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History of the Botanical Garden

The ”Old Botanical Garden” was founded 1690 and was situated at the current University square in Lundagård. At that time, the garden sorted under the Faculty of Medicine. Lack of committed leadership and poor economy meant that the garden was soon left to its fate. It was never used for research and education purposes.   In 1740, initiatives were taken to establish a "New Botanical Garden" in the same place. In the mid-18th century it was completed and the garden's reputation improved thanks to dedicated Natural Science professors and skilled gardeners. Eric Lidbeck, one of Carl von Linné's disciples, was appointed garden director in 1752. The “New Botanical Garden” was in use for more than 100 years and its plant collection amounted to 6000 species.   Around 1840, the buildings in the “New Botanical Garden” were in very bad condition and lack of money meant that the plants were not taken care of properly by professional gardeners. Jacob Georg Agardh, Professor of Botany 1853–1879, suggested that the botanical garden was moved from the center of Lund to Tornalycken outside the city ramparts. The university was expanding and needed more space. Agardh received an appropriation from the Swedish government to implement the plans. The "Current Botanical Garden" at Östra Vallgatan was established in 1862-1867.   In 1972, the "Current Botanical Garden" was detached from what was then the Botanical Institute. The research departments and eventually the herbarium moved to more modern premises. The botanical garden is still supporting research and education, but the main focus today is on communicating knowledge about botany, horticulture and environmental issues to the public. We are also constantly developing the work for ex-situ conservation of biodiversity, both globally and locally.


Professors and Garden Directors of the Botanical Garden at Lund university

1690–1697 Erasmus Sachensköld

1697–1716 Jacob Fredric Below

1710–1734 Johan Jacob Döbelius, instrumental in establishing the well Ramlösa

1732–1752 Gustav Harmens

1752–1795 Eric Gustaf Lidbeck, worked to introduce silk production in Sweden

1795–1818 Anders Johan Retzius, Royal Physiographic Society

1818–1835 Carl Adolf Agardh, Synopsis Algarum Scandinaviae

1835–1853 Johan Wilhelm Zetterstedt, Diptera Scandinaviae

1853–1879 Jacob Georg Agardh, Theoria Systematis Plantarum; algae

1879–1898 Fredrik Wilhelm Christian Areschoug, Flora of Scania

1898–1902 Sven Berggren, Mosses

1902–1924 Svante Murbeck, Plant physiology and genetics

1927–? Thore Fries, Plant geography; died in Africa, date not known

1934–1948 Heribert Nilsson, Salix

1959–1970 Henning Weimarck, Chromosome counts, Flora of Scania

1970–1972 Hans Runemark, Lichens; detached the Botanical Garden from the Botanical Institute

1972–2007 Lennart Engstrand, biosystematics and taxonomy

2007–2014 Marie Widén, reproduktive biology and taxonomy

2014– Bente Eriksen, systematics and evolution


Statues and monuments

The Sfinx

Location: Northeast hillock (Tunavägen/Olshögsvägen)

When the university main building was opened by King Oscar II in 1882, four sphinxes, symbolizing wisdom and power, stood on the roof. The poor quality of the cement caused the sphinxes to begin to crumble and they were taken down for safety reasons in 1959. The Uarda Academy, an association aiming at promoting student organized spectacles at Lund University, then with Sten Broman at the lead, alledgely found one of the sphinxes in a basement storage at the Technical University. In 1978, the somewhat scrubby sphinx was placed in the Botanical Garden. It later became the model when replicas of the sphinxes were made in 1994 and put back on the roof of the university building.  

Jacob Georg Agardh (1813-1901)

Location: The pond of Agardh at the Conservatory

JG Agardh was professor and garden director 1853-1879 and the person supervising the move of the garden from Lundagård in the city centre to its present location. He managed to create a large and substatial collection of plants in a short period of time. In 1868 there were 5,900 species (today about 7,000). Just like his father CA Agardh, he was a very distinguished algae researcher and Agardh’s herbarium is still one of the world's premier collections of algae (kept at the Biological Museum in Lund). Jacob Georg is said to have been a skilled and captivating lecturer. He taught in all fields of botany. He was also politically involved and participated in the social debate, in Sweden at large as well as in Lund. Jacob Georg Agardh is buried at the Eastern Cemetery, just south of the Botanical Garden. The bust was made by Finnish sculptor Walter Runeberg (son of Johan Ludvig), in 1899.

Carl Adolph Agardh (1785-1859)

Location: Agardhianum

CA Agardh was the father of the founder of the ‘Current Botanical Garden’ Jacob Georg. Carl Adolph was garden director in the Botanical Garden between 1818-1835. He was a professor of botany and laid the foundations for algae systematics. Sometimes he is called "Linnaeus of the algae". Carl Adolph had many qualities; he was also economist, educator, member of parliament, chairman of the academic association and member of several academies and societies. He had great influence in early 19th century politics in Sweden and was also internationally renowned. It is said that he was brilliant, charming and very temperamental. In 1835 he left Lund to become bishop in Karlstad. Shortly after Carl Adolph’s death, his daughter gave birth to a son, later to become the famous author Gustaf Fröding. Carl Adolph Agardh is buried at the Eastern Cemetery just south of the Botanical Garden. The bust was erected in 1939.  

Memorial stone

Location: Wall of the Conservatory

On the wall of the conservatory there is a memorial plate from the ‘New Botanical Garden’ in Lundagård. The stone is made of Komstad-limestone from Österlen and was carved in 1750. It was placed on the wall of the then recently erected conservatory at Lundagård as a tribute. The text reads: "... dedicated to the flowers, the spring and the eternity to the Creator's honor, the adornment of nature, the advance of science and the benefit of young students." The words are still valid today.  

The Anchor

Location: Södra plan (south field)

Monument in memory of Lund’s Academic Sailing Association’s 25th anniversary. Lund's Academic Sailing Association, LASS, was founded in 1987 as a collaboration between Malmö and Helsingkrona Nations. Twice a year, members join up and go on a voyage by boat in connection with the student bale. The Association is only open to men, but has so far had a single female honorary member, the legendary Lisa, who was allegely alive until the mid 1990's. The location in the botanical garden connects Malmö and Helsingkrona Nations geographically.  

Bronze eagle

Location: Södra plan (south field)

Memorial to Bengt Lidforss (1868–1913), professor of botany and well known debater of religious, cultural and political issues. He was one of the foremost figures within the social democratic movement of his time.

Scanian rocks

Location: Southeastern region (Östervångsvägen)

Exhibition showing blocks of rock from Scania.