THE MEDICINAL PLANTS GARDEN OF STEFAN BATORY UNIVERSITY IN VILNIUS, 1923-1939 (Ogród Roslin Lekarskich Uniwersytetu Stefana Batorego w Wilnie (1923-1939))
During the interwar period in Vilnius new specialist botanical gardens emerged as a continuation of the Botanical Garden of Vilnius, which was set up in 1781 and was already well-known in the country and whole Europe. Two of them were organised as a part of Stefan Batory University. Namely, in 1919 The Botanical Garden of the Chair of Botany, and in 1923 The Medicinal Plants Garden of The Chair of Pharmacognosy and Medicinal Plants Breeding were created. The founder of the latter was professor Jan Kazimierz Muszynski, the then head of the Chair of Pharmacognosy. Professor Muszynski, together with his co-workers from the Chair and the Garden, mainly with Waclaw Strazewicz (the garden inspector), was gradually realising the aim of creating the national herb industry. All of the research work conducted in the garden (acclimatisation, selection, breeding, studying the chemical content of plants), along with the didactic and popularizing work were connected with achieving this goal. The Medicinal Plants Garden was set up at the back of the farm Curve of the Neris, which belonged to the university. At first, the surface area of the place amounted to 1 ha but it was continually increasing. In 1939 the Garden could boast approximately 10 ha. One part was devoted to displaying the plant species of the gathered collection, as there was the so-called 'display' section and the systematic section. Some of the plants were shown in habitat groups. A large part of the Garden was occupied by the experiment section, where research was held. The Garden possessed Polish largest in the interwar period experimental plantations of such plants as: Hydrastis canadensis, Gentiana lutea, Rhamnus, Bergenia crassifolia and liquorice. Long-lasting study of the varieties of Glycine contributed to success; a new variety was selected. It was called Vilnius soybean and had high parameters of breeding in the conditions of Eastern Europe, as well as high fat content. Glycine, as a plant with large amounts of precious protein, fat and minerals was promoted by the team of professor Muszynski as a good plant to be kept on large areas, so that ample food in the country was ensured.
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