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Throughout the 18th century, scientific and commercial expeditions to remote countries returned to Spain with ever-increasing quantities of exotic tropical plants requiring an adequate climate for their survival. Consequently Charles III signed a royal decree on August 17th, 1788 in which the Botanical Garden of La Orotava was created and its care entrusted to Alonso de Nava y Grimón, 6th Marquis of Villanueva del Prado.

The Marquis proved to be an enthusiastic and efficient administrator throughout his lifetime, particularly so in the difficult early stages of the Garden's development. By 1792 planting was underway following the design plans of the local architect Nicolás Eduardo. Shortly thereafter, the French naturalist Ledrú visited Tenerife and compiled the first catalogue of the species planted in the Garden. His proposal to organize the collections under the Linnean system (two-part Latinized names, devised by the Swedish botanist Carl Linné in 1753) was accepted and is still in use today.

After Alonso de Nava's death in 1832, various institutions supervised the Garden until its final transfer from the Ministry of Agriculture to the Autonomous Government of the Canary Islands in 1983. At present the Instituto Canario de Investigaciones Agrarias, a self-governing reseach institute of the Autonomous Government, is in charge.

As well as sizeable trees of considerable age, some of which are outstanding even today for their rareness and beauty, the Garden has an important collection of tropical and subtropical species, some of economic interest and others of ornamental value; particularly noteworthy are the palms, bromeliads, aroids, and several representatives of the wild fig family (Moraceae).

Research is an important part of the work done at the Garden, although this aspect is little known to the public in general. Ongoing research projects focus on local flora; many of the plants of the Canaries are unique to these Islands (several are found on a given island of the Archipelago) and extinction is an ever present threat. Besides exchanging germplasm worldwide, the Garden's herbarium contains over 40,000 exiccata (dried specimens) of Canarian flora.

The 20,000 square meters now open to the public cover the original area. A further 20,000 sq. meters, in which modern facilities are planned, is currently being developed.

Opening times:

Botanical Garden:
9:00 a.m. - 19:00 p.m. (April 1st to September 30)
9:00 a.m. - 18:00 p.m. (October 1st to March 31)
Closed: January 1st, Good Friday and December 24
Library and Herbarium: (Scientific Search, only by appoinment): 9:00 a.m. - 13:00 (Monday to Friday)


Retama St., nº 2 ZIP 38400 Puerto de la Cruz
Tenerife – Canary Islands
Telephone: +34 922383572 / +34 922389287. Fax: +34 922371596
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it