Дата публикации: 23 ноября 2021
Автор(ы): Vladimir NOVIKOV, Sergei YEFIMOV
Публикатор: Научная библиотека Порталус
Источник: (c) Science in Russia, №5, 2014, C.89-92
Номер публикации: №1637657263

Vladimir NOVIKOV, Sergei YEFIMOV, (c)

by Vladimir NOVIKOV, Dr. Sc. (Biol.), Director of the Botanical Gardens under the Department of Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University; Sergei YEFIMOV, Cand. Sc. (Biol.), Academic Secretary of the same scientific institution


The Botanical Gardens of the Moscow State University named after M. Lomonosov, the oldest botanical scientific institution in Russia-was established on the basis of the "Moscow Pharmaceutical Kitchen-Garden", set up back in 1706 by order of the Emperor Peter I. During its first years, there were planted only medicinal plants for drugstores and hospitals, but by the early 19th century it turned into the Botanical Gardens with rich and diverse plant collections.




In 1805 the "Moscow Pharmaceutical Garden" was acquired by the university. The botanist Georg Franz Hoffmann who headed the Chair of Botany was appointed its first director. At that time abundant plant collections of the Gardens were a research ground to carry out complex botanical, including biological, studies. There worked such botanists and biologists of different epochs as Mikhail Maximovich, a natural scientist, first rector

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of the Kiev University, Corresponding Member of the St. Petersburg AS (from 1871); Alexander Fischer von Waldheim, a naturalist, Professor of the Moscow University and President of the Moscow Society of Natural Scientists; Nikolai Kaufman, one of the first botanical geographers in the Russian Empire; Ivan Chistyakov*, Full Professor of the Moscow University at the Chair of Plant Anatomy and Physiology; Ivan Gorozhankin, founder of the scientific school of plant morphology and comparative embryology in national botany; Mikhail Golenkin, a botanist. Honored Scientist of the RSFSR, Professor of the Moscow University at the Chair of Plant Taxonomy and Morphology; Mikhail Navashin, a renowned cytologist and cytogeneticist; Carl von Meyer, a botanist-systemizer, Corresponding Member of the USSR AS (from 1932); Boris Kozo-Polyansky, a botanist, author of the original phylogenetic system of higher plants; Yevgeny Wulf, a botanist, florist and bio-geographer, specialist in historical geography; Vasily Alyokhin, a Soviet geobotanist, founder of the Moscow scientific school, Professor of the Moscow State University (from 1918), author of the textbook Plant Geography, and many other experts who left an appreciable trace in national science.


Little by little, the Gardens expanded its territory. On October 6, 1950, Rector of the Moscow State University, Academician (from 1943) Alexander Nesmeyanov, prominent organic chemist of the 20th century, President of the USSR Academy of Sciences (1951-1961),


* Ivan Chistyakov was one of the first Russian scientists to study embryology and cytology of plants. In 1874 he described indirect division of a plant cell for the first time ever-Ed.


issued an order to lay a new garden territory in Vorobyovy Hills (over 30 ha), while its former territory got a status of a branch, and under the decision of the Moscow City Council of May 31, 1973, was acknowledged as a monument of history and culture of Moscow.


Development of the new territory of the Gardens was guided by Nina Bazilevskaya Dr. Sc. (Biol.), a Russian and Soviet botanist, systemizer, Moscow State University Professor, Director of the Botanical Gardens from 1952 to 1964. Together with the architect Vera Kolpakova, she took part in the development of the layout project for the territory in Vorobyovy Hills. From 1965 the Gardens were managed by the morphologist-ecologist Igor Kultiasov, Cand. Sc. (Biol.), from 1967-by Vadim Tikhomirov, a botanist, USSR AS Corresponding Member (from 1987), author of studies in morphology and taxonomy of flowering plants, floristics, and environmental protection. At present the Gardens are led by the botanist florist Vladimir Novikov, Dr. Sc. (Biol.).


Today the Botanical Gardens are a training and research base of the Department of Biology, Moscow State University. Since establishment, the gardens have become one of the leading scientific units of the Department of Biology and other botanical centers in Russia. Such conventional research areas as taxonomy, floristry, gene pool protection, breeding, and plant introduction, as well as scientific schools of floristic and morphological-taxonomic studies of plants are being developed there. These works are carried out under the guidance of Vladimir Novikov and Mikhail Pimenov, head of the Department of Plant Taxonomy and Geography.

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A series of floristic studies carried out by employees of the Botanical Gardens in cooperation with specialists in higher plants and geobotany from different univesitites became widely known. They described over 100 taxons* of higher plants unknown to science before (in particular, from the Utnbelliferae, Juncaceae** and Poaceae families of the flora of Russia and CIS countries) and a number of insect species; they have grown tens of new sorts and forms of decorative and small-fruit and berry plants, got over 30 invention patents. In addition, our specialists are members of various scientific associations, Russian and international societies. The Garden as an important research institution is headed by the regional Board of Botanical Gardens of the central European part of our country.




The Gardens are divided into a number of zones: sections of taxonomy and geography of plants, flora and gene pool protection, dendrology, garden plants, tropical and subtropical cultures. Currently, the collection of the Gardens consists of 6,000 species, varieties, and forms of cultures grown on the main research and exposition plots.


In the tree nursery, the main plot of the Botanical Gardens, there are about 1,150 species and forms of woody plants and over 40 species of herbs; in the alpine


*Taxon-according to the International Code of Botanical Literature (Vienna Code, 2006), a taxonomic group of any rank.-Ed. **Juncaceae-a plant family of the Poales order.-Ed.


gardens-about 700 species, mostly herbs; in the plots assigned for scientific taxonomy-around over 500 species, useful plants-over 500 species and sorts; flora of the central part of Russia is represented by about 200 species; decorative plants are represented by 157 species and 1,360 sorts and forms; in the fruit garden there are over 400 sorts of fruit and berry cultures. There are about 100 species of birds in the Botanical Gardens.


The scientific-historical collection of the Botanical Gardens established in 1706 is located in the zone of tropical and subtropical plants of its branch. It is represented mainly by hothouse plants, tropical and subtropical flora representatives (about 1,000 species and varieties).


Meanwhile, present-day scientific studies and intensive selection projects resulted in creation of specialized enlarged collections of Umbelliferae, wild species of apple trees, sea buckthorn, peony, new expositions-a segment of collection lilac and flora attributed to the central part of Russia, etc. Scientific achievements of the past and present have been awarded state and branch prizes. For example, in 1989 the chief research officer of the RAS MBG Alexei Skvortsov, Dr. Sc. (Biol.) (worked at the MGU BG from 1952 to 1971) was awarded the USSR State Prize, in 2002 he got the RAS Award named after V. Komarov*; in 2011 the chief research officer of the MGU Botanical Gardens Mikhail Pimenov, Dr.Sc. (Biol.), was also awarded the RAS Award named after V. Komarov.


* RAS Award named after V. Komarov was set up in 1944 by the USSR Academy of Sciences for outstanding achievements in botany in the field of taxonomy, anatomy and morphology of plants, botanical geography, and paleobotany.-Ed.

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Today the Botanical Gardens is a research and testing ground for 10 chairs and laboratories of the Department of Biology specializing in botany and zoology. In cooperation with the Chair of Higher Plants they regularly hold All-Russia and international conferences on taxonomy, phylogeny, floristic studies, and environmental protection. Everyday visitors of the Garden are offered survey and thematic excursions: around 120,000 visitors enjoy them there annually.


For 308 years of existence, the Botanical Gardens left a noticeable trace in the history of the Moscow University and national botanical science. Our main achievements were published in numerous monographs and popular science articles. For the last 10-15 years, many of these achievements received universal recognition in Russia and abroad.


Our specialists issued the first full description of vegetation of the capital The Flora of Moscow, incorporating over 1,600 species, timed for the 850th anniversary of Moscow (in 1997); for this vast research work, the team of its authors was awarded the Moscow Government Award for Ecology Studies.




Currently the Botanical Gardens together with other national scientific centers are organizing expeditions to different regions of Russia (most of them-to the European part of Russia and Caucasia), and also to neighboring and remote foreign countries (Central and Eastern Asia, South Africa, etc.). Thus, since 1987 employees of the Botanical Gardens has been studying flora of Solovki Islands with the assistance of the Solovki Branch of the White Sea Biological Station named after N. Pertsov under the MGU Department of Biology.


The Garden is cooperating with a number of foreign organizations: International Council of Botanical Gardens for Plant Protection (BGCI, UK), Anadolu University (Eskisehir, Turkey), Johannesburg University (RSA), Meilland company (France), etc.


The Garden's branch keeps a vast library (about 40 thous. books), representing unique samples of botanical editions from the 16th-17th centuries till our days.


It is also worth saying that the ecological-educational program of the Botanical Gardens was initiated in 1998, when the Club for Young Ecologists for children and youth was established. Under this program, schoolchildren are offered the thematic course "Lessons in the Botanical Gardens", while elementary school teachers and teachers of ecology can visit methodical courses and thematic consultations. To support ecological education, our employees organize conferences, seminars, and training courses for their colleagues from regional botanical gardens and school teachers. Schoolchildren can take part in annual educational ecological games timed to coincide with the Spring Flower Festival and the Day of the Botanical Gardens (April 1).

Опубликовано на Порталусе 23 ноября 2021 года

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