Originally established in 1679 as a herb garden for the Royal Palace, the Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Gardens are now one of the largest and most important of their kind in the world. They sprawl across more than 100 acres in the Lichterfelde area of Berlin, with around 22,000 different plant species represented.
The Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Gardens as they are known today were designed under the guidance of architect Adolf Engler, with the main purpose of displaying exotic plant species brought back from Germany’s colonies. It is home to the Botanical Museum that explores themes related to plant structure, the use of plants and the spreading of plant species, as well as the Herbarium Berolinense and the Großes Tropenhaus, which boasts a range of tropical plant species and giant bamboo.
The Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Gardens are designed around different geographical zones, which are created to be as close to their natural habitats as possible. There’s a dedicated Cactus Pavilion, as well as the Pavilion Victoria that features a beautiful collection of orchids and the giant white water lily Victoria-Seerosen.
The southern and western areas of the gardens are occupied by the arboretum with its “Arbour of Roses”, while a medicinal plant garden has been designed in the shape of the human body with plants positioned depending on their healing properties. The Italienischer Garten is also of note due to its sculptural artworks, as is the small cemetery near the greenhouse complex where Adolf Engler and the Botanical Garden’s curator, Georg Schweinfurth, are both entombed.