The Botanic garden of Irkutsk State University is the only botanic garden in the whole region of Baikalian Siberia and it holds a collection of about 3000 species and varieties of plants, representing the plants of Baikal region and even from the other parts of the world. The garden was founded 65 years ago and is one of the most successful in the world by now. In comparison with city parks, the Botanic garden is a place with the highest richness and diversity of plants in Irkutsk.
At present, the Garden holds about 100 rare plant species from the Lake Baikal region. The plants are of great value not only from the scientific point of view, but also because of their actual or prospective use for the purposes of nutrition, healthcare, environmental monitoring and environmental restoration.
The lines of investigation and working include the introduction and cultivation of those plants that are capable to survive and grow in the severe climate in Siberia. A lot of attention is given to the rare and endangered species of regional flora.
In addition, the botanic garden plays an important role in introduction of the new forms of edible and ornamental plants for the improvement of home gardens, as well as of traditions and technologies of home gardening. Some innovations propagated at the botanic garden have become very popular with the Siberians by now. Some plants represent the resources for the city greening which has special value for heavily polluted
Since 1994 the garden provides a great number of different forms of educational and cultural activities, like thematic holidays, creative festivals, exhibitions, competitions, etc. Besides, one can pass the practical training there or take part in the extended activities, including training courses, field works and productive practical training, ecological games, etc. So, students from universities and colleges,as well as from the Youth Educational Centre and secondary public schools participate in work-study programs and in on-job trainings. Secondary schools teachers are taking special classes, trainings, and tours at the botanic garden for their extended professional development. Exchanges of students within the network of world botanic gardens promotes a sharing of experience, knowledge and skills for further use at the national level. Special educational and public programs are being developed for special groups of visitors (orphaned children, disabled, kids with criminal past, older people, and families with young children) which have become an important part of botanic garden's functions for the improvement of human well-being.