National Botanical Garden(Institute) "Alexandru Ciubotaru"

What is Botanical Garden (Institute) of ASM

                     Botanical Garden of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova

The history of the Botanical Garden of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova begins in 1950, when it was founded based on the Botanical Sector (1947). Organization

Geographical location.The Botanical Garden is located in the South-East of Chisinau city, on an area of 104 ha and is crossed by river “Valea Crucii (Valley of the Cross)”, which divides it into two almost equal parts. Botanical Garden’s connection with city’s sectors is made through: Dacia boulevard, in front of the „Chisinau Gates” through the central entrance, which is presented by an alley of Picea pungens, which intersects the central clearing becoming the main axis of composition in the western part of the Botanical Garden; from Padurii Street 18, through the alley of Tilia argenteae and Tilia cordata.

The land. Orographic, hydrographic, soil and subsoil varieties create conditions for location and cultivation of various indigenous and exotic plants.
The landscape of the Botanical Gardens’ territory represents an enormous semi-cup in which, in a certain order, succeed vegetation areas that represent in miniature natural areas on Earth.

Soils. Throughout the Botanical Garden over 24 types of soil are found, including alluvial soils, chernozems, with a layer of 80-90 cm; here and there, rocks of different types of clay appear at the surface, also persist sands and meadow podzolic soils.

Hydrography. River “Valea Crucii (Valley of the Cross)” passes through the territory of the Botanical Garden. By its embanking, four water tanks were built, which, falling at different levels, form a cascade of four lakes. The groundwater is at various depths between 1.5 and 7.0 m. There are no natural marshes.

 At the design and construction of the Botanical Garden has been laid down the systematical ecological distribution principle of plant species in families. In most of the cases, groups of plants were placed in landscape style, which facilitates orientation on the field and study of the vegetation, and also, meet the aesthetic compositional requirements and ecological requirements of plant species.

Botanical Garden of A.S.M. is organized on sectors. Some are placed under the open sky, being populated with frost resistant plants, others are placed in special areas where live plants or preserved in various ways are protected from unfavourable conditions (especially frost).

                  Exhibition and collection of the Botanical Garden of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova

At the main entrance into Botanical Garden several vigorous trees of Sophora japonica welcome the visitors. Their ornamentation is displayed in their flowering period, in the mid-summer and autumn, when their leaves acquire distinct hues of yellow.

An alley created from chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum), and in the middle, silver spruce (Picea pungens) drives us to admire the charm of the compositional landscape of the Botanical Garden. Here we get into the garden of roses, the Rosarium (2.69 ha). Garden of roses is divided into 16 plots with pergolas of different shapes and sizes, crossed by paths and alleys. Over 650 species and varieties of roses and more than 30 species of decorative trees and shrubs have been planted here. The diversity of roses brings together forms: Thea hybrid - 332 varieties; Floribunda - 152 varieties; Grandiflora - 32 varieties; Polzantha - 21 varieties; climbing forms and half-climbing - 71 varieties.

In the vicinity of the garden of roses is located the Garden of trees with guided coronae and the Lianarium.

In the Garden of trees with guided coronae, artificial coronae forms and fruit trees with normal and pendent coronae are exposed. In total, there are about 600 trees planted, of which 50 varieties of apple and pear exposed in 30 forms of coronae.

On one side and the other of the alley are located decorative forms of apple (Malus purpurea, Malus pumila). Further, parallel to the central alley, horizontal cordons with two branches are formed, and then are located the fan-shaped espalier “chandelier”, to the periphery - a form of horizontal cordon, with an arm of apple varieties, and the oblique pear cordon spliced on quince.

Here we also find forms of two-level cordon with two branches, vertical cordon and two-level cordon with an arm, of apple varieties. Parallel with these forms are exposed corrugated pear cordons, cordons with one and two branches, in steps, of apple varieties. 

Lianarium is an exhibition of climbing woody plants - lianas. Here are displayed about 80 species and varieties of lianas, 10 species of decorative shrubs and 25 taxa of flowering plants. On the main alley are located pergolas of different shapes and sizes on which lianas climb: Fallan baldshuanica, Campsis radicans, Ampelopsis bodiuie, Wisteria floribunda. At the periphery to 14 species and forms of Lonicera and Clematis are exposed.

From the intersection point of alleys in Rosarium, Lianarium and Garden of trees with guided coronae exhibitions we pass in the Rokarium (garden with stones and gravel). Here one can admire the landscape of various forms of gritstone, granite and limestone, displayed on the cover of gravel and completed with various species of ornamental plants. The Rokarium in the lower part is enclosed in an alley of birch (Betula verrucosa).

Exit from Rokarium continues with an alley of Cercidiphyllum japonicum (purple tree), originating in the Kuril Archipelago and Japan.

In its homeland, this tree reaches heights of 30 meters and diameter of trunk up to 1.2 m. In the spring, leaves have a reddish colour. At maturation, they become green, with bluish hues on top. In the autumn, leaves acquire shades of yellow, orange or purple.

In the left of this alley, not too far away, there is a group of Japanese magnolias (Magnolia kobus), originating in South Korea and Japan. In favourable conditions, this plant reaches 10 m height and the diameter 60-70 cm, having an ovate crown.

The Japanese magnolia blooms in April, long before other tree species. Nice smelling flowers open up until the emergence of leaves. They have a diameter of up to 10 cm and consist of three small greenish falling sepals, and 6-9 white oblong-ovate petals, outlined at the base with a pink-violet strip. Fruit of the magnolia, called follicle, has an elongated shape and resembles a cone, of dark-pink colour, which distinguishes itself among still green leaves.

In the vicinity of Magnolia kobus trees one can find a group of tulip-trees (Liriodendron tulipifera) of the Magnoliaceae family, originating in North America. This tree, in conditions of its homeland, reaches considerable sizes: 50-60 m high, up to 3.5 m in diameter and up to 500 years longevity. It has apical, solitary, hermaphrodite, cup-shaped decorative flowers, similar to tulip flowers, 4-8 cm in diameter, hence the name "tulip-tree". Petals are yellow and leaves are large glossy, and lira shaped (hence the name Liriodendron).

Two exemplars of Magnolia Soullangeana "Alexandrina" with splendid and enormous flowers with a pink-violet nuance end the alley of Cercidiphyllum japonicum. (on left). Further, one can admire representatives from the Rosaceae family: Rosa spinosissima, Persica vulgaris f. atropurpurea - decorative through dark-purple leaves, Padus mahaleb, Prunus pissardii - particularly through reddish leaves and dark-red nuances of fruit, Prinsepia uniflora and P. Sinensis which leaf early spring. Further succeed about 12 species of Padus species (bird cherry tree) - P. grayana, P. serrotina, P. racemosa, P. virginiana. Among bird cherries a Cercis (Jude's tree) "got lost" - Cercis canadensis, which during flowering, presents an amazing sight due to the cauliflory phenomenon - all branches are thoroughly covered with lilac flowers.

Ornamental exhibition is located in the center of the Botanical Garden. Here is displayed a variety of annual, biennial and perennial flowering ornamental plants, which by location and grouping, sequence of blooming and colour - is a permanent exhibition with purpose of recreation, training and education. The range of unrepeatable colour - particularly the charm of the whole flowering composition is most popular with visitors.

Beauty of the flowers can be admired throughout the entire period of vegetation. Earlier in the spring one can fall surprised by the Crocus sp., Tulipa sp., Eremurus sp. etc. Further, natural richness of the colors continues in the summer, being represented by Iris sp., Aster sp., Dahlia sp. Gladiolus sp. etc. And, in the autumn one can be delighted by the colors of the Canna sp., Chrysanthemum sp. etc.

Sector of plant resources hosts groups of aromatic, medicinal, fodder, technical, seasoning and tinctorial plants. There are about 500 plant species from 44 families and 108 genera. The exhibition is a laboratory under the open sky, where observations on plants, which are of economic interest, are performed. Non-traditional fodder plants list about 250 species and forms. The outcome of the investigations has been drafted and list of perspective fodder plant species has been proposed, a new fodder plant – Galega orientalis - has been placed in culture.

In front of the ornamental exhibition is located a group of birch, Betulaceae family. There can be admired species: Betula pendula - white birch, B. nigra, B. papyrifera - paper birch, called this way because of the paper like layer that detaches off the trunk, B. alleghaniensis; B. Schmidtii; B. lenta etc. Passing through the birch alley, we reach the upper lake, where on the right bank, is located the exhibition of conifers – the Pinarium.

Pinarium (10 ha) is situated on the slope with northwestern exposition, in the southern part of the Botanical Garden, where majestically arise 160 tree species and varieties from fam. Pinaceae, originated from Asia, Europe, North America etc. Here we see Abies concolor, A. sibirica. A. sachalinensis, the common spruce - Picea abies and its varieties P. omorica, P. orientalis P. glauca, P. obovata.

One will be attracted by Pseudotsuga taxifolia with its protective scales in the cone, which exceed the length of the seminal scales. In natural conditions, it reaches a height of about 100 m, nearly 600 years longevity and up to 4 m in diameter.  

On the slope with northern exposition one can find a considerable diversity of pine (Pinus): Pinus nigra, P. mugo, P. excelsa, P. strobes, P. ponderosa. Here one can also find the larch tree (Larix europaea, L. sibirica), a conifer with the most valuable timber and the property of losing leaves in winter.

Sector Moldova’s flora (the area - 14 ha) - territory with relief similar to the types of vegetation, natural formations and associations. The main types of Moldova’s vegetation are displayed: forest, steppe, meadow, aquatic and paludal. In order to display the spontaneous vegetation forest exhibitions were created: "Quercus and hornbeam", "Quercus petraea with hornbeam, Quercus petraea with wig tree", " Quercus pedunculata", "Quercus petraea with lime and ash”, "Beech", " Quercus petraea with beech”, " Quercus with cherry ", "Willow and poplar."

Sector steppe vegetation is displayed on an area of 0.5 ha, a versant with northern exposition. In the result have been created plant associations of Stipa sp., hair grass, beard grass, dog milk, bluebonnet etc; some meadow plants, such as raygrass, twitch, several species of clover, representatives of about 153 grassy plant species. In this sector are displayed 39 rare plant species: Koeleria moldavica, Ephedra distachya, Genista tetragona, Schivereckia podolica, Paronychia cephalotes.

Syringarium (1,174 ha) Garden of lilac - includes 150 species and varieties of lilac, with an incomparable range of colors (white, lilac, lilac-rose, blue-lilac etc.) and forms of the inflorescence. Visitors can admire the beauty of early varieties: Berrzer, Necker, Buffon, Flora; medium varieties -  Madame Abel Chatenay, Madame Florent Stepan, Ancubaefolia; late varieties -  Excelent, Taras Bulba, Madame Antoine Buchner etc.

Alpinarium (0,436 ha) represents a monumental construction of a mountain ecosystem with alpine and sub-alpine vegetation, calcifile and mountain plants (Carex curvula, Sedum alpestre, Campanula alpina, Festuca glacialis, Oxyura digyna, Calaminta alpina). These elements complete the great biodiversity of decorative coniferous and deciduous tree and shrub species (Punus sp., Abies sp., Thuja sp. Juniperus sp., Pseudotsuga, Betula sp., Tilia sp.).

On the right bank of the lake is situated the plant exhibition of Fabaceae family, our attention being drawn by Gymnocladus canadensis, originating from America, Asia and Africa. Gymnocladus forms flowers gathered in terminal panicles of different sizes, the length of female inflorescences reaching up to 25 cm. It blossoms in the first half of June and presents interest to beekeepers. The fruit is a dehiscent pod of about 15 cm long and 5-6 cm wide, thick, in form of sickle. Gymnocladus is part of the category of species with hard and heavy wood.

It can not be overlooked the red-viscous-acacia (Robinia viscosa), with inodorous flowers of 2 cm long, with pink corolla, 6-15 flowers gathered in terminal raceme inflorescences. It often blooms twice a summer, by June - July, and then in August. Fruit represents a spear-shaped pod, glandulous-hairy. Here draws your eyes and Spartium junceum, a bush with a height of about 2-3 meters, with branches without leaves, with flowers of a yellow hue.

In the vicinity of the Fabaceae exhibition, on a fairly large territory, are displayed representatives of Aceraceae family, Acer negundo, A. nigrum, A. laetum, A. platanoides, A. pseudoplatanus etc, about 25 species and varieties of maple.

Juglandaceae family is represented by walnut species Juglans regia, J. cinerea, J. cordiformis, J. sieboldiana, J. major, J. hindsii, J. nigra, J. Rupestris, Pterocarya pterocarpa (winged walnut) etc.

In the vicinity of the maple association, the ash exhibition is imposing through the unusual design, represented by Fraxinus excelsior, F. ex. f. aurea, F. ex. f. pendula species, about 14 species and varieties.

It can not remain unnoticed Ginkgo biloba, originating in China. This tree is regarded as a "living fossil", its existence is found on Earth for about 200 million years, from dinosaurs’ times.

Continuing the visit on the alley around Botanical Garden Street in the direction towards the central entrance, we see the exhibition of plane tree: Platanus orientalis and Platanus acerifolia - majestic trees, decorative, reaching the height of about 50 meters and diameter up to 1.8 m; their longevity is about 2000 years. Characteristic of these trees is exfoliation of the outer bark, which falling off, uncovers the pale-coloured layer of the trunk, because of this the tree is called "insolent" (striptease-tree).

On the left of the alley are displayed species of oak. In spontaneous flora of the Republic of Moldova only three species are spread: Quercus robur, Q. petraea and Q. pubescens. In the oak exhibition there are planted about 14 species and varieties: Q. rubra (red oak) - very appealing in the autumn, with leaves of a dark red nuance, Q. caucasica, Q. mongolica, Q. serrotina, Q. cerris, Q. dentate.

Plant world is not devoid of curiosities, for example, the Scrofulariaceae family consists of herbaceous plants, except Paulownia tomentosa, originating in Central China and Japan. It is a high tree of about 20 meters with leaves up to 50 cm in length; it is thought that Adam and Eve have used paulownia leaves as clothing. Campanulate flowers, 5-6 cm in length, aromatic, with a pale - violet nuance of corolla, glandulous-tomentose on outside and some dark spots and yellow strips inside. Fruit is a bivalve lignified ovate capsule.

Nearby we see the Bignoniaceae family, with species: Catalpa speciosa, C. ovata, C. bignonioides. Trees have falling leaves, being called and “trumpet trees" due to the specific structure of flowers. The flowers have a tubular corolla, opened at outside in two labia, gathered in terminal panicle inflorescences. Large, white as snow inflorescences together with the rich foliage are the main decorative particularities of the catalpa species. It is a melliferous plant. The fruit is a cylindrical capsule that can achieve approx. 40 cm long.

Not far away can be seen tree species of the Rosaceae family, of genres Crategus, Malus, Sorbus, Spiraea. Some of these species are the ancestors of the contemporary fruit trees. Continuing the promenade, we approach chestnut species: bush-shaped Aesculus parviflora, decorative by habitus and inflorescences. Then we see Aesculus macrosperma, A. chinensis, A. h. "baumanii", A. h. “Pavia”, A. octandra, and A. carnea - chestnut with red flowers.

Very alluring and interesting is the Cupresaceae exhibition with various forms of Thuja occidentalis; Thuja oc. f. columnaris, T. oc. f. filifera; T. oc. f. filicoides; T. oc. f. lutea, T. oc. f. compact; Ephedra - the only conifer species occurring in the spontaneous flora of the Republic of Moldova, species and varieties of juniper (Juniperus spp.)

Sector Tropical plants (area - 2 500 m2) hosts a gene pool of about 2 500 taxons, originating from subtropical, tropical and equatorial regions of the Earth, from all continents.

In the first compartment we have the possibility to admire the ferns (Polypodiophita) - ancient higher plants, with special morphology of leaves. The appealing feature of these plants is the variety of leaf form, from simple, with the entire edge (Asplenium nidus), until the compound, multifid (Nephrolepis exaltata). Most of them have the stem in form of rhizome (Cyrtomium falcatus, Polypodium aureum etc), and rarely have woody stalks (Blechnum). Leaves are large relative to the stem and, at the beginning of development are twisted.

Also, here one can see the Platycerium alcocorne, an epiphyte, originating in the Australian humid forests. For this form a foliar dimorphism is distinguished: long, divided, fertile leaves, the shape resembles the deer antlers, where and the popular name "deer antlers" comes from. Others in basal position and auricular form, dry up early, facilitating the formation of a soil rich in humus and water. Next we see the small Selaginella, with creeping stem, dichotomically ramified, leaves of unequal size.

Among the visitors is also popular Hart’s tongue (Phyllitis scolopendrium L.), which unlike other ferns it has sempervirescent leaves, with whole foliar lamina. Leaves are oblong spear-shaped, short petiolated, with chordate basis.

In this section we admire the Anthurium (spadix and spata of a red-carmine nuance), Spathiphyllum (spata of a white nuance), Dieffenbachia from the Araceae family (overwhelm us by the appearance of decorative flowers and leaves), a rich variety of Ficus and Scheflera.

The next section hosts a rich diversity of species and forms of the family Araceae (gen. Aglaonema, Philodendron, Rhaphidophora etc). For example, Monstera deliciosa, a liana originating in tropical America is admired for the design of its leaves: large, punched and deep cut on the edges. It has an inflorescence in form of spadix and a cylindrical fruit of about 15-18 cm long; it is edible.

Orchids - because of the perfume, color, shape and size of flowers - are very attractive. Therefore, the interest to introduce them in culture existed and still continues. A small number of orchids may also be encountered in our greenhouses: Paphiopedilum, Cymbidium etc.

In the vicinity with orchids there is also a rich collection of plants of the family Bromeliaceae, epiphytes from the Amazon’s basin. Impressive is the decorative appearance of leaves and inflorescences of some species - Aechmea, Billbergia, Nidularium, Pitcairnia, Cryptbergia.

Overwhelms with beauty the "Paradise bird” (genus Strelitzia), originating in South-Africa. Its name is due to the inflorescence, which has the aspect of a bird in flight with a range of blazing colors (yellow, blue, white and green). The flowers appear in succession, extending this way the flowering of plants (Strelitzia reginae; Strelitzia Nicolai).

We have the opportunity to admire the lemon (Citrus limon), the mandarin (Citrus reticulata) etc - well-known citrus plants originating in tropical and subtropical regions of Asia.

Visitors also have an opportunity to notice the habitus and sometimes fruit of the pomegranate, (Punica granatum), fig (Ficus carica), bay (Laurus nobilis), all having a recognized alimentary value.

The upper area of this section is occupied by a plant with liana aspect Tetrastigma sp. from Vitaceae family with large and decorative leaves.

Impressive by size are representatives of the Palmae family, one of the most imposing groups of monocotyledon exotic plants. Characteristic to their appearance is the unramified stem, smooth or covered with the remains of old leaves, having on top a bunch of pennate or palmate leaves. Their economic importance is judged because of multilateral usefulness: food, firewood, building material, textile fibers.

It pleases your eyes the ornamental palm trees, with fan-shaped leaves - Washingtonia filifera, W. robusta originating in California, also Phoenix roebelenii coming from India and China, with pennate-composed and elegantly arched leaves.

The orangery of the Botanical Garden of A.S.M. hosts exemplars of the Cycadaceae family, primitive forms in the current phanerogam plants. The most widespread species of the genus is Cycas revoluta, originating in Japan. Along with it, we recognize also another species of cycas - Cycas circinalis. Plants are dioeciously (with male and female flowers, on separate individuals). Their general aspect is similar to the arborescent ferns: large pennate leaves are placed in the bunch at the top of the unramified stalk.

Visitors’ attention is drawn, particularly in hibernal season, by representatives of the genera Azaleae and Camellia, which are decorated with flowers of various shades and decorative forms.

Another section hosts representatives of the Cactaceae family, originating in desert or semi-desert areas of North and South America, the Mexican region being the richest in species. The appearance, shape and size of the plants are "original", which constitute the consequences of adaptation to environmental conditions. Essential changes bear the foliar apparatus - namely the disappearance of leaves by turning them into spines; role of the leaves is achieved, mainly, by stem. Attraction towards cactuses is expressed through aesthetic preferences: geometry of forms, some features related to design and insertion of spines, delicacy and chromatics of flowers particular to Astrophytum, Lobivia, Rebutia, Gymnocalycium. Here are present representatives of the genera Echinocereus, Echinopsis, Mammilaria, also the epiphyte cactuses Rhipsalis, Epiphyllum, Zygocactus.

Fruit of cactuses from genera Opuntia, Cereus, Echinocereus, Mammillaria have alimentary importance for humans and animals. From their fruit are extracted juices for various uses.

The next section hosts succulent plants (thick). They belong to different botanical families, but the essential characteristics shared are: they retain and accumulate water in vegetative organs, a reflex acquired in order to adapt to arid conditions of their native regions.

We can mention here also the representatives of the Crassulaceae family, with thick leaves and pulpy aspect, true "water tanks", feature, which, together with other morphological anatomical features, provide resistance to unfavourable conditions of the environment.

Representatives of genus Stapelia attract attention by the diversity of shape and colour of flower, but with regret, they shed an unpleasant smell.

Resemblance with stones represents a feature of plants of the genus Lithops. Stems are short, flattened, pulpy, bilobate, in form of pillows. Live coloured flowers have a short period of existence. These plants are of African origin. Of the same origin are and other succulents, with various, live coloured flowers, favoured also in apartments: Senecio, Haworthia, Gasteria etc.

For the collection of African succulent plants of some species of the Euphorbiaceae family are representative. The latex, with toxic properties, contained in plant tissues, is a feature of the representatives of the family. Habitus is generally divers: plants may be large and have an arborescent look (Euphorbia tirucalli, E. trigona, E. tenuirama) or column (E. leuconeura), or may be small (E. caput-medusae, E. Globosa etc).

Sansevieria is a remarkable plant with linear, rigid, erect, pulpy leaves. Their form and chromatics, which differ at each species and variety, give them decorative attributes.

Plants of genus Agave have their origin in Central America. They have pulpy leaves, but rigid, spiky edges, arranged in basal rosette. Some species of the genus are a source of useful products: from their leaves (A. fourcroydes, A. sisalana, A. lechuguilla) are extracted vegetable fibers with textile use, from the sap an alcoholic drink is prepared.

Winter Garden. Sector of instruction and recreation. In this area you can admire the grassy plants like the Banana tree, with a height of about 10 meters and the diameter up to 30-40 cm, as well as the gorgeous water-lily flowers (Nymphaea spp.) Not less attractive is BoughenWilia with flowers of a lilac nuance.