The Montréal Botanical Garden’s plant collections were created in 1936 under the direction of the first curator, Henry Teuscher, and today, they comprise 11,000 species and more than 21,000 taxa. A taxon is a unit of classification that designates lower taxonomical ranks and species, such as sub-species, varieties, forms and cultivars.
The Botanical Garden’s collections celebrate the planets natural plant diversity and also present a number of horticultural selections cultivated for their ornamental qualities or economic importance. Around 70 per cent of taxa are on display in the outdoor gardens; the others are cultivated in the exhibition and production greenhouses.
These collections are at the heart of the mission of the Montréal Botanical Garden and Space for Life – research, education and conservation. The inventory of living collections is updated annually and integrated into the Botanical Gardens Conservation International database. Through this portal, all of the Botanical Garden’s collections are available to researchers all over the world.
The 10 exhibition greenhouses and 28 service greenhouses cover an area of 14,000 m2 and house close to 6,000 taxa, ranging from tropical to desert-dwelling species.
Some plant families are particularly well represented, including Orchidaceae, Cactaceae, Bromeliaceae, Begoniaceae, Araceae and Gesneriaceae.
The Fern Greenhouse is home to large thematic collections of ferns, succulent plants, epiphytes, tropical food plants and penjings.
In addition, the Botanical Garden's greenhouses cultivate more than 400 species on the list of rare or threatened plants drawn up by the World Conservation Union (IUCN).
The Montréal Botanical Garden comprises 75 hectares. It includes 20 outdoor gardens, in which nearly 16,000 taxa are cultivated.
The Arboretum occupies almost half of the area of the Garden. It is home to nearly 1,000 species of trees and shrubs that grow in temperate climates, including one of the biggest collections of lilacs in North America. Its companion horticultural garden, the Shrub Garden, features a wide selection of ornamental shrubs, along with an impressive collection of rustic magnolias.
Discreetly nestled in the Arboretum and protected by a windbreak of trees, the Leslie Hancock Garden is home to a specialized collection of rhododendrons and other species in the Ericacae family.
Among the other large gardens are the Alpine Garden with more than 3,000 species, the Perennial Garden, the Shade Garden, the Rose Garden, the Economical Plant Garden (useful plants), the Flowery Brook composed in large part of irises, peonies, lilies and day lilies, and the Garden of Innovations, which showcases the latest sensations from the ornamental horticulture industry.
In addition to the large gardens, there are many small gardens to discover and explore, including the Courtyard of the Senses, the Aquatic Garden, the Medicinal Plant Garden, the Toxic Plant Garden, the Québec Corner and the Welcome Gardens.
Three large cultural gardens complete the Botanical Garden: the Chinese Garden, the Japanese Garden and the First Nations Garden. In addition to the botanical collections from each culture in these gardens, they offer a variety of cultural programs, including exhibitions, workshops and activities.