Institute of Botany of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

Institute of Botany of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (Інститут ботаніки ім. М.Г. Холодного НАН України; Instytut botaniky im. M.H. Kholodnoho NAN Ukraїny). A scientific research institute at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine; the main center of botanical research in Ukraine. It was founded in 1921 as the Botanical Cabinet and Herbarium of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences in Kyiv, which in 1927 was reorganized as the Scientific Research Institute of Botany of the People's Commissariat of Education of the Ukrainian SSR. In 1931 it was renamed the Institute of Botany (or IB) of the All-Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. In the 1930s and 40s, IB had a number of prominent scientists, including Oleksander Fomin, Mykola Hryshko, Mykola H. Kholodny, Dmytro Zerov, Petro Oksiiuk, Volodymyr Lypsky (VUAN president in 1922–8), Petro Vlasiuk, Andrii Lazarenko, Alfred Oksner, and Yurii Kleopov. They developed several scientific schools, including that of floristics, bryology, lichenology, and cytology, which made IB the main center of botanical research in Ukraine. In 1971 the institute was named in honor of the prominent botanist Mykola H. Kholodny. In 1974 its branch was opened in Lviv (since 1991 it has been a separate Institute of the Ecology of the Carpathians of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine). In the late Soviet Ukraine the institute conducted research on the vegetation of Ukraine and its protection and use in agriculture and medicine, and on plant physiology and biochemistry, geobotany, systematics, and ecology. Under director Kostiantyn Sytnyk in the early 1980s, IB’s staff reached over 400 (including 172 scientists) in 14 departments (4 of which were part of the Lviv branch of the institute), 2 laboratories, and an experimental field laboratory. The institute’s scientists were awarded the State Prize of the USSR (1959, 1989), the State Prize of the Ukrainian SSR (1969, 1979, 1983, 1990), and the State Prize of Ukraine in Science and Technology (2005, 2013, 2015). In 1990, the institute’s department of cell biology and engineering gave rise to a separate research institution: Institute of Cell Biology and Genetic Engineering of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. It continued the groundbreaking research in biotechnology that began in IB’s research department of physiology of plants (opened in 1934), followed by the laboratory (1975) and then department (1981) of cytophysiology and cell engineering, which first in the USSR created a somatic hybrid plant—an important milestone in the development of engineering biology.

The institute has 7 research departments (systematics and floristics of vascular plants; geobotany and ecology; mycology; phycology, lichenology and bryology; phytohormonology; cell biology and anatomy; and membranology and phytochemistry), 3 laboratories (micromorphology and paleopalynology; biodiversity conservation and plant resources; and lichenology and bryology), and 3 centers for collective usage (chromatography and mass spectrometry; electronic microscopes; and ultracentrifuge). Its collection has more than 2 million specimens, including herbaria of vascular and spore-bearing plants and fungi, fungi cultures, and algae. The highlights of the institute’s collection are three objects of national heritage of Ukraine: the National Herbarium of Ukraine (KW), Mushroom Culture Collection (IBK), and Microalgae Culture Collection (IBASU-A). The institute’s staff has 116 scientists, including one academician and three corresponding members of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. They conduct research on the taxonomy, floristics, phytocoenics, sociology, and ecology of phyto- and mycobiote; on the organization, dynamics, and protection of phyto- and cenotic diversity; and on the structural and functional organization of plants and fungi in changing environmental conditions, including factors of space flight. The institute today is an international leader in plant sciences, particularly in the study of plant and fungal diversity and conservation at various levels, from molecules to ecosystems. It has been actively involved in the protection of natural environment by working on three editions of the Red Data Book of Ukraine (1980, 1994–96, 2009) and the Green Book of Ukraine (2007), as well as by facilitating the activities of Ukraine’s nature preserves. On 10 October 2022, the institute, together with the adjacent National Museum of Natural History of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine sustained significant damage (with 57 backyard windows broken) as a result of the Russian missile attack on Kyiv’s historical center.

The institute’s directors have been Oleksander Fomin (1931–5), Vasyl Briantsev (1935–7), Yakiv Modylevsky (1937–9), Mykola Hryshko (1939–44), Andrii Sapiehin (1944–6), Dmytro Zerov (1946–63), Havrylo Bilyk (1963–8), Alfred Oksner (1968–70), Kostiantyn Sytnyk (1970–2003), Yakiv Didukh (2003–2008), and Serhii Mosiakin (2008–). The institute manages the Ukrainian Steppe Nature Reserve (partially occupied by the Russian Federation and its local cronies in 2014–15) and since 1921 has published a bimonthly journal—Ukraïns’kyi botanichnyi zhurnal (79 vols, 1921–) and Algologia (32 vols, 1991–). It has published a number of monographs, most notably, Vyznachnyk roslyn URSR (Field Guide to the Plants of the Ukrainian SSR, 1950), Flora URSR (The Flora of the Ukrainian SSR, 12 vols, 1936–65), Roslynnist' URSR (The Vegetation of the Ukrainian SSR, 4 vols, 1968–73), Vyznachnyk hrybiv Ukraïny (Field Guide to the Fungi of Ukraine, 5 vols, 1967–79), Vyznachnyk prisnovodnykh vodorostei Ukraїny (Field Guide to the Freshwater Algae of Ukraine, 1993), Flora lyshainykiv Ukraїny (Flora of Lichens of Ukraine, vol. 1, 1956; vol. 2, issue 1, 1968; issue 2, 1993; and issue 3, 2011), and Flora mokhiv Ukraїny (Flora of the Mosses of Ukraine, 4 vols, 2003). An important milestone has been the compilation of the so-called ‘checklists’ devoted to lichens and fungi, among them Checklist of Fungi of Ukraine (1996), The Second Checklist of Lichen-Forming, Lichenicolous, and Allied Fungi of Ukraine (1998), and The Third Checklist of Lichen-Forming and Lichenicolous Fungi of Ukraine (2010), all prepared by Serhii Kondratiuk as chief compiler. The institute’s scientific library contains 110,500 volumes (half of which are issues of periodicals), including old prints and rare books dating back to the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. The institute’s main building is an architectural landmark, formerly a building of Saint Olha women’s gymnasium designed by architect Pavlo Alioshyn (1906). (See also Botany and Flora.)

Instytut botaniky im. M.H. Kholodnoho NAN Ukraїny (1921–2011). Vikhy istoriї ta suchasnist' (Kyiv 2011)
The institute’s official website:

Serhiy Bilenky

[This article was updated in 2022.]

List of related links from Encyclopedia of Ukraine pointing to Institute of Botany of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine entry:

A referral to this page is found in 3 entries.