Gothenburg abounds in parks, tree-lined avenues, spots of vegetation; and meadows, marshlands, heaths and swamps within its vicinities. And there is also a century-old garden whose collections are growing in terms of plant diversity with a holistic perspective – to preserve and conserve the biodiversity of the planet Earth. It is called Botaniska Trädgården, or the Botanical Garden of Gothenburg.
Magnus Lidén is a researcher in botany at Uppsala University but also works as a consultant at the garden. “It is one of the important botanical gardens in the world, undoubtedly, with great collections…unparalleled,” he noted and added with quintessential Swedish traits of humility and modesty, “to a small scale I contributed.” He was a student of botany at the Gothenburg University (Göteborgs Universitet) and also took his doctoral degree from here.
“The botanical garden here is close to my heart. I spent my student years in Göteborg, I did PhD here and I love botanical garden,” said Magnus. He said, when asked, why someone should visit the garden, “It is beautiful. It is a place where you can learn a lot of things…about botany, ecology, and pollination… You can come here without the need to take in knowledge but only to enjoy. You can do multiple things here.” He says one of the sterling spots in the botanical garden is the Rock Garden.
The Rock Garden in the Botanical Garden of Gothenburg is globally acclaimed for having plants that ‘would never normally be found in the same climate zone side by side’, and it is microclimate in itself. The other attraction at the garden within the garden is the magnificent waterfall.
The garden also organizes events related to music and art in addition to enabling interaction of expert gardeners with the public.
Botaniska Trädgården is spread over 430 acres and includes a nature reserve and an arboretum and here grows more than 16,000 different species of plants. It has the Rhododendron Valley, the Japanese Glade, the Rock Garden, 1500 orchids in addition to an Eastern Island Tree and a tree that smells of freshly-baked bread.
Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) from Småland in Sweden is the father of modern taxonomy and formalised the binomial nomenclature. Magnus Lidén maintains that there are many more plants in the world that needs to be identified and named: “It didn’t end with Linnaeus” is the leitmotif of the professor’s botanical quest in 21st century that continues from the previous century. In more than three decades of research in botany, he has discovered and named more than 150 flowering plants. His expeditions as part of research around systematic botany continues to Asian countries especially to the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. One of the flowering plants he discovered along with his colleague is named after a local tribe, and the botanical name of the flowering plant is called Corydalis meyori.
BOTANISTS WITHOUT BORDERS:
One of the challenges Professor Magnus Lidén faces in mapping the botanical diversity of the world is the restrictive laws of countries such as India that preclude exchange of plant species. Perhaps the world needs ‘Botanists Without Borders’ to encourage botanical expeditions and explorations for ecological and biological preservation and conservation in the times of climate change.