Despite the hours of internet searching I did before moving here, I did not learn of the botanical garden on the campus of the Centro de Investigacion Cientifica de Yucatan (CICY) in Merida until it was mentioned on the Merida Insider gardening forum.
Earlier this week I bussed to CICY and spent an about an hour touring the garden. Other than a group of school children, who left shortly after my arrival, and two maintenance fellows, I was the only one there. I recommend a visit.
CICY is in Colonia Pinzon, at the intersection of Avenue 1 and Calle 32. To get there catch a bus on Calle 60 with CICY or Francisco de Montejo noted on its windshield. The CICY bus takes a circuitous route through a number of neighborhoods and passes by the CICY main entrance. The Fran. De Montejo buses will drop you off a half block away on Avenue 1. If you’re driving go North on Calle 60 and follow the signs to Fran. De Montejo.
However you get there, be sure to enter CICY through the gated entrance and tell the attendant you are there to visit the Jardin Botanico Regional. The attendant will direct you to an office in the main administration building where you can pay the $20 pesos fee.
CICY is composed of a well kept campus of low rise buildings housing research programs in molecular biology,meteorology, plants, water, and other natural resource interests. The garden is at the West end of the main access roadway about two block from the campus entrance.
The Jardin Botanico Regional can be toured in an hour or so and contains a pond with pink, white, and blue flowering lilies, a hot house constructed in the classic oval Mayan style, a children’s educational garden, extensive green and hot houses, a cacti garden, a large agave collection, a collection of native medicinal plants, and a palm collection. The garden also offers a wide variety of plants for sale.
Throughout the garden are beautiful ceramic signs attached to large rocks which discuss such things as the Biomass del Mundo, La Taxonomia, Las Angiospermas, and composting. There are also smaller ceramic signs that provide information of individual plants, including the scientific name, the common name, and the various uses of the plant.
At the left are Agave Henequen plants which were grown widely here on the great haciendas and which fueld a Yucatan economic boom until the market for sisal rope declined. For you tequila aficionados, the Agave Tequilana looks very much the same.
If you’re intersted in local plants or are landscaping your yard you’ll probably enjoy a visit.