top of page

Urmas Laansoo Biography


Urmas Laansoo (born on 23 February) is an Estonian botanist.


Urmas Laansoo has been working in the Tallinn Botanic Garden (TBG) since 1985 and currently occupies the position of educator and content developer in the research and education division.

Urmas Laansoo went to Tohisoo primary school and graduated from Kohila secondary school, after which he studied Biology at the University of Tartu. Urmas also spent some time in the Gothenburg Botanical Garden, Sweden, and the University of Greenwich, United Kingdom, as a part of lifelong learning.

Urmas Laansoo’s articles on botany and growing plants have been published in newspapers and popular science magazines, and he has been invited to talk about plants on a number of TV and radio shows. For example, it was already in the 1980s that he took part in a popular children’s TV show “Siililegi selge”.

Urmas Laansoo has been a member of the committee for Estonian plant names and botanical terminology in the Estonian Naturalists’ Society since 1987.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was adopted for the prevention of the destruction of endangered fauna and flora in the wild. Urmas Laansoo has been a member of the CITES research unit in the Ministry of the Environment since 2002.

Urmas has been a long-term member of a number of botanical societies and associations, for example, the International Palm Society and the European Palm Society).

Urmas was given the Estonian Nature Conservation Award in 2017.

Urmas was also awarded the Tallinn Decoration in 2019.


Urmas Laansoo’s achievements as a natural history educator and popular botany communicator are remarkable. He has greatly contributed to disseminating knowledge about nature and fauna as well as promoting environmental awareness.  With his profound knowledge and passion, Urmas inspires pre-schoolers and internationally acclaimed top scientists alike. He has spent several decades in the TBG working as an educator and presenting his subject area to visitors in Estonian, Russian, Finnish and English. Urmas has equally extensive expertise in Nordic nature and plant communities of tropical and subtropical regions. Urmas has shared his knowledge through numerous popular science articles as well as TV and radio shows, and he is also the author or co-author of fifteen books about the plant kingdom. He has been helping people to maintain and strengthen their relationship with nature by his continuous work, talking and writing about nature as well as educating visitors about the secrets of the plant kingdom on innumerable excursions, study days, field trips, workshops, and lectures. His vast knowledge of natural history and captivating manner of presentation have had an enormous impact on people from various walks of life.  His excellent speeches have stirred teachers and doctors, judges and bankers, scientists and businessmen, alike.

Urmas Laansoo has always closely followed the latest scientific discoveries and findings in botany and the plant kingdom as well as changes in botanical terminology and systematics, gladly sharing his broad knowledge with anyone interested.  Urmas Laansoo’s profound expertise on plants has helped him identify new plant species in Estonia, too.

Urmas is an enthusiastic advocate of the correct use of botanical terminology and has counseled and helped many colleagues as well as other botany professionals. His thorough gardening advice has also been of immense use to many of our visitors.

(Source: Tallinn Botanic Garden 2019)

Urmas Laansoo
bottom of page