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South China Botanical Garden, CAS

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China - Guangdong - Guangzhou

Institution Code: IBSC

International Agenda Registration: Yes

BGCI Member: Yes

Main Entrance of South China Botanical Garden
Main Entrance of South China Botanical Garden

About the South China Botanical Garden, CAS

South China Botanical Garden(SCBG), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), formerly known as Institute of Agriculture and Forestry, Sun Yat-Sen University, was founded in 1929 by Chen Huanyong also known as Woon-young Chun, a renowned botanist and scholar in CAS. It was renamed South China Institute of Botany, CAS in 1954, and then to its present name in 2003 in compliancewith a new CAS developmental plan.

As one of the top botany research institutions in China, SCBG has obtained abundant research achievements in the fields of ecology, systematic and evolutionary botany, plant resources, biotechnology, as well as landscape and gardening. Since 1954, about 375 monographs have been compiled and published by SCBG, mainly including Flora of China, The Vegetation of Guangdong, Studies on the Tropical and Subtropical Degraded Ecosystem and Its Rehabilitation, Rare Plants of China, Introduction to Restoration Ecology etc. Until the end of 2015, over 2440 scientific papers have been published in internationally peer-reviewed journals including “Nature” and “Science”; 390 research achievements have been obtained, of which 285 were awarded prizes at various levels, including a first and a second prizes of National Natural Science Award, and five second prizes of National Science and Technology Advance Awards. The research achievements were twice honored as "Top Ten Basic Research News in China" in 2000 and 2006, respectively. In total 285 patents have been filed, of which 153 have been licensed. In addition, 88 new plant varieties have been validated or registered internationally since 1988.

As one of the largest comprehensive botanical gardens in China, SCBG consists of three divisions: 1) The nursery and exhibition zone. With an area of 282 ha, it was designed mainly for plant ex-situ conservation with more than 14,000 plant taxa growing in 37 special living collections, including magnolias, bamboos, palms, gingers, orchids, medicinal plants, etc.; 2) The research zone.With an area of 37 ha, it features a herbarium holding more than 1,100,000 dried plant specimens, four research centers and several key laboratories; and 3) The Dinghushan National Nature Reserve.Established in 1956, it is the first national nature reserve in China and the only reserve affiliated to CAS. Over 2,400 plant species are in situ conserved in an area of 1,155ha. In addition, SCBG runs three field research stations, including Dinghushan National Field Research Station of Forest Ecosystem, Heshan National Field Research Station of Forest Ecosystem, and Xiaoliang CAS Field Research Station for Restoration of Tropical Coastal Degraded Ecosystem.

At present, SCBG has 402 staff members, including 307 professional researchers. SCBG offers Master’s and Ph.D programmes in botany, ecology, as well as biochemistry & molecular biology. SCBG also offers Master’s programme in ornamental plants & gardening, and biological engineering. At present, 213 Master students and 150 Ph.D students are enrolled. In addition, 32 postdoctoral fellows are currently working at SCBG.

In the past decades, SCBG has established extensive and productive exchange and collaboration programs with research institutions from many countries, hosting 100 international visiting scholars each year. SCBG has successfully organized 12 international conferences since 2002, including Symposium on Theory of Ecosystem Succession and Practice of Ecological Restoration, Third International Conference on Vetiver, Symposium on Theory and Methods of Carbon Equilibrium and Circulation in Ecosystems, International Symposium on Artemisia and its Allies, Second International Symposium on Family Magnoliaceae, and 23rd New Phytologist Symposium: Carbon Cycling in Tropical Ecosystems. SCBG is also the host of two international organizations Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) China Program Office and International Association of Botanical Gardens (IABG) Secretariat. In 2016, SCBG became a Patron Garden of BGCI, acting as a key partner to BGCI and helps to shape BGCI programmes of work in a mutually beneficial way.

As a National 4A Tourist Attraction, SCBG receives about 1 million visitors per year. SCBG has paid great attention to science education to the general public with advanced knowledge produced in fields of tropical and subtropical plant research, species conservation, and sustainable resource utilization. SCBG is a National Popular Science Education Base, the Most Popular Base for Popular Science in Guangzhou, and a Patriotic Education Base.

Main Address:
South China Botanical Garden, CAS
No. 723 Xingke Road, Tianhe District
Guangdong 510650 China

Telephone: 0086 20 37252711
Fax: 0086 20 37252711
Primary Email:

Staff Details

  • Director's Name: Dr. Ren Hai, Director
    Curator's Name:
    Plant Records Officer's Name:
  • Total Staff:
    Horticultural Staff Number: 100
    Educational Staff Number:
    Research Staff Number: 178
    Administration Staff Number: 40

About the Garden

  • Institution Type: Botanic Garden
  • Status
  • Status: Private: No
    Status: State: Yes
    Status: Educational: Yes
    Status: Municipal: No
  • Date founded: 1929
  • Physical Data
  • Natural Vegetation Area: Yes
    Natural vegetation area: Size: 282 Hectares
  • Landscaped Area: Yes
    Landscaped Area: Size: 282 Hectares
  • Latitude: 23.1333
    Longitude: 113.3208
    Altitude: 0.00 Metres
  • Locality: Information
  • Locality: Garden Name: 中国科学院华南植物园
  • Local Address: 中国广东省广州市天河区兴科路723号中国科学院华南植物园,邮编 510650
  • Locality: City: 广州市
  • Locality: State: 广东省

Features and Facilities

  • Herbarium: Yes
    Herbarium: Number of Specimens: 1100000
    Arboretum: Yes
    Arboretum Size: 1155
  • Micropropagation/ Tissue Culture Facilities: Yes
    Seed Bank: No
    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: No
  • Number of Visitors: 100

Plant Collections

  • Accession Number: 32123
    Cultivation Taxa Num: 14483

Conservation Programmes

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

Research Programmes

  • Biotechnology: Yes
    Plant Breeding: Yes
    Conservation - Biology: Yes
    Conservation - Genetics: Yes
    Data Management Systems and Information Technology: Yes
    Ecology: Yes
    Ecosystem Conservation: Yes
    Education: Yes
    Ethnobotany: No
    Exploration: Yes
    Floristics: Yes
    Invasive Species Biology and Control: Yes
    Molecular Genetics: Yes
    Pollination Biology: Yes
    Restoration Ecology: Yes
    Seed/Spore Biology: Yes
    Sustainability: Yes
    Pharmacology: Yes
    Agriculture: Yes
    Land Restoration: 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

Ecological restoration of degraded ecosystems in oil shale waste

South China Botanic Garden is carrying out research in cooperation with Maoming Petrochemical Company. We screened out the suitable plants, including 20 tree-species and 3 grass-species. These species have strong adaptability to oil shale waste and could be extended to revegetate acidic discarded mineral waste residue in tropical and subtropical regions and degraded ecosystems in arid wasteland. Six tree-species showed strong ability to enrich Cd, Pb, Zn and Mn via uptake through their roots, indicating that these plants had strong scavenging capacity to these toxic metals, speeding up the revegetating process of the oil shale waste dump. Paspalum notatum was found to have strong accumulation capacity of active Al in its leaf and finally pull Al away from the waste. This technology was granted a national patent “A method eliminating Al toxicity in soil by phytoremediation” (Patent No. ZL 200710035750.2)

Ecological Research in South China

South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences (SCBG), CAS carries out studies on the structure, function, mechanisms during the process of degradation and restoration of degraded ecosystems in tropical and subtropical regions of China. It integrates basic research and applied studies by assessing the health status and establishing restoration models at the same time. The Garden is establishing sustainable models for degraded ecosystems such as hilly lands, coastal regions, agricultural fields and urban areas, recognizing that it is critical for the sustainable development of economy in southern China to restore the vegetation and soil of degraded ecosystems.

In 1984, SCBG together with Heshan Forestry Research Institute, established the Heshan Station, to set up demonstration models for comprehensive utilization and exploitation of abandoned hilly lands that can ensure sustainable and concerted development both ecologically and economically. Studies on the relationship between species diversity and stability, structure and function in artificial forest ecosystem have been carried out.

In one project experiments are carried out across various vegetation types with grass land (control plots), monoculture plantations of native tree species or exotic fast-growing tree species, and mixed plantations of native tree species. Issues addressed concern the configuration of pioneer community, tree species adaptation and selection; the impacts of spatial configuration of plant species and communities on the establishment of native tree species and soil biodiversity; variation of soil properties and the carbon balance of different plantation ecosystems in response to vegetation restoration. The results show that legume tree species were more suitable to be pioneer species, while fast-growing tree species were effective to reduce the leaching of soil nitrogen. The impacts of fallen litter and live roots of Eucalyptus and Acacia species on native tree species were examined separately. According to the findings, different strategies for colonization of different native species in those plantations are proposed. Additionally, a simplified system was designed to measure rhizosphere respiration in situ, and the data demonstrated that the contributions of fine and coarse roots were much similar in terms of their contribution to total root respiration; importantly, young plantation of Eucalyptus urophulla was proved to be a strong carbon sink.

Initiated in 2012, a BGCI supported project aims to promote and contribute to forest restoration using native tree species in large-scale pine, eucalyptus and acacia plantations of Heshan County, Guangdong. In the first part of 2013, work continued to grow native species in eucalyptus and acacia plantations as understorey vegetation, including medicinal species (e.g. Millettia speciosa, Gardenia jasminoides, Polygonum cuspidatum, Flemingia stricta), and to study their ecological role and economic benefits. To date, some 9000 saplings of these species have been planted in pilot plots. In the same vein, to enhance the conservation value of the plantations, some 1000 plants of three native tree species (Machilus chekiangensis, Phoebe bournei, Aquilaria sinensis) were introduced to the plantations.