Year of the Plant

During this UNESCO-designated International Year of Plant Health, we have created a series of learning tools to get students outside and learning about their local neighbourhood.

We have chosen 5 plants that are found in our Chinese Garden or in Chinatown, and that have particular significance in the Chinese culture as well as in other cultures and traditions. Although not all these species are native to British Columbia they are all used in multiple ways – such as for food or traditional medicine – in cultures across the world.

We encourage you to take this class outside! Have students to read the articles below, and then complete the corresponding question sheets. Included are a collection of science and socials studies projects based on the text for students to create and present, as well as some other ideas for activities including Art and ADST.

Plant Profiles:

Dawn Redwood   |   Ginkgo   |   Willow


Learning Activities:

Ginkgo Learning Activities

Willow Learning Activities

UNESCO's Year of Plant Health

What is Ethnobotany?

Ethnobotany is the scientific study of the relationship between plants and human cultures in the past or present. Incorporating ethnobotany concepts into study of plants allows a cross-curricular approach and widens scope for student research.

Our Year of the Plant texts show students how traditional knowledge of plants is used by people in China and beyond. Of the plants chosen, the hawthorn and willow are native to British Columbia and are used by First Nations people as food, medicine and in other ways. Knowledge of the other plants has been passed down throughout history in the Chinese culture and by other peoples who live where these plants are found.

Where possible, we encourage educators and students to study or observe these plants in the place they grow in. Most of them can be found on city streets, in backyards, in parks and of course in our Classical Chinese Garden here in Vancouver.

For more information on Ethnobotany and sample lesson plans:


Find these trees in your neighbourhood!

Starting October 1st the Garden will be open 11am-4pm Friday - Sunday

Explore our Mid-Autumn Moon decorations during your next visit to the Garden and tune in with us on social as we celebrate this annual festival virtually!