Nikita Botanical Garden

Image - The Nikita Botanical Garden near Yalta in the Crimea. Image - The Nikita Botanical Garden near Yalta in the Crimea. Image - The Nikita Botanical Garden near Yalta in the Crimea. Image - The Nikita Botanical Garden near Yalta in the Crimea.

Nikita Botanical Garden (Nikitskyi botanichnyi sad). A scientific research complex located near Botanichne (formerly Nikita), a few kilometers east of Yalta, in the Crimea. Its founder and first director was C. Steven (1812–26), a Swedish botanist and the chief inspector of silkworm breeding in the southern Russian Empire. Under the sponsorship of Armand-Emmanuel du Plessis, duc de Richelieu, the governor of New Russia, he created the garden as an imperial repository of all useful and decorative Mediterranean and Asian plants, with the purpose of subsequently cultivating them throughout the region. The first Russian pomological collection (1817), a horticultural school (1823, closed down in 1921), vineyards and a wine-making school (1828), medicinal-plant and tobacco plantations, and a botanical cabinet and meteorological station (1908) were established there. In 1890 the botanical garden began publishing its own collection, Zapiski (later renamed Trudy). In 1920 it had an area of approximately 136 ha. In 1924 the garden was designated an all-Union scientific institution. It began publishing a research bulletin in 1929, and research in plant selection and hybridization began there in the 1930s. Under the USSR Ministry of Agriculture and part of the All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences, it covered an area of nearly 1,000 ha, employed 1,300 people, and consisted of 15 research departments and laboratories, a museum, archives, printing press, 4 parks, 4 experimental farms (near Yalta, Partenit, Gvardiisk, and Medvedivka), and the Cape Martian Nature Preserve (est 1973). Over 15,000 plant species, varieties, sorts, and hybrids were cultivated there. Its library, the oldest and one of the best Ukrainian repositories of biological and agricultural literature, had holdings of over 207,700 books and periodicals; and its herbarium of Crimean flora had over 121,446 pages. The garden's scientists (approximately 120) study the Earth's flora and introduce, acclimatize, and select decorative, fruit- and nut-bearing plants, medicinal plants, essential-oil plants, and industrial crops for widespread use and production in Southern Ukraine, Moldova, Caucasia, and Central Asia. The garden has about 700,000 visitors annually. An illustrated Ukrainian-French book about it was published in 1987.

Roman Senkus

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 3 (1993).]

Image - A rose (the Nikita Botanical Garden near Yalta in the Crimea). Image - The Nikita Botanical Garden near Yalta in the Crimea.

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