Indian Botanical Gardens, originally found in 1786 along the west bank of Hoogly, containing about 12,000 living plants and over two and half million dried out plant specimens in the herbarium collected from all over the world, is the largest of its kind in India. Originally founded by Colonel Kyd, this was the place where the world-renowned varieties of Assam and Darjeeling tea were first developed. The 200-year-old banyan tree is the main attraction of this garden. Col. Alexander Kyd of the East India Company developed it for the collection of plants, indigenous to the country and for the introduction and acclimatization of plants from foreign parts. Trees of the rare kinds, from Nepal, Brazil, Penang, Java and Sumatra can be found here. There are towering mahogany trees, an avenue of Cuban Palms and an Orchid House. Stately casuarinas abound with creepers clinging to their tall trunks. There are towering Mahogany trees, an avenue of Cuban Palms and an Orchid House. Mango and Tamarind trees shade the grassy lawns. They stretch for over a km along the riverfront and occupy 109 hectares. The gardens were originally founded in 1786. It was from these gardens that the tea now grown in Assam and Darjeeling was first developed. The gardens� prime attraction is the old banyan tree, claimed to have the second largest canopy in the world. It covers an area of ground nearly 400m in circumference and continues to flourish despite having its central trunk removed in 1925 because of fungus damage. The palm house in the center of the gardens is also well worth a visit. Other notable botanical specimens are the double coconut tree from Sicily, the branching palm tree from Brazil, the multicoloured bamboo trees, the mad tree, various cacti and orchids. There is a huge lake, with a large variety of aquatic plants, including the rare Victoria Amazonica. The Gardens are also a popular picnic spot.
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