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56, Spyrou Patsi str. & Iera Odos

The Botanical Garden οf National and Kapodistrian University of Athens was founded in 1835 and located in a 12-hectare area of the Chaseki estate along the Iera Odos. It started as an arboretum in 1836 and turned into a Botanical Garden in 1838. Its reorganization was primarily achieved after 1851, when Theodor von Heldreich was appointed Curator and Theodorus Orphanides Professor of Botany at the National University of Athens. At that time, the Botanical Garden was enriched with some 2,500 plants mainly through seed exchange with Gardens from various countries all over the world. Two small greenhouses (known as “thermastiria” at that time) together with a central pool for the needs of aquatic plants and a seedbed were constructed in the Garden. The Botanical Garden was recognised as a scientific branch of the University of Athens in 1867.

Fig. 1. A few tall, more than a century-old Washingtonia filifera trees (Palmae) of historic importance still survive in the Botanical Garden of National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

From 1888 to 1915 a large part of the Botanical Garden was transferred to the Agricultural University of Athens to accommodate its facilities. Τoday, the Garden consist of a 0.7-hectare area. Despite its small size, the Garden continued being active for many decades, particularly between 1965 and 1982. During this period, a curator was appointed (until 1972), together with two to four gardeners. The cultivated plants in the Botanical Garden reached high levels: about 1,350 taxa were maintained in the Garden during 1971. An annual list of seeds in exchange (Index Seminum) was published and sent to many Gardens around the world. After 1982 the seed list ceased to be issued due to lack of personnel and funds. The list was re-issued in 1994 and interrupted again in 2015, when the last appointed gardener retired.

Fig. 2. A small artificial pond with water lilies (Nymphaea sp.) is surrounded by ivy (Hedera helix) and umbrella-sedges (Cyperus sp.) near the entrance of the Garden

At present, the Botanical Garden of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens looks neglected and remains closed. Most of the ca. 200 plant species cultivated during the recent years suffer or have disappeared already. Large plants of historical importance, some a hundred-year old or older, like a few cypress trees (Cupressus sempervirens), Canary palms (Phoenix canariensis; most trees recently destroyed by the Rhynchophorus ferrugineus beetle) and Washingtonia palms (Washingtonia filifera) remain essentially without any care since September 2015.

Fig. 3. The old conservatory and its outbuilding were constructed between 1850 and 1880. They urgently need restoration. 


Director: Theophanis Constantinidis,Associate Professor, Faculty of Biology

Staff: None

Three-member Advisory Commission: Theophanis Constantinidis (Associate Professor), Margarita Arianoutsou-Faraggitaki (Professor), Zacharoula Gonou (Lecturer).

Scientific assistance: Dr. Ioannis Bazos (Teaching Associate, Faculty of Biology)

Address: Faculty of Biology, Department of Ecology and Systematics, Panepistimiopolis, 157 84 Athens, Greece 

Tel.: 210 727 4258 (Theophanis Constantinidis)