Botanical Garden


  • The identification, collection, preservation, phenotypic characterisation, assessment of disease resistance and documentation of the results is being carried out under the Programme for the conservation of genetic resources in Estonia.
  • Ex-situ preservation of the collection of medicinal and aromatic plants, an examination of the chemical composition of medicinal plants in cooperation with the Institute of Pharmacy of the University of Tartu.
  • The management and update of electronic and Internet-based databases for varieties with defined location and information on species of medicinal and herbs under investigation.
  • Continuous cooperation and information exchange with breeders and collectors, observation of seedlings of different cultures, assessment and characterisation of most promising breeding lines, the organisation of expeditions for the collection of varieties and the finding of replacement plants, inventories of private collections.
  • Vegetative reproduction of varieties of ornamental plants, preservation of safety duplicates in collections, exchange of plant material.
  • Demonstration and promotion of local varieties: organising awareness-raising events, preparing information materials and publications, managing the website, making the preserved plant varieties and local breeds available for teaching and non-profit purposes to other users.
  • Participation in international cooperation: preservation, exploration and characterisation of medicinal and aromatic plant in the framework of the European Cooperative Programme for Plant Genetic Resources (ECPGR) and update of international databases.

The beginning of ornamental plants breeding in Estonia

The plant breeding of ornamental plants in Estonia was started by the teacher of the Räpina Gardening School and a teh breeder of lilacs Adolf Vaigla in 1946. In the Polli branch of the Crop Production Institute of the Academy of Sciences on Estonian SSR plant breeding activities were undertaken in 1947. 

In the second half of the 20th century, the local varieties of ornamental plants were bred mainly in the botanical garden of Tallinn.
The main methods of breeding of new varieties were hybridization and selection, with the emphasis also on agro-technics in hybrid seedlings.

In examining the archives of the botanical gardens and libraries, we have found a written references that, alongside with plant breeding in scientific institutions, the breeding of ornamental plants was also carried on by private gardens.

We have contacted many breeders and collectors for full information.
As a result of examining the collections of private gardeners and on the basis of the information they have received, we have concluded,
that plant breeding in private gardens gained momentum in the second half of the 20th century.

The main crops used for breeding have been Anemone L., Begonia × tuberhybrida Voss, Clematis L., Dahlia Cav., Dianthus L., Gladiolus L., Hemerocallis L., Hippeastrum Herb., Iris L., Lilium L., Narcissus L., Paeonia L., Potentilla L., Primula L., Rosa L., Sempervivum L., Syringa L., Tulipa L., Many other bulb flowers, grasses, leaf and coniferous trees. On the basis of written sources, it can be concluded that a considerable part of the varieties has lost, but the information on their breeding has been published and documented in different publications.

Results of plant breeding of ornamental plants
As a result of the the inventories of private collections and the archives of the libraries has been determined, that more than 1300 varieties and breeding lines were bred in Estonia. 720 varieties are being grown at the current time. Current habitat of many varieties has been ascertained and these varieties are included in the ornamental plant genetic resource database. A catalog has been compiled, which provides adequate information on ornamental plants breeding history in Estonia. This is certainly one of the most reliable and capacious document of searching for information.

The breeding of ornamental plants continues in private gardens currently. Seedlings of new varieties of different species are under constant attention.
The main crops used nowadays for breeding are Clematis L., Hemerocallis L., Paeonia L., Potentiilla L., Primula L. and Rosa L..
There is a continuous cooperation and exchange of information between botanical garden and private breeders.

A large number of varieties has been registered both in Estonian and world variety registers. 129 varieties of clematis and 15 rose varieties are registered in the Estonian Agricultural Board. In the International Clematis Register and Checklist are registered 156 varieties of clematis, (breeders Uno Kivistik, Eino Kala and Erich Pranno. 14 varieties of lilac bred by Adolf Vaigla are registered in the International Lilac Registrary the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton (Canada). 7 varieties of lily created by Vera Jessinovskaya are registered by the International Lily Registrar. Variety of gladiol ´Little Robi ' (author Edna Kõiv)is included in the Register of the North American Gladiol Council. Variety of gladiol ' Sinilind ' bread in the Tallinn Botanical Garden by Aili Süvalepp, is registered by Moscow's Central Botanical Garden. 8 primrose varieties and 3 varieties of roses have received the author's certificate.

Preservation of varieties of ornamental plants in the botanical garden of the University of Tartu and elsewhere in Estonia
After launch of the national PGR programme, a more than 400 ornamental plants have been acquired and planted in plant collections in the Tartu University Botanical Garden. Larger collection have iris (77), lily (38), clematis (37), anemone flowers (33), roses (51), daylilies (23), lilacs (18) and sempervivum (9) collections. The collections of the Tallinn Botanical Garden include 93 Estonian varieties. The larger collections compose roses (41), anemone flowers (18) and lily (10). More than 700 varieties are present in many gardens and private collections currently.


Tartu University Botanical Garden

Wide 38
51005 Tartu

Phone:  +372 737 6180
Email: juri.sild@ut.ee

University of Tartu Botanical Garden

University of Tartu Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden

 Botanic garden plant collections



Jüri Sild
Head of the Botanical Garden, MSc

Tel: +372 5557 5462
Email: juri.sild@ut.ee


Olesja Escuer
Botanic Gardener, PhD (agriculture)

Email: olesja.escuer@ut.ee

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    The Estonian Department of Natural Plants has been opened.

    In 2015-2018, the Estonian Department of Natural Plants underwent a thorough renovation course, which was completed for the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia.
    On the 1200 square meters of the department, the plants are planted on freeform bordered finesse according to naturally different places of growth, thanks to which each visitor can get acquainted with different types of forest and meadows and other interesting special places of growth.
    Nearly half, or 700 species, including 110 species of protected plants, are represented from indigenous species of local flora. The department maintains the majority of the wild relatives of cultivated plants on the prioritized list under the national programme "Collection, conservation and use of crop genetic resources 2021-2027".
    Thepriority given to the conservation of wild related species of wild sturgeon plants depends on the endemic nature, status, distribution, level of risk, as well as on the use in the production and plant breeding of cultivated plant species belonging to the same genus and on their importance as food and feed plants.

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