Our mission

"Building a sustainable future through discovery, research and conservation of plants." Steven Dessein, CEO

A Botanic Garden with a rich history…

 

The history of the Botanic Garden dates back to 1796. This way, the institution is older than the kingdom of Belgium, and therefore we have an experience with plants of more than two centuries. The Botanic Garden comprises 92 hectares with a lot of historic buildings, including a castle with a tower from the 12th century.

 

With unique collections…

 

The Botanic Garden has a huge herbarium with approximately four million specimens including the greatest rose herbarium of the world and important historical collections from Brazil and Central African Republic. The Botanic Garden also has a botanical library with more than 200,000 books from the 15th century till today.

 

With the mission to conserve plants for the future…

 

The Botanic Garden stores more than 18,000 different living plants including several threatened species like the Kwango giant cycad (Encephalartos lautentianus). There is also an internationally recognized seedbank with e.g. seeds from multiple wild bean species.

 

To study plants and mushrooms…

 

The activities of our scientists to map and study the diversity of plants, mushrooms and algae cover the whole world, from Antarctica to the rain forests of Congo. The scientific activity focusses on a correct and scientific identification of plant species. What are the characteristics of one species? How many species exist? How can we distinguish species from one another? Unless we find answers to these fundamental questions, no economic activity whatsoever based on plants and plant-derived products can be carried out. Knowing the scientific name of a species is the key to unlock all the information on that species. A correct identification e.g. helps to distinguish poisonous species from related medicinal plants or to identify threatened species in need of protection measures.

 

To disseminate knowledge on plants…

 

Every year approximately 100,000 people visit the Botanic Garden. Most visitors especially know the plant collections and the glasshouses, yet there is so much more. Our scientists share their knowledge with passion and enthusiasm with the public. The Botanic Garden developed a whole set of tools in order to disseminate as efficiently as possible the knowledge on plants as well as to make the public aware of the necessity of plant conservation.