Here in the Botanic Garden you can discover plant diversity ranging from majestic trees to tiny, rock-hugging alpines, from cacti to waterlilies, from ferns to pineapples. But just how did the land come to be populated with such a diversity of plants?
The Sainsbury Laboratory Cambridge University (SLCU) is a new research institute funded by the Gatsby Foundation and hosted her in the Botanic Garden. It was opened by Her Majesty the Queen on 27th April 2011 and will eventually house over 120 scientists and support staff.
The aim of the Laboratory is to elucidate the regulatory systems underlying plant growth and development – essentially to understand how the diversity of plants grown in the Garden arose. Plants are the foundation for virtually every ecosystem and agricultural system on Earth. A fundamental understanding how plants grow and develop is therefore paramount for the long term security of a sustainable supply of food and other plant products, such as fuel, fibers and building materials.
At the heart of this world-class Laboratory is the University Herbarium. This is a collection of over one million pressed and dried plant specimens from all over the world, including those collected by Darwin on his Beagle voyage.
The Gilmour Suite, in a wing of the Sainsbury Laboratory, houses the beautiful new Garden Cafe and terrace for Botanic Garden visitors.