Bakuriani Alpine Botanical Garden

The Bakuriani Alpine Botanical Garden of the Institute of Botany under the Georgian Academy of Sciences is located on the south-western slopes of the Bakuriani Range, at an altitude of 1,700 meters above sea level. It was founded in 1910 on the western slope of Kokhtagora Mt. on the initiative of A. Rolov and A. Fomin. In 1934 the garden was transferred to the Georgian Institute of Botany.

In 1937 the garden was laid out on a new territory. Its area makes 17 hectares. The principal designation of the Bakuriani Botanical Garden is the introduction of alpine plants of the Caucasus, their acclimatization, and identification of characteristic bio-ecological peculiarities. At the same time, the Bakuriani Botanical Garden is one of the experimental bases of the Institute of Botany under the Georgian Academy of Sciences.

Trial plots and collections are established on its territory, among which the following are to be noted:

The collection of alpine plants, with up to 1200 species from various districts of the Caucasus – e.g. toothed bluebell, milky bluebell, Caucasian scabious, primrose, oriental poppy, Javakhetian and Ketskhoveli black salsify, blue fescue, mountain wood betony, anemone, delphinium, Pontic gentian, etc.), occupying the area of 1.5 hectares.

Collection of plants from Altai, Far East, Carpathian Mts and other plants, with 300 species (e.g. Amur pink, Alpine violet, summer snowflake, Carpathian bellflower, Alpine cornflower, Himalayan aster, etc.) have been introduced in the Garden.

Collection of trees: 75 Caucasian varieties (high-mountain maple, Oriental oak, Medvedev and Litvinov birches, Nordmann fir, elm-tree, lime-tree, rhodendron, Ungern's rhodendron, etc.), 66 species of exotic plants (Douglas fir, European, Engelmann and American spruces, Manchurian walnut, Amur cork tree, Siberian larch, etc.). The trial plots are planted to current (white, red, and black), blackberry, goose-berry and various species of Michurin's frost-proof apple that were introduced in 1939.

The Bakuriani Botanical Garden maintains contacts with some foreign botanical gardens, exchanging seeds on the basis of a list annually compiled and published by the Institute of Botany under the Georgian Academy of Sciences.

The garden collections occupy approximately 6 ha. Majority of the collections is maintained at the alpine rock garden. At present the garden supports 94 endemic species of the Caucasus including 32 Georgian endemics. In addition, the garden collections include 77 rare and 55 endangered plant species. A 10 ha fragment of primary forest formed by spruce, pine and beech is part of the garden. The forest is critical that this forest ecosystem be conserved, as it is one of the last remnants of the regional primary forests, 15 ha of traditionally used hay meadows.

 Recently Bakuriani Alpine Botanical Garden, in collaboration with William L. Brown Center at Missouri Botanical Garden has started an ethnobotanical research program covering the whole of the Republic of Georgia. BABG, with its central location in Georgia, especially with regard to the most important regions of traditional use (Ajaria, Svaneti, Tusheti) will on the one hand function as ethnobotanical education and resource center, and on the other hand establish an ethnobotanical garden section to serve the in-situ conservation of plants traditionally used in the Caucasus, as well as educational garden. Field expeditions will be organized to collect live plant material and seeds of medicinal plants for ex-situ conservation in previously prepared sites in the Alpine Botanical. Based on literature and field observations, a red list of endangered medicinal plant species is compiled. The project work is undertaken in close cooperation and participation of local community representatives and interest groups. Close links are established with the Bakuriani regional non-governmental organization "Tskratskaro" to disseminate knowledge on medicinal plants among schoolchildren and teenagers. Posters of Georgian rare medicinal plants are printed and distributed to the local population.