R i m b a I l m u

The Forest of Knowledge

Rimba Ilmu2 is a tropical botanical garden, set up in the University of Malaya campus in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It is modelled after a rain forest garden concept rather than a formal flower garden. It emphasises the flora of the Malaysian and Indonesian region. Together with the living collections of over 1,600 species, the Rimba Ilmu also houses the University of Malaya herbarium (acronym KLU) and has its own Environmental Education Programme. The Rimba Ilmu is a member of the Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) and the South East Asia Botanic Gardens Network.

Rimba Ilmu means "The Forest of Knowledge" in the Malay language. The garden, established in 1974, occupies an area of 80 hectares. It is partly buffered by old rubber plantings and the living collections, mostly from Malaysia, are one of the most important biological conservatories in Malaysia. There are also plant species from other parts of tropical Asia, the Pacific islands, Australia, South America, Africa and Madagascar.

RIMBA ILMU's MISSION is to generate and promote awareness and knowledge of tropical plant life and its environment, ecology and conservation through the development and management of facilities and activities appropriate to its function in a university located within Malaysia's most developed and populated landscape.

The Herbarium (a reference library of preserved plant specimens) is Malaysia's largest university collection containing some 63,000 accessions. In the Garden, there are several main show collections, including medicinal plants, palms, and the citrus and citroid collection. The Conservatory of Rare Plants and Orchids, opened in 2000, and the Fernery, with planting establishments made over several years and commissioned in 2003, are accessible only to special group visits and research contacts, and a new bambusetum (living collection of bamboos) was completed at the end of 2003 and generally accessible to the public. There is also a small research collection of bananas. A highlight in the development of the Rimba Ilmu is the establishment of a special arboretum (living collection of trees) beginning in 2001 as the anchor for our "Millenium Forest" project, which seeks to engage friends and concerned parties in establishing biologically diverse forest plantings in making a new forest within the city of Kuala Lumpur.

The exisiting Exhibition and the Conservatory were the brainchild of Professor Dr. Wong Khoon Meng and were set up with the help of numerous volunteers and staff members. Professor Wong retired from University of Malaya in 2010 and is currently attached to the Singapore Botanic Gardens as a reseacher.

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