Horticulture, Institute of

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Horticulture, Institute of


(full name, N. I. Vavilov All-Union Institute of Horticulture; from 1894, the Bureau for Applied Botany and Selection; from 1924 to 1930, the All-Union Institute of Applied Botany and Selection), the largest center for horticultural research in the USSR.

The Institute of Horticulture is located in Leningrad and is affiliated with the Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences. It is devoted to the comprehensive study of the world’s plant resources and to the use of these resources in the national economy. The institute’s staff has engaged in research that has won worldwide recognition. Leading scientists at the institute have included N. A. Maksimov, G. D. Karpechenko, G. A. Levitskii, and V. Aleksandrov.

Between 1920 and 1940, N. I. Vavilov (the institute’s director from 1921 to 1940) organized 40 field trips throughout the USSR and 40 expeditions to 64 foreign countries to collect plant specimens for the institute. More than 200,000 specimens of cultivated and wild plants were gathered from all the continents. The institute’s collection of living plants, the most extensive in the world, served as the main breeding stock in the USSR.

In the 1930’s the institute helped solve problems involved in raising crops in the North, in supplying new industrial centers with food, and in developing the subtropics. Its scientists conducted research in genetics, physiology, biochemistry, immunity, cytology, and anatomy. They also evaluated crops and varieties.

Between 1960 and 1975 scientists from the institute retraced the routes traveled by Vavilov and, in addition, visited parts of central and western Africa, India, Pakistan, eastern China, and Australia. The institute’s plant collection was restored and enlarged upon, consisting of 220,000 specimens by 1975. At the same time, study of the plant collections was expanded to include the investigation of the origin of individual species, the identification of the ancestors of certain species, the determination of evolutionary pathways, and the formulation of classifications.

The comprehensive study of the plant collection of the institute made possible the concept of initial stock in selection and the division of the world into floristic regions on the basis of the quantitative distribution of plants. Also made possible was the study of the geographical variability of cultivated plants. More than 1,200 crop varieties have been bred from the initial stock provided by the institute’s collection. These varieties occupy more than 60 million hectares in the USSR (1974).

In 1975 the institute had the following departments: introduction, wheats, gray cereals (rye, oat, and barley), pulse crops, corn and groats crops, industrial crops, forage crops, vegetables, fruits, root crops, plant immunity, agricultural meteorology, physiology, genetics and cytology, taxonomy and herbaria, automation and electronics, and information and coordination. There is a laboratory for the study of proteins and nucleic acids, a biochemistry laboratory, a seed-growing laboratory, and a laboratory for technological evaluation.

The institute has a Siberian branch (Novosibirsk Oblast) and a Moscow division (Stupino Raion). It also has a number of experiment stations: the Volgograd Experiment Station (Volgograd Oblast); the Ekaterinskaia Experiment Station (Tambov Oblast); the Kuban’, Crimean, and Maikop experiment stations (Krasnodar Krai); the Sukhumi Experiment Station (city of Sukhumi); the Crimean Pomological Experiment Station (Crimean Oblast); the Central Asian Experiment Station (Tashkent Oblast); the Turkmen Experiment Station (Kara-Kala Raion); the Dagestan Experiment Station (Derbent Raion); the Ustimov Experiment Station (Poltava Oblast); the Aral Region Experiment Station (Aktiubinsk Oblast), the Far Eastern Experiment Station (Vladivostok); the Arctic Experiment Station (Murmansk Oblast); and the Pavlovsk Experiment Station (Leningrad Oblast). There also are base stations in Astrakhan, Kuibyshev, and Tselinograd oblasts.

The institute has a graduate program, offering courses both at the institute and by correspondence. It confers candidate’s and doctoral degrees. Since 1908 it has published Trudy (Transactions). In 1967 the institute was named after N. I. Vavilov. It was awarded the Order of Lenin in 1967 and the Order of Friendship of Peoples in 1975.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.