In 1896, an official nursery of less than 5 hectares was established near Xiaonanmen (Little South Gate, at the present south end of Bo’ai Road) in the southwest of Taipei city. This marked the birth of the Taipei Botanical Garden. The nursery was managed by the Forestry Experimental Station of the Regenerative and Products Division. It was divided into different areas for the growth of seedlings and plantation of mother trees, and some lower-lying areas were turned into ponds.
Trees chosen from Taiwan and other regions were transported and planted in the nursery, which rapidly built a reputation, and took on an educational role. Over the years, acquisition of land enabled the nursery to expand, once reaching a size of around 15 hectares. Currently, the garden spans 8 hectares.
In 1911, the Taiwan Forestry Experimental Station of the Regenerative and Products Bureau was established. The Taipei nursery was designated as its principal research site and on January 22nd, 1921, it was declared as Taipei Botanical Garden. In August of that year, the Central Research Institute was established and took over the Regenerative and Products Bureau. A separate Forestry Division was established. The Botanical Garden was placed under the control of this new Division which retained the Garden’s existing employees, some of whom were sent to Europe, the Americas, Australasia, Africa and South East Asia to collect plants. By the early 1930s, the garden contained 1,120 species of plants, of which more than half were of foreign origin. With this collection, Taipei Botanical Garden played a vital role in botanical research and education in Taiwan. Then, the development of the garden ceased during the World War II. After the war, the Taiwan Forestry Research Institute has restored the garden and cultivated new plants through careful management. Now, the buildings and plants in the garden are even more impressive than before, with over 2,000 species of plants on display.