An area in which a wide range of plants are grown for scientific, educational, and aesthetic purposes. Such collections aim either to include representative species of genera from all over the world or to specialize in one or more regions or types of vegetation. Large greenhouses are often maintained to provide appropriate growing conditions for exotic plants. As well as maintaining a large and varied collection of living plants, botanic gardens often also include *herbaria
, research laboratories, and, increasingly, *gene banks
. In the past botanic gardens have been responsible for the introduction of many ornamental and crop plants into regions where they were previously unknown. The larger botanic gardens also finance plant-collecting expeditions to remote areas where the vegetation remains largely undescribed and uncollected.