The history of the modern Institute of Botany began in September 1921, when A.V. Fomin founded and headed the Botanical Room and Herbarium of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR. Outstanding scientists N.G. Kholodny, D.K. Zerov, P.F. Oksiyuk, A.S. Lazarenko, A.M. Oxner, and others worked at the Institute. They established several research directions and scientific schools in taxonomy, floristics, bryology, lichenology, mycology, phycology (algology), phytohomonology, and other fields. The Institute consists of 10 research departments, the Interdepartmental Integrated Laboratory of Protected Areas, Experimental Station, Computer Centre, Scientific Library, and Editorial and Publishing Department.
There are two main scientific lines of activities at the Institute:
I. Taxonomic, floristic, phytocenotic, conservational and ecological studies of the phytobiota and mycobiota, development of theoretical issues of phyto- and cenodiversity organization and dynamics, its monitoring and conservation.
II. Investigations of structural and functional organization of plants and fungi at the organismal, cellular and molecular levels under normal and altered (both natural and anthropogenic) environmental conditions.
The Institute of Botany is the main institution in Ukraine and one of the leading institutions in Europe in studies of biodiversity at all levels of its organization related to vascular and cryptogamic plants and fungi. The Institute is also the main implementing organisation in the "Space Biology" program within the framework of the National Space Program of Ukraine.
The basis for scientific investigations is formed by the unique collections accumulated by several generations of botanists, the herbarium of vascular, non-vascular plants and fungi, as well as the created in last decades the collection of living fungi and the algotheca. All collections include more than 1.6 million specimens. The Herbarium and the collection of fungal cultures are listed as the National Heritage objects.
The most significant achievements of the Institute are publications of the 12-volume "Flora of the Ukrainian SSR", "Manual of Plants of Ukraine", "Red Data Book of Ukraine," "Green Data Book of Ukraine", "Ecoflora of Ukraine", treatments in international publications the "Flora of North America", "Flora of China", "Atlas Florae Europaeae" and others. The perspective network of international natural protected areas was developed within the framework of international cooperation under the aegis of IUCN. The Institute participates in preparation of governmental documets, such as the National Report of Ukraine, Ukrainian laws on conservation of the plant kingdom, on the nature conservation fund of Ukraine, etc. The discovery "The phenomenon of biparental inheritance of genic determinants of cytoplasm during parasexual hybridization of somatic cells of plants" was registered at the Institute in 1989.
The Institute offers its cooperation in different fields: development of methods for indication of the status of natural and anthropically altered ecosystems, cultivation of edible and medicinal mushrooms, investigation of biochemical properties of exopolysaccharide preparations from blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) and their utilization as immunosorbents for extraction of heavy metals, different ways of obtaining of fodder protein, of polysaccharide hydrolyzates from plant raw materials, and in other projects.