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M.M. Grishko Central Botanical Garden Of the National Ukranian Academy of Sciences

Volume 2 Number 5 - August 1995

Prof.T.M. Cherevchenko and Dr.N.B. Gaponenko

The M.M. Grishko Central Botanical Garden (CBG) was founded in 1935. In 1967 it achieved the status of scientific-research institute. At present, there are eight departments and two laboratories in the garden with more than a hundred research staff of which ten are doctors.

The area of the Garden is 132 ha. and it has a unique collection consisting of about 11,970 taxa (1,437 genera) belonging to 220 families.

The CBG is a leading biological institution in Ukraine. Scientists of the Garden carry out research work on plant introduction, conservation of endemic, relict and endangered plants, selection and genetics of ornamental, fruit, vegetable and forage plants, biotechnology of tropical and subtropical plants, medical botany, chemical interaction of plants, dendrology and park-building.

From the beginning, the basic direction of the Garden's activity has been the conservation of nature, including the study of rare and endangered plants.

A series of floristic complexes have been developed in the Garden. They are Forests of Ukranian Plains, Ukrainian Steppes, Carpathians, Crimea, Caucasus, Central Asia, Altai, Far East. These are excellent ecological niches for endemic, relict and endangered plants. Some of the these (eg. Crocus heuffelianus Herb., Galanthus elwesii Hook., Goodyera repens (L.) R.Br., Fritillaria meleagris L., Gymnospermium odessanum (DC.) Takht., Epipactis atrorubens (Hoffm. ex Bernh.) Schult.) have formed stable artificial populations, similar to natural populations. They are good sources of rare plant material.

The plot, Rare Plants of Ukrainian Flora was built in 1970 with over 200 rare, endangered, relict and endemic species represented. Among them are the endangered species Silene hypanica Klok., Centaurea margaritacea Tenore sl., and species under threat of extinction (Achillea glaberrima Klok., Leontopodium alpinum Cass., Rhodiola rosea L., Cypripedium macranthon Sw.). The most widely represented genera are Orchis, Crocus, Galanthus, Colchicum and Daphne.

The immediate priorities are :

  • Formation of a data bank or rare species in cultivation
  • Re-introduction into the wild of species vanishing from the flora of Ukraine
  • Creation of a seed bank of Ukrainian flora

In the arboretum,collections of trees, shrubs and lianas (1,416 species, 23 forms, 158 varieties and 46 hybrids) are represented by 165 genera and 59 families (1,858 taxa) and cover 30 ha. The arboretum includes a rich collection of Pinopsida (Coniferae) of more than 100 species. Well represented in the collections are such genera as Pinus (20 species), Juniperus (15), Picea (13), Abies (11), Larix (18). The arboretum includes a lilac garden with over 1,500 bushes (21 species, over 70 varieties). Varieties, "Taras Bulba", "Bogdan Khmelnitsky", "Poltava", "Lights of Donbass", developed in the garden are characterized by large blossom clusters, which are very attractive. There is also an interesting collection of Magnolia (11 species, 16 forms).

A unique and valuable resource of local and plants not native to Ukraine has also been collected and selected (Armeniaca, Cydonia, Persica, Cornus, Actinidia, Schisandra) and a genebank of Chaenomeles, Lonicera, Actinidia chinensis, Elaeagnus multiflora and Rubus has been created. Distinctive features of the new varieties bred in CBG are high yield, good quality, cold resistance and high resistance to diseases and pests.

Cornus mas

Cornus mas is an ancient fruit plant used as a food, medicine, ornamental and for land improvement. Until recently, in Ukraine, the fruits have been only harvested from the wild . These native plant stands have decreased and so from 1962 to 1992 CBG has collected more that 300 forms for its genebank. The technology of vegetatve dogwood propagation has been developed and commercial plantations have been set up. It has become so popular the garden can not meet the demand - requirements for Kiev and the neighbouring area alone are about ten million plants.

Forest forms of dogwood fruit irregularly, are small and not juicy, especially in dry years. In culture, it fruits every year, does not need special maintenance, is not labour intensive and is very profitable. Cultivated bushes bear 15-80 kg. of juicy fruits with a delicate pulp and intense colour, whereas wild bushes give 2.8-4.8 kg. per bush. The main criteria for selection were winter hardiness, plant habit, rate of growth, size, form and quality of the fruits (oval, round, pear- and bottle-shaped fruits and dark- red, cherry, yellow and rose coloured have been selected), stone size, crop production and time of ripening. The time of harvest depends on the variety and the conditions of the Ukrainian forest-steppe from July to September. The first dogwood varities produced were "Lukjanovski", "Vydubetski", "Elegantny", "Yelena", "Svetlyachok" and "Radost".

A topiary fruit garden was laid out in 1957 and has been continuously added to. It contains over 800 fruit and berry cultures of 50 varieties aesthetically arranged, together with flowering and ornamental plants near artificial pools on a one ha. plot.

At present, there are over 3,800 species and varieties of flowering and ornamental plants which have been studied and bred at CBG. New varieties of Chrysanthemum, Dahlia, Aster, Phlox, Iris, Gladiolus, Paeonia, Clematis and ornamental grasses have been created. These varieties have gained awards at International exhibitions ("Dahlia - 87" (Erfurt, Germany),"Flora Olomouc - 79, 85, 87" (Czechoslovakia), "Expo - 91" (Osaka, Japan),"Floriada - 92" (Holland),"Expo - 93" (Stuttgart, Germany).

Plots of forage, vegetables, spicy and aromatic plants were started in 1969 and now have over 300 species in cultivation. As a result of breeding, scientists at the garden have developed alternative varieties of forage crops Raphanus sativus L., Brassica, Amaranthus, Galega orientalis L., Silphium perfoliatum L., Bunias orientalis L. and vegetable plants. The use and composition of native spice plants are being researched.

Alternative Forage Plants Cultivated in the Central Botanic Garden

The most useful forage plants are species of the Cruciferae such as Brassica campestris L., B. napus var. oleifera DC, B. rapa x B. campestris L., Sinapis juncea L. and Raphanus sativus L. These are highly productive species with a short vegetative period selected for intermediate, postcut and post-harvest sowing.

For example, B. campestris "Gorlitsa" (bird rape) ensures a harvest of green forage in early spring characterised by winter hardiness and tolerance of soil type. It has a high protein content and increases milk productivity and richness in cattle and the seed can be used for an edible oil. 100,000 ha. are planted with bird rape in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

R. sativus L. "Raduga" is a late autumn green forage. It is ready after 40-45 days with an high protein content and characterised by cold hardiness and resistance to night cold. 500,000 ha. are planted in Ukraine and Belarus.

A sorrel hybrid var. "Rumex K-11" (Rumex patientia L. x R. tianschanicus A. Loss) is used for production in early spring. It is a perennial and can be used during the second and following years, 2,000 ha. are planted in Ukraine and Russia.

There are collections of tropical and subtropical plants (over 3,000 taxa) under glass (total area of 5,000 m.ý). Methods of micro-clonal propagation of tropical plants and nutrient media have been developed in the garden. The largest collection is of tropical orchids, which consists of 350 species and varieties belonging to 150 genera. The main aim is to study the biology of orchid development and develop methods for commecial cultivation. This research will help conserve rare and threatened species.

In 1980, orchids were put in space for the first time. Nine species were put in the microgreenhouse "Malakhit" on the orbital station "Salut-6". After the flight of 176 days it was found that epiphitic orchids had weak geotropic responses under conditions of weightlessness and survived and even grew, and terrestrial orchids died after 30-40 days.

Orchid Cultivation in CBG

The technique of orchid propagation in CBG provides tens of thousands of units of propagation material for commercial purposes and helps conserve rare and threatened species.

Commercial propagation is confined to Cymbidium varieties, Calanthe vestita Lindl. and commercial varieties of Phalaenopsis amabilis. Cymbidium propagated in vitro flowering with 3 mature tuberidea can give 3-5 infloresences and 30-75 flowers. Flowers are transported without water,, with or without refrigeration (2øC). Calanthe vestita is propagated by tuberidia. Phalaenopsis amabilis is propagated by seed and microprpagation of dominant buds of the inflorescence.

The conservation collection of orchids includes a number of endemics such as Angraecum eburneum Bory and A. sesquipedale Thouars from Madagascar, species of Aeranthes from the Mascarene Islands and South American species of Cattleya and Laelia which have local distributions in Brazil and Venezuela. Over the past five years Vietnamese orchids have also been collected.

In 1965, Academician of Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, A.M. Grodzinsky initiated in CBG the study of chemical plant interaction (allelopathy). A new research direction at CBG is medicinal botany. Scientists research plants-immunomodulators and develop phytocompositions correcting immunocompetence. Native medicinal plants are studied in the wild, as well as their efficient use, propagation and protection.

Conservation of nature, plant genebanks and biological research, combined with educational activities in ecology and plant use, were and still are the principal responsibilities of the Central Botanical Garden.

Prof. T. M. Cherevchenko and Dr N.B. Gaponenenko
Timiryazevskaya, 1
Kiev - 14
252014 Ukraine