In the green corridor between the Palm Garden and the Grüneburg Park (Grüneburgpark) there is an 8-hectare expanse that contains the Botanical Garden and Goethe University. It emphasises the support of learning and research in the field of life sciences. Interested Frankfurt residents and visitors from other places can visit the facility free of charge every day from March 1 to October 31. The Botanical Garden also offers guided tours and lectures in addition to special events like open houses and plant markets for all visitors.
Over 5,000 types of outdoor plants – all labelled, catalogued and researched – can be viewed in an impressive natural setting. Mostly plants and plant families from domestic Central European flora (for example, beech-mixed forests; birch-oak forest; dune vegetation; dry grasses; pond, swamp and water plants; the European alpine plants) can be seen. The garden also houses plants from the Mediterranean area that are conditioned to the harsher winters here, as well as North American and Asian flora. Special departments like a berry collection, a collection of endangered species, a cultural history of garden plants and medicinal and herbal plants complement the selection. The department of medicinal plants was completely redesigned in 2007, and rebuilt as the “New Senckenberg Garden of Medicinal Plants”.
The Botanical Garden was first established in 1763 by the Senckenberg Foundation of the physician Dr Johann Christian Senckenberg (1707-1772). The first garden was located at the Eschenheimer Gate (Eschenheimer Tor) from 1767 to 1907, and plants were still categorised according to the Linnaean taxonomy. Due to a lack of space and increasing air pollution, the garden moved to land on the eastern edge of the Palm Garden. This area also became too small for research requirements, so the third, present-day garden was established on Siesmayerstraße in 1931.
In 1914, sponsorship for this unique Frankfurt garden facility was transferred from the Senckenberg Foundation to Goethe University and thereby to the federal state of Hesse.