The Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden (previously known as Indian Botanic Garden) is situated in Shibpur, Howrah near Kolkata. They are commonly known as the Calcutta Botanical Garden, and previously as the Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta. The gardens exhibit a wide variety of rare plants and a total collection of over 12,000 specimens spread over 109 hectares. It is under Botanical Survey of India (BSI) of Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India.
The gardens were founded in 1787 by Colonel Robert Kyd, an army officer of the British East India Company, primarily for the purpose of identifying new plants of commercial value, such as teak, and growing spices for trade. Joseph Dalton Hooker says of this Botanical Garden that "Amongst its greatest triumphs may be considered the introduction of the tea-plant from China ... the establishment of the tea-trade in the Himalaya and Assam is almost entirely the work of the superintendents of the gardens of Calcutta and Seharunpore (Saharanpur)."
A major change in policy, however, was introduced by the botanist William Roxburgh after he became superintendent of the garden in 1793. Roxburgh brought in plants from all over India and developed an extensive herbarium. This collection of dried plant specimens eventually became the Central National Herbarium of the Botanical Survey of India, which comprises 2,500,000 items.
The best-known landmark of the garden is The Great Banyan, an enormous banyan tree (Ficus benghalensis) that is reckoned to be the largest tree in the World, at more than 330 metres in circumference. They are also famous for their enormous collections of orchids, bamboos, palms, and plants of the screw pine genus (Pandanus). Animals seen inside the Botanic Garden include the Jackal (Canis aureus), Indian mongoose and the Indian Fox (Vulpes bengalensis).