Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid

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The Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid (German Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid ) was founded in 1755 by King Ferdinand VI. founded in Soto de Migas Calientes on the outskirts of Madrid. King Charles III 1781 ordered the garden to be relocated to its current location on Paseo del Prado , next to the Natural History Museum (now the Museo del Prado ) , which was under construction .

The botanical garden is structured by three terraces, one after the other . It is home to plants from Europe, America and the Pacific. The Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid is now a research facility of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas . In the garden you can see around 5000 different types of trees and plants from all over the world.

"Puerta Real" of the Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid, built by Francesco Sabatini (1781)
Real Jardín Bótanico de Madrid.



Autumn in the Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid

At the request of the doctor Andrés Laguna, King Philip II had a botanical garden laid out next to the Royal Palace of Aranjuez . In 1755 Ferdinand VI. create a Real Jardín Botánico in Madrid, which was in the Huerta de Migas Calientes (today Puerta de Hierro ) on the banks of the Río Manzanares . He already counted more than 2000 plants that the botanist and surgeon José Quer had collected on numerous trips through the Iberian Peninsula and Europe or acquired by exchanging from other botanical gardens in Europe. The continuous growth of the garden led to Charles III. 1774 ordered the garden to be moved to its current location on the Paseo del Prado . This was done as part of the program to renew the Salón del Prado and Atocha .

Real Jardín Botánico

José Moñino y Redondo , Prime Minister of Charles III, was very committed to moving the Botanical Garden to the prado viejo of Atocha. It was not only intended to beautify the Salón del Prado , but also serve as a symbol of the crown's patronage for science and art. At that time, the Natural History Cabinet (later the Museo del Prado ) and the observatory were located nearby . Professor Casimiro Gómez Ortega was involved in the creation of the Botanical Garden on the Prado .

Early years

Round fountain

The construction of the new botanical garden was entrusted to the assessor and scientist Casimiro Gómez Ortega and the architect Francesco Sabatini , who implemented the original plan between 1774 and the inauguration in 1781, which was divided into three stages. Part of the enclosure was completed, including the Puerta Real . The second construction phase from 1774 to 1781 was headed by the architect Juan de Villanueva , where he placed the garden's function for science and teaching in the foreground. The garden was 10 hectares in size, the sloping terrain was divided into three terraces, which in turn were divided into square sections. The top terrace ( Terraza del Plano de la Flor ) was redesigned in the 19th century. The site was fenced in with an elegant iron grille made in Tolosa (Basque Country) . The grille sat on a granite plinth. The Puerta Real , built by Sabatini in the classical style with Doric columns and gable, and the entrance built by Villanueva opposite the Museo del Prado served as entrances .

The garden also included greenhouses , seed beds and farm buildings . A greenhouse, the Pabellón Villanueva, was built in the eastern part . The building by the royal architect was more aesthetic than practical, which is why the library, herbarium and lecture halls were installed there at the beginning of the 19th century.

The Royal Botanical Garden received extensive material collected from scientific expeditions sent by the Crown. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the garden took part in at least five expeditions: the botanical expedition to New Granada (now Colombia) led by José Celestino Mutis , the botanical expedition to the Viceroyalty of Peru with Hipólito Ruiz Lopez and José Antonio Pavón , the botanical Expedition to New Spain (now Mexico and USA) by Martín Sessé y Lacasta and José Mariano Mociño , Alessandro Malaspina's circumnavigation of the world , in which the botanists Antonio Pineda , Luis Née and Thaddäus Haenke took part, as well as the Comisión Científica del Pacífico with the botanist Juan Isern . At that time, the garden received drawings, seeds, fruits, wood samples, living plants and, above all, herbarium sheets, which allowed the herbarium and library to grow.

19th century

Paseo de las Estatuas

At the beginning of the 19th century, the Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid had become one of the most important facilities of its kind in Europe. He owed this in particular to his scientific collections and the work of his director Antonio José Cavanilles . Cavanilles renewed the garden, the herbarium and the growing beds and made the garden international. In spring and summer, the garden was a meeting place for fine Madrid society. Medicinal plants were given free of charge. Still, the Napoleonic Wars brought years of neglect. Even during the first third of the 19th century, the decline of the garden continued despite the efforts of the then director Mariano Lagasca .

Under the direction of the zoologist Mariano de la Paz Graells , who was also director of the Natural History Museum, important reforms were implemented. This included the construction of a cold house, which still bears Graell's name today, and the new construction of the top terrace. During these years a zoological garden was laid out, which twelve years later was moved to the Parque del Buen Retiro .

Even so, the garden lost its area in the 1880s . In 1882, two hectares were cut off to build the building that now houses the Ministry of Agriculture. For the construction of a road on the south side of the Botanical Garden, additional areas had to be sacrificed in 1893. As a result, it was reduced to its current size of eight hectares. In 1886 a hurricane caused devastating damage to the botanical garden, 564 valuable trees had to be felled.

20th century

The Real Jardín Botánico was assigned to the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas in 1939 . It was declared the Jardín Artístico in 1942. Decades of lack and decline followed, until it was closed in 1974 for restoration work. Their aim was to restore the original state. The work was carried out between 1980 and 1981. The architect Antonio Fernández Alba directed the redesign of the Pabellón Villanueva , the architect Guillermo Sánchez Gil and the garden architect Leandro Silva were responsible for the approximation of the original design of the garden.

In February 2005 the exhibition area of ​​the Botanical Garden was expanded by one hectare.


Terraza de los cuadros

The part of the garden that is open to the public is divided into three terraces that take advantage of the differences in height of the terrain.

Terraza de los Cuadros

The lowest is also the widest of the three terraces. The collections of ornamental , medicinal and aromatic plants , vegetables, fruit trees and old roses are located there . The square beds are bordered with boxwood hedges , each with a small fountain in the middle. At the end of the main path through this terrace is the rock garden .

Terraza de las Escuelas Botánicas

The second terrace is a little smaller than the first. Here an attempt is made to present the plants according to their position in the taxonomic system . The plants are arranged according to families , which are grouped around twelve wells.

Fatsia japonica from the Terraza de las Escuelas Botánicas

Terraza del Plano de la Flor

The top terrace is slightly smaller than the previous ones and is characterized by a romantic style. It consists of 25 figures or beds with curved shapes. The Terraza del Plano de la Flor is structured by hedges and four roundels . In the middle there is a pond and a bust of Carl von Linnés . Pabellón Villanueva , built as a greenhouse in 1781, is now used for exhibitions. The terrace is bordered by a wrought-iron vine arbor from 1786, on which vines of different grape varieties tend to grow.

On the northern edge of this terrace is the Invernadero Graells , a greenhouse from the 19th century. It houses tropical plants, aquatic plants and mosses . Right next to it is a larger, modern exhibition greenhouse with a tropical, a temperate and a desert area.

As Bonsai solid maple from the collection of former Prime Minister Felipe González

Terraza alta or Terraza de los Laureles

The "Upper Terrace" or "Laurel Terrace" was created in 2005 when the Botanical Garden was being expanded, based on a design by the landscape architect Fernando Caruncho . It is much smaller than the other terraces and lies behind the Pabellón Villanueva . It should offer space for special collections, such as the bonsai collection donated by the former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe González .


The herbarium of the Madrid Botanical Garden is the most important herbarium in Spain. Its international identification code is MA. It contains about a million herbarium sheets, some of which date from the 18th century. The herbarium is divided into sections for flowering plants and cryptogams as well as the historical collections. The latter contain the plants collected on the scientific expeditions in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The library of the Real Jardín Botánico dates back to the time the garden was founded. In 1781 it still contained 151 volumes, 83 of which dealt with botany, 19 with natural history and 49 with chemistry. Already in 1787 there were almost a thousand books, in 1801 around 1500. Today the library comprises 30,000 books, 2075 magazine titles, 26,000 brochures, 3000 titles on microfiche and 2500 cards.

The archives have been collecting documents relating to the garden, for example on newly acquired plants, since 1775. The first catalog “Indice de los Manuscritos, Dibujos y Láminas del Real Jardín botánico” dates from 1815 and was made by Simón de Rojas Clemente .

Statue of Charles III. in the garden

Since its inception, the Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid has participated in the exchange of seeds with other institutions around the world. A list of the seeds that can be given in is distributed under the title “Index Seminum” to around 500 botanical gardens and research institutions every year. Since 1987 a cooling chamber has been available for storing the seeds in a seed library . As a result, the ability to germinate is preserved for so long that it was decided to carry out collection campaigns for seeds throughout Spain and store them there.


The "Departamento de la Biodiversidad y Conservación" (Department for Biodiversity and Nature Conservation) deals with all aspects of plant biodiversity , especially with the vascular plants of the Mediterranean, the tropics and subtropics.

At the “Departamento de Micología” (Department of Mycology ) the taxonomy, distribution and ecology of fungi are examined and measures to protect them are developed.

The Spanish branch of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility is located at the Royal Botanical Garden in Madrid .

Regular publications

The Royal Botanical Garden publishes the journal Anales del Jardín Botánico de Madrid , which contains articles on the taxonomy and systematics of plants and fungi. She also deals with related subject areas such as biogeography, bioinformatics, nature conservation and others. The journal contains information on newly discovered species to be included in the W3TROPICOS, International Plant Names Index or Index Fungorum databases.

The publication Flora Iberica is a taxonomic study of vascular plants that grow wild on the Iberian Peninsula and the Balearic Islands . Work on this project began in 1980, and by 2018 20 of the planned 21 volumes have been published.

The Madrid Botanical Garden also publishes the Flora Mycologica Iberica and the Cuadernos de Trabajo de Flora Micológica Ibérica . Various monographs have appeared in the Ruizía series .

See also


  • Añón, C., S. Castroviejo y A. Fernández Alba (1983). Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid, Pabellón de Invernáculos.
  • Colmeiro y Penido, Miguel (1875). Bosquejo histórico y estadístico del Jardín Botánico de Madrid.
  • VV.AA. (2004). El Jardín botánico de Madrid. Un paseo guiado / Botanic Garden of Madrid A guided walk. Madrid.
  • VV.AA. (2005). El Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid (1755-2005). Ciencia, Colección y Escuela. Real Jardín Botánico, Madrid.

Web links

Commons : Royal Botanical Garden, Madrid  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Real Jardín Botánico: Dos siglos de historia , accessed on December 9, 2010

Coordinates: 40 ° 24 ′ 40 "  N , 3 ° 41 ′ 26"  W