The Heidelberg University Botanic Garden, established in 1593 and so counting among the world’s oldest Botanical Gardens, was originally located in the vicinity of Heidelberg’s famous castle as a garden of medicinal plants (hortus medicus). After six relocations, the Garden was reopened in 1915 at its present site.

In 1945 the entire greenhouse collection − including a famous orchid collection at that time − was lost due to combat activities. After World War II, the plant collections were greatly enlarged, especially under the directorship of Werner Rauh from 1960 to 1982. These historic collections—succulents, xerophytes from Madagascar, bromeliads and tropical orchids, many of which were collected during ‘plant hunter’ Rauh’s numerous expeditions—still form the basis of the Garden’s specimens.