Año 11. Nº 1





Persy Gómez  & Steffen Hahn


Botanical Garden of Talca University





In Chile there exist about 5.200 species of native plants, of which 2.630 (51%) are endemic and over 60% are located in the Central Region (Marticorena 1990). In the flora of the VII Region of Maule it is known about 60 endemic species. For many of them it is known only historical dates, while for others it is unknown their exact geographic distribution and/or autoecology (Gómez & Hahn, 2007). More yet, a high percentage of them, approximately 80% are not included within the priority areas of the National System of wild areas protected by the government (SNASPE).


It is considered that in the last decades the high technological and industrial development of the country has generated a negative effect over many areas of the national territory, affecting dangerously the conservational conditions of a lot of species and vegetational communities. The adoption of the conservational measures of the biodiversity is an imperative necessity. It is in this context, the most value of this new support of the University of Talca to the culture and the nature of the country the establishment of a Botanical Garden.



In the present time the importance of the Botanical Gardens, in the conservation of species in danger of extinction is recognized (Wyse Jackson  & Sutherland 2000) to form part of the conservational strategies ex situ to keep the vegetational biodiversity, recommended by the International Union for the Conservation (IUCN), the World Fonde for the Nature (WWF) and the International Organization for the Conservation of the Botanical Gardens (BGCI) published in the Strategy for the Conservation in Botanical Gardens, in 1989.


In Chile the history of the Botanical Gardens started with Dr. Rodulfo Armando Philippi, a German botanic that was contracted for the Chilean government to head the National Museum and to proyect a Botanical Garden. The proyect was concreted in 1876 but the Sociedad Nacional de Agricultura (S.N.A) did not give the complete field for the garden (Gunckel, 1950). This situation was only one of different reasons for which the development of the Botanical Gardens in Chile has been postponed.

 In Chile there are only six Botanical Gardens, among them we find: The Botanical Garden of Antofagasta (2003), The National Botanical Garden of Viña del Mar (1952), the Botanical Garden of Valdivia, which depends of the Botanical Department of the Austral university of Chile (1971), the project of the Chagual Botanical Garden, which started in 2001, it tries to rescue the interrupted work of the Botanical Garden of Quinta Normal in Santiago, Chile, unfortunately missing, the Botanical Garden of Punta Arenas and the Botanical Garden of Talca University.


In 2001 emerged the interest from the ex rector of Talca University Dr. Alvaro Rojas Marin to create a Botanical Garden in this University. With this purpose, it was realized a project for its construction, jointly in agreement with Dresden University in Germany, that permitted to have the advise of the Environmental Protection Engineer Steffen Hahn (current director). It were determined concrete functions and goals in the project, which among others considerated the necessity of teaching and investigation of the Agronomical Science Faculty, Forest Science Faculty and the Biotechnology and Vegetable Biology Institute, also the creation of a cultural and recreational space for the city and the region.


During 2002, it started the construction of the nursery to develop tree nursery that would be grown in natural conditions after that. Simultaneously it was adquired the seeds and cuttings of exotic and native flora, by means of purcharsing and collecting of them in the field.


Later from the 16 th through the 19 th of January, 2006 in Lircay Campus of the University of Talca, it was performed the XVII Annual Meeting of the Botanical Society of Chile, where it was inaugurated the first section of the Botanical Garden of the University of Talca and then in may of 2007 in the same institution it was organized the first meeting of botanical gardens of Chile.


At this first Chilean botanical gardens meeting under the slogan “investigation, conservation and landscaping” assisted more than two hundred people from different countries (Germany, Colombia, Argentina, Ireland and Italy), within them: academics, researchers, professionals, students and a general audience.


Among the objectives of the Botanical Garden of the University of Talca, it is found, to delight the vegetal diversity of Maule Region of Chile, to keep ex situ endangered rare plants, to help the teaching and investigating activity and to generate entertaining and educational areas for the community (Figure 1 and 2).


Of course, one of the priorities of this garden is the endemic native flora of Maule Region, Chile. So, it will try to keep in ex situ form the genetical diversity of this kind of vegetation.  


It is interesting to say that through the formation of this garden and the excursions realized to get vegetal material, it was rediscovered Adesmia bijuga Phil. (Fabaceae), specie endemic that had not been recollected since the last 120 years ago.


Over this base it has been started works which tend to its propagation and the knowledge of it viability of the seeds and ecological aspects of this plant. Also in this moment it is working in the recollection of seeds of another endemic species with the goal of ex situ conservation (Figure 3). Between those species are found: Calydorea chilensis M. Muñoz, Calceolaria auriculata Phil., Austrocactus philippii (Regel et Schmidt) Buxbaum & Ritter, Anemone moorei Espinoza, Calceolaria pallida Phil., between others.


After the recollection a portion of the seeds is sown in the Botanical Garden of Talca University and the other part is kept in the Seed Bank of the INIA (Instituto Nacional de Investigación Agropecuaria), Vicuña, Chile, in order to collaborate with the Millennium Seed Bank Project of the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew (RBG Kew-León-Lobos, 2003). 

The Botanical Garden of Talca University is located at about 270 kms in the south of Santiago in the Central Valley of Chile. The coordinates are 35°23’42” Lat. S and 71°40’42” Long. O. It is found at a height of 96 and 103 meters over the sea level with a Mediterranean climate and with an average temperature of (14.3) degrees celcius and an average rainfall that falls down mainly in winter of (676.2) mm. The garden covers 13 hectares, in which are included vegetable formations present in Chile and abroad.


Until now it has been worked 7 hectares approximately, which are ready for free public access. For representing the Chilean vegetable formations, it counts with 3.5 hectares, which are worked regarding soil characteristics of the different sectors of the garden, the aim is to represent the major diversity on possible formations. By now it has partially represented the Central Chile Sclerophyllous Forest, Palm areas, steppe of Acacia caven and Xerophitic bush.


In the same way it has been initiated the building of other areas dedicated to the world vegetable formations, among them are found elements of mixed Mesophitic Forest from North America, decidous Forest of central Europe and Sclerophyllous Forest of Australian Region, between others.


The trees and bushes of this sector are adapting to the climate conditions. Parallel it has been created a demonstrative orchard, in which are cultivated plants with agricultural utility; Capsicum (ají), Gossypium (cotton) and native herbaceous plants; Poaceas, Alstroemerias, Calceolarias and different types of bulbs, in order to evaluate them as potential ornamentals. 


In this way the Botanical Garden of the University of Talca begins to be a reality and will constitute a recreational and cultural space for the city, the region and the country; but, over all, will be the instance to respect the nature and life. It is easier to love, to conserve and to protect what is known.




 GÓMEZ, P & S. HAHN. 2007. Flora endémica de la VII Región del Maule, una revisión y desafíos futuros. Libro de resúmenes de la Primera Reunion de los Jardines Botánicos de Chile. p.21


GUNCKEL, H. 1950. Breve historia del antiguo jardín botánico de la Quinta Normal  de Santiago de Chile. Farm. Chilena 24(12): 537-542.


P. LEÓN-LOBOS, M. WAY, H. PRITCHARD, A. MOREIRA-MUÑOZ, M. LEÓN & F. CASADO. 2003. Conservación ex situ de la flora de Chile en banco de semillas. Chloris Chilensis, Año 6, Nº 1. http://www.chlorischile.cl.


MARTICORENA, C. 1990. Contribución a la estadística de la flora vascular de Chile. Gayana Bot. 47: 85-114.


WYSE- JACKSON, P. S. & L.A.  SUTHERLAND. 2000. International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation. Botanic Gardens Conservation International, U.K.

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Cite this article as:

Gómez, P. & S. Hahn, 2008. El jardín botánico de la Universidad de Talca (Talca, Chile): una alternativa para la educación, protección y conservación de la vegetación.

Chloris Chilensis Año 11. N° 1. URL: http://www.chlorischile.cl