Botanical Institute

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Botanical Institute


(full name, V. L. Komarov Botanical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR; BIN), the leading Soviet scientific and research botanical institution, center of the complex study of the flora and vegetation cover of the USSR, and one of the leading botanical institutes of the world. It is located in Leningrad.

The institute arose on the basis of the Aptekarskii Ogorod (Pharmaceutical Garden; 1714), which was transformed in 1823 into the Imperial Botanical Garden. From 1917 to 1930 it was the Central Botanical Garden of the RSFSR. In 1930 the garden was transferred to the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, and in 1931, after its unification with the Botanical Museum of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, it was reorganized into the Botanical Institute. At one time, the Station for Seed Experimentation (1877–1931) and the Central Plant Pathology Station (1901–31) belonged to the institute. The name of V. L. Komarov was conferred on the institute in 1940. In connection with its 250th anniversary and for its services in the development of biology, BIN was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor in 1965. In 1969 the institute consisted of the higher plants division (with one of the world’s richest herbariums containing about 5 million leaves), the lower plants division, the geobotanical division, the morphology division, and the plant resources division. The institute’s divisions have jurisdiction over a botanical garden and a botanical museum. It also has laboratories in cytology, cytophysiology, photosynthesis, and microelements. BIN has one of the world’s best collections of botanical literature, totaling over 450,000 books.

Many outstanding botanists have worked at the institute and have created their own schools. They include P. A. Baranov, A. F. Batalin, I. P. Borodin, M. S. Voronin, A. A. Elenkin, B. L. Isachenko, B. A. Keller, V. L. Komarov, S. I. Korzhinskii, I. M. Krasheninnikov, A. N. Krishtofo-vich, N. I. Kuznetsov, V. N. Liubimenko, K. I. Maksimo-vich, G. A. Nadson, E. L. Regel’, F. I. Ruprekht, V. N. Sukachev, G. I. Tanfil’ev, B. A. Fedchenko, A. P. Shennikov, B. K. Shishkin, and A. A. Iachevskii.

The institute’s activities are basically centered on the study of USSR flora, the study of the vegetation cover of the USSR, the formulation of the theoretical principles of geobotany and biogeocenology, the study of useful wild plants, and the study of plant morphology and evolution. In connection with USSR flora, BIN has created a series of monographs and standard reference books, including the 30-volume Flora of the USSR (1934–64), and worked out the study of plant species. It has published fundamental works on the vegetation cover of the USSR as well as survey geobotanical maps of the USSR and foreign territories. There is also graduate study at the institute, and a scholarly council accepts doctoral and candidate dissertations for defense. The Scientific Council of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, which is based on the institute, works on the problem of the biological principles of the rational use, transformation, and preservation of the plant world.


Ot Aptekarskogo ogoroda do Botanicheskogo instituto: Ocherkipo istorii Botanicheskogo instituta AN SSSR. Moscow-Leningrad, 1957.
Shetler, S. G. The Komarov Botanical Institute: 250 Years of Russian Research. Washington, D.C., 1967.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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