Missouri Botanical Garden

Missouri Botanical Garden

A view of Seiwa-en, the largest Japanese garden in North America
Location St. Louis, Missouri
Coordinates 38°36′51″N 90°15′32″W / 38.6141°N 90.2589°W / 38.6141; -90.2589Coordinates: 38°36′51″N 90°15′32″W / 38.6141°N 90.2589°W / 38.6141; -90.2589
Built 1859
Architect Multiple
Architectural style Late Victorian
NRHP Reference # 71001065[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP November 19, 1971
Designated NHLD December 8, 1976[2]
A manicured garden of Victorian style plantings at the Missouri Botanical Garden
The Climatron greenhouse at the Missouri Botanical Garden, simulates the climate of a rainforest for conservational and educational purposes

The Missouri Botanical Garden is a botanical garden located at 4344 Shaw Boulevard in St. Louis, Missouri. It is also known informally as Shaw's Garden for founder and philanthropist Henry Shaw.


Founded in 1859, the Missouri Botanical Garden is one of the oldest botanical institutions in the United States and a National Historic Landmark., as well as the National Register of Historic Places. The Garden is a center for botanical research and science education of international repute, as well as an oasis in the city of St. Louis, with 79 acres (32 ha) of horticultural display. It includes a 14-acre (5.7 ha) Japanese strolling garden named Seiwa-en; the Climatron geodesic dome conservatory; a children's garden, including a pioneer village; a playground; a fountain area and a water locking system, somewhat similar to the locking system at the Panama Canal; an Osage camp; and Henry Shaw’s original 1850 estate home. It is adjacent to Tower Grove Park, another of Shaw’s legacies.[3]

In 1983, the Botanical Garden was added as the fourth subdistrict of the Metropolitan Zoological Park and Museum District.

For part of 2006, the Missouri Botanical Garden featured "Glass in the Garden", with glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly placed throughout the garden. Four pieces were purchased to remain at the gardens. In 2008 sculptures of the French artist Niki de Saint Phalle were placed throughout the garden. In 2009, the 150th anniversary of the Garden was celebrated, including a floral clock display.

After 40 years of service to the Garden, Dr. Peter Raven retired from his presidential post on September 1, 2010. Dr. Peter Wyse Jackson replaced him as President.[4]

Cultural festivals

The Garden is a place for many annual cultural festivals, including the Japanese Festival and the Chinese Culture Days by the St. Louis Chinese Culture Days Committee.[5] During this time, there are showcases of the culture's botanics as well as cultural arts, crafts, music and food. The Japanese Festival features sumo wrestling, taiko drumming, koma-mawashi top spinning, and kimono fashion shows. The Garden is known for its bonsai growing, which can be seen all year round, but is highlighted during the multiple Asian festivals.

Major garden features include:

Tower Grove House seen here behind a hedge maze

The Gardens

Popular culture

Douglas Trumbull, director of the 1972 science fiction classic film Silent Running, stated that the geodesic domes on the spaceship Valley Forge were based on the Missouri Botanical Garden's Climatron dome.[6]

Butterfly House

Missouri Botanical Garden also operates the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House in Chesterfield. The Butterfly House includes an 8,000-square-foot (740 m2) indoor butterfly conservatory as well as an outdoor butterfly garden.

Earthways Center

The EarthWays Center is a group at the Missouri Botanical Garden that provides resources on and educates the public about green practices, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and other sustainability matters.[7]

Shaw Nature Reserve

Main article: Shaw Nature Reserve

The Shaw Nature Reserve was started by the Missouri Botanical Garden in 1925 as a place to store plants away from the pollution of the city. The air in St. Louis later cleared up and the reserve has continued to be open to the public and for enjoyment, research, and education ever since. The 2,400-acre (9.7 km2) reserve is located in Gray Summit, Missouri 35 miles (56 km) away from the city.[8]

The Plant List

The Plant List is an Internet encyclopedia project to compile a comprehensive list of botanical nomenclature,[9] created by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and the Missouri Botanical Garden.[10] The Plant List has 1,040,426 scientific plant names of species rank, of which 298,900 are accepted species names. In addition, the list has 620 plant families and 16,167 plant genera.[11]


Monsanto has donated $10 million to the Missouri Botanical Garden since the 1970s, which named its 1998 plant science facility the 'Monsanto Center'.[12]

See also


  1. National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. "Missouri Botanical Garden". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on 2009-03-01. Retrieved 2008-06-28.
  3. "National Register of Historic Places - Nomination Form" (PDF). Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 2008-05-30.
  5. Commentary accompanying the DVD release of the film Silent Running.
  6. "Conservation in Action: the EarthWays Center". Missouribotanicalgarden.org. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
  7. "Shaw Nature Reserve". Shawnature.org. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
  8. Claire Bates (2011-01-05). "Botanical A-Z via Kew: British experts complete database of every plant name on the planet - all 1.25million of them". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
  9. "Discovery News: World's Largest Plants Database Assembled". News.discovery.com. 2010-12-29. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
  10. CBC: US, British scientists draw up comprehensive list of world's known land plants
  11. Press release Missouri Botanical Garden receives $3 million gift from Monsanto Company toward development of a World Flora Online. Missouri Botanical Garden, 5 June 2012

External links

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