Minqin Garden of Desert Plants
Institution Code: MINQI
BGCI Member: No
About the Minqin Garden of Desert Plants
Minqin Botanical Garden of Desert Plants, a resplendent pearl in the "desert sea", is located in Xishawo of Minqin in the southeast edge of Badanjiling Desert. It was established in 1974 with an area of 67 ha, known as a gene pool on xerophyte and psammophyte. It is the earliest, the largest botanical garden，of the most typical characteristics of desert, on psammophyte in China.
Introduction, domestication, selection and cultivation of xerophyte and psammophyte are its main tasks. Through nearly 30 years of efforts, a collection of 502 plant species have been protected by means of in situ conservation and ex situ conservation. Among the collection, 385 are xerophyte, making up 40.2% of the total and 25 rare and endangered species in the arid desert areas (8 are second-class nationally protected and 17 third-class nationally protected species), occupying 69.4% of the total in the arid desert areas. 9 designated areas, such as the exhibition area of psammophyte and xerophyte, area of the rare and endangered plant species in desert areas, areas of herb species, arbor species, coniferals, economic species, as well as areas for sand-fixation afforestation trial and enclosure for natural vegetation recovery, have been set up. 5 areas of special genera, including Caragana (24 species), Tamarix (16 species), Ephedera (6 species), Calligonum (19 species) and Astragalus (12 species) were established. And one nursery for newly-introduced plants test. Over 80% of the species in each genera as Ehedera, Glycyrrhiza, Calligonum (19 species), Atraphaxis (8species) and Tamarix were introduced in the garden.
There are 3 exhibition rooms, one for the scientific achievement, one for the specimen of desert plants and one for the specimen of animals in desert areas. Over 5,000 specimens of more than 3,000 plant species and over 500 specimens of more than 300 insect species were collected. Over 1,200 photos, which record the landforms of the desert area in the Hexi of Gansu in the past 40 years, changes of the vegetation as well as over 300 plants in the arid desert areas, were also collected, which truly reflects the changing process of the landscape and the ecological environment influenced by artificial factors, also reflecting the richness of plant resources in the arid desert areas.
Apart from the introduction and protection of desert plant species, in order to meet the needs of city beautification, the garden has introduced and selected some drought-resistant trees and flowers from Qinghai, Beijing, Ningxia and Hebei.
Through the domestication and cultivation, 6 ever-green coniferous species have been bred on a large scale and widely used in the city beautification in Hexi of Gansu and Xinjiang and so on. Over 50 species of ornamental trees and shrub flowers have also been successfully domesticated and extended. Lawn is popular in the city beautification in these days. For the purpose of selecting good drought-resistant and water-saving species for lawn, the garden has started the introduction and plantation of species for lawn, building and management of lawn since 1990s. At present 5 lawn species, such as Stipa glareaosa and Puccinella distans, which are drought-resistant, water-saving, tolerant to low temperature, anti-alkalinity with beautiful leaves and good qualities, have been selected and their planting and managing technologies have been skillfully mastered.
Having paid much attention to the extension and utilization of the selected species, the garden established a 200mu nursery for landscaping, a 50mu seeds collection zone and a 20mu lawn seeds production zone. Each year, the garden can provide over 20,000 seedlings for city beautification and windbreak building, over 200,000 desert plant seedlings, more than 1,500kg of lawn seeds, and over 500kg of psammophyte and xerophyte seeds to the market. Some seedlings and flower seeds on landscaping can be offered to the arid areas. The production base of Ephedra sinica is now being set up, the planned total area will be over 500mu. It is expected that over 600 tons of fresh Ephedra sinica can be provided to the market each year.
Minqin Garden of Desert Plants
Gansu Desert Control Research Institute
2km north of Changcheng village, Xuebei township, Minqin county
Gansu 733000 China