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Jardín Botánico Lankester

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Costa Rica - Cartago

Institution Code: USJ

International Agenda Registration: Yes

BGCI Member: Yes

About the Jardín Botánico Lankester

Officially founded in 1973, the mission of the University of Costa Rica 's Lankester Botanical Garden is to promote conservation, enjoyment and sustainable use of the epiphytic flora through scientific research, horticulture, and environmental education.

Internationally recognized for its noteworthy collections of epiphytes, the Lankester Botanical Garden was established in 1973 as a center for the exhibition, conservation and research of tropical epiphytic plants, with a special interest in orchids. On 11 hectares , the field collections, collections in greenhouses and secondary forests host over 3,000 species of plants.

The Lankester Botanical Garden 's history goes back to the 1940's when the British naturalist and orchidologist, Charles H. Lankester , became interested in the study and culture of Costa Rica 's epiphytic plants. As an amateur botanist, he collaborated with the most prominent orchidologists of his time and dedicated his life to the creation of a private garden in his farm. After his death, the importance of preserving his garden became evident. Through the joint efforts of the American Orchid Society and the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust, the garden of “don Carlos” was donated to the University of Costa Rica on March 2nd, 1973, with the promise to transform it into a botanical garden. With dedication and much effort, the Lankester Botanical Garden has become one of the most active and important botanical institutions of the Neotropics.

Main Address:
Jardín Botánico Lankester
Universidad de Costa Rica
Apartado 302-7050
Costa Rica

Telephone: (506) 552-3247
Fax: (506) 552-3151
Primary Email:

Staff Details

  • Director's Name: Jorge Warner, Director
    Curator's Name: Franco Pupulin
    Plant Records Officer's Name:
  • Total Staff:
    Horticultural Staff Number: 7
    Educational Staff Number:
    Research Staff Number: 6
    Administration Staff Number: 12

About the Garden

  • Institution Type: Botanic Garden
  • Status
  • Status: Private: No
    Status: State: Yes
    Status: Educational: Yes
    Status: Trust: No
  • Date founded: 1973
  • Physical Data
  • Natural Vegetation Area: Yes
    Natural vegetation area: Size: 5 Hectares
  • Landscaped Area: Yes
    Landscaped Area: Size: 6 Hectares
  • Total Area: 11 Hectares
    Latitude: 9.8259
    Longitude: -83.6981
    Annual Rainfall: 2000 mm
    Altitude: 1360.00 Metres
    Total area of shadehouses: 1000 Metres
  • Locality: Information
  • Locality: Garden Name: Jardin Botanico Lankester
  • Local Address: KM 4 Carretera de Cartago a Paraiso Derecha al letrero y 300 m al sur Derecha 200 m
  • Locality: City: Cartago
  • Locality: State:

Features and Facilities

  • Herbarium: Yes
  • Computer Plant Record System: Yes
  • Open to public: Yes
    Friends society: No
    Retail Outlet: Shop: Yes
    Retail Outlet: Plant Sales: Yes
    Disabled access: Yes
  • Number of Visitors: 30000

Plant Collections

  • Accession Number: 15000
    Cultivation Taxa Num: 1500
  • Special Collections:A general collection of tropical trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials, containing particularly rich collections of the following families:

    The Garden cultivates more than 15,000 scientific documented specimens from close to 1,000 species, most of which are native to Mesoamerica.


    Cactaceae and Succulents
    The Garden's collection is located in a recently updated area thanks to the sponsorship of the Alonso Guzmán family. In this area, visitors can see plants from diverse families (cactus, agave, crassulaceae, euphorbiaceae and liliaceae) with adaptations to minimize water loss.

    The Garden has a collection of more than 100 native and exotic heliconia species that grow along with similar species such as bird of paradise, marantaceae, musaceae, gingers, and costus.

    At the Garden, visitors may enjoy one of the most important collections in the country as well as a small forest of Phyllostachys aurea.

    The Garden has a collection of large palms from diverse origins and a collection of undergrowth palms that are mostly natives that grow in the shadiest part of the secondary forest. Visitors can observe species of Peach Palm (Bactris gasipaes – known in Costa Rica as pejibaye) which is very much appreciated for its fruit and plants with high ornamental value in the genus Chamaedorea.

    Second Growth Forest
    The pre-montane secondary forest existing in the Garden represents one of the few recovered areas in the urban zone of Costa Rica's Central Valley . In 1973, the year the Garden was inaugurated, most of the land was pasture land and abandoned crops. The natural succession received human assistance through planting native and very varied introduced species. With an area of approximately six hectares, visitors can find native species adapted to the secondary forest; tree species from the country's lower lying, humid areas; ornamental ground plants; numerous epiphytes; and climbing araceae. The secondary forest is also home to a large number of bird species, small mammals, reptiles, and insects.

Conservation Programmes

  • Conservation Programme: Yes
    Medicinal Plant Programme: No

Research Programmes

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

Education Programmes

  • Visitor/Education Centre: Yes
    Education Signs in Garden: Yes
    Public Lectures/Talks: No
    Education Booklets/Leaflets: Yes
    Guided Tours: Yes
    Permanent Public Displays: Yes
    Special Exhibitions: Yes
    Courses for School Children: No
    Courses for University/College Students: Yes
    Courses for General Public: No
    Education Programme: No