Visit to the Botanical Garden of Palermo
This month we decided to visit an important and ancient garden which, thanks to its particular geographical position, contains the charm of the tropical and continental flora: the Botanical Garden of Palermo.
It is an institution that since the first years of life has represented an important reference for the cultural and scientific life of the Sicilian capital.
The construction of the first gardens dates back to 1789 with the destination of 12000 square meters of land even if since 1779, date of birth of the Royal Academy of Studies, we note the cultivation of medicinal herbs and other varieties near the ancient Porta Cute.
In recent years, skilled scholars have taken the first steps in the search for modern methodologies of classification and scientific approaches to analysis and description; among these we recall Father Bernardino da Ucria (1739-1796) who first held the chair of "Botany Demonstrator". The construction of the garden took place between 1789 and 1795 by Salvatore Attinelli and then by the French architect Leon Dufourny, who was responsible for the layout of the garden, which from the earliest years of life would have followed the classification of Linnaeus, and the construction of the structures still existing today.
Currently the Botanical Garden is a fundamental part of the Department of Botanical Sciences of the University of Palermo, therefore continuing to represent a point of aggregation and reference for scholars and enthusiasts of the sector.
The garden currently contains about 12,000 thousand species and the collections are located both in the open and in the greenhouse. Certainly there is no lack of species of particular interest both in scientific terms and in purely aesthetic terms.
Among all, almost representing a symbol of the Garden and of the city, is the immense Ficus magnolioides whose hair reaches an extension of over 1200 square meters. This species imported in the first half of the nineteenth century on the Sicilian island, aroused the interest of local scholars who verified, with little success, the possible possibility of extracting caucciqui from its trunk.
Certainly of considerable interest is the collection of the so-called succulents. It is in fact plants that, thanks to the island's particular temperate climate, have reached a notable diffusion in the territory. These include the so-called Ficodindia (Opunzia ficus -indica) known for its delicious fruits and Echinocactus grusonii, also known as the mother-in-law seat, from Central Mexico. There is also an aquarium and a small lake containing several aquatic plants including some piperaceae, pontederiacee and pistiacee. In particular, the hybrids of Nymphea x marliacea and the Nelumbo lucifera commonly known as lotus flower stand out among the multicolored blooms.
Botanical garden Palermo: Carnivorous plants
An area of considerable attraction is the area dedicated to carnivorous plants. They are in fact species that generally spread in areas with low nitrogen content and which provide for the reintegration of this nutrient by catching small insects inside particular leaves. In a garden greenhouse it is therefore possible to admire species belonging to the genera of Dionea, Drosera and Sarracenia.
Inside the park there is also a collection of palm trees which includes 34 genera and about 80 species. The date palm (Phoenix dactylifera), the dwarf palm (Chamaerops humilis) and all the species belonging to the Washingtonia genus are present, including the Washingtonia filifera which flourished for the first time in Europe right in the Botanical Garden of Palermo.
An area of interest is represented by the collection of useful plants, including the sweet sorghum (Sorghum sacharatum) and the sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum) used for sugar production, papaya (Carica papaya) and avocado (Persea grateful).