Area: Size: 6 Hectares
  • Total Area: 14 Hectares
    Latitude: 38.8881320
    Longitude: -77.0129140
    Annual Rainfall: 100 mm
    Altitude: 8.00 Metres
    Total area of glasshouses: 5760 Metres
  • Additional Locations
  • Satellite Garden Names: USBG Production Facility & Nursery 25 acres & 85,000 sqft under glass 4700 Shepherd Parkway SW WDC 20032
  • Locality: Information
  • Locality: Garden Name: United States Botanic Garden
  • Local Address: 245 First Street SW Washington D.C. 20024-3201
  • Locality: City: Washington
  • Locality: State: District of Columbia

Features and Facilities

  • Herbarium: No
    Arboretum: No
  • Micropropagation/ Tissue Culture Facilities: No
    Seed Bank: Yes
    Published Plant Catalogue: Yes
    Computer Plant Record System: Yes
  • Open to public: Yes
    Friends society: Yes
    Retail Outlet: Shop: No
    Retail Outlet: Plant Sales: No
    Disabled access: Yes
  • Number of Visitors: 1000000
    Number of Volunteers: 200

Plant Collections

  • Accession Number: 12286
    Cultivation Taxa Num: 7842
  • Special Collections:Araceae,Bromeliaceae,Orchidaceae,Cactaceae,Arecaceae,Zingiberales, cycads, ferns, Medicinal plants, Hawaiian plants, native Mid-Atlantic plant material.

Conservation Programmes

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

Research Programmes

  • Plant Breeding: Yes
    Conservation - Biology: Yes
    Data Management Systems and Information Technology: Yes
    Ecology: Yes
    Ecosystem Conservation: Yes
    Education: Yes
    Ethnobotany: Yes
    Exploration: Yes
    Invasive Species Biology and Control: Yes
    Pollination Biology: Yes
    Restoration Ecology: Yes
    Sustainability: Yes
    Pharmacology: 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: No
    Courses for General Public: Yes
    Education Programme: Yes