Botanical gardens are more than the sum of their flora. Originally cultivated with medicinal herbs in mind, classical botanical gardens soon hosted flowers and trees from around the world to study, educate, and offer an aesthetically-pleasing place for visitors. More recently, research gardens have expanded their missions to include conservation – meaning your entry fee is helping to maintain world biodiversity. "Most of these gardens are curated and displayed like museum objects in a way that paintings are displayed in an art museum," says Morris Arboretum's executive director Paul W. Meyer. "And these collections double as conservation repositories." We consulted Meyer and Katy Moss Warner, head of the American Horticultural Society, to find exemplary botanical gardens from around the world that are worth traveling to see.
Botanic Garden Berlin-Dahlem (Germany)
Another of the world's biggest botanical gardens, Berlin-Dahlem holds more than 20,000 cultivated plants, an arboretum, and 16 public greenhouses – its Art Nouveau-style tropical greenhouse is one of the world's largest – which showcase flora from Africa, Australia, East Asia, and the Mediterranean.
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Germany's former Royal Herbarium became the Botanical Museum, and in recent decades has been expanded and redesigned for research and to educate the public on the science of plants and their use throughout history. A special draw here is the reconstruction of floral decoration from the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs.