Purkynova 1, 460 01 Liberec
A pride of Liberec is its Botanical Garden, whose beginnings trace back to 1876. It is famed for its orchids, the collection of carnivorous plants is on a par with other outstanding collections across Europe. The cactus displays feature a rich variety of quality specimens, nor are lacking aquariums and terrariums.
The botanical garden in Liberec has a first-rate collection of carnivorous plants. But the founder of the collection and present director of the garden, Miroslav Studnicka, is also returning his: carnivores to the Czech countryside.
The collection of carnivorous plants in Liberec began by chance. A botanist, Miroslav Studnicka was part of an international programme for exchanging plant seeds, and about twenty-five years ago he ordered some carnivorous flowers. For a while he kept them at home, on the windowsill, and then transferred them to the botanical garden. In the course of a decade or so, the collection came to be well-known abroad, and today it is considered one of the most important in the world, its status confirmed by the main prize won at an exhibition of carnivorous plants held in Ghent in 1995.
In their natural habitat, carnivorous plants are highly sensitive to pollution. For example the Czech butterwort was almost extinct, with only thirty specimens in existence. But thanks to the garden a study was launched to save the plant by improving it genetically. This enabled botanists to grow the Czech butterwort so successfully that today several thousand plants are to be found growing wild in the countryside. According to Studnicka, the project has been so successful that it is having an impact worldwide.
Every year hundreds of thousands of visitors head for the zoo and botanical garden in Liberec. After a two-year break, five multistorey greenhouses were opened at the beginning of August. These replaced the original forty-year-old constructions, which were in a dangerous state of decay. The architect Pavel Vanecek compared the reopened tract to a temple of botany.
The octagonal aluminium structures were financed by the city, with substantial help from the national government. A total of 155 million crowns was invested in the refurbishing of the botanical garden. The mayor of Liberec, George Drda, pointed out how unusual the greenhouse project was. The new area brings together ten thousand species of plants. A unique feature is the tunnel-shaped aquarium, which holds nine thousand litres of water. One of the rarest fish on exhibit is the African lungfish, which is considered a virtual sea fossil. Among the flora, the greatest attraction is the largest collection of carnivorous plants in the world.
For more information call 048/52 52 811
The botanical garden is open daily 8:00 - 16:00.