New York Botanical Garden



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New York Botanical Garden is located at 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, NY 10458 and contains 50 different gardens and plant collections. Garden highlights include an 1890s-vintage, wrought-iron framed, "crystal-palace style" greenhouse by Lord & Burnham, now Haupt Conservatory; the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden (originally laid out by Beatrix Jones Farrand in 1916); a rock garden; a 37-acre (15 ha) conifer collection; extensive research facilities including a propagation center, 550,000-volume library, and an herbarium of over seven million botanical specimens dating back more than three centuries. At the heart of the Garden are 50 acres (20 ha) of old-growth forest, the largest remnant the original forest which covered all of New York City before the arrival of European settlers in the 17th century. The forest itself is split by the Bronx River, the only fresh water river in New York City, and includes a riverine canyon and rapids. Along its shores sits the landmark Stone Mill previously known as the Lorillard Snuff Mill built in 1840. Sightseers at the Botanical Garden can easily spend a day admiring the serene cascade waterfall, wetlands and a 50-acre (20 ha) tract of original, old-growth New York forest, never logged, containing oaks, American beeches, cherry, birch, tulip and white ash trees; some more than two centuries old.

The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) is one of the premier botanical gardens in the United States, located in the Bronx in New York City. It spans some 250 acres (100 ha) of Bronx Park and is home to some of the world's leading plant laboratories. It offers major exhibitions and flower shows throughout the year, drawing over 800,000 visitors annually.

The New York Botanical Garden is an advocate for the plant kingdom. The New York Botanical Garden pursues its mission through its role as a museum of living plant collections arranged in gardens and landscapes across its National Historic Landmark site; through its comprehensive education programs in horticulture and plant science; and through the wide-ranging research programs of the International Plant Science Center. (Source: The New York Botanical Garden)
History

The Lorillard Family owned most of the land which became The New York Botanical Garden. That New York Botanical Garden land and adjacent acreage was acquired by the City of New York and set aside for the creation of a zoo and botanical garden. The Garden was founded in 1891 on part of the grounds of the Lorillard Estate, formerly owned by the tobacco magnate Pierre Lorillard. The Garden's creation followed a fund-raising campaign led by the Torrey Botanical Club and Columbia University botanist Nathaniel Lord Britton and his wife Elizabeth Knight who were inspired to emulate the Royal Botanic Gardens in London. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1967.

The Pfizer Plant Research Laboratory is at New York Botanical Garden, built with funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, New York State and New York City, and named for its largest private donor, is a major new research institution at the Garden that opened in 2006. The laboratory is a pure research institution, with projects more diverse than research in universities and pharmaceutical companies. The New York Botanical Garden laboratory's research emphasis is on plant genomics, the study of how genes function in plant development. One question scientists hope to answer is Darwin's "abominable mystery"; when, where, and why flowering plants emerged. The laboratory's research also furthers the discipline of molecular systematics, the study of DNA as evidence that can reveal the evolutionary history and relationships of plant species. Staff scientists also study plant use in immigrant communities in New York City and the genetic mechanisms by which neurotoxins are produced in some plants, work that may be related to nerve disease in humans. A staff of 200 trains 42 doctoral students at a time from all over the world work, and study at New York Botanical Garden--- since 1890s scientists from The New York Botanical Garden have mounted about 2,000 exploratory missions across the planet to collect plants in the wild. At the Pfizer Plant Research Laboratory, genomic DNA from many different species of plants is extracted to create a library of the DNA of the world's plants and stored in a 768-square-foot (71.3 m2) DNA storage room with 20 freezers that store millions of specimens, including rare, endangered or extinct species. To protect them during winter power outages, there is a backup 300-kilowatt electric generator.
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has granted the NYBG $572,000 to begin a project called TreeBOL, the Tree Barcode of Life. By sampling the DNA from all 100,000 different species of trees from around the world over the next few years, TreeBOL will document the diversity of plant life, and advance the process of plant DNA barcoding.

The New York Botanical Garden Research Library was Founded in 1899, the LuEsther T. Mertz Library is considered to be the largest, most comprehensive botanical library in the Americas. In addition to botany, horticulture, the Library’s collections contribute significantly to studies in fields as diverse as history, anthropology, landscape and building design, architectural history, ethnobotany, economic botany, urban social history, and environmental policy. In addition to current scholarly books and serials, the Mertz Library holds many rare, and historically important works ranging from medieval herbals, to 17th-century depictions of the princely gardens of Europe, to accounts of botanical exploration and discovery in the 18th century, to the writings of Carl von LinnĂ© (Linnaeus) and Charles Darwin.