1. Lalbagh or the Mysore State Botanical Garden, Bangalore:
It is a historic garden that has attained a privileged place among the gardens of the word.
It is considered to be the best in the east for its layout, grandeur, maintenance, scientific interest and scenic beauty. KEW, the mother institute of world botanic gardens, has influenced and helped it by supplying new plants and trained staff since 1856.
Lalbagh has influenced the development of horticulture in India by extensive plant introduction.
This garden was laid in the form of royal retreat in Bangalore by Sultan Hyder Ali in 1760. He imported plants from Delhi, Lahore and Multan for this garden. His son Tippu Sultan further improved it, and introduced many new species of flowering and fruit plants. Some of ilk trees planted during Tippu’s time still adorn the garden.
Major Waugh was its director during 1799-1819. He introduced a number of foreign exotic plants in this garden. However, Dr. Cleghorn made it a real botanic garden it) 1856. A tropical nursery was established in the garden in 1908. Rao Bahadur H.C. Jayaraja was the first Indian director of this garden. The garden is now a big centre of horticultural activities. It now has well-equipped laboratories for seed-testing and soil-testing, and also a grape orchard, tree nursery, fruit nursery, pot-garden, economic garden, and a herbal garden.
2. Lloyd Botanic Garden, Darjeeling:
The initiative to develop a botanic garden near Darjeeling in Himalayas came from Sir Ashley Eden, the then Lieutenant Governor of Bengal. The garden came into existence as a branch establishment of the Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta, and was laid out on 40 acres of land donated by Mr. William Lloyed, under the guidance of Sir George king.
The garden is situated at an altitude of 6000 ft. with an annual rainfall of 110 inches. The climatic conditions there have helped to establish and sustain the characteristic flora of Sikkim Himalayas. Mr A.G. Jeffrey was the first curator of this garden.
Since 1910, this garden has become a major institution for the distribution of seeds, bulbs, and plants of temperate Himalayas to different parts of the world. It has a vast collection of plants from Burma, China and Japan. It has separate sections of coniferous and indigenous plants. A Rock Garden, Orchidarium, Bulbous section, Succulent section, Seed section, Herbarium of over 30,000 specimens, and Rosary are its major attractions. Its coniferous section has 45 species including Australian Callitris.
3. National Botanic Garden, Lucknow:
Lucknow, the city of Nawabs, once used to be the city of gardens too. The present National Botanic Garden is popularly known as Sikander Bagh. The Sikander Bagh was originally laid out by Nawab Saadat Ali Khan (1789-1814) and was later on expanded and improved by Nawab Wajid Ali Shah and named it after his beloved Begum Sikander Mahal.
It was converted into a botanic garden in its new form in 1946 by Professor K.N. Kaul, its first director. The idea of establishing a botanic garden at Lucknow originated in 1929 following the interest aroused by a drug, Santonin, obtained from Artemisia maritima. At that time Soviet Union was the only supplier of this drug to the world.
The present garden and its laboratories are spread over 27 acres of land on the bank of river Gomti. Popular attractions of this garden are its Rosarium, Palm house, Cactus house, Fern house, Orchid house, and orchards of mango, Citrus and guava. It has well-equipped laboratories of Plant Morphology, Aromatics, Cytogenetics, Plant breeding, Tissue culture, Virology, Palynology, Plant Physiology, Entomology, etc. The garden bears an added experimental research station at Banthra, about 20 km from Lucknow.
4. Botanical Garden of Forest Research Institute, Dehradun:
It is perhaps the youngest member of the family of botanic gardens in India, yet it has attained the status of one of the 500 principal botanic gardens of the world. It was established in 1934 under the leadership of C.E. Parkinson. The later successors N. L. Bor and M. B. Raizada made invaluable contributions to this botanic garden and its herbarium. S. Kedarnath, who looks over in 1962, continued the work of introduction of exotic plants.
It covers an area of about 20 acres in New Forest Estate, Dehradun, and is the main Indian centre of research in problems related with plant introduction. There are about 700 species of plants belonging to about 400 genera and about 100 families in this garden. Over half of these 700 species have been introduced from different parts of the world. The garden has a greenhouse, a cactus house and a Plant Introductory Nursery. Its biggest attraction is a big herbarium holding over 30, 00, 00 plant specimens from all over the world.
5. Indian Botanical Garden, Calcutta – The Largest Botanical Garden of India:
The Royal Botanic Garden or the Indian Botanic Garden, as renamed in 1950, Sibpur, Calcutta, was laid on 310 acres of land on the bank of the river Hoogly in 1787 at the initiative of Col. Robert Kyd of the Bengal infantry. William Roxburgh, the Father of Indian Botany, was its second director and founded the world famous herbarium of this garden. The garden is now under the control of Botanical Survey of India. Dr. K. Biswas was the first Indian to be appointed Superintendent of this garden in 1937. George King was the designer of this garden.
The garden is now noted for potato cultivation and introduction of jute, sugarcane, tea, and quinine-yielding Cinchona. Cultivation of Aloe, coffee, India-rubber, cardamom, are Henbane are some of the special achievements of this garden.
The great Banyan tree, which is one of the largest trees in size in the world, is the main centre of attraction of this garden. It appears like a miniature forest in itself. Over 1700 of its aerial roots are actually rooted in the ground. The circumference of the canopy of this single tree is more than 405 metre.
It is considered to be over 250 years of age. There are over 15000 species of plants in this garden from several countries. Some main attractions of the garden are its Palm-house, Orchid-house, Pinetum, Ternary, Cacti-collection, the giant water lily, Victoria regia, and the section of medicinal plants.
The garden has the largest and best herbarium in the country. The large number of herbarium specimens (about 2.5 million) and the type materials add to the value of the herbarium. Since 1957, the major part of this collection has been shifted to the Botanical Survey of India. Botanical Garden being the headquarter of Botanical survey of India. It is now called The Central National Herbarium, Calcutta.