LAHORE - The first of its kind among the 425 government colleges in the Punjab a botanical garden has been set-up in the Government MAO College at a piece of four kanal of land. It contains as many as 400 species belonging to 90 families of Pteridophytes, gymnosperms, angiosperms, but the most remarkable of the achievements is the set of flora of Pakistan as part of this garden. This was revealed to this scribe by Prof Azam Hassan, Associate Professor of the Botany Department, who put his personal efforts and dedication to set up the garden within a period of one year for the academic purposes. The plant species preserved in the botany laboratory have rich academic values, as post-graduate students take benefit from it by periodical study visits. The garden started in August 2008, is at its infancy, and if looked after properly, could be capable of offering lab facilities even for MSc Botany classes if the government so decides. The MAO botany lab and garden is the biggest after the Punjab University and Government College University. Prof Azam said that the nature bewitches every individual by its soothing, serene and embalming effects. Botanists explore and make all-out efforts to find out scientific truths in plants and other aspects of the nature, he added. A botanical garden is primarily an institution wherein a collection of living plants is maintained to discover educational, conservational and recreational avenues for diverse discipline of Botany. Such gardens have become not only the centre of advanced learning but are playing a pivotal role in satisfying economic and aesthetic needs of human beings. For instance, the countries like England, Holland and Java have extended economic incentives to botanical gardens for the cultivation of specific species. In the field of research, problems are being studied by the present day botanists, from the point of view of development of draught-resistant varieties of plants and weed control. The prime and supreme aim of these gardens is to cultivate a sense of awareness, preservation, conservation, love and education for the nature among common people also. Prof Azam said that Botany Department of the College obtained mega achievement by establishing a botanical garden in its real and genuine spirit. This is dedicated to Carolus Linnaeus, a Swede Naturalist. The garden is added by two satellite portions covering an area of four kanal of land within the College campus. The Garden is in its infancy, but the number of species is enough to benefit BSc students, and also meets aesthetic requirements of the visitors.