Unique in the world of botanical gardens

Central Africa

Since the end of the 19th century, the Botanic Garden has been conducting research on the vegetation of Central Africa, particularly in the DR Congo, Rwanda, and Burundi. This made the former National Botanic Garden the world centre for botanical knowledge of this region. 

In the 20th century, countless seeds and young plants were brought back from expeditions in this region, resulting in a unique collection of Central African plants in the greenhouses. Many of these species are rarely found in botanical gardens outside their area of origin. This makes the collection of Meise Botanic Garden, with 600 different species, unique and world renowned. 

In 2017, the collection of Central African rainforest plants was planted in the eastern corner of the Tropical Rainforest greenhouse of the Plant Palace. Labels with at least one local name were added to over a third of the plants in the greenhouse. For example, Brillantaisia owariensis is called 'lemba lemba' in the Kikongo language, which means 'quiet quiet'. The leaves of this plant are used locally for their calming effect.