Bogor Botanical Garden, Stroll at Leisure to Admire the Variety of Old, Gnarled Trees
Kebun Raya Bogor or Bogor Botanical Gardens is a beautiful 87 hectares garden located in Bogor City, Indonesia, 60 km south of central Jakarta. Situated next to the impressive out-of-town Bogor Presidential Palace and a soaring Mt. Salak at its background.
As the first botanical gardens in Indonesia, the garden is also considered as the oldest Botanical Garden in South East Asia. Today, the garden is the most famous destinations in Bogor. It is an important part of the city providing a recreational area for local residents, visitors from Jakarta and many passing tourists.
With the geographic position of Bogor, that resulted rains almost daily, even during the dry season, provide benefits to the garden for the cultivation of tropical plants. Currently, the garden boasts over 400 species of palm trees, 5,000 trees gathered from around the tropical world, and an orchid house containing 3,000 varieties. Records show that the Bogor Botanical Gardens harbors 3,504 plant species, 1,273 genus in 199 families.
The area that is now Bogor Botanical Gardens was part of the Samida (man made forest) that was established at least around the ear when Sri Baduga Maharaja (Prabu Siliwangi, 1474 – 1513) ruled the Sunda Kingdom, as written in the Batutulis inscription. This forest was created to protect seeds of rare trees. The forest however, remain neglected after the Sundanese kingdom were destroyed in the 16th century.
In 1744, the Dutch East Indies Company established a garden and mansion at the site of the present Botanical Gardens in Buitenzorg (now known as Bogor).
After the successful British invasion of Java in 1811, Stamford Raffles became the island’s Lieutenant-Governor and took Buitenzorg Palace as his residence. During his rule and lived in the palace, he had the garden re-landscaped into an English Style garden. His wife, Olivia Mariamne Raffles, died in Buitenzorg in 1814 and buried in Batavia. A memorial monument was built in the garden, as a commemoration of her.
When the Netherlands Indies were returned to Dutch rule in 1815, an extensive work of the Garden were initiated by Java’s Dutch Governor-General Gustaaf Willem and Baron van Imhoff who was the governor of Java at the time. A professor from the Atheneum IIIustre in Amsterdam (the forerunner of the University, which came into existence much later, in 1876) was sent to Java. His name was C. G. L. Reinwardt, and his task was to promote research in natural science in the tropics and to report on the practical implications of such studies. He arrived in October 1815, and within two years was able to recommend the establishment of a botanic garden at Buitenzorg, to be named’s Lands Plantentuin.
The Garden itself was officially open in 1817 by the order of the government of Dutch East Indies. The Garden were used to research and develop plants and seeds from other parts of the Indonesian archipelago for cultivation during the 19th century. Since then the Garden thrived under the leadership of many renowned botanists and boost its reputation as a major center for botanical research until today.
One of the main attraction in Bogor Botanical Gardens is Bunga bangkai (Amorphophalus titanum)
because its has a stinging smell when blooming. This flower can reach 2m tall and is the compound interest on
the world’s largest plants. Next, the oldest palm trees in Southeast Asia are still alive today.
Bogor Botanical Gardens has five Amorphophallus titanium plants in its collections,
all from Pagar Alam, South Sumatra. This represents the greatest number of specimens among the botanical collection.
The latest flowering events took place in January 2011 and on July 3, 2011.
The Gardens are open daily to visitors from 7am to 4 pm. There are paved walkways for visitors to stroll at leisure to admire the variety of old, gnarled trees, walk under the canopy of their foliage and listen to the river rushing over large boulders. On Sundays and public holidays, the Gardens are usually very crowded. There are a number of facilities in the park, from museums, library, until boutique hotel.
What to see
The Garden is roughly square shaped covering an area of 87 hectares, with additional 28.4 hectares of the ground in the north-west being the palace garden. The Garden itself divided by the Ciliwung river and has three bridges. The main gate is located in the south and is where most of the garden facilities are concentrated, such as ticket booth, Treub’s Laboratory, The Melchior Hotel, plant/souvenir shop, the library and the conservation building.The precinct east of Ciliwung was laid out in 1927 with facilities as the mosque, cafes, herbarium, orchid section and Wisma Tamu guest house, near Astrid’s avenue.
Enjoy the beauty of a presidential palace originally built almost 300 years ago and attached to many important things. The palace visits must be pre-arranged in large tour groups of 30+ individuals. The building itself contains Soekarno’s (the first president of Indonesia) huge art collection.
South of the Bogor palace, the man-made pond served as habitat for wildlife of Bogor Botanical Garden. One of the most notable inhabitants of the pond is Victoria Amazonica. The seed of the plant was sent from Amsterdam Botanical Garden in 1860. This scissors-shaped pond lies just south of the presidential palace.
Nearby the Bogor palace’s bamboo collection section there is a small cemetery with Dutch tombstones. One of its notable tombs belonged to the former governor general D.J. De Eerens who was in office from 1836 to 1840. There are 42 gravestones with 38 identified persons, the oldest gravestone dates back to May 2, 1784.
Situated behind the seed bank of the garden, an area devoted to Araceae species of flora was built in 2010. This garden consists mainly of types of Schismatoglottis, Homalomena, Colocasia and some types of vines as Philodendron, Raphidophora. Approximately 10 trees with a height of more than 2 m has been planted in this garden area, functioning as a protection from direct sun exposure.
A small garden with a French rose garden layout was built in 1884 by Melchior Treub, as its name the garden was built as a memoir of Johannes Elias Teijsmann for his contribution to the garden’s development. At the center of the garden lies the Teijsmann monument, erected using granite from Berlin.
This section of the garden contains plants that are commonly used for medicine ingredients and herbalism. Plants are separated into different sections according to their size and species. Descriptions of each of the different plants and their purpose as medicine ingredients are written for visitors.
A small patch of the botanical garden is dedicated to desert plants. There are roughly 100 species of cactus, agave, yucca and succulent plants from around Asia and the Americas.
Soedjana Kassan Garden
The Fountain at The Center of Sudjana Kassan Garden at Bogor Botanical Garden.This garden is located at the north-eastern corner of the Botanic Garden and is built to commemorate Soedjana Kassan who held office as a head of Bogor Botanical Garden in 1959 to 1964. At the center of the garden, there are plants which are arranged to form Indonesia’s national symbol of Garuda.
Bogor Botanic Garden’s collection of orchids focuses primarily on wild species, numbering approximately 500 species from over 100 genera. Grammatophyllum speciosum, the largest orchid species in the world is also part of the collection. The specimens seen in the Garden’s collections are either the original specimens gathered from the forest, or progeny of those specimens, which have been propagated. Although the orchid collection at the Bogor Botanic Garden began much earlier, it wasn’t until 1927 that the collection was moved into greenhouses.The Botanic Garden Orchid section are divided into:
- Glasshouses – separated among hybrid and non-hybrid orchid species.
- Orchidarium – area for breeding orchids.
Treub’s Laboratory opened on December 1, 1884. However the current building was built in 1914 to honor the botanist. The laboratory functions as a research facility for Puslitbang biologi’s konservasi ex Situ (Conservation of species outside their original habitat). There are several branches of laboratories and facilities inside the building which is dedicated to different research as follows: Molecular Lab, Anatomy-Morphology Lab, Seed Conservation Lab, Ecological Conservation Lab and Greenhouses.
Bogor Zoology Museum
Situated nearby the laboratory and main gate of the garden, the museum started as a small laboratory founded in August 1894 and was used as a research facility for pest insects control. The museum has an area of 1500 meter square and contains preserved collection of 10000 insects and 2000 species of other fauna.
The Twin Trees