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Botanical Garden of the Kyrgis Academy of Sciences, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Volume 2 Number 8 - July 1997

Dr Vitali P. Krivoruchko

The Botanical Garden was founded in 1938, today it occupies 160 ha in the southern part of the town of Bishkek. It is situated in a stony semi-desert area of Central Asia but extensive irrigation has removed virtually all the true desert elements. The main ecological factors which limit the introduction of plants are the dry spring/summer period and low temperature conditions during winter and the lack of snow cover (especially in recent years).

The Botanical Garden is a centre of practical study for students of the Biological Faculty of the Kyrgyz State University and for students of the Pharmacological Faculty of Kyrgyz State Medical Institute. Courses and workshops are held regularly. School groups also make frequent field trips.

There are more than 2,000 species of tree and shrub of the world planted in geographic and systematic order. Species of liane have been introduced into Kyrgyzstan for the first time and fifteen species have been selected and recommended for growing. As a result of research, approximately two hundred and thirty shrub and tree species have been selected and recommended for growing in urban areas and to help preserve the ecological balance.

Flowering and decorative plants occupy about 30 ha with over 762 species maintained in the field and 2 greenhouses (1200 mý). There are four collections: systematic (223 sp), medicinal, tropical and subtropical plants (350 sp), and local wild flora (49 sp). The collection of medicinal plants has fifty-three introduced and sixty-four local wild species.

The flowering and decorative plants department carries out plant breeding and selection of the following genera: Aster, Callistephus, Gladiolus, Iris, Phlox. The collection contains 270 Gladiolus varieties with varieties introduced from other countries used as parents. The seven new varieties obtained are more drought and heat resistant and are widely used commercially and domestically. Two hundred hybrid forms of Phlox paniculata L. have been selected for the colour and shape of the flower and inflorescence and multiple disease resistance. They are being used for private gardens and public areas of Kyrgyzstan. Dwarf forms of Iris with different flower colours obtained by hybridisation with Iris aphylla are widely used. Three dwarf decorative forms of Aster dumosus L. have been obtained and are being used for urban planting.

The fruit tree laboratory, which studies varieties of apple and stone fruit trees occupies about 60 ha. Plum and apple varieties are selected for the highland regions of the state. Four of the apple varieties (Kikgizskoe zimnee, Bishkekskoe, Rashida, Cholponbai) are widely used both commercially and domestically.

The main purpose of the breeding work in the subfamily Prunoidae is to obtain new types adapted to the local climatic conditions and with high yields and dwarf forms. Interspecific and intergeneric hybridization is being used to obtain frost and drought-resistant varieties, investigate the connection between the genera of the subfamily Prunoidae and haploid apomixis. As a result of this programme, fourteen new plum varieties have been obtained and the some of them are being widely used, such as Jibek (Prunus domestica x Armeniaca dasycarpa) and Alamedinskaya (Prunus domestica x Armeniaca vulgaris).