Greenhouse Of The Botanical Gardens Of Charles University In Prague

Greenhouse Of The Botanical Gardens Of Charles University In Prague
Greenhouse Of The Botanical Gardens Of Charles University In Prague

Video: Greenhouse Of The Botanical Gardens Of Charles University In Prague

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Video: Botanical Gardens of Charles University 2023, January
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Trying to ask a guide in Prague where the Botanical Garden of Charles University is located, they heard the answer: "Not a tourist place." Indeed, it is less popular with visitors than the other Botanical Garden, located in the Troy Basin, and is significantly smaller in size. But it surpasses in its age and rich history.

The initiator of the creation of the garden in 1752 was the professor of botany Scotti di Compostella. But in reality it began to exist only in 1775, when the former Jesuit garden was given to its territory. Later, in 1835, due to the adjacent territories, its area was expanded to 3.6 hectares, and since the middle of the century the garden has acquired a reputation as the largest in Europe, more than 13,000 species and varieties of plants were cultivated in it.

Botanical Garden of Charles University in Prague
Botanical Garden of Charles University in Prague

Botanical Garden of Charles University in Prague

The total number of botanical taxa currently represented in open and closed ground exceeds 5000, and the value of the funds for the entire garden in 1995 was estimated at 34 million CZK. Located a 15-minute walk from the center of Prague, this green oasis is an important element of the city's landscape, attracting many birds, butterflies, amphibians, which are especially comfortable at the water and bog exposition.

The end of December is not the best time to explore the garden, so we focused on the greenhouse. Let's just say that the open ground exposition has preserved unique specimens of some woody plants, the oldest in the Czech Republic, planted back in 1845.

Botanical Garden of Charles University in Prague
Botanical Garden of Charles University in Prague

Botanical Garden of Charles University in Prague

Botanical Garden of Charles University in Prague
Botanical Garden of Charles University in Prague

Botanical Garden of Charles University in Prague

The first greenhouse was built here in 1783, and by the end of the 19th century there were already nine of them. In 1997-2000, there was a comprehensive reconstruction, as a result of which the area of ​​the greenhouse increased to 1600 square meters plus another 400 square meters of growing and technical areas. In order not to affect the plants growing in the soil of the greenhouse, the new structure was erected over the old one, which was dismantled with the end of the work. The resulting conditions for the plants are enviable - four separate sections of the exhibition are maintained with full climate control. Grateful plants are full of health, and those who are supposed to - bloom and bear fruit.

The collections of the greenhouse, collected over two centuries, are striking in their diversity and botanical value. Despite the fact that time has changed the situation, and some of the species have become common houseplants, many of them remain real rarities. An illustrative example is the Brazilian plant Chrysophyllum imperiale of the Sapotov family. It got to Europe at the end of the 19th century, but for another 30 years it remained an undefined mystery for botanists. Now it is a rare, natively protected species, for the restoration of the population in the Rio de Janeiro area, it was necessary to use seeds from the Sydney Botanical Garden.

Chrysophyllum imperiale
Chrysophyllum imperiale

Chrysophyllum imperiale

Feathered master of the tropics
Feathered master of the tropics

Feathered master of the tropics

But let's return to Prague and walk through the university greenhouse in order - from the entrance, over which the incessant parrots have settled (one of them greets guests in Czech) and opposite which the tropics begin, to other departments with subtropical crops and succulents.

Immediately opposite the entrance is the pride of the collection - huge representatives of the genus of cycads, whose age has passed over 130 years. They are the largest in the Czech Republic - such as Cycas ulitkoobrazny (Cycas circinalis) from the island of Guam in the Pacific Ocean. These dioecious plants are represented here mainly by male specimens, but there is also a female one. The first specimens of cycas were brought here back in 1876. Later, their relatives settled nearby - the "bread palm" Encephalartos from South Africa and Zamia, who arrived from the Amazon basin. There is also a rare related species from Australia - Lepidosamia Hupa (Lepidozamia hopei), as well as Dioon edule - an endemic member of the Zamiev family from Mexico, the oldest seed plant growing on Earth since the era of the dinosaurs.

Cycad snail (Cycas circinalis)
Cycad snail (Cycas circinalis)

Cycad snail (Cycas circinalis)

Lepidozamia Hoopa (Lepidozamia hopei)
Lepidozamia Hoopa (Lepidozamia hopei)

Lepidozamia Hoopa (Lepidozamia hopei)

Dioon edule
Dioon edule

Dioon edule

Nearby is a decent-sized evergreen Indian tamarind tree (Tamarindus indica), few people have ever tasted its fruits, but in Southeast Asia and India, the juicy pulp of beans is widely used for food. The pubescent coccoloba (Coccoloba pubescens) is called the “umbrella of Eve” for its high crown. It comes from the Caribbean. At first glance, nothing indicates that this large plant belongs to the buckwheat family, but it is.

Indian Tamarind (Tamarindus indica)
Indian Tamarind (Tamarindus indica)

Indian Tamarind (Tamarindus indica)

Pubescent coccoloba (Coccoloba pubescens)
Pubescent coccoloba (Coccoloba pubescens)

Pubescent coccoloba (Coccoloba pubescens)

Next comes a collection of palm trees combined with several types of dracaena. In southern Brazil, the areca palm Trithrinax brasiliensis is no longer just endemic, but an endangered species. It is also called the "thorny fiber palm" for the thin thorns at the ends of the greyish-green finger-like leaves. And this "jelly palm" - Butia capitatum (Butia capitata) from Uruguay, with pinnate, gray-green leaves. It got its name from the edible fruit that is eaten fresh and used to make jelly.

Nearby you can get acquainted with a rare representative of the tree-nose family - Maytenus riedeliana, the shape of the leaves of which gives out a resemblance to the round-leaved tree nose. Dorstenia high (Dorstenia elata) is another endangered species from Brazil of the Mulberry family. A small relative of breadfruit, jackfruit and figs, also called "Congolese fig". It is interesting in that it forms an unusual type of fruit-flowers (hepanthodiums). By the way, now it appears on sale with us.

Maytenus riedeliana
Maytenus riedeliana

Maytenus riedeliana

Dorstenia high (Dorstenia elata)
Dorstenia high (Dorstenia elata)

Dorstenia high (Dorstenia elata)

To the right is a zone of tropical rainforests, which, of course, could not do without such industrially significant species as the Arabian coffee tree (Coffea arabica), papaya (Carica papaya), and several species of bananas (Musa). Here you can admire a gorgeous specimen of the Vanilla planifolia orchid, which is the source of natural vanilla.

Papaya (Carica papaya)
Papaya (Carica papaya)

Papaya (Carica papaya)

Banana (Musa sp.)
Banana (Musa sp.)

Banana (Musa sp.)

Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia)
Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia)

Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia)

White Bomeria (Boehmeria nivea), or Chinese nettle ramie, is the most important textile plant in its homeland. Thin Chinese fabrics, seemingly cotton, but with a silky sheen, are made from it. Interesting plant - Rivin low (Rivina humilis), pokeweed related and also what is happening in North America. Its red berries contain the pigment rivianin, similar to beet betaine, suitable for use as a dye or ink.

White Bomeria (Boehmeria nivea)
White Bomeria (Boehmeria nivea)

White Bomeria (Boehmeria nivea)

Rivina low (Rivina humilis)
Rivina low (Rivina humilis)

Rivina low (Rivina humilis)

Of the representatives of the acanthus family, yellow pachystachis (Pachystachys lutea) stands out for its year-round flowering, there is also mountain acanthus (Acanthus montanus) with thorny, marble-colored leaves and ruella makoyana (Ruellia makoyana), densely covering the ground with a variegated carpet.

Pachystachis yellow (Pachystachys lutea)
Pachystachis yellow (Pachystachys lutea)

Pachystachis yellow (Pachystachys lutea)

Ruellia makoyana
Ruellia makoyana

Ruellia makoyana

Pseudorantemum dark purple Tricolor (Pseuderanthemum atropurpureum cv. Tricolor) now does not look tricolor, there are no pink tones - winter, not enough light. Perhaps with the coming of spring, it will show red tones on the new growth as acalypha Godsefa heterophyllous (Acalypha godseffiana heterophylla), which is valued for its beautiful variegated foliage.

Pseudorantemum dark purple Tricolor (Pseuderanthemum atropurpureum cv. Tricolor)
Pseudorantemum dark purple Tricolor (Pseuderanthemum atropurpureum cv. Tricolor)

Pseudorantemum dark purple Tricolor (Pseuderanthemum atropurpureum cv. Tricolor)

Akalifa Godseff varifolia (Acalypha godseffiana var.heterophylla)
Akalifa Godseff varifolia (Acalypha godseffiana var.heterophylla)

Akalifa Godseff varifolia (Acalypha godseffiana var.heterophylla)

An unusual South American plant of the Malvaceae family - Pavonia sepium, has recently faded. Its medium-sized flowers, characteristic in shape for the well-known mallow, are distinguished by their bright yellow color. Another species, the Gledhill Pavonia (Pavonia x gledhillii), is in bloom, we were lucky to see it. The real flowers of a dirty purple color are hidden inside, and the bright red bracts surrounding them have a bright color. Hybrid species obtained in the 19th century.

Intake Pavonia (Pavonia sepium)
Intake Pavonia (Pavonia sepium)

Intake Pavonia (Pavonia sepium)

Gledhill Pavonia (Pavonia x gledhillii)
Gledhill Pavonia (Pavonia x gledhillii)

Gledhill Pavonia (Pavonia x gledhillii)

Jacaranda aquifolium or mimozolistnaya (Jacaranda acutifolia) from the family Bignoniaceae, of course, would have been more beautiful in their large purple inflorescences, but not yet summer, so you can admire it only leaves "of the tree fern," as it is called.

Chinese Ixora (Ixora chinensis), or West Indian jasmine, came here from India, which is very much appreciated as an ornamental and ceremonial plant by bright orange-red inflorescences, consisting of fifty, and sometimes more, chetyrehlepestnyh tubular flowers.

Jacaranda acutifolia
Jacaranda acutifolia

Jacaranda acutifolia

Chinese Ixora (Ixora chinensis)
Chinese Ixora (Ixora chinensis)

Chinese Ixora (Ixora chinensis)

Jacquinot smaragdotsvetnaya (Jacquinia smaragdiflora) from Central America and the Caribbean - a rare representative of the genus, belonging to the family of Teofrastovyh. This aristocratic plant bears the name of Baron Nikolaus von Jacquin, a Dutchman who headed the Botanical Garden of the University of Vienna at the end of the 18th century and who made an expedition to the Caribbean. In some places, buds are visible, which after a while will flare up with bright red flowers.

And these fruits belong to the evergreen tembus tree (Fragraea fragrans) from Malaysia. When the fruits are ripe, they attract with their bright red appearance, but only birds and bats feed on bitter berries in nature.

Jacquinia smaragdiflora
Jacquinia smaragdiflora

Jacquinia smaragdiflora

Tembusu (Fragraea fragrans)
Tembusu (Fragraea fragrans)

Tembusu (Fragraea fragrans)

Brownea ariza, or Venezuelan rose, attracts with bright inflorescences and, at first glance, does not even hint at its relationship with legumes. It comes from tropical America, where it grows up to 20 m in height. It has expressive rounded inflorescences, from which long stamens of flowers protrude. Even when not in bloom, this plant is elegant thanks to pink young growths.

Not only known plant - psychotria (Psychotria bacteriosa) in knots leaves sheltered bacteria endosymbionts. Now with fruits. It is an almost extinct species of the madder family (Rubiaceae), which was widespread in Central Africa and the Pacific island states.

Brownea ariza
Brownea ariza

Brownea ariza

Psychotria (Psychotria bacteriosa)
Psychotria (Psychotria bacteriosa)

Psychotria (Psychotria bacteriosa)

And this small plant with the funny name Bowin's gonatopus (Gonatopus boivini) never grows above 2 m even at home, in Southeast Africa. It belongs to the aroid and is a close relative of the zamioculcas. Since it all consists of a single three-fold pinnate leaf emerging from the tuber, its ear is likely to break through nearby.

The epiphytic representative of the South American flora - the epiphyllum (Epiphyllum chrysocardium) - belongs to the cactaceous family, although it bears little resemblance to its thorny relatives. It blooms with expressive white flowers, for which it was named "Orchid Cactus".

Decorated pepper (Peper ornathum) - endemic to Indonesia, but quite common in indoor culture. A very decorative liana with heart-shaped leaves decorated with pink and white patterns, a relative of black pepper.

Bowen's gonatopus (Gonatopus boivini)
Bowen's gonatopus (Gonatopus boivini)

Bowen's gonatopus (Gonatopus boivini)

Epiphyllum (Epiphyllum chrysocardium)
Epiphyllum (Epiphyllum chrysocardium)

Epiphyllum (Epiphyllum chrysocardium)

Decorated pepper (Peper ornathum)
Decorated pepper (Peper ornathum)

Decorated pepper (Peper ornathum)

Even the well-known plants are represented here by very rare species - for example, tetrahedral anthurium (Anthurium tetragonum), Schonburg's spathiphyllum (Spathiphyllum schonburgii).

Anthurium tetragonum (Anthurium tetragonum)
Anthurium tetragonum (Anthurium tetragonum)

Anthurium tetragonum (Anthurium tetragonum)

Schonburg's spathiphyllum (Spathiphyllum schonburgii)
Schonburg's spathiphyllum (Spathiphyllum schonburgii)

Schonburg's spathiphyllum (Spathiphyllum schonburgii)

All large vegetation of the tropical exposition is beautifully lined with cereals, aspidistras, New Guinea balsams, tradescantia, fittonia, pilea, ginur, croton, aglaonema, calathea, bromeliads, rare begonias (for example, Begonia crassicaulis, Begonia dietrichiana). A little-known plant of the lower tier is cyanastrum cordifolium, found in Cameroon and Gabon and described relatively recently, in 1965. It is one of 7 species of the small cyanaster family, close to tradescantia. Outwardly, it resembles a fern, but is a relative of the acid plant biophytum (Biophytum zenkeri). Just like oxalis, he is able to fold leaves, and his leaves themselves are special - they are located in a fan on the tops of the stems.

Cyanastrum cordifolium
Cyanastrum cordifolium

Cyanastrum cordifolium

biophytum (Biophytum zenkeri)
biophytum (Biophytum zenkeri)

biophytum (Biophytum zenkeri)

The greenhouse has a very large collection of ferns - terrestrial (Polypodium, Asplenium, Blechnum) and epiphytic (Phlebodium, Platycerium, Drynaria). Carrot-leaved Asplenium (Asplenium daucifolium) - endemic to the Mascarene Islands, widely spread its large openwork leaves. There is also a unique representative of the tree ferns Cyantheaceae, a giant specimen of which several meters high has recently replaced a younger one.

Asplenium carrot (Asplenium daucifolium)
Asplenium carrot (Asplenium daucifolium)

Asplenium carrot (Asplenium daucifolium)

Platycerium
Platycerium

Platycerium

Asplenium
Asplenium

Asplenium

Phlebodium aureum
Phlebodium aureum

Phlebodium aureum

The central part of the tropical section is occupied by a picturesque reservoir, where we found our aquarium catfish of ancitrus, which reached the size of commercial fish in the wild. They also work incessantly to clean up the bottom of the reservoir, surrounded by more idle fish.

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Aquatic vegetation always captivates attention. And this reservoir combined in itself both the thermophilic majestic nymphs, and the typical inhabitants of European reservoirs - floating salvinia (Salvinia natans) and duckweed (Lemna). In a pot, submerged in water, a piece of mangrove thickets - Bruguiera sexangula - has settled down. Several types of alocasia can be distinguished along the banks. Above the water, on logs green with moss, lushly grown epiphytic orchids were located, but at this time they did not bloom. Tillandsia's gray beards and beads adorn the balcony above the water.

Orchids over water
Orchids over water

Orchids over water

Rustic trees on the balcony
Rustic trees on the balcony

Tillandsia usneoides

Rustic trees on the balcony

The surroundings of the reservoir are quite decent - the company of lushly growing bananas is made up of two types of strelitzia - royal (Strelitzia regale) and Nikolai's strelitzia (Strelitzia nikolai), several types of ginger. Among the latter, the largest representative is the beautiful alpinia (Alpinia speciosa), the flowers of which are compared with sea shells.

Royal Strelitzia (Strelitzia regale)
Royal Strelitzia (Strelitzia regale)

Royal Strelitzia (Strelitzia regale)

Strelitzia nikolai
Strelitzia nikolai

Strelitzia nikolai,

Alpinia fine (Alpinia speciosa)
Alpinia fine (Alpinia speciosa)

Alpinia fine (Alpinia speciosa),

In the very depths of the tropics, there is a collection of bamboos, and along the wall with a sprawling bipinnate philodendron (Philodendron bipinnatifidum) and an entwined tetrastigma (Tetrastigma obovata), there are aquariums and paludariums with insectivorous plants and orchids.

Philodendron bipinnatifidum (Philodendron bipinnatifidum))
Philodendron bipinnatifidum (Philodendron bipinnatifidum))

Philodendron bipinnatifidum (Philodendron bipinnatifidum))

Bamboos
Bamboos

Bamboos

Having finished our inspection of the tropical paradise, we return to the entrance, on the left side of which there are subtropical greenhouses - dry and wet. The latter is mainly used for wintering Mediterranean and Australian species, which are located outdoors in summer. Here you can see the regulars of subtropical greenhouses - azaleas, camellias, lemons, rosemary, callistemons, bougainvilleas, guavas, podocarpuses. In the depths of the greenhouse, there are lush Canary dates in tubs, next to them is New Zealand flax (Phormium tenax).

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Lemon
Lemon

Lemon

Camellia
Camellia

Camellia

Guava cattley (Psidium cattleyanum)
Guava cattley (Psidium cattleyanum)

Guava cattley (Psidium cattleyanum)

In addition to them, inhabitants from all over the world gathered.

Treelike Panax (Panax arboreus) - New Zealand plant. Here it grows in a tub, but in nature it can be an epiphyte on the trunks of tree ferns, and only where they are absent does it lead a "terrestrial" lifestyle.

Horsetail casuarina (Casuarina equisetifolia) is an evergreen plant in Oceania and Australia, where it grows up to 35 m tall.

Ocotea foetens (Ocotea foetens) of the laurel family is endemic to the Canary Islands, the sacred tree of the local people. It got its name for the unpleasant smell of wood on the cut.

Panax arboreus (Panax arboreus)
Panax arboreus (Panax arboreus)

Panax arboreus (Panax arboreus)

Horsetail casuarina (Casuarina equisetifolia)
Horsetail casuarina (Casuarina equisetifolia)

Horsetail casuarina (Casuarina equisetifolia)

Ocotea fetid (Ocotea foetens)
Ocotea fetid (Ocotea foetens)

Ocotea fetid (Ocotea foetens)

Dark red bristleweed (Eupatorium atrorubens) is a Mexican relative of purple bristleweed, which is common in our gardens, blooms with purple flowers, collected in a shield, reminiscent of an ageratum inflorescence. Holly popular in Europe is also represented here by a rare species - Perny's holly (Ilex pernyi). Pittosporum tobira, or Japanese pittosporum, is also a common garden plant in Europe. Variegata is one of its most decorative varieties.

Bone sap dark red (Eupatorium atrorubens)
Bone sap dark red (Eupatorium atrorubens)

Bone sap dark red (Eupatorium atrorubens)

Holly Perny (Ilex pernyi)
Holly Perny (Ilex pernyi)

Holly Perny (Ilex pernyi).

Pittosporum Tobira (Pittosporum tobira)
Pittosporum Tobira (Pittosporum tobira)

Pittosporum Tobira (Pittosporum tobira)

There are a lot of plants from Japan and China, among them:

Sciadopitys whorled (Sciadopitys verticillata) - a unique plant from Japan with an unusual coniferous situated false whorls of 10-30 needles, for which it is often called "umbrella pine". The only representative not only in its botanical genus, but in the Cyadopitis family. A pretty coniferous plant from China - Cunninghamia lanceolata (Cunninghamia lanceolata), or Chinese spruce, has soft dark green needles, in nature this tree is up to 50 m tall.

Sciadopitys verticillata
Sciadopitys verticillata

Sciadopitys verticillata

Cunninghamia lanceolata (Cunninghamia lanceolata)
Cunninghamia lanceolata (Cunninghamia lanceolata)

Cunninghamia lanceolata (Cunninghamia lanceolata)

Eretia dicksonii, or carmona, is a rather awkward woody plant in Japan, China, and Taiwan from the borage family. Has sandpaper-rough leaves. It blooms in panicles of white bell-shaped flowers, sweetly fragrant. Often used for bonsai culture.

Rafiolepis umbellate (Rhaphiolepis umbellate) is a Japanese plant of the Rosaceae family, popular in bonsai culture, often called hawthorn in everyday life, with black fruits. Neighboring with it, as in the nature of Japan, the prickly goose (Eleagnus pungens) is a relative of the narrow-leaved sucker. Presented here is the variegated Fredericii cultivar.

Ehretia dicksonii
Ehretia dicksonii

Ehretia dicksonii

Rafiolepis umbellate (Rhaphiolepis umbellate)
Rafiolepis umbellate (Rhaphiolepis umbellate)

Rafiolepis umbellate (Rhaphiolepis umbellate)

Prickly goose (Eleagnus pungens) Fredericii
Prickly goose (Eleagnus pungens) Fredericii

Prickly goose (Eleagnus pungens) Fredericii

Further, an automatic sliding door lets us into the dry subtropical zone. Quantitatively, the assortment of cactus is the richest here. In addition to the traditional spherical mamillaria, prickly pears and treelike cereus, there are, for example, South American peres with leathery leaves, which periodically bloom here.

Entire landscapes with various succulents - cacti, crassules, Kalanchoe, euphorbia, etc. have been recreated in four chambers with different temperature regimes. In one of the windows there is a whole curtain of various ripsalis - epiphytic plants of tropical forests with juicy assimilating stems devoid of leaves.

The collections of the Botanical Gardens of Charles University began at the time of geographical expeditions that discovered the outlandish vegetation of distant countries to Europeans, and the first achievements in breeding. In addition to botanical, they have no less historical value, along with the world-famous architectural monuments located outside the walls of the greenhouse. I advise everyone who is interested in plants to pay attention to this wonderful and informative place when visiting Prague.

Photo: Rita Brilliantova

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