A guide to South China National Botanical Garden

BY :Liu Liu, Pauline

UPDATED :June 6, 2023


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The South China National Botanical Garden was inaugurated in Guangzhou last July. As one of the only two national-level botanical gardens of China, it has a variety of plants displayed in specially-designed areas for visitors to explore.

1. The Rainforest Area
The rainforest area, consisting of over 1,000 kinds of rainforest plants from across the globe, takes visitors on an adventurous journey through jungles by traversing narrow bridges, plank roads and climbing stone stairs. It also boasts an artificial waterfall surrounded by rainforest plants, and offers four different angles for visitors to enjoy the grandeur of the waterfall.

2. The Bizarre Plants Area
The Bizarre Plants Area is an eye opener for visitors with displays of plants of strange shapes and vibrant colors, which are true wonders of nature.

3. The Desert Plants Area
Some 500 varieties of cactuses and succulents are collected in the desert plants area. Varied in shapes, the plants show their struggle for survival under diverse climate conditions.

4. The Alpine Plants Area
By simulating the natural environment of subtropical, subalpine and alpine regions, the alpine plants area creates a graceful garden landscape with featured plants.

5. The Aquatic Plants Garden
The aquatic plants garden displays the vegetation and scenery of wetlands in southern China with a highlight of assorted water lilies.

6. The Archaeological Site of the Neolithic Age
The Archaeological Site of the Neolithic Age is also called the First Village of Guangzhou, which is assumed as the birthplace of Cantonese in ancient times. From the carvings on arrays of steles, people can get a glimpse of the life some 4-5,000 years ago.

7. The Cycad Garden
Cycad, a type of evergreen plant, is regarded as a "living fossil" and its seed is given a nickname "phoenix egg". Over 50 varieties of such plant can be found in the garden, amid running water, a small slab bridge and models of dinosaurs and crocodiles, taking visitors back to the Jurassic period. And the fireflies that have gone viral on social media recently mostly gather in the section in front of the garden.

8. The Orchid Garden
The orchid garden comprises several parts, including tropical orchid area, Chinese orchid area, and greenhouses for orchid landscape and rare orchid exhibition.

9. The Herbal Plants Garden
At the entrance of the garden stands a statue of Chinese medical scientist Li Shizhen in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and a stone tablet with engraved texts of Ben Cao Gang Mu, a traditional Chinese medicine classic written by Li. The garden displays typical herbal plants and folk medical culture in the Lingnan Region, such as Wang Laoji (王老吉) herbal tea and five-flower tea, a herbal tea made of chrysanthemum, honeysuckle, kapok flower, frangipani and sophora flower.

10. The Pineapple Garden
The pineapple garden is divided into four areas for showcasing pineapples of different varieties, such as epiphytic pineapples and bromelioideae.

11. The Fern Garden
In the garden, mist air, a waterfall and running water make up a humid environment for over 450 types of fern. Interestingly, almost all the plants inside have special names, such as "food of dinosaurs", which refers to sphaeropteris lepifera, a sort of tree shaped like a giant umbrella that dinosaurs were fed on back to the Jurassic Period.

12. Longdong Qiln (龙洞琪林) Forest
The forest consists of a palm garden and a relict plant garden, as well as an artificial lake. It was once selected as one of the Eight Sights of Guangzhou and has been put on the map by many visitors.


Opening hours: 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Admission: 20 yuan for general tickets, 50 yuan for general tickets together with greenhouse visit
Address: No. 1190, Tianyuan Lu, Tianhe district

Sources: SilkRoadPost, 广州天河发布, 华南国家植物园, 广州日报, 知地儿
Author: Liu Liu
Editors: Pauline, Joyce