Vilniaus universitetas


Lithuanian flora

A collection of specimens of Lithuanian flora, including species from the Lithuanian Red Data Book that can grow in the natural habitats of the Botanical Garden.

About a third of the territory of VU Botanical Garden is made up of wooded or grassy slopes, gentle hills, ravines, gullies, marshy spring meadows, streams and ponds, where spontaneous natural habitats of flora and fauna have been preserved. Some habitats are small (up to a few tens of square meters), others up to several hectares. The territory of the Botanical Garden is home to 462 species of vascular plants (34% of Lithuania's flora of 1350 vascular plant species), including: deciduous forests of moderately moist and swampy vegetation; coniferous forests; dry, moderately moist, and wet meadows; stagnant and flowing water and their shores; ruderal and segetal flora.

The Lithuanian flora collection is being created to collect specimens of Lithuanian flora: all species of Lithuanian dendroflora, species of plants from the Lithuanian Red Data Book that can grow in the natural habitats of the Botanical Garden. One of the objectives is to introduce visitors to the flora species that can grow in the natural habitats of the Garden.

The first years of research on the flora of Lithuania began in 1771-1783 when J. E. Gilibert described some plants and gave new species names to some of them on the basis of very slight differences that were not recognized later. The history of the study of the natural flora of the Botanical Garden dates back to 1974-1975, when L. Čibiras and K. Labanauskas are said to have carried out the first surveys of the trees and shrubs in the present-day territory of the Garden. The archival material contains an assessment of the Kairėnai Park's tree stand, which mentions that the park's dendroflora consists of 56 species.  In 2005, G. Jurkevičienė re-inventoried the dendroflora and calculated that half of Lithuania's woody plants grow naturally in the old park and forest of the garden. The number of species is 52: 21 species of trees, 20 species of shrubs, 11 species of shrubs and half-shrubs. Currently, more than half of Lithuania's woody plant species (19 trees, 28 shrubs, 8 shrubs, 8 shrubs and 2 lianas (out of 97 native Lithuanian woody plant species) are growing in the botanical garden's old park and forest areas and are grown and in collections.


Ex. Scotch elm (Ulmus glabra Huds.), Alpine currant (Ribes alpinum L.)

1995-1997 Associate Professor at the Faculty of Natural Sciences of Vilnius University. J. J. Tupčiauskaitė's initiative, the spontaneous flora was studied, and 373 species of Indochinese plants were identified. In 2004, on the initiative of G. Jurkevičienė, an employee of the Botanical Garden, the first spontaneous flora trail was established. In 2007, the first excursion to the natural flora habitats took place, led by doc. J. J. Tupčiauskaitė. In 2008, an information system was created in the Botanical Garden, which focuses not only on the diversity of plants, but also on the diversity of animals in natural habitats. Information boards on natural biodiversity were prepared and erected. They introduce visitors to the Botanical Garden to six habitats and their plants: dry slope, pond, pine forest, broad-leaved forest, flooded pond, and swamp forest. In 2011, the Lithuanian Flora Group of the Plant Collections Division was set up to maintain and expand the natural flora collections. In 2011, the list of natural flora already included 445 species of indoor plants (462 species in 2020), labels with Latin and Lithuanian plant names are placed at the most important species of the trail during the growing season, information stands are updated, and educational excursions are conducted.

Rare plants of Lithuania

In Lithuania, the protection of rare objects was already mentioned in the Nature Conservation Law adopted in 1959. In 1962, the Nature Conservation Committee approved lists of plants to be protected, including 176 rare and endangered species of higher plants. In 1976, the lists of the "Lithuanian Red Data Book" were approved and in 1981 they were published in a separate publication "Lithuanian SSR Red Data Book". This publication includes 30 higher plants. In 2019, 224 species of plants, algae, and mosses, 117 species of fungi and lichens are listed in the Lithuanian Red Data Book. The Botanical Garden currently has 18 rare plant species. The first plant from the Lithuanian Red Data Book was brought to the garden from the Valkininkai area in 1971 and is grown in the Vingis section of VU Botanical Garden. It is a Lithuanian night-flower (Silene lithuanica Zapalł). In this section, the narrow-leaved lungwort (Pulmonaria angustifolia L.) grows naturally too. The Lithuanian night-flower has been a protected species since 1962. In 2015-2016, they took part in the conservation project of the sea asters (Tripolium pannonicum (Jacq.) Dobrocz.), saltmarsh rush (Juncus gerardii Loisel.) and the sea milkwort (Glaux maritima L.).

Ex. Hedge hyssop (Gratiola officinalis L.)

Mosses and lichens exhibition

Bryology (a branch of botanical science that studies mosses) as an independent field of science in Lithuania only emerged in the second half of the 20th century, but already in the 19th century the foundations for the knowledge of moss diversity were laid. In the 19th century, a collection of mosses in the herbarium of Vilnius University was collected and the moss labels were handwritten by Stanislawas Batys Gorskis (1802-1864), head of the Botanical Garden of the Vilnius Academy of Medicine and Surgery. Of course, cryptogamic community studies have been popular in the world for several decades, but in Lithuania, such studies have only started more than a decade ago. Cryptogams are organisms that do not have flowers and whose reproductive organs are difficult to see. These include fungi, lichens, mosses, and algae. Intensive sociological research on cryptogams began in the 1930s and 1940s. In Lithuania, lichens had previously been studied only floristically. Currently, there are about 25000 species of mosses and 23000 species of lichens known worldwide. In Lithuania, there are about 300 species of mosses, and currently the Lithuanian inventory of lichens and related fungi includes about 719 species of lichens. VU Botanical Garden has 32 species of mosses and lichens in the moss slope established in 2008.

Mosses are small germ-forming organisms (Embryobionta) whose life cycle is dominated by sexual, biologically independent, haploid gametophytes, usually perennial, with a haploid set of chromosomes. This life cycle is unique to mosses. The moss gametophytes, which are nodular or stemmed, become rhizoids in the soil or other substrates. They have stems and leaves. The Bryomorphae section includes mosses of three divisions, the hepatics (Marchantiophyta), the hornworts (Anthocerotophyla) and the mosses (Bryophyta). Mosses play a very important role in nature. In forests, mosses maintain the moisture needed by forest vegetation. Moss helps plant seeds to survive and germinate, prevents the roots of plants from freezing, protects fungi from drying out, and provides shelter for small animals. Mosses can also be used for practical purposes, such as determining the acidity of the soil, as insulation material, for walling, for fuel, etc., and as a high moor peat.


Ex. Greater fork-moss (Dicranum majus Turner), cypress-leaved plait-moss (Hypnum cupressiforme Hedwig), common haircap moss (Polytrichum commune Hedw.)

Lichens are a distinctive union of two different organisms, characterized by a diversity of growth and life forms and ecological groups. They are organisms that are widely distributed throughout the world and play an important role in various ecosystems. Lichens are classified into crustose, foliose, and fruticose lichens according to the shape of the nodule. They reproduce by means of soredias and isidias, as well as by breaking off pieces of the tuft. The practical importance of lichens is no less than that of mosses. A decoction of Iceland moss (Centraria islandica (L.) Ach.) is a recognized cough remedy. They are used as bio-indicators in the detection of environmental pollution, as well as in the production of antibiotics, aromatic substances, etc.