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Botanic Gardens: New tools for environmental education
National Botanic Garden of Belgium
Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid - CSIC
Orto Botanico di Firenze
BOTANIC GARDENS : NEW TOOLS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION
Orto Botanico «Giardino dei Semplici» dell'Università di Firenze Real Jardín Botanico de Madrid - CSIC National Botanic Garden of Belgium
Grundtvig Programme 2011-2013
PRESENTATION WHY THIS TOOLKIT ? FOR WHO ? ORGANIZATION OF THE TOOLKIT THE GRUNDTVIG PROJECT THE PARTNERS
ORTO BOTANICO DI FIRENZE History The Garden today Plants and collections Staff Educational Activities Our educational oﬀer REAL JARDIN BOTANICO DE MADRID History Collections Library Archive Herbaria Living Plants collections Research Educational service 3
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NATIONAL BOTANIC GARDEN OF BELGIUM History Today the Garden is... Our mission : studying and protecting plants Expeditions abroad In Belgium Conserving living plants SEED : Our well-named educational service e Story of SEED Infrastructure Sharing knowledge
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THE PROJECT’S TOUR IN THE THREE GARDENS
THE VISIT IN FLORENCE THE VISIT IN MADRID THE VISIT IN MEISE
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GUIDES BEST PRACTICES
What is a guide or an educator? Dealing with people, the daily work Profile of educators Volunteers working in the garden Collaboration between research center and education team Activities for public with special needs Facilities and materials Dissemination of information about the activities in the garden
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BOB EDWARDS “ONKLE BOB” - NATIONAL BOTANIC GARDEN OF WALES MARIANNE DE COCK - NATIONAL BOTANIC GARDEN OF BELGIUM JULIA AVILA JIMENEZ - REAL JARDIN BOTANICO DE MADRID MARTINE VAN DEN BROECK - NATIONAL BOTANIC GARDEN OF BELGIUM MARTINE VAN DE VIJVER - NATIONAL BOTANIC GARDEN OF BELGIUM
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CASE STUDIES, TRAININGS, AND WORKSHOPS
CASE STUDIES IN FLORENCE Children gardeners Courses and workshop A system for a sustainable irrigation A vegetable garden on the balcony Medicinal plants and traditional recipes Around the world with the plants Photo workshop into the garden Path for blind people CASE STUDIES IN MADRID Workshop: ‘Plant Adaptations’ EDUCATORS’ EXPERIENCE BIBLIOGRAPHY Workshop: ‘Dyeing with natural dyestuffs’ EDUCATORS’ EXPERIENCE BIBLIOGRAPHY
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CASE STUDIES IN MEISE About Plants and Critters Plants & new technology Workshop: Medicinal plants as healing heritage A tour in the Botanic Garden for visually impaired visitors
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BOTANIC GARDENS AS NEW TOOLS WHAT DO WE HAVE TO OFFER? ANNEXES INSPIRATIONAL TEXT
The weight of a petal : the value of Botanical Gardens
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The Cube Panels in Meise : interpretation material Botanic Garden and Seed Bank in Meise Archives, Library and Herbarium in Meise VIP day for Educators in Meise - 12 June 2013 The Botanic Garden of Florence Archives, Library and Herbarium in Florence Educational Activities in Florence Garden, Archives, Library, Seed Bank and Herbarium in Madrid Educational Activities in Madrid Sharing Practices in Madrid A Workshop in Madrid «From the Tree to the Forest»
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I. WHY THIS TOOLKIT ?
is handbook is the result of a Grundtvig partnership project between three European Botanic Garden located in Florence (Italy), Madrid (Spain) and Meise (Belgium), as part of the Europe Lifelong Learning Programme. Botanic Gardens are institutions spread all over the world, with well documented collections of living and dried plants. eir missions are conservation, research and education. ese institutions are well connected to each other by cultural network despite the strong diﬀerences of history, geographical location, social context in which they operate. e activities that characterize Botanic Gardens - research, conservation, education - have to contend with the strong changes in the society and the complexity of environmental issues. roughout their long history, of almost ve centuries, Botanic Gardens have had to evolve continuously, adapting themselves to new social and scienti c needs. e Grundtvig project «Botanic Gardens: new tools for environmental education» was born for this purpose: - create a network between similar institutions - share experiences in education - work together to design educational materials that are practical, easy to use and appropriate to the current environmental requirements. Sharing experiences from the very diﬀerent realities of our three gardens, we were able to bring out updated tangible materials, with an interdisciplinary concern involving botany, ecology, history, biology, and science. is toolkit will be published online on the European Database EST (European Shared Treasure) as a result of our project: http://www.europeansharedtreasure.eu is handbook can be downloaded on the three Botanic Garden web sites: MADRID: http://www.rjb.csic.es/jardinbotanico/jardin/index.php MEISE: http://www.botanicgarden.be FIRENZE: http://www.msn.uni .it/CMpro-l-s-12.html and on the Grundtvig project web site we created: http://grundtvigbotanic.tk
II. FOR WHO ?
is handbook is dedicated to all of those who work in environmental education : • • • • Guides and educators working in Botanic Gardens, giving guided tours and workshops for schools, citizens, and tourists. Facilitators, animators, and nature-guides working in other areas, from National Parks to non-pro t organizations. Schoolteachers of all grades who can use the handbook for their educational program using the Botanic Garden as a learning place full of resources. And also passionate amateurs of botany who can increase their knowledge and become themselves disseminators of knowledge. 7
III. ORGANIZATION OF THE TOOLKIT
e toolkit is divided in three main chapters. PRESENTATION – introduces and explains the project «Botanic Gardens. New tools for environmental education». You will learn about the goals of the project, and about the method of work we chose. You will nd descriptions of the three Botanic Gardens who participated in the project (history, characteristics, collections, educational activities). e presentation ends with the description of the new guided tour we designed in each Botanic Garden. GUIDES BEST PRACTICES – is the result of the shared experiences, helped by the blog on the project’s website and by the discussions between guides and educational teams during the meetings. is chapter wants to highlight the problems most frequently encountered in the guided tours and the main features in the work of a guide, leaving the word to the guides with their experience, knowledge, and skills. ese informations were obtained from questionnaires launched in the three gardens and on the blog. You will also nd examples of diﬀerent activities delivered in the gardens such as dying techniques, special training games or activities, medicinal uses of plants, recipes of cosmetics, special knowledge on plants, etc. BOTANIC GARDENS AS NEW TOOLS – presents Botanic Gardens as special places for environmental education. is chapter shows what Botanic Gardens can oﬀer: scienti c structures (research labs, herbaria, seed banks); educational structures and services; living plants collections; «hidden» treasures (archive, library, etc); and, the work of the guides, built through years of experience. In the context of global warming, loss of biodiversity and ecological crisis, it is important to share knowledge about plants and climates, and in-situ and ex-situ conservation issues. Rich in history and resources, botanic gardens can rede ne their roles and help us look toward a greener future. At the end of the toolkit in the ANNEXE you will the text that inspired our project.
IV. THE GRUNDTVIG PROJECT
e general goal of Grundtvig projects is the exchange of experience and knowledge, and the training of adults. With our speci c project, carried out during 2 years, we had 7 meetings in our 3 countries. ose meetings allowed us to explore the 3 diﬀerent gardens, each with its own features. Although diﬀerent in size and location (urban or out of town) Madrid and Meise share a quite similar organization, being state structures under scienti c administration, while Florence is part of the Natural History Museum under the tutelage of Florence University. We could discover our collections, interpretation materials, educational activities, teams, and methods, but also the structures related to our gardens such as libraries, archive, herbaria, and seed banks. Oen, our public and even our guides know little about these «secret treasures». rough the Grundtvig partnership, the 3 Botanic Gardens exchanged their experiences in education with a special focus on the guides: working groups were organized during the meetings so they could exchange and discuss experiences and workshops. Following these inter-training sessions, the guides presented activities they are used to lead or even activities they designed themselves. In the GUIDES BEST PRACTICES part of this toolkit, you will nd the result of this work. All of this teamwork enabled us to deliver diﬀerent "products" : 8
a new general visit of each garden (which is the most asked for guided tour) with a special focus on the European history of Botanic Gardens and their current role. While designing this tour, each garden has managed to establish links with the other two partners gardens, by the course of history, or by plants that we have in common, or through explorers who discovered or collected these plants a new set of interpretation materials (explanatory panels) in each garden, to go along with the new visit. Visitors can book a guided tour, or can visit the garden on their own following the new panels the website that explains the project, delivers information, and allows interactivity http://grundtvigbotanic.tk the toolkit that you’re currently holding in your hands
e main step of the work was developed about the plants that were chosen as «linking plants» between our 3 gardens. During the rst meeting we chose the plants that had a particular meaning not only for a single garden but also for the others partners, and these plants were also chosen according to the interest they could rise among the public. We chose plants related with history, geography, literature, botanic explorations, acclimatization, ecology, etc. Each plant is speci c to one Botanic Garden, but it is also represented in the other two, even if by a dried plant or a beautiful botanic drawing or current research in the garden. For example, the coﬀee family, studied by Meise researchers, is also present in Florence and Madrid as in most Botanic Gardens of the world for its educational value related to economic use, fair-trade issues or rainforest protection. anks to the partnership, the botanic gardens of Florence and Madrid improved their knowledge on the coﬀee plant studies of Meise colleagues who have provided scienti c reports and illustrated material as the discovery of a new coﬀee plant naturally caﬀeine-free. We started with 3 Botanic Gardens, but the work could be extended to other gardens in the same way. Building links, Botanic Gardens could create a global network of guided tours related to one another, increasing educational cooperation and raising a greater awareness of their common historical background and the challenges we all are facing with the global decline in biodiversity. While linking plants, researchers, explorers, archives, and educators through our gardens and our educational services, we can create a global shared knowledge-base, and disseminate it to an ever more varied public, making connections between various cultures.
V. THE PARTNERS
1. ORTO BOTANICO DI FIRENZE
e Botanic Garden of Florence was founded on December 1, 1545, by Cosimo I de’ Medici Grand Duke of Tuscany. It was created to cultivate medicinal plants for Florence medicine students, and this is also the origin of the name “Giardino dei Semplici” because the medicinal plants were called “semplici”. It is the third oldest Botanic Garden in the world aer Pisa, 1543, and Padova, July 1545. At the beginning of the 18th century, it passed under the management of the Florentine Botanical Society, which rst director was Pier Antonio Micheli, one of the founder of the same society. 9
At the end of the 18th century, the Botanic Garden was run by the Accademia dei Georgo li. At the end of the 19th century, Teodoro Caruel built the large greenhouse located on Via Micheli and the Garden was assigned to the Regio Istituto di Studi Superiori Pratici. In the next years the Royal Botanic Institute, located on Via Romana, founded by Filippo Parlatore, was joined with the Giardino dei Semplici. On October 1905, the most important botanic institutions (library and Herbaria) moved in the building bordering the Botanic Garden, and the Botanic Institute was founded, including the Botanic Garden, the Botanic museum and the Herbaria.
e Garden today
Today, the Botanic Garden is a section of the Natural History Museum of the University of Florence which includes the sections of Anthropology and Ethnology, Paleontology and Geology, Zoology, Mineralogy and Lithology, Botany and the Central Italicum Herbarium. Located in the heart of the city, it covers an area of 2,3 hectares with thematic beds, two big greenhouses, and six little greenhouses. In 2004, it has been named, together with the Botanical Gardens of Siena and Pisa, «Center for the ex situ conservation of the local ora» (CESFL) by Tuscany Regional Government. Since May 2008, multi-sensory paths for blind people are available.
Plants and collections
ere are more than 5.000 plants cultivated in the garden, many of them in pots. e most important collections are: • • • • • • • • • • the foods plants with 385 samples, Crop Wild Relatives, wild edible plants of Tuscany, chili pepper, dyes plants aquatic plants (more than 90 plants are registered in the attention list of Tuscany) Cycads (136) Pteridophytes (280) citrons (60 with many ancient variety) Palms (190 species) Succulents (800 species) fescues (300, with many living type specimens) Roses (140 species between old and modern variety) Orchids and Bromeliads (many plants were collected during missions in South America on the 60’s and the 70’s)
ere are 220 trees in the Botanic Garden. From the conservation point of view, the most important ones are some species recently introduced as Cupressus dupretiana, highly threatened in its natural habitat; Wollemia nobilis, considered a living fossil; Abies nebrodensis highly threatened in its natural habitat in Sicily. Since 1998, 5 trees are included in the list of monumental trees by Tuscuny Region Law n°60 for the conservation of trees with an high naturalistic, artistic, landscaping and cultural value: Taxus baccata planted by P.A. Micheli in 1720; Quercus suber planted by Targioni Tozzetti in 1805; Taxodium mucronatum, Zelkova crenata and Zelkova serrata.
13 people work in the Botanic Garden. 1 person organizing the works in the garden and curator of some collections. 2 curators follow their collections but also collect seeds and edit 10
the index seminum, upload the plants database, and organize the work to label the plants. 2 technicians collaborating with the curators, also employed as photographer, graphic and web administrators of the web page of the museum. 8 gardeners take care of the garden. And 5 volunteers help the staﬀ, with 2 disabled volunteers.
Many activities are intended to the citizens in order to increase the botanical culture such as exhibitions, conferences, workshops, books presentations, scienti c activity reports. e Garden organizes workshops for the public like learning to know wild foods plants, vegetable gardening on the balcony, urban gardening, synergetic gardening, or how to make compost. Until 10 years ago the curators of the Botanic Garden held the educational activities by themselves, which included guided tours and workshops. Today, the educational activities in the Natural History Museum are held by a company with a contract for two years. When the contract expires, the Museum makes a new contest. e company that carries on the educational activities chooses the guides. Possessing a degree from a scienti c faculty is required to be a guide. e guides receive a salary per hours worked. Every year the Museum makes a program (http://www.msn.uni .it/upload/sub/pdf/ pdida1511.pdf) with an oﬀer of visits and workshops for the schools of all levels. e Educational service oﬀers also educational programs and workshops on special occasions such as the "Scienti c week" for families and for adults. No volunteers work in the educational service. In 2013, for the rst time, the curators of the Botanic Garden and the Botanic Section of the Natural History Museum are training the guides who are carrying out the educational activities. Our educational oﬀer • Guided tour (1 hour) - Schools all levels. Discover with a specialist the world of nature! A rst approach to the Natural science in one of the sections of the museum. • ematic tour (2 hours) - Secondary schools 1° and 2° level Do we have any curiosity to satisfy? We can visit the museum choosing between the thematic tours for improving the theme chosen. Visit with workshop (2 hours) - Primary school (3°-4°-5° class) and secondary schools 1°-2° level Discovery of the natural world, combining a visit to the museum with a workshop. Play in the museum (3 hours) - Schools all levels Group activities among fossils, crystals, animals, plants, and human cultures. Accompanied by two operators dig, draw, and analyze real samples in the laboratories of the Natural History Museum. Around the world… with the plants! Every plant has an its own history. e old plants of Asia, the trees of North America, the foods plant of South America… Who discovered them? How they did come to us? A world tour among the plants and a workshop showing plant biodiversity. 11
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Botanic Visits : • • • • • • • • e evolution of plant world e adaptation of plants to the environment Food plants: the contribution from the plant world to our kitchen Medicinal plants: history and evolution of the “semplici”, learn to know the main species for therapeutic and medicinal use in the Botanic Garden Orienteering and measurements to discover the monumental trees Aquatic plants A window on biodiversity How to make an herbarium
REAL JARDIN BOTANICO DE MADRID
e Garden, founded in 1755, belongs to the National Research Council (CSIC - Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientí cas), the largest research institution in Spain. It is declared a Major Scienti c Facility because of its important historical collections (herbaria, library and archives). e Garden has nowadays 3 main focuses within its mission: • e scienti c research in plants and fungi, aimed to describe, to interpret, and to synthesize the knowledge on the diversity of the vegetal world and to present the results of the research projects. e exhibition and conservation of the living plants collections and the conservation of the historical and research collections as the herbarium, library, and archives. e development of plant-based educational programmes.
In 1755, Fernando I ordered the creation of the Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid, which was rst settled in the outskirts of the city, close to the Manzanares River. It had more than 2000 plants, obtained by Jose Quer, botanist and surgeon, from its trips around Spain or procured by interchange with other European botanists. In 1774, Carlos III decided to move the Garden to its current location at the Paseo del Prado, where it was inaugurated in 1781. Sabatini (architect of the King) and Juan de Villanueva (who built the Prado Museum and the Astronomical observatory) were in charge of the project. In those years the garden was designed in three terraces, the plants were ordered according to the method of Linnaeus for the rst time, and the iron fence, some greenhouses and the vine arbors were also built. From the very beginning, the teaching of botany took place in the Garden, the expeditions to America and the Paci c were supported, large collections of drawings were ordered and the herbaria began to grow. In 1808, during the Independence War, the Garden was near abandoned, and we can remark the eﬀorts of Mariano Lagasca to maintain it within the European scienti c level. 12
In 1857, Mariano de La Paz Graells, director of the Royal Garden, made important reforms, like the conservatory and the remodeling of the upper terrace. At this time, a zoo was located in the garden for some years. Since 1939, the garden has been dependent on the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and in 1942, it was declared Artistic Garden. In 1974, aer decades of hardship and neglect, the garden was closed to the public for restoration work to its original plan. It reopened in 1981.
Library e library's holdings specialize in everything to do with botany. It forms part of the CSIC Library Network. Its holdings comprise approximately 32000 books, 2075 periodicals, 27000 brochures or oﬀ-prints, 3000 titles on micro che, 2600 maps and 60 CD-ROMs. e catalogue can be queried online via the bibliographical catalogue of the CSIC's Library Network. Its collections contain incunnabulae and historical materials of incalculable value from the 17th and 18th century, electronic resources and online databases, with access to the most recent publications in botany and horticulture. Principal collections : • • • • Books from the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, including three incunabula. Floristic works and oras, primarily of Spain, Western Europe, the Mediterranean Region, and Latin America, and the most important recently published works. Monographic works dedicated to the taxonomic study of the diﬀerent groups of plants, primarily fungi, bryophytes and vascular plants. Basic works for the study of botany, such as general treatises, bibliographic repertoires, catalogues of periodical publications, indices of scienti c names and popular names, chromosome numbers, abbreviation standards, geographical standards, etc. and basic treatises for the study of systematics and evolution. Historical works, particularly those dealing with Spain, Latin America, and the scienti c expeditions promoted by the Spanish crown. Gardening books, including those dedicated to practical issues, as well as historical gardening books and books on garden design. Books on medicinal plants, useful plants or popularly used plants, primarily those found in Spain or of greatest economic importance.
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e Digital Library is also remarkable. It was set up because of two factors: an extraordinary wealth of documents and active research. e Royal Botanic Garden, on account of its rich and lengthy history, has a magni cent collection of antiquarian botanical books. Apart from the intrinsic value of this historic and scienti c heritage, the collection is constantly consulted by researchers investigating the organization and distribution of organisms, or the relationship between scienti c names and the organisms they are applied to. Archive e Historical Archive contains the textual and graphical documents produced by the institution between the 18th century and the present day. It also keeps the botany-related 13
documents produced by Spanish scienti c expeditions in the 18th and 19th centuries. It comprises approximately 20,000 documents and over 10,000 botanical drawings. e archive of the Real Jardín Botánico stores the documentation the institution generates during the course of its normal work, along with the botanical material produced by the scienti c expeditions of the 18th and 19th centuries. It also includes collections deposited at the garden, donated to it, or bought by it, such as the private collections of Cavanilles, Lagasca, Cuatrecasas, Winthuysen, and Emilio Guinea, and the drawings and engravings by Van Berkhey. It is home to one of the world's most important collections of botanical drawings and plates, of which the more than 6,600 drawings made during José Celestino Mutis's Expedition to the Viceroyalty of New Granada stand out. Herbaria e Garden´s herbarium is a key component of its scienti c and research work. It is the largest herbarium in Spain and one of the most representatives in Europe. e herbarium houses over a million specimens organized according to standardized classi cation systems. It represents all plant groups and has a particularly important collection of specimens from the Iberian Peninsula, together with type specimens of South American plants gathered during historical expeditions. e herbarium's collections are continually growing thanks to the research work of the Royal Botanical Garden's scientists, as well as donations, acquisitions, and exchanges of specimens with other herbaria. Living Plants collections In the Royal Botanical Garden 5500 species are exhibited, and they are arranged within the three main terraces: • Terraza de los Cuadros – collections of ornamental plants, medicinal, aromatic, endemic, and orchard gathered around a small fountain. All are planted in boxedged plots. Terraza de las Escuelas Botánicas – a taxonomic collection of plants, ordered phylogenetically and set within plots about 12 small fountains. Terraza del Plano de la Flor – a diverse collection of trees and shrubs, as designed in the mid-nineteenth century in the romantic English style. It contains the Villanueva Pavilion, built in 1781 as a greenhouse, and a pond with bust of Carl Linnaeus.
e main overall goal of the Royal Botanical Garden's research is to understand the diversity of plants and fungi that exists, how this diversity has come about, and how it can be conserved. e approaches taken to achieving this goal are very diverse, however. ey range from studies aimed at nding out what species live in a particular territory ( ora) or make up a particular group of organisms (systematics), to attempting to reconstruct the evolutionary history of groups of plants and fungi with a view to: • • proposing a more natural classi cation based on this history; contributing to reconstructing the tree of life; 14
determining how particular species have been distributed in space and time since their formation; and providing a framework within which to infer what evolutionary changes have taken place within lineages, the mechanisms that have generated or modulated these changes, and their genetic basis.
e Garden researchers also study biodiversity at the ecosystem level, particularly in the case of aquatic ecosystems in the Mediterranean region and the tropics. We use a wide range of tools, methods and sources of information. e latter range from the most basic –based on a comparative study of the observable characteristics of specimens in the herbarium– through to the least accessible and closest to the genotype, such as molecular markers. e more representative research lines of Garden are: • • • • Vascular Plant Systematics: oras and monographs Plant Evolutionary Biology: patterns, processes and mechanisms Fungi and Bryophytes: Biodiversity and Conservation Biology Ecology, Conservation of aquatic macrophytes and Global Change
e education team was created in 2002 and nowadays belongs to the Scienti c Culture Department together with media, web page and social networks and external relationships. In total, the department has 5 people as staﬀ and some external collaborators. Besides, there are around 15 educators who deliver educational activities. ese have studies in biology or similar sciences and training or previous experience in education or dealing with groups. Among the activities which are held, the main one is the school programme which have children all the school year long. Workshops and visits for general public and families are carried out on weekends. e Garden participates also in several regional, national or international events such as Science Week, Science Fair, Fascination of Plants Day. At last, there are some national projects developed by the department and European projects such as INQUIRE (7th Frame Programme).
NATIONAL BOTANIC GARDEN OF BELGIUM
e National Botanic Garden of Belgium, located in the municipality of Meise, about ten kilometers from the center of Brussels, is one of the largest botanic gardens in the world. It is located in an historical domain of 92 hectares. e origins of the National Botanic Garden of Belgium date back to 1796, when Belgium was under French rule and considered a French department: each department was required to create a botanic garden. e Garden of Plants created at the time was located in the gardens of the ancient Coudenberg Palace in Brussels. Rapidly, the collections raised interested among the public. But, this rst garden had to move when the buildings were to be extended. In 1826, it was about ten years that Belgium was under occupation of the Netherlands: the Royal Horticultural Society of Netherlands was created. e collections of the garden were 15
relocated in the center of Brussels, where we can still nd nowadays greenhouses and a beautiful Orangerie converted in a cultural center called « le Botanique ». When Belgium became independent in 1830, the society became the Royal Horticultural Society of Belgium. Financial needs led the society to commercialize plants in 1835. Various cultures were conducted in the basement, which led to the accidental discovery of the famous « chicon » (endive chicory, part of the belgian gastronomy). e city of Brussels wanted to become the majority shareholder of the society in order to achieve a project of building a Fine Arts palace instead of the garden. is could be avoided when the State of Belgium bought the garden in 1870. In 1935, the question of relocating the garden emerged again with the project of the junction between the north and south rail stations of Brussels. A Royal domain was given to the State of Belgium for relocating the National Botanic Garden of Belgium. In 1939, the garden started relocating in the Bouchout Domain in Meise, 4 kilometers outside of Brussels. is last move took 30 years : it was fully eﬀective only in the 70s. e herbarium, the library and the living plants moved as well as the staﬀ. In this new location, the huge complex of greenhouses forming the Plant Palace was achieved in 1958. e historic domain where the Botanic Garden is now located has a rich history of its own. All the pathways, the tree groups, ponds and buildings have been developed over a period of more than 600 years. In total, the Botanic Garden has many diﬀerent buildings, dating from the 12th century to more recent achievements. e oldest building is the Bouchout Castle, located in the heart of the National Botanic Garden. e castle is used for exhibitions, conferences, etc. e Empress Charlotte, sister of King Leopold II, was the last resident of the castle, where she died in 1927. e whole eld of the garden is the result of the merging of two areas: the Hoogvorst Domain and the Bouchout Domain. e landscape that surrounds the pond at the Orangerie is the most authentic and has been well preserved. e set of trees, the sinuous and hilly paths are the result of the work made around 1818 by French architect François Verly (1760-1822). e group of trees just before the castle contains a number of venerable specimens. e monumental ash (Fraxinus excelsior) dates from before 1850 and maybe from around 1800. e tall beech trees from the “Drève Grimbergen” date from the same period. eir monumental trunks are characteristics of the sandy and loamy soils from Brabant, as it can be seen for example in Soignes Forest. In the northern area of the Garden, there are still some ancestors as an old alder (Alnus glutinosa) and two monumental graed chestnut (Aesculus sativa). e Botanic Garden is particularly rich in chestnut trees.
Today the Garden is...
• A collection of about 18.000 diﬀerent species of plants, (comprising several threatened ones like the wollemi pine Wollemia nobilis and the Laurent cycad Encephalartos laurentianus) A set of several gardens and arboreta among which a systematic garden, a garden of medicinal plants, a rhododendron woodland and an oak collection of over 160 species. A total of 60 glasshouses holding about 10.000 tender plants. e Evolution greenhouse traces the 450 million years of history of the Plant Kingdom. 16
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A set of maintained «wild» areas in the Domain, where wild plant species like indigenous orchids and mushrooms nd a protected home. A historical domain of 92 hectares with a Castle from the 12th century. A scienti c institute with activities spanning the globe, from Antarctica to the rainforests of Gabon and Congo. A research center for the coﬀee family (Rubiaceae). An internationally recognized gene bank and seed bank holding the seeds of numerous wild bean species, a useful tool in agricultural research. e only Belgian endemic plant species, the «brome of the Ardennes» (Bromus bromoideus) was resurrected in 2005, using seeds from the seed bank. A gigantic herbarium housing about 4 million specimens containing the largest rose herbarium of the world, and collections of seeds, fruits and wood samples. A botanical library holding over 200.000 volumes, from the 15th century till modern day publications, 45.000 monographies, 11.000 periodicals and numerous maps and plans. A collection of more than 60.000 botanical illustrations, containing beautiful originals from the hand of Hélène Durand. A team of 200 collaborators: gardeners, scientists, illustrators, horticulturalists, historians, technicians, and guides, working every day to study and protect the Plant Kingdom. A team of more than 70 volunteers helping in the plant collections, but also helping our researchers and welcoming our visitors. A partner involved in redeveloping the Botanic Garden of Kisantu and the Yangambi herbarium in the Democratic Republic of Congo. An active member of various national and international networks: PLANTCOL, a database giving the public a large access to the living collections of most Belgian botanic gardens and arboreta; the European Native Seeds Conservation Network (ENSCONET) and Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), the global network of botanic gardens. An active partner in implementing the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the Rio Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC). An environmental education tool welcoming each year more than 13.000 people in groups (schools and others). An attractive place welcoming each year more than 100.000 people coming with family or friends to spend a pleasant moment surrounded by plants, to relax, to discover or learn new things...
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Our mission : studying and protecting plants
Like other larger botanic gardens Meise has a speci c set of tools to study plants. e large glasshouse complex holds many living tropical plants ; species from cooler parts of the world 17
thrive in the gardens, arboreta and collections in open air. e immense Herbarium and the extensive botanical library complement these living collections. e laboratories hold state of the art instruments. e presence of all these elements in one location enables scientists to study plants on various levels, they can work with living material, dried specimens from the Herbarium, look up information, analyse DNA or study seeds. ey can study the relationships between plant species, their evolution, their distribution, their conservation status, their ecology or their use. Agriculture, forestry and medicinal eld can bene t directly from the work done in Botanic Gardens. e methodical classi cation of plants oen leads to the discovery and characterization of new plant species. e National Botanic Garden has been working on the coﬀee family for over a century. Round 1900, the robusta coﬀee (Coﬀea robusta) was characterized. is easy to grow species revolutionized the coﬀee industry. Our work also enables us to better understand and measure global problems like climatic changes and environmental disturbances. e scienti c work of the National Botanic Garden focuses on the correct and scienti c identi cation of plant species. What are the characteristics of a plant species? How many plant species are there? How do we distinguish one species from another? Knowing the correct scienti c name of a species is the key that unlocks all information on a species. Correctly identifying a species helps us to recognize poisonous species from related medicinal ones. It helps us to establish if a plant species is threatened by extinction and in need of protection. Expeditions abroad e researchers of the National Botanic Garden regularly depart on expeditions to far- ung corners of the world like Madagascar and Greenland, exploring the biological diversity of the world. Africa remains the geographical centre of our research activities. For more then 75 years, for instance, our mycologists have studied the mushrooms of Benin, Gabon and Burkina-Faso. Not only do they study the fungi themselves, they also document the local use of these mushrooms. Working this way they ensure that the indigenous knowledge is written down and is made accessible to the local population. On the other side of the world, on the islands surrounding the South Pole, our researchers study microscopic marine algae, gaining insight into historical climatic changes. e National Botanic Garden is also involved in the establishment of a Belgian zero impact scienti c base on Antarctica. In January 2007, one of our researchers worked on the biological inventory on the site of the base. In Belgium e plants of our country are also being scrutinized. Discovering new species is, of course, a rather rare event. But there are changes in the distribution and the composition of the ora of Belgium. Due to various in uences like climatic change or human disturbance certain species are becoming very rare while a few others are expanding. In 2007, 36% of our 1.400 indigenous species of plants were threatened in one way or another. e Botanic Garden also edits the Flora of Belgium. is book contains the identi cation methods to correctly identify every species of plant in our country. e Flora is regularly updated. Conserving living plants e Living collections hold several rare and threatened plant species, like the titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum) which produces an in orescence of 2 meter high. Meise probably 18
holds the genetically most diverse collection of the Laurent cycad. Several orchids species like the Emerson lady slipper (Paphiopedilium emersonii) are on the brink of extinction. Other plant species are extinct in the wild, ruthless collectors have wiped out the wild populations of Mammillaria glochidiata. Even tree species like franklinia (Franklinia alatamaha) have disappeared from the wild and now only hang on in the living collections of botanic gardens.
SEED : Our well-named educational service
e Story of SEED SEED stands for «Service Educatif - Educatieve Dienst». In the 80s, the Garden developed educational initiatives using worksheets distributed to the public: forms to complete, information sheets, etc. ere was still not a real educational service: passionate and motivated people oﬀered these tools. In the 90s, the garden began to organize exhibitions and tours, especially addressed to children. Again, there was no service responsible for these activities. Free-lance guides took care of the tours or even created them. A person with self-employment was responsible for developing the activities and one part-time was also working on it. e Museology and Education service was born in 1997. It was not really de ned: it was made of what could not be included in other services. It thus found itself responsible for the communication and promotion, education, general reception of the public, website development... In 2001, the Garden launched the single entry ticket. Previously, there was a ticket giving admission to the domain, another to the Plant Palace, another to temporary exhibitions... e single ticket was giving access to everything. 2001 was also the year when the renovation of the Plant Palace started. It was previously organized by geographic regions; it has been redesigned so that each greenhouse shows plants from a particular biome, sometimes present in several regions of the world. e single ticket and the redevelopment of greenhouses are the two events that pushed the educational service to rede ne its role. In 2003, the rst interpretive signs appeared at the Garden. ree people were employed in the Museology and Education service, soon joined by a fourth. In 2006, a new person was hired to deal speci cally with communication and press relations. Another was hired to develop and manage volunteering at the Garden. In 2007, an additional person has been charged with the responsibility of the team working on reception and ticket sale. In 2010, a new person joined the service to develop the website, and work on translation and communication, with also the task to support the creation of interpretation materials. In 2012, two people with a pro le speci cally related to education were recruited. ey are responsible for developing educational activities, animations and tools; nd and train facilitators and guides to these new activities; develop contacts with the school systems to link the educational oﬀer of the Garden with the programs, curriculum and basic skills in both French and Dutch systems. In 2013, a full time and a part-time graphic designers were employed.
Today, we distinguish speci c and professional units in the service: communication unit, education unit, volunteering unit, design unit, etc. To date, the department has 16 people, including those who are in charge of reception and the shop. To these must be added the 20 free-lance guides without whom it would not be possible to provide an educational program to the public. Some of those guides where there from the beginning, leading tours in the Garden before it had an educational service... Infrastructure e Garden has several spaces dedicated speci cally to education. e local CAP-Science (Centre for Educational Activities) was the place where the rst workshops were held. It is a large room in the farmhouse near the Orangerie. e auditorium Van Heurck was redeveloped in 2000. is area now hosts workshops, screenings and conferences. Soon, two new facilities should be set for the educational activities within the Plant Palace: one should look like a tent of a botanist during a mission in the rainforest and the other should look like a pygmies hut. One is intended to show and experience "scienti c" activities, while the other will be devoted to more cultural activities such as storytelling, displaying ethnobotanical objects, etc.. e shelter located at Wild Meise is also occasionally used for educational activities. From a nancial point of view, the Museology and Education service receives € 40,000 on a total budget of € 2 million. Sharing knowledge e scientists fully realize the importance of sharing their knowledge, passion and enthusiasm with the public. e National Botanic Garden has developed a range of tools to spread knowledge about plants and to raise public awareness about plant conservation. Our website www.botanicgarden.be oﬀers an overview of current activities in the Garden. Visitors can also nd practical information on how to visit the Garden. Teachers and groups nd all the tools to organize a successful and exciting excursion. Our seasonal digital newsletter ‘Musa’ reports in Dutch and French on the work of the garden and presents highlights in the plant collections. e plant displays in our living collections are oen thematic; economical plants, plant evolution, medicinal plants. Information signs give further explanation. A range of seasonal lea ets guide the visitor along several thematic walks and less known parts of the Garden. Magnolias, winter owering plants, indigenous trees, the history of the Garden or edible plants are a few of the subjects. e Botanic Garden oﬀers six thematic visits in ve languages. ere is a general visit, of course, but also a more in depth visit to the Plant Palace, the garden with Medicinal Plants or a visit "Behind the scenes". e educational program comprises of workshops for school groups of all ages. Ecology, the tropical rain forest, evolution, or even "how to nd a partner using plants?" are some of the subjects that are covered. 20
Temporary events like exhibitions of ower arrangement, garden fairs or picture exhibitions help plant lovers to discover the Botanic Garden. Not only biology students but also agriculture, forestry, pharmacy, horticulture and art students can book a free visit to discover the professional side of the Garden and to meet our enthusiastic staﬀ. Year Card holders can visit the Garden as oen as they want. Year Card Gold holders get special attention and are regularly invited to discover unknown aspects of the Garden; a look behind the scenes, a meeting with our researchers or gardeners, or a preview on new developments. ey also bene t from a reduction at the Garden Shop. e botanical Library of the Garden can be consulted by the public every Tuesday and ursday and oﬀers specialized information on botany but also books on general subjects like plant care. e National Botanic Garden of Belgium publishes books, brochures, water colors, ora's, eld guides, congress abstracts, distribution maps, scienti c books and scienti c journals. e Garden also regularly edits more general publications. • • • • • "Dumortiera" (NL and FR) covers the ora of Belgium and surrounding areas. "Systematics and Geography of Plants" is an international journal "Opera Botanica Belgia" is a series of thematic monographs e ora of Belgium is regularly updated in both national languages In 2006 an Atlas of the ora of Flanders and Brussels was published. A similar volume covering Wallonia is under preparation.
In many diﬀerent ways the National Botanic Garden raises the awareness that plants are a vital part of our environment, and that they are an essential renewable resource that needs to be protected.
VI. THE PROJECT’S TOUR IN THE THREE GARDENS
e guided tours of this project are based on the general visit the three gardens provide to their publics. But in this specially enhanced guided tour, an emphasis is put on the historical roles that these botanical gardens went through. e connection between the diﬀerent gardens is given by this historical links and also by identi ed linking plants, selected because of their discoverer, because of their originality and speci city, because of their presence in the three gardens or because of a special issue related to the role of a botanic garden.
THE VISIT IN FLORENCE
1st stop—Introduction: What are botanic gardens? e primary activities carried out in the Botanic Gardens are the ex situ conservation of ora, research, communication, and environmental education. Conservation: for some years there have been experiments with the rst germoplasm Banks which represent one of the best instruments for preventing the loss of genetic biodiversity, preserving threatened ora and guaranteeing the long-term survival of species. Research: One of the research activities carried out at the Botanic Gardens is connected to the conservation of vegetable species, with particular attention to those that are rare and/or at the brink of extinction. Education: e Botanic Gardens are museums in the open where Environmental Education 21
activities are carried out to augment environmental sensibility. Communication: e plant patrimony is a powerful framework for various cultural and artistic activities for the public. 2nd stop: e Garden of Florence, historical background and e Garden of Florence today e Garden of Florence is one of the oldest Botanical Gardens in the world, aer those of Pisa and Padova. Founded in 1545 at the will of Cosimo I dei Medici as “Giardino dei Semplici” (garden of medicinal plants), it was designed by Niccolo’ “Il Tribolo” and realized under the direction of Luca Ghini. As there was no University in Florence, it was a space where Florentine medical students who were studying in Pisa could learn from life the diﬀerences between the various medicinal plants when they returned home during breaks. ey learned to recognize which plants were similar, which were poisonous, etc. In the course of the centuries, the Garden underwent profound transformations, both in name and in internal organization. e botanists that succeeded to its direction over the years le a variety of legacies: the decidedly modern imprint of Pier Antonio Micheli and the rst Index seminum written up by Saverio Manetti in the 18th century; the experimental agrarian style of Ottaviano Targioni Tozzetti, and the construction of the large greenhouses ordered by Teodoro Caruel in the 19th century; the reuni cation, under the direction of Oreste Mattirolo and Pasquale Beccarini, with the Botanical institute founded by Filippo Parlatore, and the demolition of the high perimeter walls with Giovanni Negri at the beginning of the 20th century; the reorganization with Alberto Chiarugi in the post-war period, and the improvements under Eleonora Francini Corti who was succeeded by Guido Moggi in 1974 and Fernando Fabbri in 1981, all promoters of public activities and missions abroad for building up the collections. e oldest signs of the nearly ve centuries of history can be observed even today in the historic gate on Via La Pira that bears the coat of arms and an original epigraph of the Medici, and in the stone bust of Esculapio, attributed to Antonio Gino Lorenzi of Settignano (circa 1570). Today the Botanical Garden is a section of the Museum of Natural History of the University of Florence which comprises the sections of Anthropology and Ethnology, Botany “Filippo Parlatore”, Geology and Paleontology, Zoology “La Specola”, and Mineralogy and Lithology. Right in the urban center, the Garden is spread over an area of 2.3 hectares, with a complex of themed plant beds, expositive routes, and large and small greenhouses. Like other botanical gardens, it is a living museum, a multidisciplinary meeting point and site of cultural exchange, for an ever more varied public. e most important collections are the following: medicinal and poisonous (250 plants), dietary plants (385), cycads (136), Pteridophytes (279), aquatic (90), citrus (60), palms (190), and succulents (800). Among the 220 trees present, ve monumental trees deserve particular attention. Many display panels have recently been installed for didactic and popularization purposes as well as for scienti c research and biodiversity conservation. ere have also been many cultural activities to familiarize the public with botany and environmental themes: conferences, temporary exhibits, workshops, excursions, book presentations, and presentations of scienti c activity. In 2004 the Garden was named CESFL (Center for the conservation ex situ of ora) by the Region of Tuscany and carries out these activities in collaboration with the Gardens of Pisa and Siena. 3rd stop: Beginning of the Guided Visit; Vitis e visit to the Garden departs from the central fountain, where the main paths cross. From here one can observe the symmetry of the plant beds, the greenhouse complex, the central building and parts of the monumental trees. 22
We remind visitors that from May to October, the plants kept inside the large greenhouses are brought to the outdoor beds and, therefore, they modify the exhibition routes. Furthermore, the small greenhouses, for logistical reasons, are visible only by request to the Garden staﬀ. e vines (Florence in Madrid and Florence in Meise) In beds Q4 Q3, dedicated to dietary plants, diﬀerent types of vines are in cultivation. Vitis sylvestris C.C. Gmelin (Vitaceae) is a woody vine plant that can reach up to 20-30 meters in length. It is dioecious and is the wild progenitor of numerous varieties of fruit and wine. is spontaneously-growing vine lives in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, extending to the Atlantic coasts of Spain and France and to the Caspian Sea. e cultivated vine, Vitis vinifera L., in contrast to the wild vine, is monoecious and demonstrates, in the numerous cultivars present, an enormous variability in the characteristics of the leaves (dimensions, shape, hairiness) and of the fruits (color, dimensions, shape, presence or absence of seeds). Evidence on the cultivation of the vine dates back to the late Neolithic period (5th millennium B.C.), but from the Bronze Age (3rd millennium B.C.), together with olives and gs, the grape represented an important part of the diet. e cultivation of the vine came aer that of grains, given that the product is not obtained until some years aer its planting, presupposing the stability of human establishments. From Mesopotamia, grape growing reached the western Mediterranean Basin and the area of the Black Sea thanks to the Greeks and Phoenicians. With the Romans the practice was further perfected and enriched: Pliny, for example, cites 80 species of vines. In the Medieval period, it were the monks in their convents who conserved the heritage of knowledge and techniques regarding the cultivation of the vine, among many other useful plants. e consecutive development of commerce favored the expansion of grape growing and wine production that reached, in time, a notable level of development. In Tuscany, thanks to the interest and scienti c curiosity of the Medici family, especially Cosimo III, numerous grapevine species from Asia and various parts of Europe were introduced: in 1858 Ottaviano Targioni-Tozzetti reports the description of more than 300 diﬀerent vines cultivated at that time. His son Antonio Targioni-Tozzetti, in 1841, compiled a catalog of plants cultivated in the Giardino dei Semplici of Florence: 211 varieties of grapes appear, 150 of which were brought by Grand Duke Cosimo III. e rst legislative allowances for the management of a zone of production are found in Tuscany: the oldest documentation of the use of the name Chianti dates back to the merchant Francesco Datini in 1390. Again in Tuscany, with 1716 came the rst legislative act in defense of wine with a proclamation by Cosimo III de Medici. In 1932 a zone in Tuscany was marked oﬀ for the production of Chianti Classico; nally in 1964 the laws for the recognition of D.O.C. (Denominazione di origine controllata: Controlled Denomination of Origin) on a national level were initiated. e Garden cultivates the vines used in wine production in Chianti (Sangiovese, Malvasia, Trebbiana, Canaiolo, Colorino), the strawberry grape, and the Salamanna. is last grape seems to derive its name from Messer Alamanno Salviati, the Florentine patrician who brought it, probably at the end of the 15th century, from Greece or Catalonia to be cultivated in the garden of his home in Borgo Pinti. Also in cultivation is an exemplar of the vine “married to the maple”. Emilio Sereni’s History of the Italian Agrarian Landscape (1961) speaks of the Etruscans who, in contrast with the Greeks (who kept the vine low), let the branches run. ey tied them to live supports (maple, poplar, elm) oen subsidiary to grain cultivation. Sereni says also that it is not known if this particular system of nurturing the vine has an origin previous to the Etruscans (Paleoligurian or other populations), but it is certain that they utilized fruits from wild vines. In Campania, the vine is married to poplars and allowed to grow in height, forming tall espaliers. e vine married to the maple was a characteristic of the ancient Tuscan landscape: one nds a few examples still today, even if sporadically. 23
e exemplar cultivated in the Gardens permits a visual support for students looking to deepen their understanding on landscape architecture, history, and botany. 4th stop: the bromeliad greenhouse and the pineapple (Madrid in Florence) Pineapple - Ananas comosus (L.) Merr. (Bromeliaceae) Native to northern South America (Guyana, Surinam, Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Paraguay) and naturalized in many South American areas. Regarding the second voyage of Christopher Columbus to the new world, his son Fernando writes in his book "Historia del S.D. Fernando Colombo 1571" of an exploration to the Island of Guadalupe. During this exploration, the discovery was made of what would become the most famous bromeliad in history, the Ananas comosus. e fruit takes its name from the dialect of the Tupi'-Guarani' native tribe of Brazil, «naná naná» which means «fragance of parfumes». ere is also a possible other meaning where "a" meant fruit and "nanas" delicious. Aer the discovery of America, the pineapple was cultivated in Andalusia, the Azores and the Canary Islands in the rst half of the 1500's and in Africa during the second half of the same century. It made its rst appearance in Italy in 1723 in the botanical garden of Pisa. In the Hawaiian islands cultivation was established in the 18th century. Today the major producers are the Philippines, Brazil, India, Hawaii, Indonesia, ailand, Honduras, the Ivory Coast, South Africa, and Ghana. In Europe there is some sporadic greenhouse cultivation. e fruit is an infructescence that can reach up to 3 kilograms. e fruits are harvested by hand in a delicate operation. It can be eaten fresh or in syrup, and made into juice, jellies, and brandies. e leaves provide a ber that can be utilized by itself or together with silk, cotton, or wool. It has anti-in ammatory as well digestive, antiviral, anti-arthritic, drainage, and weight-loss properties. e active principle is bromenlain, concentrated mainly in the central, hardest part of the fruit and in the stalk, and is thermolabile. e fruit is also rich in vitamins and minerals. 5th stop: e cold greenhouse and Citrus plants In the cold greenhouse, the succulents, palms, citrus plants, and cycads nd their place. e Citrus plants: Citrus sp. Pl. (Rutaceae) (Florence in Meise, Florence in Madrid) e most remote witnesses regarding citrus plants are referred to in Chinese characters from the 8th century BC. It appears that their domestication was begun over 4000 years ago in the regions of Yunnan, Sichuan, Sikkim, Assam and Burma and ailand. Cultivation this ancient means there are innumerable cultivars: today, there are around 400 varieties of oranges alone, but the original wild versions of oranges and mandarins have been lost. With the exception of the grapefruit (origin West Indies), the citrus plants came from the Far East. ey were brought to the Mediterranean by soldiers, navigators and explorers along diﬀerent routes throughout diﬀerent epochs. e rst citrus to reach the Mediterranean was the citron (Citrus medica L.), probably originating in India. Evidence placing the citron in the Near East prior to the 4th century BC has been discovered. In Cyprus at Hala Sultan Tekke citron seeds have been dated to 1200 BC. In successive epochs, the lemon arrived: varieties with small fruits and thick skin were cultivated in the Near East since the Arab conquest. Oranges and tangerines arrived in the Mediterranean only aer the establishment of trade between Europe and SE Asia. Enjoyed on the table, but also appreciated for their perfume and medicinal virtues; desired for beautifying window ledges, sitting rooms and gardens; source of inspiration for poets and painters—in centuries past citrus plants became the object of a right and proper collecting trend. In the Garden of Florence, the cultivation of citrus plants has been documented since the 18th century. Today the collection includes, beyond the better-known citron, mandarin, bitter orange, bergamot, sweet orange, grapefruit, fortunella, and lemon, also the lesser-noted citruses: 24
Citrus aurantifolia (Christm.) Swing. (Sweet lime, citre limettier, lima dolce, pomo d’Adamo): similar to the lemon but with pure white owers, smaller fruit, and a sweet bland avor. Citrus lumia Risso et Poit., (lumia), from its shoots and its purplish petals. e fruit has a variable form, resembling the citron or the lemon, with sweet juice. Citrus melarosa Risso (melarosa), rose apple with its rose-scented fruit, lightly scored, with a thin, close- tting peel and large and abundant seeds. It is cultivated in Calabria (Southern Italy) and is used to make cologne. Citrus aurantium f. grandis (L.) Hiroe, (Shaddock,, pummelo, Adam’s apple): the fruits of the variety cultivated in Florence are larger than a grapefruit, sweeter, and more aromatic. Citrus limonimedica Lush. (limone cedrato), citron lemon of varieties “Florentine,” “Sanctus Dominicus,” “Aurantiata.” Microcitrus australis (A. Cunn. ex Mudie) Swingle, (dooja, limetta australiana, Australian lime) bearing tiny fruits. e Bitter Orange Citrus aurantium L. “Bizzarria” “Voici l’arbre le plus singulier et le plus curieux de tout le règne végétal. Son origine, d’abord couvert du voile du charlatanisme, est restée mysterieuse pendant une trentaine d’années; mais en n, Pierre Nato, médicin de Florence, parvint à savoir comment ce véritable protée avait été obtenu, et en t l’objet d’une dissertation publiée à Florence en 1674”. In these lines from 1818, Risso and Poiteau, the two great French citrus scholars, nicely sum up the blend of mystery, curiosity, and the necessity for scienti c rigor that encircled the “Bizzarria,” surely the most singular among all the citrus fruits. According to the story, the rst “Bizzarria” was discovered in 1644 in the Panciatichi estate located in Via Torre degli Agli in Florence, by the fruit gardener. Noting its extraordinary form, the gardener claimed that he had been the creator. Aer some years, aer Ferrari, Pontano and other scholars became interested in this marvel, the gardener had to admit that there had been no human intervention, but that he had merely found the fruit and had taken it upon himself to reproduce it for graing. ere have been many theories, some truly unlikely, on the creation of the “Bizzarria,” alternating over the centuries. Relatively recent studies have cleared up what for more than three centuries was an enigma. Today, we know that the “bizzarria” orange (but also the bizzarria grape described by Gallesio as well, and characterized by part white, part black grapes), is a matter of graing chimeras. Erroneously called graing hybrids in the past, they indicate those plants originating above and beyond the graing point and whose formation used material both from the subject and from the splice. is phenomenon is not to be confused with germinal mutations, which usually occur spontaneously following external stimuli such as radiation, sudden temperature changes, and so on. Germinal mutations are very frequent in citrus plants and, even in the 30’s, more than 1,500 were recorded. Oen the two types of chimeras were confused, rendering the attempt to shed light on the “Bizzarria” even more complicated. Today in Florence, the district that is in the middle of via Torre degli Agli bears the name Via Giardino della Bizzarria (“Garden of the Bizzarria” Street). 6th stop: In front of the central building : Passion Flower (Madrid in Florence) e scienti c name refers to the passion of Jesus in Christian eology because various ower parts were seen by Christian missionaires as symbol of cruci xion of Jesus, in fact the stigmas and corolla resemble the nails and the crown of thorns. Passi ora is a creeper plant with a woody stem who can reach 6-9 meters high. It was used as medicinal plant by the native americans and was adopted by the european colonists. Flower is 4-5 cm diameter large with a long peduncle, has 5 petals white or purple, 5 stams and great orange anthers. e fruit is a ovoid berry green yellowish has a spongy pulp with many little seeds blackish. e active ingredient used for medical purposes is obtained from the whole plant. It is useful for treating anxiety, insomnia, colitis and gastritis. 25
7th stop: the hothouse and the Corpse Flower (Florence in Meise) e hothouse contains useful tropical and subtropical plants, and the corpse ower. Amorphophallus titanun (Becc.) Becc. ex Arcang. (Araceae) In the Garden of Florence, exemplars obtained from seeds from the mission to Sumatra some years ago are in cultivation. e Botanical Garden of Florence was the rst and for now only Garden in Italy to have obtained such a spectacular owering. In recent years a few exemplars were obtained through meristematic multiplication, and cultivation techniques were put into practice, experimenting with diverse types of substrates. e variety conserved in the Central Herbarium is that gathered by Odoardo Beccari on his mission to Sumatra at the end of the 19th century. 8th stop: Coﬀee (Meise in Florence) - Coﬀea arabica L., Coﬀea robusta Lind. (Rubiaceae) Arabica bean coﬀee originates from the region of Caﬀa, southwest of Abissinia, while robusta bean coﬀee comes from tropical western Africa. e plant was brought to Yemen sometime between the 12th and 14th centuries; it was only then that it was diﬀused in Arabia. In 1554, the rst coﬀee shop was opened in Constantinople; 100 years later came Venice’s rst coﬀee shop. Coﬀee was under Arab monopoly until the end of the 17th century, when the Dutch were able to transport it to Java and the India Company assumed economic dominion. Coﬀee is a drupe, obtained from a fruit. Traditionally it was eaten raw, or ground and mixed with oily substances to conserve it for consumption during long voyages. Use as we know it, with roasting and grinding, dates back to 500 AD: the beans were roasted on a re, ground in a mortar and the powder le to infuse in water. Apart from the modernization of techniques, the procedure has remained basically unaltered over time. Today, coﬀee is harvested by hand or mechanical means; the seeds are cleaned from the pulp and le to dry in the sun or designated areas (a procedure generally used for the robusta bean), or le wet (ground in water, usually for arabica). en the cleaned beans are imported to countries all over the world, where they are processed with various techniques. American-style roasting lends a brown color to the beans, while the Italian process leads to a darker, almost black color. Even the infusion changes in the diﬀerent parts of the world and there is an incredibly vast array of devices used to make the drink. Coﬀee owes its pharmalogical properties essentially to caﬀeine, an alkaloid that excites the central nervous system and acts as a psychic and muscular stimulant. Coﬀee increases the mobility of gastro-intestinal deployment and aids in diuresis. It is used as an antidote to opiate intoxication. Coﬀee not produced in the North and is one of the most important export products in the world; the major producers are Brazil, Ethiopia, Burundi, Uganda, and Vietnam. Numerous medicinal species from the tropical and subtropical regions are present in the greenhouse. ese exemplars constitute an important document regarding cultural and ethnobotanical traditions around the world. 9th stop: Araceae greenhouse: Sansevieria trifasciata (Meise in Florence) It is an evergreen perennial plant forming dense stands, spreading by way of its creeping rhizome, which is sometimes above ground, sometimes underground. Its stiﬀ leaves grow vertically from a basal rosette. Mature leaves are dark green with light gray-green crossbanding and usually range between 70–90 centimetres (28–35 in) long and 5–6 centimetres wide. e speci c epithet trifasciata means "three bundles". It is commonly called the snake plant (not to be confused with the very similarly named Nassauvia serpens), because of the shape of its leaves, or mother-in-law's tongue because of their sharpness. In Africa, the plant is used as a protective charm against evil or bewitchment. In Nigeria it is commonly linked with Ogoun, the Orisha of war, and is used in rituals to remove the evil eye. In Brazil it is commonly known as espada de São Jorge (sword of Saint 26
George) who by syncretism is also associated with Ogoun. Like some other members of its genus, S. trifasciata yields bowstring hemp, a strong plant ber once used to make bowstrings. It is now used predominantly as an ornamental plant, outdoors in warmer climates, and indoors as a houseplant in cooler climates. It is popular as a houseplant because it is tolerant of low light levels and irregular watering; during winter it needs only one watering every couple of months. It will rot easily if overwatered.A study by NASA found that it is one of the best plants for improving indoor air quality by passively absorbing toxins such as nitrogen oxides and formaldehyde. Numerous cultivars have been selected, many of them for variegated foliage with yellow or silvery-white stripes on the leaf margins. Popular cultivars include 'Compacta', 'Goldiana', 'Hahnii', 'Laurentii', 'Silbersee', and 'Silver Hahnii'. e variety S. trifasciata var. laurentii was discovered near Stanleyville in Congo and introduced into cultivation by Émile Laurent, a belgian agronomist explorer. is variety gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. It can be propagated by cuttings or by dividing the rhizome. e rst method has the disadvantage that the variegation is likely to be lost. 10th stop: Aromatic plants (Florence in Madrid) ere is no single space dedicated exclusively to the aromatic plants: some are grown in the bed of spontaneous Tuscan lettuces (Block 3), others in the medicinal beds along Via La Pira (beds 14, 13, 12) and others still in Block 7. To share the results of a study on medicinal Tuscan plants, a bed dedicated entirely to the native or naturalized Tuscan plants traditionally used in phytotherapy was created. e bed (Block 7) was dedicated to Prof. Romano Gellini, who had the foresight to value such cultural patrimony. It put in cultivation about a hundred plants arranged according to their ecological needs and their habitat of provenance: marine, hilltop, mountainous. In this bed and the others dedicated to phytotherapy (beds 14, 13, 12), Mediterranean species with medicinal and aromatic properties are cultivated: basil Ocimum basilicum L.; rosemary Rosmarinus oﬃcinalis L.; sage Salvia oﬃcinalis L and Salvia sclarea L.; oregano Origanum onites L. and Origanum vulgare L.; thyme ymus vulgaris L. and ymus serpyllum L.; balm Melissa oﬃcinalis L.; fennel Foeniculum vulgare Miller subsp. piperitum (Ucria) Cout.; catmint Calamintha nepeta (L.) Savi; mint Mentha aquatica L., Mentha spicata L., Mentha arvensis L. and Mentha X piperita L., etc.. Among the spontaneous greens (Block 3), various species used for avoring sauces, liquors, teas, meats, etc. are grown: wild rocket Diplotaxis tenuifolia (L.) DC; savory, Satureja Montana L.; alliaria Alliaria petiolata (M.Bieb.) Cavara et Grande; various species of Allium, wood avens Geum urbanum L. whose roots are used to aromatize liquors; eld sage Salvia pratensis L., burnet Sanguisorba minor Scop., poppy Papaver rhoeas L., sorrel Oxalis acetosella L., hogweed Heracleum sphondylium L., yarrow Achillea collina Becker ex. Rchb., whose dried leaves are used to aromatize tea and distillates, Rumex acetosa L. for sauces; Calendula arvensis L. ssp arvensis for vinegar; Angelica sylvestris L. and Smyrnium olusatrum L. whose seeds are avorful, Portulaca oleracea L., Lepidium campestre (L.) R. Br. For sauces, Artemisia vulgaris L. with leaves that render stews savory, Galium odoratum (L.) Scop. for distillates, Silene nocti ora L. All of the species from this sector have a label where, in addition to the name, family, and area and era of collection, the useful parts, and any warnings (small doses, resemblance to toxic species, necessity to be cooked, etc.) are reported. In the immediately adjacent bed (Block 4), among the plant dyes of vegetable origin, the saﬀron Crocus sativus L. must not be neglected. In Italian legislation, it is not among the dyes, but because of its characteristics, is included instead among the aromatic plants. 27
11th stop: Dahlias (Madrid in Florence) Dahlias were rst introduced to Europe at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Madrid in 1789 and then were distributed throughout Europe. In 1798 D. coccinea and D. pinnata reached Kew from Madrid: they were the rst genetic nucleus of the modern hybrid. At the Jardin des Plantes in Paris, Dahlias were grown as food plants but the experiment was abandoned and Dahlias were then only grown for ornamental uses. e main groups of ornamental dahlias are: Single, Anemone, Collerette, Waterlily, Decorative, Ball, Pompon, Cactus, Semi-cactus owered and miscellaneous. Dahlia excelsa Benth. is perennial herb or shrub, to 6 m. e stem is thick and woody, the leaves are to 80 cm. Its distribution range is uncertain; the species has been described from cultivated material from Mexico City and it is unknown in wild. 12th stop: Squares 11 and 9: History of the roses (Florence in Madrid, Meise in Florence) In the Florentine Botanic Garden, the rose collection dates back to the 18th century, but over time it has undergone innumerable transformations, rendering a new display design necessary, to allow visitors a better reading of the exemplars. e nucleus of the plants, from which the project “Le Rose in la” (“Roses in a Row”) departed, was made up of roses that had enjoyed fame in the past, such as the Rosa x alba “Maxima” of the Medieval period and Rosa x alba “Cuisse de Nymphe” of the Renaissance; “Kazanlik,” utilized since antiquity for its perfume, “Old Blush,” one of the rst Chinese imports and of great success because of its plasticity, or other mother plants like “Belle Isis,” utilized by Austin and, nally, the varieties of high ornamental value such as “Mermaid,” “Crimson Glory,” and a few ramblers such as “Yesterday” and “Romeo.” e goal with the “Roses in a Row” project was to reconnect these plants to others which were considered expressions of particular periods and fashions, or chosen by hybridizers as generators for several lines of improvement. Finally, the wild species utilized as ornamentation were considered. Four groupings of roses were considered: wild, ancient, and modern species, and those where the work of the hybridizers had advanced to such a point as to render them un-assignable to a certain botanical group. e roses in the collection are raised in various points throughout the garden. To better understand the evolution of the horticultural rose, the guided visit departs from Block 11, near the central fountain, were the ancient roses are grouped. e roses cultivated in Europe before the arrival of the Chinese ones, and the Chinese ones themselves, nd their place in two distinct areas. is helps specify which varieties, considered the key points in rose evolution, were produced by hybridization between the two groups. Following the Teas, one nds the Noisettes, Bourbons, Portlands, Perennial Hybrids and the rst Tea Hybrid, as well as the roses from the previous set-up of the historic garden. Grown in Block 9 are the modern roses representing special moments of research in hybridization: the rst Grandi ora, some examples of the latest advancements in the elds of rose improvement and color: mottling, new tonalities, color gradations, and photosensitivity. e Pitchers: placed in large terracotta jugs of traditional Tuscan manufacture, one nds the vine roses, which oﬀer a deviation from the trends following the beginning of the 20th century. e choice of exemplars is intended to provide examples characteristic on an ornamental level (“Sally Holmes” and “Veilchenblau”) and demonstrations of genetic improvement, such as “Super Dorothy.” e Walls of the hothouse and cold greenhouse. Attached to the walls of the large eighteenthcentury greenhouses, one nds age-old, very vigorous exemplars; matching the gaps that have been veri ed in time, there are roses that evoke the works of great gardeners of the past and of Italian breeders (Aicardi, Fenzi, Mansuino, Barni). e Pergola. Iron structures posted at the entrance to the Garden have always been 28
characterized by re- owering climbing roses bearing showily-colored blossoms. Plants philologically tied to the existing ones were also introduced, such as “Amadis” and “Adam.” 13th stop: e roses of the Plebiscite and the end of the visit (Florence in Madrid, Meise in Florence) e memory of the Florentine ‘rodologi’ of the 19th century is underlined in the Garden by the roses from the Plebiscite in the beds overlooking the pergola. Friederich Schneider, as President of the Horticultural Society of Wittstock (Prussia), together with the Presidents of other European Horticultural Societies, took a popular vote (plebiscite) in 1878 to nd out which were the most appreciated roses of the period. Among the winning roses, ‘Louise Odier’, ‘La Reine’, ‘Eugène Fürst’, ‘Pierre Notting’, ‘Triomphe de l’exposition’, ‘Captain Christy’, ‘Louis Van Houtte’, Eugénie Verdier, ‘Soupert et Notting’, ‘Reine des Violettes’, ‘Jules Margottin‘, and ‘General Jacqueminot’ were all added to the Garden. For optimum orientation during the visit, a brochure is available, which illustrates the main stops in the evolution of the horticultural rose. It includes a map of the garden delineating the areas dedicated to the roses, and an explanation on how to read the ceramic plaques and abbreviation keys that identify the botanical groups. To learn more about the relationships among the principal groups of roses, there is also a simple diagram.
THE VISIT IN MADRID
1. BOTANIC GARDENS General information: ere are more than 3000 Botanic Gardens in the world. e functions of a Botanic Garden are: • • • Conservation: of the most number of species. Some of them have germoplasm banks Research: create new knowledge about plants. Scienti c divulgation: to educate and inform the visitors about the importance of plants. Most of the gardens have courses, exhibitions, itineraries… for this objective. It includes environmental education.
2. REAL JARDÍN BOTÁNICO DE MADRID, CSIC General information: Botanic gardens experienced a change in their use during the 16th and 17th century. In this time the exploration and international trade were beginning. Fernando VI founded the Real Jardín Botánico of Madrid in 1755. His successor, Carlos III, ordered moves it to its present emplacement in the Paseo del Prado. e garden was inaugurated in 1781 and its function was to supply medicinal plants to the Royal Pharmacy and acclimatize the useful plants of the voyagers from America. In this travels many new species were discovered. e garden covers 8 hectares including the research building founded in 1965. e rst greenhouse was opened in 1993 and since 2005, the Laurel Terrace is available for the public with bonsai exhibition. Information is given on structure and classi cation at the garden. 3. SCIENTIFIC EXPEDITIONS – Dahlia sp. General information: e expedition’s boom increased aer America’s Discovery. e aim was discovering new lands and increasing the size of the existing kingdoms. Aerwards, expeditions were held to de ne the empire’s limits (such as Malaspina’s) and to check the state of the numerous colonies they possessed. Naturalists joined these expeditions to study the ora and fauna found on the trips. Later on, under the crown of King Carlos III, a series of botanical expeditions in the 18th century took place. ey tried to classify New World’s nature and learn 29
about its possible economic exploitation. ey were organized by the Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid, where all the arriving material from the expeditions was revised. ree expeditions took place: to Peru’s viceroyalty (1778-1787), Nueva Granada from 1783 to 1815 (nowadays Colombia) and to Nueva España from 1786 to 1803 (Mexico and Central America). In these expeditions many new species were discovered such as the Dahlia. e rst description of a Dahlia took place in 1798 at the Royal Botanic Garden of Madrid. It was Cavanilles who described Dahlia pinnata, which was obtained through seeds coming from the José Mariano Mociño and Martín Sessé Royal Botanic Expedition to Nueva España. e genus’ name Dahlia refers to the Linneo’s disciple Swedish naturalist Andreas Dahl. e Dahlia spread quickly throughout Europe; specimens were distributed among botanic gardens. 4. ORIGIN OF BOTANIC GARDENS General information: Between 8th century and 16th century, the monks identifyed the medicinal plants and their properties. eir gardens were the precursors of actual botanic garden. e rst botanic garden in the world appears en Italy in the 16th century and was in Pisa. Second was botanic garden of Padua followed for Firenze. All were intended for the academic study of medicinal plants. Examples of medicinal plants: Salvia 5. Citrus aurantium (FLORENCIA) General information: Medicinal, aromatic and seasoning plants are a group with a great interest because of their possible uses. Seasoning plants were cultivated since their discovery and today most of them are naturalized in many places of the world. e most of citrus plants are from Far East. Today, there are a lot of cultivars of the popular citrus like orange and mandarin. Examples of aromatics plants Case of Citrus aurantium ‘Bizzaria’ 6. SCIENTIFIC EXPEDITIONS – Pavonia hastata General information: is species is dedicated to Botanist José Antonio Pavón y Jiménez (1754-1840), member of the Botanical Expedition to the Viceroyalty of Perú and Chile. For 11 years they travelled throughout Chile and Perú on an expedition which proved to be one of the most important from a scienti c viewpoint. e vast majority of the drawings, manuscripts and herbarium from this expedition are preserved in the Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid. 7. THE ROSES (MEISE) General information: During the garden’s restoration between 1979-1981 it was decided to devote four owerbeds to the rose garden. For the plantation, it was mainly used the collection of old rose varieties ceded by Mrs. Blanca Urquijo, together with all the wild rose species that the Garden already possessed. roughout the years more varieties have been added. e current collection aims to gather most of the species from the Rosa genus, as well as old varieties. Among the old ones, the most remarkable from the genus’ history were chosen, those from which new varieties came from. From these, only the considered as “classic” are included. Rose ‘La France’ Rose ‘Crépin’ 8. SCIENTIFIC EXPEDITIONS – Quillaja saponaria General information: e Araucanian Indians of Chile used the bark of this plant, rich in saponins, for personal hygiene and to wash clothes. is species was localized in 1782 by the botanists of the Botanical Expedition to the Viceroyalty of Perú and Chile during their travels through Chile. e specimen on display in the Royal Botanical Garden is old, its cultivation possibly dating back to the 19th century. 30
9. SCIENTIFIC EXPEDITIONS – Fabiana imbricata General information: is species was rst described by botanists Hipólito Ruiz and José Antonio Pavón on Botanical Expedition to the Viceroyalty of Perú and Chile. ey rst encountered it while travelling through the Chilean localities of Rere and Itata in December of 1782. Hipólito Ruiz was especially interested in the plant because of its medicinal properties. 10. THE VINE GROVE – Vitis vinifera (FLORENCE) General information: aer the inauguration of the Garden in 1786, it was placed an iron trellis along both sides of the Villanueva Pavilion. It aﬀords support to the recuperated collection of vines and completed with typical Spanish new varieties for wine and table. e vine “married to the maple”. 11. Coﬀea Arabica (MEISE) General information: importance of botanic gardens currently, environmental issues. New plants discovered with useful properties for humans. Case of Coﬀea charrieriana. 12. Drimys winteri General information: Cinnamon was an important ingredient used in cooking during the 18th century, but both the sale and the use of the plant were controlled by Holland. One of the goals of Royal Botanical Expedition to the Viceroyalty of New Granada (1783-1815) was to nd American plants similar to cinnamon that could be supplied to all of Europe. However, the expedition was not a success because winter’s bark (Drimys winteri) proved to have a bitterness that limited its utility. 13. MODERN BOTANICAL INVESTIGATIONS – Geranium sp. General information: Scienti cs of the Real Jardín Botánico are working in a new study of the genus Geranium supported by a database system for actualize the classi cation. e genus is made up of 350 diﬀerent species that can be found throughout the whole world except in the planet’s tropical zones. It grows solely in the mountainous regions of these zones. e species G. endressii is known exclusively in the French part of the western Pyrenees Mountains. e specimen on display is from the locality where it was discovered, Béhorléguy. Its genus name refers to the beak-shaped ending of the fruit which resembles the head of a crane whose Greek name is ‘geranos’.
THE VISIT IN MEISE
1. Missions and positioning of the Garden + an history of Botanic Gardens e three basic missions of a Botanic Garden nowadays are: - Scienti c research in the eld of plants - e conservation of the plant world - Education and communication about plants. ese tasks are detailed on the entrance sign. In total there are about more than 3000 institutions worldwide that are Botanic Gardens. ese range from small gardens, sometimes private, to large institutions employing hundreds of people as “e Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.” e National Botanic Garden of Belgium is one of the largest in the world. According to the criteria such as number of plant species, the size of the herbarium or the number of employees, our Botanic Garden is in the top 10-25 of the world. e historic domain in which is located the Botanic Garden has one of the largest collections of living plants, nearly 18 000 species, which are the most visible part of the garden. 31
Overview about the diﬀerent roles played by gardens in history : • • • • • 16th and 17th centuries : Gardens of simples, medicinal gardens (FLORENCE) 17th and 18th centuries : colonial Gardens, tropical gardens, plants from the new world (MADRID) => expeditions 18th and 19th centuries : Linnaean Gardens, Herbetum 19th and 20th centuries : Civic Gardens, horticulture 20th and 21th centuries : Specialist Gardens and Sanctuary Gardens
Gardens and the cultivation of plants have been around for thousands of years with the rst examples dating to around 3000 years ago in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. e Romans were also keen gardeners and they were also aware of the medicinal properties of plants. Following on from the Romans in identifying the medicinal properties of plants were the monks. ey also used the beauty of plants and owers as a celebration of god. e rst of these monastic gardens was created in the 8th century. ese gardens were the pre-cursor to the physic gardens that appeared in the 16th century. None of the gardens mentioned so far can be regarded as “botanic gardens” though. A botanic garden is not an easy thing to classify though an underlying scienti c basis is a necessity. erefore the world’s rst botanic gardens were the physic gardens of Italy in the 16th and 17th centuries. e rst of these physic gardens was the garden of the University of Pisa which was created by Luca Ghini in 1543. Following this other Italian universities followed suit and gardens were created in Padova (1545), Firenze (1545) and Bologna (1547). ese gardens were purely for the academic study of medicinal plants. By the 16th Century these medicinal gardens had spread to universities and apothecaries throughout central Europe such as Cologne and Prague. Botanic gardens then experienced a change in usage during the 16th and 17th century. is was the age of exploration and the beginnings of international trade. Gardens such as the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid (1755) were set up to try and cultivate new species that were being brought back from expeditions to the tropics. Not only did these gardens promote and encourage botanic exploration in the tropics they also helped found new gardens in the tropical regions to help cultivate these newly discovered plant species. e British established Calcutta Botanic Gardens in 1787 while the French set up Pamplemousse Botanic Gardens in Mauritius in 1735 and the Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid established the botanic gardens of La Orotava on Tenerife. ese tropical gardens were created almost solely to receive and cultivate commercial crops such as cloves, tea, coﬀee, breadfruit, cinchona, palm oil as well as chocolate. It was during these times that Para rubber was introduced to Singapore, teak and tea to India and breadfruit, pepper and star fruit to the Caribbean. ese tropical gardens could not strictly be called “Botanic Gardens” as there was no real scienti c basis to their work and this almost led to their decline. Separate institutions and schools of agriculture were developed which meant that these ‘cultivational’ gardens were almost redundant. In the meantine, Carl Linnaeus published in 1735 « Systema Naturae ». His work marks the starting point of consistent use of binomial nomenclature. During the 18th century expansion of natural history knowledge, Linnaeus also developed what became known as the Linnaean taxonomy; the system of scienti c classi cation now widely used in the biological sciences. e Linnaean system classi ed nature within a nested hierarchy, starting with three kingdoms. Kingdoms were divided into classes and they, in turn, into orders, and thence into genera (singular: genus), which were divided into Species (singular:species). Below the rank of species he sometimes recognized taxa of a lower (unnamed) rank; these have since acquired 32
standardised names such as variety in botany and subspecies in zoology. Modern taxonomy includes a rank of familybetween order and genus that was not present in Linnaeus’ original system. erefore, some botanic gardens arranged their plants collections according to Linnaeus’ system. During the 19th and 20th century municipal and civic gardens were created throughout Europe and the British Commonwealth. Nearly all of these gardens were mainly pleasure gardens with very few of them having any scienti c programmes. During this section of botanic garden history the only real scienti c activities undertaken by gardens was the labelling of collections correctly and exchanging seeds on a worldwide basis. In the last 30 years botanic gardens have seen a revival as scienti c institutions due to the emergence of the conservation movement. ey are now seen as very important due to their existing collections and the scienti c knowledge they posses in the propagation of plant species. Conservation is now seen in many gardens as their « raison d’être ». e beginning of this was seen in the 1970’s when IUCN began encouraging ex situ conservation of threatened plants. ere are now currently more than 3000 botanic gardens and arboreta in 150 countries around the world with many more under construction or being planned such as the rst botanic garden in Oman which will be one of the largest gardens in the world once it is completed and will house the rst large scale internal fog-forest in a huge glasshouse. Presentation of Florence and Madrid Gardens. 2. Brief history of our Botanic Garden as an institution e National Botanic Garden of Belgium, located in the municipality of Meise, about ten kilometers from the center of Brussels, is one of the largest botanic gardens in the world. It is located in the domain of the castle Bouchout (92 hectares), since the disaﬀection of its former location in Brussels. History of the Garden. 3. e historical landscape of the Botanic Garden Historical landscape, venerable trees, the Dreve to the Castle. 4. e Castle Bouchout History of the castle. 5. e wild plants of the Botanic Garden For the Botanic Garden, all plant species are important in the world and certainly the wild plants of our region. Not only do we have a unit dedicated to the study of plants in Belgium, their origin and originality, their ecology and identi cation… but we also try to give a chance for wildlife to thrive in the area. On our way to the fruticetum, you can see every aspects of our management of herbaceous areas. - e classic lawn - e lawn landscape - e “Machoechel” (stream) You can also see riparian vegetation (on the edges of streams). Elsewhere in the Botanic Garden, in the “wild Meise” area, there is a swamp forest and another area of grassland with native orchids. At various points, we also try to stimulate the presence of native fungi like boletes through a targeted mowing and waste management. We also try to preserve a rare insect in Belgium Oryctes nasicornis spontaneously present in our compost heaps. In 2011, the Garden published a book on the spontaneous ora of the domain. 33
6. e Fruticetum In the Fruticetum, you can see species of wild plants, mostly shrubs, which are found in our home gardens. Here are more than 2,000 species native to the temperate regions of the world. Plants are grouped according to the relationships they have with each other. On the label we can nd a lot of information about the plant. ese are useful collections of plants for horticulture. is part of the garden re ects the historical role botanic gardens had in horticulture. Activity : Choose a well known shrub and watch the group of plants around it. Roses, for example, or Berberis. Diversity. 7. e Garden of medicinal plants Botanic Gardens have developed in 16th century Europe from medicinal gardens, which is why many botanic gardens still have such collections today. e Florence’s Garden was one of the rst medicinal garden of Europe. In our garden, we can nd linking plants with Florence : Vitis and Rosa. Today in Florence, there is still an herbalist oﬃcine from the 16th century ! (Santa Maria Novella) ere is a separate visit of the Garden of medicinal plants for groups. In the Greenhouse Mabundu (Plant Palace) there are some tropical plants with medicinal properties. In the tropics, many people depend on these plants for their primary needs. ere is a Cube Panel between medicinal garden and Herbetum with information on the fascination of plants and how humans constantly traveled to nd them or tried to select them and cultivate them, whether for their properties, or taste, beauty, shape, etc. Information on Vitis, Rosa, Dahlia. ROSA: Here in the medicinal garden, we have the Rosa canina and the Rosa gallica oﬃcinalis. e rst is a wild rose and the second is a very old one. Cultivated roses are the result of centuries of empirical transformations rst, then, from the late eighteenth century, methodical transformations, especially by hybridization. e varieties are endless, it is estimated that more than 3,000 cultivars are available worldwide. e Rose, queen of ower is one of the most cultivated in the world. It reveals to us the way humans, fascinated for plants, constantly search for new cultivars and hybrids. Here in Meise, in our herbarium, we keep the famous “Herbier des Roses” from François Crépin, the largest herbarium of roses in the world. Francois Crépin was director of the Garden from 1876 until his retirement in 1901. At the end of his life, Crépin thought it still would have taken 25 years of hard work to achieve a synthesis of the research he was conducting in the eld of roses. However, the bulk of his work classi cation is still used today. If Caninae section (wild roses) occupies an important place in its collections, the gallic rose (Rosa gallica L.) and others such as the eld’s rose (Rosa arvensis Huds.) are so well shown that one can study their major geographical variations in detail. A search in its collection is an extraordinary journey through time and space. e signi cant amount of cultivated roses that can be found in the herbarium, however, opens the prospect of new uses such as for example the study of their botanic origin. e Roses Herbarium comprises 43,000 sheets of dried roses with a great botanical value: Francois Crépin was once the most famous classi er in the world of roses and many of his ideas are still in use today. ere is also an historical and human value, because each of these herbarium sheet, when it has not been harvested by Crépin himself, is the trace of the correspondence he had with the botanists of his time (oen also, letters accompanying the dried roses). e herbarium, more than a century old, probably still has an important role to play in the knowledge of roses! 34
DAHLIA : Dahlia is a genus of bushy, tuberous, herbaceous perennial plants native to Mexico, Central America, and Colombia. A member of the Asteraceae or Compositae, dicotyledonous plants, related species include the sun ower, daisy, chrysanthemum and zinnia. In 1789, Vicente Cervantes, Director of the Botanic Garden at Mexico City, sent “plant parts” to Abbe Antonio José Cavanilles, Director of the Royal Gardens of Madrid. Cavanilles owered one plant that same year in his Icones plantarum, then the second one a year later. In 1791 he called the new growths “Dahlia” for Anders Dahl. e rst plant was called Dahlia pinnata aer its pinnate foliage. Spanish Hidalgos reported nding the plants growing in Mexico in 1525, but the earliest known description is by Francisco Hernández, physician to Philip II, who was ordered to visit Mexico in 1570 to study the “natural products of that country”. ey were used for a food source by the indigenous peoples, and were both gathered in the wild and cultivated. e Aztecs used them to treat epilepsy, and employed the long hollow stem of the (Dahlia imperalis) for water pipes. e indigenous peoples variously identi ed the plants as “Chichipatl” (Toltecs) and “Acocotle” or “Cocoxochitl” (Aztecs). From Hernandez’ perception of Aztec, to Spanish, through various other translations, the word is “water cane”, “water pipe”, “water pipe ower”, “hollow stem ower” and “cane ower”. All these refer to the hollowness of the plants’ stem. Hernandez described two varieties of dahlias (the pinwheel-like Dahlia pinnata and the huge Dahlia imperialis) as well as other medicinal plants of New Spain. Francisco Dominguez, a Hidalgo gentleman who accompanied Hernandez on part of his seven year study, made a series of drawings to supplement the four volume report. ree of his drawings showed plants with owers: two resembled the modern “bedder dahlia”, and one resembled the species Dahlia merki; all displayed a high degree of doubleness. e rst modern double, or “full double” appeared in Belgium; M. Donckelaar, Director of the Botanic Garden at Louvain, selected plants for that characteristic, and within a few years secured three fully “double” forms. By 1826 “double” varieties were being grown almost exclusively, and there was very little interest in the single forms. Up to this time all the socalled “double” dahlias had been purple, or tinged with purple, and it was doubted if a variety untinged with that color was obtainable. Today in Mexico, the dahlia is still considered one of the native ingredients in Oaxacan cuisine; several cultivars are still raised especially for their large, sweet potato-like tubers. Dacopa, an intense mocha-tasting extract from the roasted tubers, is used to avor beverages throughout Central America. In Europe and America, prior to the discovery of insulin in 1923, diabetics - as well as consumptives - were oen given a substance called Atlantic starch or diabetic sugar, derived from inulin, a naturally occurring form of fruit sugar, extracted from dahlia tubers. Inulin is still used in clinical tests for kidney functionality. e selection of plants : Whether it be for food, medicinal use, or just for the sake of their beauty, plants have always enhanced our desire to select them, to mix them, to hybrid them, in order to create new colors, new tastes, new shapes, new properties = new cultivars… Sometimes there even was a “fever” for plants… ink about the tulips in Netherlands ! is underlines the importance of Botany as a science to know how to recognize and name the plants… Importance of Conservation : we need to preserve the full diversity of species. 8. e Herbetum and Balat Greenhouse Herbetum shows groups of plants and the relationships between plant species. Plant Identi cation + give a clear scienti c name is one of the tasks of a Botanic Garden. History : systematic garden. Alphonse Balat designed the greenhouse which initially housed the giant water lilies (Victoria sp.) It now presents some of our collection of agaves. 35
Alphonse Balat has also designed the famous Royal Greenhouses of Laeken. Activity : go to the Dahlias : Observe a ower closely. Look at the structure and compare it with the owers of neighbouring plants. Similarities and diﬀerences, classi cation. In our Herbetum : Dahlia pinnata & Dahlia merckii. 9. e Coniferetum All plants do not necessarily have owers. Conifers have existed for over 100 million years, long before owering plants. ey reproduce by forming seeds in a cone. ey have no fruit or owers. In the Garden, you have the opportunity to visit the Greenhouse Evolution (Plant Palace). Activities: Abandon the circular path and pass along the species of Pinus with long needles. Rub the needles of Abies ( r tree) and smell the fresh scent that emerges. Essential oils. 10. e diﬀerent areas of the Botanic Garden Areas not visited during this general tour. e Orangerie, the walled garden and terraces. An Orangerie is an enclosed building, with large windows and heating houses in which, during the winter, citrus are planted in trays or pots as well as other plants fearing frost. Italy was the country which launched the fashion of such buildings during the Renaissance. ey would put glasses to arcades and stored Citrus there. e place was called “limonaia”. Zone of the Arboretum: oaks, rhododendrons wood, hydrangeas, maples… Wild Meise (wild orchids) Garden of Medicinal Plants (partly) 11. Overview of the Plant Palace All plants are important. In each natural environment, plant species are vital. ey ensure puri cation of water, air, soil stability, provide food… everywhere! e plants are perfectly adapted to “their” environment to survive. At the Plant Palace, we nd plants from “other” parts of the world: deserts, tropical forests… In each greenhouse we reproduced a special biome, with the living conditions of a particular area of the world. We can pay there particular attention to adaptations developed by plants. In the Spring Greenhouse : Citrus (Link with Florence) - Story : Origins + cosmetic, medicinal and food uses. Citrus aurantium L. “Bizzarria” In the Mabundu Greenhouse : Coﬀea charrieriana / Passi ora / Amorphophallus titanium. In the Rainforest Greenhouse G : Encephalartos laurentianus In the Monsoon and Savanna Green house : Sansevieria trifasciata laurentii - Émile Laurent In the Rainforest Greenhouse C : Phytelephas macrocarpa PASSIFLORA : Don Jose Celestino Mutis was sent to Nueva Granada for the Botanic Garden of Madrid. He was among the rst to be interested in Passi ora. Born in 1732 in Cadiz, he died at Bogota in 1808. He arrived in New Granada in 1760. He spent the rest of his life in Latin America, teaching and practicing his profession in Bogota, and showing a great interest in plants, insects, snakes, minerals. Mutis in 1782 could nally realize his project of botanic expedition. Upon his arrival in Latin America, Mutis was interested in Passi ora, making harvest and having drawings done by his entourage. ese drawings, and many excellent onsite presence of a specialist in Passi ora, Lorenzo Uribe Uribe, allowed the publication in 1872 of the book “Passi oraceae, Begoniaceae”. AMORPHOPHALLUS : It was discovered for the rst time in the equatorial tropical rain forest of Sumatra (Indonesia) by the Florentine explorer, zoologist, botanist and ethnologist Odoardo Beccari in 1878. He sent seeds and tubers back to Florence, where he later became director of the Botanic Garden. e tubers died but some seeds germinated and the young plants were dispatched to the most important botanic gardens of Europe. e rst blooming occurred at 36
the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew in 1889. Since then, there have been only a few owerings in the world… It is diﬃcult to grow this plant in cultivation, so its blooming is always a special event. In june 2002 in the Botanic Garden of Florence, two plants owered for the rst time… Our Titan in Meise owered in 2008 and in 2011, and also in 2013! 12. e scienti c side of the Garden / e Garden Today From this point you have a clear view of the building that houses the Herbarium, our library and researchers. e visit “Behind the Scenes” takes the visitor to discover this part. Elsewhere in the area near the Pachthof there is the seed bank, an important tool for plant protection. Numbers and facts about our garden and other gardens. Our research on Rubiacea Metallicolous Plants / Education role of Botanic Gardens - Growing the Social Role of Botanic Gardens.
GUIDES BEST PRACTICES
ere are more than 3116 botanic gardens worldwide (BGCI information). Each one has special characteristics that make it unique. Each one has developed his educational department in its own way according with its circumstances : many diﬀerences exist. rough the development of the project, many topics about education in botanic gardens have been discussed. Here we present as a result some ideas taken from discussions and group activities, which can help to understand diﬀerences and similarities.
What is a guide or an educator?
Due to the diﬀerent visions of education in botanic gardens worldwide, it is a big challenge to say in a few lines what an educator is, which role he has, what is expected from him or even what name he should be given : Educator ? Guide ? Animator ? Here, we will try to list diﬀerent ways of doing things. We do not mean to have the complete truth, but we would we happy if this toolkit can be helpful for others.
Dealing with people, the daily work
Some educators declare that it is impossible to make this type of work if you do not like it. Even they say it is a privilege, a passion, and not a job. Others consider it a real job, albeit they enjoy doing it.
Pro le of educators
ere is a common view about which background should have an educator. Studies in biology, related science or at least rather high level of knowledge about nature and botany are required. However, skills in education and management of groups are considered also important and very valuable. Besides, some internal training is carried out before they can work as guides in most gardens. is includes topics as: mission of the garden, history of the institution, practical training with groups… In some cases educators demand more internal training and even more value to their role in the garden. In others, continuous training is held through seminars or master class delivered by an expert about diﬀerent topics related to the garden, the living plant collections or botany.
Volunteers working in the garden
In some museums and botanic gardens, volunteers play an important role as part of the education team. eir role is usually to deliver visits or to help managing the groups. In other gardens where there are professional educators, it is diﬃcult sometimes to accord them diﬀerent roles. In Madrid there is a little group of senior volunteers that lead special groups, mainly senior citizens. In many gardens, there are volunteers helping with gardening tasks.
Collaboration between research center and education team
It seems to be a diﬃcult challenge due to several reasons. In some gardens, educational service is an external agent which works on its own. In others maybe, the lack of time and the diﬀerent interests make the relationship rough and even inexistent. In our point of view this is something to ameliorate, as Botanic Gardens are research centers and one of their duties is to communicate the results of the research to the public, and this is one of the task of the educational teams. 38
Activities for public with special needs
As Botanic Gardens can be quite old institutions, they are sometimes not proper for people with special needs. Usually, the gardens cover large areas, so the distances can be quite long. ey sometimes have stairs or other architectural elements that are also a problem for people with special needs. Besides, the lack of preparation of the educators and the low percentage of blind people knowing braille (for example) make it even more diﬃcult to improve accessibility to our institutions. Despite of this, some gardens make an eﬀort in becoming more accessible. In Florence there is a speci c tour with braille panels and stations with objects or products related with the plants in the tour, so they can be touched and smelled by the public. In Meise, a special tour for people with visual problems as been developed through this project, having in mind all the diﬀerent kind of diﬃculties they can have. In Madrid there is a tour also for blind people, and despite historical architecture, some obstacles (such as some stairs) have been removed. All institutions agree that a special training for educators in those matters would be necessary.
Facilities and materials
e gardens through Europe are also quite diﬀerent in size and resources. Usually, educational facilities are modest due to several reasons such as the general lack of space in the garden or lack of economic resources allowed to education. Most of educational resources are «homemade» tools. is lack of economic resources is also a reason why most guides are freelance. Maybe an enhancement of their status and their role could be a key to engage even more with them and the public...
Dissemination of information about the activities in the garden
Botanic Gardens use many ways to spread information. Newsletters, web pages, social networks, lea ets, etc. are very common. e communication unit has also a responsibility in this issue writing press releases and dealing with diﬀerent media. Besides, networks oﬀer a platform to spread information, and besides scienti c or institutional network, we could better consider the civil society, teachers, schools, museums, or environmental education networks.
We asked some guides to talk about their work in Botanic Gardens. We suggested some questions they could answer or not : • • • • • • • • What is your “pro le” as a guide ? What are your areas of expertise ? What is your best / worse souvenir as a guide ? What is your special skill to get the public interested in plants ? In Botany ? What are your best techniques and tips to catch public’s attention ? What are your favorite training games and activities ? As a guide, what are your best achievements, and what are your diﬃculties ? In your opinion, what makes a “good” or a “bad” guide in a Botanic Garden ? What do you think you still need to learn ?
Here are the stories we received through the website we created for the project. 39
BOB EDWARDS “ONKLE BOB” - NATIONAL BOTANIC GARDEN OF WALES
My background was in the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy, then in IT when computers were the size of skyscrapers. In both of these, I was expected to give talks on technical subjects. is helped a little with my con dence when I was asked to lead tours at the National Botanic Garden of Wales, although I was aware I had a lot of learning to do. One trick that I do is to know at least one plant in each of about ten stopping places. (I am not a botanist). e gaps between I can ll with a little history and future plans, but not too much! It is also useful to let the group talk, very oen there may be someone who has some good information. My area of special interest has become historical medicine, and poisons in plants, and I oen give talks on these. I can usually manage to drop something into my tours about these, although there is always enough to talk about without doing that. I nd that the general public are fascinated by the more oddball things, and I will oen chat about eminent plant collectors such as Joseph Banks, who I think makes Indiana Jones look a bit wimpy. A couple of years ago a took around a group of refugees from somewhere in Africa. One of them in particular got very excited about some of the plants she recognized from her home, and gave me lots of info about their medicinal uses. She then said that the Botanic Garden was how she dreamed of heaven! e worst groups? Sometimes children who are home educated can be a bit trying, as they occasionally seem to be missing social interaction skills, but most of them can be great fun to work with. Another group of adults could only perceive a Botanic Garden as something that has deprived them of a place to build a golf course. Requirements for a guide? Enthusiasm. Avoid big words and strings of dates, the guests want to be entertained not bored. Enthusiasm. Pick the visitors’ brains – I see tour guiding as a dialogue rather than a monologue. Enthusiasm. Listen to other guides – we all do a diﬀerent tour and oen I will use an idea from someone else. Have fun and be enthusiastic.
MARIANNE DE COCK - NATIONAL BOTANIC GARDEN OF BELGIUM
I always wanted to be a biologist or a vet… Nature ows through my veins. I could not exist without it. Looking back at my childhood, I notice that I was always surrounded by, busy with, or caring for animals and plants. at marvelous world of green and life that surrounds us! It is unfortunate that so many people know so little about all the marvels that exist around us. at’s why I became a guide! Doing this job bestows one the opportunity to share the knowledge and awake the curiosity for nature. It is so much important because we ARE nature! Many people forget that. Without plants we, human beings, would not exist at all! I must say that the people I meet while doing my guiding tours are mostly very keen to learn more about plants, and more, not only wanting to know about the plants they see during the tour but they ask a lot about other plants they’ve seen on their travels and the ones they grow in their homes and gardens. I also notice that the knowledge about wild owers and endemic plants is very poor! I was stunned that some don’t even recognize or know about the most common wild owers in our botanic Garden! To make it more interesting I always tell some stories of interaction between animals and plants… My most popular one is about white tent bats and heliconias but the one with the ants and giraﬀes is also a great success. People like that a lot and it gives me the opportunity to show once more that all living creatures are 40
connected one to another, a chain of biodiversity. And what about the story of the passion ower that confuses the butter y to lay its eggs on it by producing an egg-likegrowth on its stem? Great stuﬀ, don’t you think so? People nd such stories amazing, you can capture and hold their interest and that’s what it’s all about doing this job don’t you agree? e most challenging audience is made of teenage boys and girls who are more interested in their I-pads and sophisticated cell phones than in… plants ?? I forgot to tell, you should have humor too : that works nicely. To make people laugh is important, being not too serious, and using words that are not too scienti c may help. But… at doesn’t mean that you don’t have to know those words and be able to explain, just in case one smart guy wants to know more about it. Be prepared! e most rewarding thing is when people at the end of the tour tell me that they can sense “my passion for nature” and that they will visit again! at’s my goal, when I hear that comment I know I did achieve what I wanted. To transmit that wonder and respect for nature I feel inside. We, guides, have a great job because what could be more rewarding than walking in our stunning gardens and having the opportunity to share it with others ? I de nitely adore it. May the nature be with you all!
JULIA AVILA JIMENEZ - REAL JARDIN BOTANICO DE MADRID
I think I am an educator by vocation, rather than a guide. Being able to work in the Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid has allowed me to combine my two passions, Biology and Education. Over the years there I have acquired experiences, as well learnt and discovered new challenges and also become aware of my weaknesses. I have very good memories from my time as an educator, anyhow I think that the bad moments should be le behind, as it is essential that an educator is positive. As good memories I remember the phrases said by the people who came over and over again to our weekend programs in order to continue learning and as well, each time they showed me their notebooks with all the remarks. I also remember phrases as “I wish the school classes were like this” said by teenagers and others said by the teachers coming together with students when they did appreciate my labor. But I think my best memory is every and each one of the smiles the visitors of the Garden have sketched for my activities. I remember specially a group of kids with special educational needs. One of them did jump every time he saw a gardener (who smiled politely) and at the end of that visit the teacher thanked me for the way I have dealt with these children. During that visit, I learned a lot. I don’t think I have a special skill to make people interested in plants, basically I think it’s important to be able to empathize with the visitor, have patience, and I think it’s essential that I know what’s around and how to explain it. Well, if I have to highlight a skill then it would be the creativity to give the right answers to the questions I get. During the time I’ve been acting as an educator, I have learned that a close voice and a proper nonverbal communication, added to the interaction with the group are the best tools to catch the attention of the visitors. I like to make it clear to them that they are essential for the science and that they have the right and the obligation to go on learning and forming themselves. During a visit I never perform a monologue, I always manage to make visitors notice that they are the most important. I do not think I am the correct one to talk about my own accomplishments, or if I’m a good or a bad guide, but what I can say is that I am convinced that to develop a good job you must continuously go on learning and that´s what I do every day, learning from each one of my colleagues and always asking for constructive criticism for my work. e day I nd I think I know everything about my job and that I don’t have anything more to learn, that would be the day to quit this work because it would mean I have no more illusion to perform it. 41
MARTINE VAN DEN BROECK - NATIONAL BOTANIC GARDEN OF BELGIUM
I had the chance to grow up in a world full of plants. My parents had a cut- ower nursery. So from my early childhood until now, owers and plants have been always present and very important. Of course, I took a course on Nature Guide because not only owers had my interest. But all living creatures do as well. e interaction between plants, animals, and people is so fascinating and put plants in an other perspective. Aerwards, I did follow a course as a botanical guide in Meise. And since more than 12 years now, I try to share my passion for plants with the public. I try to introduce some more respect for plants and tell people how important plants are for our life on Earth. It’s important as a guide to have constant interaction with your public. You have to feel the needs and estimate the level of your public and react accordingly. So mostly I don’t use too diﬃcult words. As a guide you have to know the scienti c facts and names, but you don’t have to use them. I like to keep it simple : otherwise people tend to lose their attention. Mostly the stories that I’ve experienced myself are the most appreciated by the public because it’s real and it’s not knowledge out of the books. So I get more interaction and questions. e interaction with the public is so nice, and you can discover new things and facts together with the public. What I also try to give is some information about how plants can be useful as medicine. I am an herbalist too. And most people are very interested in hearing how to stay healthy and how plants can be useful to achieve this goal. e most diﬃcult is to guide people that want to display their knowledge in front of the group. Certainly in smaller groups it needs a few skills to handle it and isn’t always easy to deal with this. Do some of you have some good tactics to avoid these situations ? At the end of my visit I am mostly satis ed when people smile and tell me they have learned new things and that they have learned to look at plants in a diﬀerent way, in a diﬀerent perspective. And I am even more satis ed when people like to come back in an other season of the year to make some more discoveries. And it is so rewarding to give people a nice relaxing time with fascinating plants !
MARTINE VAN DE VIJVER - NATIONAL BOTANIC GARDEN OF BELGIUM
My story as a botanical guide started 25 years ago aer nishing my studies as a biologist. Aer studies I wanted to start working as a teacher, which I also did for several years, but as a guide I could immediately start in the botanic garden. I am still guiding, and I still hope to do it for many years more. Meanwhile, I also took a naturalist course and later on, I was trained as an herbalist. I use these informations for my guiding work in the botanic garden, but also when I work as a nature guide in a beautiful forest from my region that is known for its many typical spring bloomers, the Hyacinthoides non-scripta. is forest is the Hallerbos in Brabant-Belgium. As a botanical guide and nature guide I work with much passion, with admiration, and wonder for many plant species with their speci c adaptations and shapes! From this admiration and fascination, I bring my story to get the people in the wonderful world of the rich biodiversity; with passion I try to convince other people to look at the plants: all plants have their purpose and place in the ecosystem; bad weeds do not exist! I always talk about ecology, biodiversity, and conservation! So I put the emphasis on stories and anecdotes. I try to make them understand the many relationships between plants and their environment and with their matching shapes. I also give 42
them an insight about the wealth plants accord us: food, medicine, building materials, health, ber, rest……… With these connections, I always try to enthuse the people and give them insight in the biology and ecology of the wonderful green world of plants. is also creates respect for this indispensable wealth. I oen let people go home with a pleasant and entertaining story and with a surprising and enriched image of biodiversity!!
II. CASE STUDIES, TRAININGS, AND WORKSHOPS
2. CASE STUDIES IN FLORENCE
e Botanical Garden of Florence keeps 10 square meters for the Scuole Pie Fiorentine; the project is for kindergarten and primary school children : they can cultivate a little piece of land in the Botanic Garden. Children become gardeners: preparation of the soil, sowing or transplanting, watering and harvesting. e workshop is guided by an expert gardener of the Botanic Garden of Florence. e children's parents buy the tools, glove and aprons, a part of these equipments remains in the garden for the following years. e school buy seeds, little plants, and others materials they need. Every year the science teacher of the school, the gardener, and the curator of the Botanic Garden decide what kind of plant they will cultivate: vegetables or aromatics plants chosen for their diﬀerent ways of seeding, growing and collecting. So the children can learn what is the part of the plant they usually eat, oen they do not know that the potato grows underground. e plants are chosen also for their variability : for example, the curly parsley or large leaf parsley, Greek basil or purple basil, white, red, or purple potatoes so the children can watch the vegetable diversity. Others plants are chosen because they are connected to others activity of the Botanic Garden as Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni (sweet leaf of Paraguay): this plant is much sweeter than sugar and can be eaten by diabetics. is plant was planted in the Garden aer a presentation by an organic farmer. e activity “children gardeners” is a special activity: every child has a direct contact with the plants and their growth cycle, the seasons and the work of a farmer. e botanic aspects are very important too: they learn to recognize a tuber from a bulb or a root. ey can see the diﬀerences between mono and dicotyledons. ey learn the diﬀerences between seed and fruit. ere is also the great satisfaction of the nal harvest. Every time the children come to the garden, they discover the collections, the monumental trees, and all those plants from far countries: this is even an occasion to speak about geography or ethnobotany. e children come to the garden for the whole period of the school year: thus, the teachers can introduce complex subjects such as domestication or biodiversity.
Courses and workshop
In the Botanic Garden of Florence popular activity is also exerted through conferences, public meetings, and workshops. ere are many occasions to speak about plants: some public meetings were dedicated to cultivation of plants such as Cannabis sativa, Stevia rebaudiana, Urtica dioica, etc.
A system for a sustainable irrigation
e garden collaborates with «Slow water», an organization promoting an ancient and still present way to save water. Big containers (in a bulb shape) made of terracotta or ceramic are buried in the ground, leaving out only the upper part of the neck; the opening is covered by a stone. is system delivers water slowly to the roots of plants, reduces evaporation, reduces weeds and increases the productivity.
A vegetable garden on the balcony
More and more we feel the need to grow our own vegetables, fruits, and herbs. And this is possible even in small spaces: a balcony, a small terrace. It is possible to grow tomatoes, salad, herbs, eggplants, and peppers. On regular sessions, the Garden delivers information about how to do it.
Medicinal plants and traditional recipes
e 3 Botanic Gardens involved in this project are not responsible for consequences from the use of these recipes. ey are given merely as an illustration of practices in Botanic Gardens. Educational activities about medicinal plants are organized, following our great history as a traditional medicinal garden from the 16th century. e theoretic lessons teach about history of Botanic Gardens and the great personalities of the past such as Paracelso and Mattioli. Practical lessons are reserved to the adults because while preparing recipes we work with alcohol, cooker, boiling water, etc. For all practical preparation, it is important to refer to the plants used and see them alive. For example, for making a toothpaste we use cinnamon, cloves, mint, alcohol: it is good to go in the greenhouses to see the individual plants and to show that we use bark, fruit or leaves. In any case, the contact with plants is very important: recognize the plants by smell through a sensory path, for instance. e rst lesson concerns the drugs in general: the diﬀerence between medicine and drug; the main chemical compounds, their activity; where the chemical compounds are in the plants: roots, owers, leaves, bark. e poisonous herbs. e history of phytopharmacy; the gardens of the Simples. e second lesson is about herbs in general; how to recognize the main medicinal plants; how and when to collect the herbs, how to preserve them; how to use them, fresh or dried. e historical medicinal plants: Digitalis purpurea, Atropa belladonna, etc. e preparations: materials and equipment. Dosage. e necessary precautions to take. Storage. e labels of the herbal remedies. e further lessons concern the main solvents to extract the chemical compounds from the herbs. What is a solvent; what is an extract. Here is some part of the lessons :
Diﬀerence between the infusion and decoction. In the infusion you warm a teapot with water and add the fresh or dried herbs, put the lid on teapot and keep in infusion for 10 minutes. Strain the infusion in a cup and you can sweeten it with some honey (or slice of apple), if desired. e infusion is generally used with owers, young herbs, leaves. Decoction is a stronger way to extract chemical compounds from herbs, and it is generally used with bark, roots, berries, seeds. Put the herbs in the saucepan with the water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20-40 minutes and strain. Recipe: digestive infusion with lemon balm (Melissa oﬃcinalis), chamomile (Matricaria recutita), ginger (Zingiber oﬃcinalis); infusion 10'; one cup aer big meals. Recipe: aer sun lotion. 2 handful of dried marshmallow (Althaea oﬃcinalis) in one liter of water; simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and keep it in a dark glass bottle. 44
You can buy essential oils, or you can make an infused oil. Essential oils are very concentrated: be careful in using them! Especially when you swallow them; they can also irritate the skin and should be mixed with honey or vegetable oils like almond or olive oil. Traditional recipe in Tuscany: cold infused oil with St John's wort (Hipericum perfoliatum): put fresh owering tops collected in June (24 june) in a jar and cover with olive oil; expose the jar on a sunny windowsill for at least 2 weeks; strain and store the red oil in a dark glass bottle in a cool place. It is used for sunburn, grazes and in amed joints. Essential oil of Lavandula oﬃcinalis: massage of temples against migraines or use in a bowl with warm water for inhalation to reduce catarrh.
Vinegar is disinfectant and there are many historical recipes with vinegar. Perfumed vinegars are also used in the kitchen. Attention! Wine vinegar may cause allergies! It is better to use apple vinegar. Traditional recipe: Vinegar of the 4 thieves to rinse the hair (to prevent the louses and for cosmetic eﬀect): lavender, rosemary, absinth (Artemisia absinthium), sage (Salvia oﬃcinalis), rue (Ruta graveolens), peppermint in an earthenware bowl with vinegar for 2 weeks in a sunny windowsill; strain and put it in a dark glass bottle. Vinegar for healing wounds: 10 gr yarrow (Achillea millefolium), 10 gr pot marigold (Calendula oﬃcinalis), 10 gr sage (Salvia oﬃcinalis), salt, rock alun in 350 gr apple vinegar for 8 days; strain and use.
WINE AND ALCOHOL
ey are used to make the tinctures. Traditional recipe: Aromatic mouthwash, very excellent to cure the gums and treat the toothache. You put 3 gr peppermint (Mentha x piperita), 3 gr anise (Pimpinella anisum), n. 3 cloves (Eugenia caryophyllata), 9 gr cinnamon (Cynnamomum zeylanicum) in 90 gr alcohol 90° e 60 gr water; keep in a dark glass bottle in a cool place for 10 days, then strain and you can use it: dilute a teaspoon in a half glass of water and use as mouthwash. Traditional recipe: Digestive. Gentian root, peppermint, cumin, in alcohol 50° for a week.
USE OF COSMETIC HERBS
Traditional recipe: Mixture for foot bath. Menta x piperita or Satureja montana infusion to cure the sore and swollen feet. Lip balm: 40 gr bee wax; 25 gr honey; 50 gr almond oil; you melt the wax and the honey in a double-boiler; add the almond oil and turn oﬀ; mix and pour in the little jar. Lotion for greasy skin: infusion with peppermint and apply in the morning and in the evening. Mask for dry skin: pulp of apple and cucumber and a little water. Cream for feet: 100 g vaseline in a double-boiler, add eucalyptus, thyme, rosemary, chamomile; simmer for 2 hours. Strain and keep in a little jar.
HERBS AT HOME
To combat moths: southern wood (Artemisia abrotanum), rosemary, cumin (Carum carvi), horse chestnut fruits (Aesuculs hippocastanum), cinnamon, costmary (Chrysanthemum balsamita), lemon balm (Melissa oﬃcinalis), cloves (Eugenuia caryophyllata). Put the herbs in a 45
little cotton bag in the wardrobe. You can also use an orange picked with cloves to combat moths. Home perfume: iris root, lavender, benzoin, sandalwood, tonka (Coumarouna oppositifolia), cloves, cinnamon. Mix and put in a bowl. Insecticide for the garden: infusion with pyrethrum (Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium), tobacco, garlic, artemisia sp pl., chives (Allium schoenoprasum).
Around the world with the plants
Pupils discover the Botanical Garden as if they were true explorers which have to nd and describe plants that come from diﬀerent continents. Aer a brief introduction about the concept of indigenous species, the activity begins. Pupils are organized in little groups to improve cooperative work. Aer this rst playful and practical part, the guide provides a more detailed explanation about the plants used during the workshop and a presentation about some plants usually that we use everyday. Objectives: • • • • • stimulate and develop interest in science involve pupils with direct participation through play-educational experiences convey the sense of curiosity that drives scienti c research stimulate re ection on the diﬀerences between a city park and a botanic garden stimulate re ection over the Botanic Gardens as a place of biodiversity
Photo workshop into the garden
In this workshop, we use a digital camera as an instrument of exploration of the Botanic Garden. Our young visitors usually take hundreds of pictures. By this way they lose attention and miss our precious explanations, collecting images of plants of which they won't even learn the names. e idea is to include this kind of technology, that they already use in their everyday life, in order to involve them into the contents of the lesson. For example, we can work on a single plant, a tree, a bush, or an herb, going from the entire plant to a particular aspect of it. Otherwise, we can take a picture of the whole plant and then look for organisms that live on this plant like insects, musks, lichens. In the nal part of the project we can help the visitors to elaborate the images taken before to create a presentation, an electronic book, or a simple video in order to enrich the museum experience. For this nal goal the museum itself can share some material on his web site, freely usable to make an ebook.
Path for blind people
e paths for the blind and visually impaired in the Botanic Garden is developed outside and inside (hot and cold greenhouses). e "aromatic" path, in front of the ower beds of medicinal plants, consists of twelve herbs in pots placed on pedestals at eye level and provided with a label in Braille : with that installation, guests can easily touch and smell the plants. e second path winds throughout the garden. Braille labels are placed outside in front of the oldest or most important trees of the Garden or in front the main collections (Cycads, Palms, etc.). Others labels were placed in hot and cold greenhouses and in the six little greenhouses dedicated to particular families (orchids, ferns, bromeliad, etc.). On the labels are highlighted botanical and historical information about collections or natural characteristics of the most important trees (tree height, trunk diameter, age, use). e third and most recent path is inserted in the hothouses in the section devoted to tropical 46
medicinal plants. It’s divided into four speci c sections: the rst section is dedicated to medicinal and poisonous herbs, the second section is devoted to the wood and ber plants, the third section is devoted to the spices and the fourth section to the food plants. At the beginning of the path, a tactile map gives information on the location of the diﬀerent sections and a very large number of labels in Braille provide information on the various sectors and plants presented. ree boards were installed: two of them present resins, balsams and fragrant incense derived from plants, while another exposes spices that you can touch and smell. All this to provide guests with a multi-sensorial information, tactile and olfactory, as complete as possible.
3. CASE STUDIES IN MADRID
Workshop: ‘Plant Adaptations’
TARGET AUDIENCE: divided into two levels: Level 1: 3º-6º Primary School (age 7-11) and 1º-2º Secondary School (age 12-14) Level 2: 3º-4º Secondary School (age 14-16) DURATION: 1h 30’ NUMBER OF EDUCATORS NEEDED: Two for each group (about 20-25 students) AIMS OF THE ACTIVITY: • • • • Observe and understand diﬀerent kinds of plant adaptations to the environment. Approach the concept of biodiversity by studying diﬀerent morphological types of plants. Stimulate behaviors used in research, such as making observations and working rigorously. Promote in the students respect for vegetation, highlighting the importance of plants for life on the planet and the need of studying ecosystems to conserve them.
CONTENTS: • • • • • Plant parts and functions. Plant requirements. Concept of adaptation. Climates and biomes used in this activity. Use of binoculars and microscopes (only in level 2).
CROSS CURRICULAR ISSUES: • • • • WHERE: • • Greenhouses. Classroom. 47 e importance of observation for scienti c research. Scienti c method: observation, hypothesis formulation, and testing. Team work. Respectful attitudes to the environment.
MATERIALS: • • • • • TIMING:
Living plants of the collection of the Garden. Plant samples (leaves) of some Mediterranean climate plants (Quercus ilex, Rosmarinus oﬃcinalis, Nerium oleander, Olea europaea) Samples for optical microscope (transverse section of Nerium oleander leaves and trichomes of Quercus ilex, and Olea europaea)* Notebook and pencil for each student. Binoculars and microscopes.
Subject introduction Subject introduction
Deciduous leaf plants
Tropical rainforest Tropical rainforest
Carnivorous plants Carnivorous plants
Evaluation and goodbye Evaluation and goodbye
educators introduction Activity and
Mediterranean climate plants
METHODOLOGY: Inquiry-based learning. We try to motivate students to make observations and questions and we encourage them to try to nd the solutions. Starting from previous knowledge about plant requirements and conditions in the diﬀerent climates or environments, students should be able to discover morphological changes in plants and nd a reason for these changes. e educators act as guides in the process of logical thinking, giving ideas and collaborating in the hypothesis formulation. STEP BY STEP: 1. Introducing the activity Educators’ introduction. What is a Botanical Garden and which are its aims. What are we doing now, name of the activity. 2. Introduction Brief discussion about plant parts and functions and plant requirements. Brainstorming about the concept of adaptation and nal de nition. 3. Deciduous leaf plants (only for level 1) Typical temperate climate and its characteristics. We focus on temperate deciduous forests. Discussion about which is the most problematic season for the survival of plants in this climate and why. Diﬃculties to do photosynthesis in the low temperatures of winter. Diﬀerence between the concepts wintering and hibernating. Deciduous leaves observation, writing everything important in their notebook. Hypothesis formulation about the loss of leaves in autumn. Acceptation of the hypothesis by the group, with the help of the educators. Writing down nal conclusions in the notebook. 48
4. Vines (only for level 1) Discussion and agreement about light as a limiting factor for a climbing plant. Observation of the vine plant and the speci c structures for climbing, writing everything which could be of interest. Agreement and hypothesis formulation about the reason to climb. Acceptation of the hypothesis by the group, with the help of the educators. Writing down nal conclusions in the notebook. 5. Mediterranean climate plants (only for level 2) Characteristics of Mediterranean climate. Discussion and agreement about summer drought as the main problem for the survival of these plants. Some hints about ways to avoid the loss of water in the leaves. How to use binoculars and optical microscopes. Time for observation of the morphological characteristics of the leaves, writing and drawing in their notebooks. Group discussion about the observations and hypothesis formulation for these morphological changes. Could they be adaptations to the environment? Acceptation of the hypothesis by the group, with the help of the educators. Writing down nal conclusions in the notebook. 6. Desert climate plants. De nition of desert and climatic characteristics. We focus on hot deserts. Discussion and agreement about water as a limiting factor for plants in deserts. Other problems due to the climate (solar radiation, low humidity of the air). Time for observation of the morphological changes of the plants, writing in their notebooks. Group discussion about the observations and hypothesis formulation for the morphological changes. Could they be adaptations to the environment? Acceptation of the hypothesis by the group, with the help of the educators. Writing down nal conclusions in the notebook. 7. Tropical rainforest Rainforest de nition and climate characteristics. Discussion and agreement about light as a limiting factor for plants in rainforests. Time for observation of the morphological changes of the plants, writing in their notebooks. Group discussion about the observations and hypothesis formulation for the morphological changes. Could they be adaptations to the environment? Acceptation of the hypothesis by the group, with the help of the educators. Writing down nal conclusions in the notebook. 8. Carnivorous plants Asking the students to think about the reason for eating animals. Which could be the limiting factor now? Discussion and agreement about minerals as a limiting factor for plants in some environments. 49
Time for observation of the diﬀerent kinds of traps, trying to understand the mechanism in each case. Writing down nal conclusions in the notebook. 9. Evaluation Collect activity assessment by participants. Acknowledgement for the assistance and call on for further research and further visit to the Botanic Garden. SPECIAL CASES: In the case of students with special needs, a recommendation is to work in teams, promoting the participation of all members. If the problem is a physical disability, the equipment and materials should be adapted to make them accessible for everyone. In the case of persons with vision loss, a solution could be having replicated samples to allow the use of touch. e diverse origin of the participants in the activity makes it more interesting. EDUCATORS’ EXPERIENCE
It is important to let the participants discover the adaptations on their own. Using examples of animals’ adaptations usually is a good way to introduce the subject. For example, everybody knows the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) adaptations, although only few of them realize that the skin that covers the animal is black, and its advantages. is activity works very well with all kind of public. People enjoy being a “scientist” for one day, and the only thing needed for a good development of the activity is to provide enough con dence to the group so that they feel free to express their ideas.
I like very much this activity because when you let students freely share their thoughts, they pay attention to things you had not realized before, and sometimes they surprise me with their great imagination and strange explanations about “the strange” things they are watching… mainly little children! For me, the most interesting part of the activity is about desert climate plants. Everybody is familiarized with the cactus and has seen some of them beforehand, so it is easier for them to concentrate directly in its adaptations. On the contrary, this is more diﬃcult in tropical climate department, where they see so many new things. Furthermore, aer a quick explanation, it is easier for children to recognize adaptations in succulent plants. Finally, this activity is a great opportunity to explain adaptive convergence in high level groups. It is a diﬃcult concept for them to understand sometimes, but, with succulent plant for example, it becomes very clear.
is workshop is one of my favorites, because it gives you the opportunity to explain many interesting concepts of botany. Moreover, I believe it’s really enjoyable also for the students due to the great diversity of plant life that is studied and also because of the fact that they can observe and propose ideas. 50
For this activity, educators should have a good knowledge of several issues, such as climate zones of the planet, biomes and plant ecophysiology concepts. In my point of view, the most interesting challenge is to get to explain them in a very clear way whilst you are guiding and stimulating the students in the search for the answers. BIBLIOGRAPHY
‘Atlas Visuales Océano: Botánica’ (2003). Mimi Océano grupo Editorial. Barcelona (Spain), 2003. Guión del profesor ‘Las Adaptaciones de las Plantas’ www.rjb.csic.es IZCO J. et al. (1997). ‘Botánica’. Ed. MacGraw-Hill – Interamericana de España. Madrid (Spain), 1998. MARTÍNEZ J., FIZ O., VARGAS P. (2004). ‘Jardín Botánico de Madrid: un paseo guiado’ (‘Botanic Garden of Madrid: a guided walk’). Jose Luís Pardo (Ed.). Madrid (Spain), 2004. PARKER S. (1989) ‘El río y la laguna’ Vol 7. Ed. Altea. Madrid (Spain), 1989 – ‘Eyewitness Encyclopedia: Pond and river’ Vol. 7. Dorling Kindersley Limited. London (United Kingdom), 1988. VARGAS P., ZARDOYA R. (2012) ‘El árbol de la vida: sistemática y evolución de los seres vivos’ Pablo Vargas y Rafael Zardoya (Eds.) Madrid, 2012.
Workshop: ‘Dyeing with natural dyestuﬀs’
TARGET AUDIENCE: Aimed at highschool students, professional training students and general public. DURATION: 1h 30’. NUMBER OF REQUIRED EDUCATORS: two for each group of 20-25 participants. AIMS OF THE ACTIVITY: • • • • • • Know the uses of plants in the textile industry. Raising awareness of the importance of biodiversity for scienti c advancement. To promote own scienti c work attitudes, such as detailed observation and methodology. Appreciate the importance and usefulness of plants in our daily lives. Learning concepts from the vegetal-dyeing process. Making a natural ber dyeing.
CONTENTS: • • • • • • • • Duties of a Botanical Garden: research, science dissemination and preservation. Plant's morphology. Main plant groups, since Angiosperms isn't the only plant group whose species are used for dyeing. Plant pigments. Uses of the plants. e concept of mordant, dye bath… Observation of diﬀerent vegetable species and recognition of diﬀerent parts useful for dyeing. Scienti c method: observation, hypothesis testing approach, testing, development of the theory. 51
CROSS CURRICULAR ISSUES: • • • • WHERE: • • Gardens (outdoors spaces) Garden's classroom with equipment and materials necessary for dyeing. Teamwork. Respectful attitudes for the environment. Handle of plant material and tools used in the dyeing process. Measure units use.
MATERIALS: • • • • • • • • • • • • TIMING: e activity has an estimated duration of 90 minutes. 3 min
Living specimens of the plant collection of the Royal Botanic Gardens (CSIC), bearing dyeing properties. Fresh vegetable samples. Pattern-book from the exhibition "Dyeing plants and their use." Herbarium sheets (dyeing plants, mordants). Pure wool (a hank per student) Cooking appliance Pots. Plant material for dyeing (walnut dye bath) Spoons to stir. Lab thermometer Gloves Sheets of paper and pencil
Introduction to the topic
The kitchen garden
dye species recognition
15 min 20 min
Other dyeing natural resources
Collection and Introduction to
Practice Evaluation and
METHODOLOGY: is workshop will use two types of methodology, the rst part of the workshop is resolved through inquiry and re ection by participants, by applying what they already know in eldwork. e second part of the workshop employs a directed methodology, since the activity is structured in parts of practice to be followed in a consistent manner, not allowing many variations in the steps.
STEP BY STEP: 1. Introducing the activity Presentation of educators. Introduction to the Royal Botanic Garden and its role 2. Introduction Brainstorming: uses of plants. Conclusions on the importance of the dyestuﬀs in the life of human beings. 3. What do we use for dyeing? Brief review of plant's anatomy. Horticultural species identi cation. Exchange of views on the suitability of vegetables as dyestuﬀs. Explanation of changes in plant organs as adaptations to the environment. 4. What is the origin of plant's colors? Plant pigment: types and roles played in the plant. Observation of most abundant pigments in the plant world through a hands-on activity in which we'll "paint" with fresh plant material (harvest and rubbing), watching the seasonal color or physiological changes. Gathering information on the species to be used in dyeing. 5. Before dyeing Brief explanation about the use of plants in the textile industry, activity directly related to the dyeing industry. Explanation of the concept of mordant. Short walk through the garden in which diﬀerent species will be identi ed, those species are manufactured to obtain fabrics, species and mordant-bearing species. 6. Dye with more than just plants Once in the classroom, we'll talk about the use of oak galls in dyeing and some lichen species used as natural dyestuﬀ will be shown. We will make a brief reference to ferns and gymnosperms as dye species belonging to other plant groups, explaining the main features of each of them. e Pattern-book of the exhibition "Dyeing plants and their use" will be shown. If appropriate, discussion on the case of cochineal insect as dyestuﬀ. 7. Let's dye Introduction to the materials. Description of the process to follow. Practical process involving the greatest possible number of participants. Observation of dyeing results. 8. Evaluation Collect activity assessment by participants. Acknowledgement for the assistance and call on for further research and further visit to the Botanical Garden. 53
SPECIAL CASES: is workshop is also performed to adult audiences in a diﬀerent timetable than school activities. In this case, the workshop is half hour longer and involves other dyeing process, more mordant's use (alum and Potassium bitartrate) and cabbage is used as dyestuﬀ. EDUCATORS’ EXPERIENCE
During this workshop, the rubbing of the collected plant samples (galls, diﬀerent colored leaves, fallen fruit, ower petals ...) could be optimal if instead of "in situ" rubbing (when the plant is found during the visit) the process was delayed for the time inside the workshop room, while the water is boiling in the pot where the yarn is to be dyed. is would have the advantage of creating a color chart where participants could write the name of each color tone, the species, and the part of the plant that has obtained such coloration (so they can bring home the color chart created by themselves as a souvenir). Nevertheless, there is a risk that participants may not remember which was the plant collected so educators have to spend more time in describing the plant (at least if it is a tree, a bush, or grass) and some traits that de nes it, and therefore their botanical knowledge regarding the recognition of species would not be quite optimal if there isn't time enough for it.
is workshop requires a pretty amount of previous work. In the case of the walnut's dye bath: the raw material has to be collected and fermented for several weeks and, in the case of cabbage (savoy) process, the dye bath requires a previous boiling to obtain it before the dying process itself. Despite of the extra work, this is an enriching workshop for the educators, since it brings a practical opportunity to learn non theoretical issues; doing the preparatory tests we can play with the boiling times of the dyeing, test diﬀerent ways to preserve dye baths or nd absolutely unexpected colors which puzzles us.
is workshop attracts specially two pro les of audience (but not only) which are quite interesting: people who have already done some dyeing experiences but lacks a deep knowledge on botany and, from the other side, botanic enthusiasts interested on ethnobotanical uses usually looking for a rst guided experience on this interesting issue. Both groups are interesting, and both because of their previous experiences and their gaps. e interaction between both pro les always sets new questions for further editions and very speci c questions which have to remain unsolved (at least until the next edition) are everything but uncommon, so it poses a challenge for educators (or a chance to learn more on the history and diversity of the process). A never boring workshop. BIBLIOGRAPHY
Roquero, A. 2006. Tintes y tintoreros de América. Ministerio de Cultura. Real Jardín Botánico, CSIC. 1982. Plantas tintóreas y su uso. Real Jardín Botánico, CSIC. Roquero, A. & Córdoba, C. 1981. Manual de tintes de origen vegetal para lana. Ediciones del Serbal. Barcelona. Cannon, J. & Cannon, M. 1994. Dye Plants and dyeing. e Herbert Press. London. García Polo M. & Giudicissi R. 1997. Las plantas tintóreas. Penthalon ediciones. Madrid.
4. CASE STUDIES IN MEISE
We present here some activities designed by the guides themselves: most of them are passionate people, and their experiences with public or their lifelong studying processes allow them to develop new proposals for the garden. ese proposals present 3 diﬀerent sorts of activities that can be adapted for many Botanic Gardens. e two rst activities are «storytelling» style: they are collections of stories to save in the guide’s backpack. A guide might use the stories now and then in his tours. e rst guide uses her experiences in capturing public’s attention with the stories she tells about plants and animals relationships. She noticed that most of the public is mainly interested in animals. In order to drive their attention to plants, she uses stories which connect them with plants. (by Marianne De Cock) e second guide gathered information for his own sake about plants related to technology. He then started to tell some stories to his public and noticed people’s interest : he decided to become more and more documented on the subject. (by Frank van der Herten) e third activity is a workshop, designed by two guides working since a long time in the garden. Both are fond of medicinal plants, and both have studied herbalism. One has worked with plants a great part of her life, and the other used to teach biology in schools... (by Martine Van Den Broeck and Martine Van De Vijver) e fourth activity is a new guided tour intended for visually impaired visitors. e guide developed the tour from her own researches with specialists working with this public. (by Danielle Benit)
About Plants and Critters
For everyone who enjoys nature these are some fascinating stories of the complex relationships that have evolved between animals, insects, and plants. Target • • • Approach the concept of biodiversity as a «circle of life» Respect for all living things and the environment. Focus on adaptation of plants and animals, the inseparable and complex relationships they have with each other resulting in a fragile ecosystem: one living being cannot exist without the other. Focus on the importance of biodiversity and focus on how its loss aﬀects nature. Stimulate the respect for nature on this planet and looking at it as a whole. Stimulate observation and conservation of plants. Stimulate awareness on the role played by plants in ecosystems.
• • • •
Aims of the stories is information is for all kind of public, children, students, and adults. Guides can use the stories in almost any garden, providing some additional information to the public during the greenhouses/garden tour. Everybody knows the story of bees and owers and its importance for nature, but oen they don't realize that there is much more to discover. With these stories of interactions, you can show that plants are «smart» and that all living beings are connected to one another. 55
Generally, people are far more attracted to animals than plants. Using and telling these fascinating stories during guided tours will charm the participants and keep them focusing on plants and the habitats where they grow and survive, while telling them stories on strategies, adaptations, and propagation. How to use the stories You can use these stories on special occasions like the International Day of Biodiversity, or it is possible to make a complete tour only telling the stories and showing the plants that are involved. As indicated before, one, some or all stories can be used as complementary information during your usual garden/greenhouse tour. Materials • • e stories 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. Acacias, ants and other companions in a Savannah story Stapelias and their ies, a smelly relationship Yuccas and their moths, united forever Hummingbirds and owers, about colors and beauty Heliconia owers and white tent bats, a rainforest alliance Saguaro cactus, friend to many animals in the desert e orchid and its bee, a perfumed story e bromeliad and the poison-arrow frog, a canopy relationship Passion owers and butter ies, a special battle relationship e g and the wasp, a weird and wonderful relationship e giant waterlily in a nocturnal relationship with beetles e living plants in the garden/greenhouses related to the stories. Photos or drawings of animals, birds, amphibians, insects that have relations, or/and interactions with the plants involved in the stories.
1.WHISTLING ACACIA (Acacia drepanolobium) in a mutualistic relationship with ants and companions is tree, native to East Africa, produces leaves containing tannins, which serve as a deterrent to herbivores. In addition, they have formed a mutualistic relationship with ant species. In exchange for shelter in the bulbous thorns and nectar secretions, the ants defend the tree against herbivores such as elephants and giraﬀes. Ants make their nests in the thorns of the tree. e ant queen lays her eggs, and the workers take shelter in it. Herbivores like to feed on the acacia leaves. Elephants abhor these ants because they bite their trunks and creep inside. So, when this happens, the elephants stop feeding on the leaves. Good for the tree! Giraﬀes can close their nostrils while eating and so they can continue for a longer time, but eventually they quit eating too. Other invaders that want to take advantage from this tree are monkeys. ey don't harm the tree itself, but they want the ants! ey have sharp teeth and can bite through the nests in the thorns so that they can eat the ants. In that way they can obtain 1/3 of their protein diet. ey cannot continue feasting on the ants for a very long period because they too are molested and 56
bitten by the ants. In that way the ants survive and can continue to protect the tree. In their turn, the broken nests serve as nesting holes for a species of geckos, very small ones so they have many enemies. e female lays 2 eggs inside the nest, and in this way the babies, when they hatch, are protected by the thorns of the tree and the ants that defend it. As they are really very tiny, they mean no threat for the ants so the latter leave them be. As you can see this tree constitutes a whole universe of life and a real chain of biodiversity. e common name of the tree is derived from the observation that when wind blows over the bulbous thorns in which ants have made their entry/exit holes they create a whistling noise. 2. STAPELIA in a commensalistic relationship with ies Stapelias (40 species) are succulents that grow in southern Africa. In their natural habitat, there are few pollinating insects such as bees and butter ies. So these plants, instead of investing in owers abundant with nectar, produce «carrion» hairy owers that generate a smell of rotten esh attracting ies. e hairs on the petals give the y the impression it is a dead animal and the red, yellow striped colors make them look like meat. erefore, they are irresistible to ies. ey land on the ower in search of food and to lay their eggs on it. As they do so the ower's pollen is dispersed on their bodies and own to other owers, thereby ensuring the formation of seeds. Unfortunately, the maggots that hatch from the eggs laid on the ower will die from starvation as they cannot nd any meat to eat. Commensalism : good for the ower, no bene t for the y but doesn't bother it either 3. YUCCA AN THEIR MOTHS... a mutualistic relationship Yuccas are found in arid and desert regions and have an old and intimate relationship with moths. ese speci c, light-colored moths are genetically programmed for the yucca's pollination. ey stuﬀ a little ball of pollen into the cup-shaped stigma of each ower. e moth's larvae grow up in the owers and feed exclusively on the seeds but only in a very small quantity, so it doesn't harm the plant. is relation is mutual and bene cial to both partners and is vital for survival of both species. When yucca-moths are absent, yucca plants will not produce seeds, and without the plants the moths cannot survive. 4. HUMMINGBIRDS AND FLOWERS - mutualistic relationship Flower attributes have adapted with hummingbirds in ways that not only bene t but also guarantee the survival of both. e birds seek out trumpet-shaped owers (ex: salvia, columbine, penstemon, agave, cacti), oen hanging pendant from stems and with large amounts of nectar but little scent. Reservoirs of nectar reside deep in the ower tube, inaccessible to bees and other insects but available to a hummingbird's long bill, like a lock to a key. In exchange for nectar, hummingbirds perform important pollination services for plants. When a hummingbird dips into a ower, pollen collects on his head, throat, bill, and stomach. On a visit to another ower of the same species, the bird deposits that pollen onto the female part of the ower, providing material for possible fertilization of the plant. Because they y long distances, their pollination services also foster gene exchange between plants. Some hummingbirds follow “nectar corridors” where they nd food to keep them fueled. e owers hummingbirds feed on are frequently red in color. Red colors have advantages: it stands out against a background and it is a heat-absorbing color, the nectar is warmed and is more available to the birds. Bees don't see red, eliminating them as competitors for nectar. However, hummingbirds do feed on other colored flowers too, because what they are really after is 57
abundant nectar so they will return to that resource no matter the color of the flower that offers it. Insects, especially hummingbird-moths (sphinx), hovers in front of owers as hummingbirds do. But in other ways they are diﬀerent. e moths are drawn to pale or white owers as Brugmansia and evening primrose (Oenothera) that are sweetly scented by night. Moths feed mostly at night so they are no competitors for nectar. Hummingbirds: - attracted by abundance of nectar - the vivid color of the owers. - they feed during the day Moths: - attracted by sweet smell of owers - visiting pale, white colored owers - feeding at night 5. WHITE TENT BATS AND HELICONIA FLOWERS: a rainforest alliance in a commensalistic way (good for me, doesn't bother you!) White tent bats are small bats with white uﬀy coats and bright yellow ears and noses. ey live in rainforests that have Heliconia plants. ey make daytime shelters for themselves underneath their leaves. With their sharp teeth, they gnaw along the length of the leaf on either side of the midrib and force the leaf to collapse into upside-down V shaped “tents”. Small groups of individuals snuggle together to help conserve body heat. e leaf tent helps them to protect from rain, sun, and predators while they are sleeping. When the sunlight shines through the leaves, the green re ection on their white coats makes them invisible. e stems of Heliconia plants are not strong, so any predator brushing along the leaf causes the bats' tent to shake and alerts them to danger so they can quickly y away. Each group has more than one leaf tent prepared in its territory. If disturbed at one, all the members of the group y away to another. Heliconias are almost exclusively pollinated by hummingbirds (bright colors!) However, there is a heliconia species which owers open only at night therefore it is pollinated by bats. In warm regions, bats are important pollinators of plants and trees. Flowers that are pollinated by bats have usually light colors (Brugmansia) so they lighten up in the dark and can be spotted. ey oen have strong scents and are sturdy because when feeding the bats move a lot. 6. SAGUARO CACTUS, a friend to many animals in the desert (mutualism) Deserts are dry, arid, and hot places. Animals and plants rely on each other for food, water, shelter and protection from the sun. Woodpeckers depend for survival on the saguaro. It picks holes in the saguaro's body and makes its nest in it. e woodpecker bene ts from the cactus by making its home inside the cacti's thick walls which insulate the bird's nest from the hot sun. It feeds on the insects and parasites that could carry and transmit harmful diseases to the cactus. Spreading the pollen from the plant's blossom helps to pollinate other cacti. Other animals bene t also from the nest holes when abandoned by the woodpeckers as big trees are scarce in the desert. Small owls, small bird species and even squirrels use these nests. Many other animals are drawn to saguaro owers for nectar including bats, honeybee and various native bees, sphinx moths, doves, hummingbirds. Birds and bats plunge their heads deeply into the blossoms when foraging for nectar. ickly 58
dusted with pollen on their head and shoulders, they then visit other owers on neighboring plants, depositing some of the pollen and picking up more. Bees pollinate many blossoms as well. 7. THE ORCHID (Mormodes) AND ITS BEE (genus Euglossa) - mutualistic relationship When bees visit owers they usually are gathering nectar. But these special bees visit owers for a very diﬀerent reason! Even Charles Darwin was puzzled by their behavior as he studied orchids intensively. Only recently have researchers began to understand what is actually happening here. Orchids display an incredible variety in shapes and colors. Features that are common in all orchids are: the labellum as an enticing landing strip for insects, and the column that contains the reproductive organs. e pollen has a sticky pad that plays a role in insect pollination. When landing on the labellum the bee causes an injection of the pollen which is xed to its body and is thus transported to another ower or plant. But why do these bees visit this orchid as it doesn't produce nectar? Darwin thought they were looking for food. Observing the bees you can see they use their front legs to scrub the orchid. eir front legs appear to have tiny brushes. Aer scrubbing for a while, they take ight and hover in front of the ower scrubbing their hind legs together. Bees normally do this to transport the collected pollen into baskets on their hind legs. But these bees do not collect pollen and they are exclusively males! Actually, they are collecting a fragrance of the orchid. Why do they do that? ey serve as perfume factories creating a pheromone that is attractive to female bees, luring them close to the males so that mating can happen. Mission completed! e bees transport the pollen for the orchid and reproduction of the bees is guaranteed! 8. THE POISON-ARROW FROG AND THE BROMELIAD - mutualistic relationship Bromeliads can be found at altitudes from sea level to 4200m and from rainforests to deserts. Halves of the species are epiphytes, and some terrestrial (pineapple!) A wide variety of animals takes advantage of the pools of water trapped by bromeliads. In a large bromeliad it can be up to 50 liters! is water is for the use of the bromeliad, because as an epiphytes it has no roots in the soil, but it is used by many other animals as well. Many of these species are only found on bromeliads. A good example is the unusual life cycle of the poison arrow frog. ey use the water pools for a nursery for their developing oﬀspring. Most frogs lay their eggs in water, but this frog starts laying its eggs on land. e female deposits a few eggs in a cluster of jelly under a leaf or in a small burrow under the ground. When the tiny tadpoles hatch they wiggle onto their mother's back, so that she can carry them to a waterlled bromeliad that she has chosen for their home. e journey may take several days if she climbs high into the forest canopy. e poison-arrow frog drops the tadpoles into the rainwater in the bromeliad, each tadpole in a separate tiny pool that has collected between the leaves of the plant. e tadpoles feed on algae and mosquito larvae, but to be sure they have enough food, the female frog returns again and again to deposit a single unfertilized egg in the water for each tadpole. Aer 6-8 weeks, the tadpoles emerge as frogs and return to the forest oor. erefore, water-storage in bromeliads forms important habitats for frogs and without these plants they would not be able to survive. At rst glance, it may seem that the bromeliad would not bene t from this relationship, but the waste products of the animals living in the water are a necessary source of nutrients for the epiphytes.
9. PASSIONFLOWERS AND HELICONIUS BUTTERFLIES - an extraordinary special battle relationship Passion owers have several diﬀerent defenses to try to prevent butter ies laying their eggs on them. e eggs hatch out into voracious caterpillars which can severely damage or even kill the plants. Here are some sophisticated defenses of the plant: - mimicry : some passion ower species produce yellow egg-like structures on the leaves or stems. Any butter y that sees eggs from another butter y on a plant will not lay its own eggs as they would hatch aer the ones already there and would have little food. More importantly Heliconius caterpillars are aggressively cannibalistic. - drooping growing tips : a drooping growing tip may suggest to butter ies that the plant is in poor condition and is less appealing either as a snack or as a future food source for caterpillars. - changing leaf shapes butter ies have very sharp eyesight and look for leaf shapes that match a suitable plant for egg laying. Several Passi ora plants change their leaf shape to try to throw them of the track. - nectar many Passi ora plants produce extra oral nectaries. ese are very attractive to ants, and the presence of them increases the caterpillar mortality. - poison the vines produce a poisonous substance to deter leaf predation, but this particular caterpillar is capable of incorporating the poison. So the butter y could still lay an egg on it but in that case the plant will drop the tendril like a lizard drops its tail, leaving the hatched caterpillar with very little to eat. 10. THE FIG AND THE WASP - a weird and wonderful symbiotic relationship! Did you know that gs you buy in the supermarket have digested wasps in them!? Figs are technically inverted owers that store their pollen inside the fruits. In order to get their female fruits pollinated, the trees have developed a specialized relationship with a type of wasp which burrows inside gs to lay its eggs. Aer hatching, the baby wasps mate, and the males, who are born sharp-toothed but wingless, chew holes through the g's skin for winged females to escape. Parenting duties ful lled, the males die. e females, pregnant and loaded with pollen, y to other g trees and crawl into the fruits to lay their eggs, beginning the cycle anew. e male g is the only place where the female wasp can lay her eggs, and it releases a chemical sign when receptive for pollination. But ying oﬀ in search of new male gs to lay her eggs in, some of the females land on female gs instead that don't have the special egg receptacle but they trick the females into the gs anyway. It is a test of endurance for these tiny wasps to slide through the narrow passage (ostiole=very small opening in the crown) and while doing so, her wings are ripped oﬀ (egg-laying is a oneway mission) and while she is unsuccessful in laying her eggs, she successfully pollinates the female ower. 60
e now wingless wasp is trapped inside the ripening fruit, where it is digested by special enzymes within the g. According to fossil records this process has been going on unchanged for millions of years! 11. VICTORIA REGIA, QUEEN OF THE AMAZON IN A SPECIAL RELATION WITH SCARAB BEETLES e genus name was given in honor of Queen Victoria of the UK. e giant waterlily is native to the Amazon river basin. Flowers are up to 40cm in diameter and pollinated by scarab beetles. e nocturnal impressive owers are a pure white on their rst night when they open and emanate a strong pineapple like scent. is attracts the scarab beetle pollinator to the ower which is functionally female that evening and receptive to pollen brought by the beetle. e beetles will crawl inside the ower lapping the nectar it produces. As daybreak approaches, the ower begins to close, trapping the beetle inside. During the day the ower becomes functionally male, indicated by the maturation of the anthers and the release of pollen. e beetle becomes coated with this pollen, but it cannot fertilize the ower because it is now functionally male! e ower opens the second evening, having changed color from white to pink, which does not tempt the beetle to return. e beetle is released and seeks out another white, fragrant, receptive ower where it will deposit pollen to allow seed set.
Plants & new technology
Target Getting people interested in plants, this is surely the main objective of any guided tour in a botanical garden. Of course, most people visiting a botanical garden are already interested somehow in plants, or nd plants just beautiful. Otherwise, they wouldn’t visit a botanical garden and pay for a guided tour, wouldn’t they? e challenge then for any guide must be to maximize this positive attitude towards plants, and to upgrade it onto a more conscious level. An interesting strategy for making a group of visitors more enthusiastic about plants is to focus on plants which draw the attention of scientists and industry in order to create new technologies. People are roughly familiar with plants being useful for food or beverage, clothes, building activities, and so on, but most of the time these merits are associated with old technology or less developed countries. What a surprise then to discover that plants are subject to brand-new and top-level scienti c research and modern technology. Plants may even oﬀer an answer to the two major problems of our planet today: the shortage of petroleum and climate changes. is is a bonus people are glad to hear. So, plants are not only problematic and in need of protection (against human beings, climate change, etc.) but may also oﬀer an adequate answer - if not the answer - to the apparently unsolvable problems of today. Is there a better thought to leave a botanical garden bearing this in mind? How I worked Let’s turn now to some of the plants I want to discuss. Most of these plants, together with their signi cance for scientists and industry, were brought to my attention by non-specialized magazines or newspapers. Sometimes the plants’ comments were very short, nevertheless, their presence in those media demonstrates the virtual relevance for all of us. Anyhow, I was interested, so I gathered these articles and started to read more about it on Internet websites. Gradually, I began to integrate this knowledge in my guided tours and I noticed that my public was oen astonished by the technological qualities of plants. 61
How to use the stories Of course, in a general guided tour it is not recommended to talk all the time about plants and new technology. Many other things are indeed to be said. But mentioning the issue now and then will not miss its eﬀect. And, as you will realize, the link with the natural process of photosynthesis - the essence of all life on earth - is oen easy to make. 1. DIESEL OIL FROM LIVING PLANTS e need for alternative - read sustainable - sources of energy is well known. e stocks of petroleum are not inexhaustible and their combustion constitutes a major cause for the global warming (by replacing oxygen by carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere). Saving energy may be helpful on both areas, but probably cannot be the only answer. e replacement of petroleum (and nuclear energy) by bio-energy (i.e. energy based on living plants) is considered to be a necessary step to solve our problems of energy and climate change. e seeds of the purging nut (Jatropha curcas) contain a high percentage of oil (47% of its weight). Given some supplementary treatments, the oil is perfectly suitable to make diesel engines run. is fuel does not aﬀect the percentage of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. Indeed, the amount of CO2 released during combustion, equals to the amount of CO2 withdrawn from the air during the process of growth of the tree. In other words, the net CO2production is zero. Tests have already been undertaken by aircra building companies with good result. Oil from the purging nut even seems to be better - technically spoken - than kerosene. It delivers more energy and resists better to low temperatures. In addition, Jatropha oil may be more pro table to aircra companies than traditional oil. e purging nut is growing mainly in Africa and South-America, but it can be cultivated on all continents. e cultivation is even feasible on infertile soils, for instance along railways. In other words, plants for food are not forced to retreat because of the rise of plants for energy. e cultivation of the purging nut is therefore less controversial than the cultivation of other plants meant for bio-energy, such as cabbage, sun ower, palm (for diesel-oil) or sugar beet, sugar cane, maize and grains (for bio-ethanol). Other promising plants for bio-oil are the Ethiopian or Abyssinian mustard (Brassica carinata), which even may turn poor soils into fertile soils, camelina (Camelina sativa), which is cultivated in Japan on soils polluted by the Fukushima-accident, halophytes (which grow on salt soils), and Euphorbia tirucalli (which may grow on extremely dry soils). However, most promising seems to be the cultivation of algae. e return of 1 hectare of algae is estimated between 20 000 and 80 000 liters of oil (compared to 6000 liters per hectare produced by Brassica carinata). But the production-cost of algae is still too high and the oil from algae still contains too much water. 2. FERTILIZATION OF THE OCEANS Regarding algae, some scientists have a more daring plan in mind. Indeed, they want to cultivate algae just for the purpose of reducing CO2 only. Cultivating algae means in their view: fertilizing the oceans with iron in order to produce algae (Diatomeae). e algae are expected to store massively CO2, and aer dying, to take this CO2 right to the bottom of the ocean were it will be kept for centuries. Futuristic? Without any doubt, but scienti c experiments are already ongoing. At least, this example demonstrates clearly the importance of plants today for both scientists and industrial innovators. 62
3. TRANSPORTATION BY PLANTS Airplanes, ships and motor cars made of plants? Yes, it is possible. ese means of transportation are to some extend made of composite, a strong and light material. Because of its lightness, composite material reduces the consumption of energy. Composite material consists of bers, which give it its strength. us far, these bers are made of synthetic material (such as glass). But, research has shown that bers can also be supplied by plants (such as bamboo). Bamboo belongs to the family of the grasses and counts for 1200 species. It grows mainly in Asia and South-America. Bamboo is known for its solidity. e strength of the bamboo indeed comes from its bers, which lie lengthwise and form nodes at regular distance that strengthen the plant even more. Until now, research has demonstrated that bamboo bers oﬀer the same qualities (of strength and lightness) as synthetic bers. Furthermore, the use of bamboo bers is most energy-saving: • • to produce bamboo bers ve times less fossil energy is needed bamboo bers are even lighter than synthetic bers, which means less consumption of energy when incorporated in means of transportation (and thus less production of CO2) nally, bers of bamboo can more easily be burned, composted, or recycled.
Bamboo is also very eﬀective in producing oxygen and eliminating CO2. Compared with a new forest, bamboo produces 35% more oxygen and withdraws 4 times as much CO2 from the atmosphere. And bamboo oﬀers protection against the erosion of the soil and against drastic changes of the water level as well. Hopefully, bamboo bers can also compete with synthetic bers when it comes to the commercialization of it. Some electronic devices such as computers and tablets are bamboo encased. Other plants that provide for natural bers are the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera), jute (Corchorus) and ax (Linum usitatissimum). 4. CAN WE DO IT WITHOUT THE RUBBER TREE ? Synthetic rubber - i.e., rubber made of petroleum - is good enough for diving suits, garden hoses, tires for motor cars (to a certain extent), but not good enough for gloves used by dentists or in hospitals. Indeed, synthetic rubber can cause irritation. Rubber from the rubber tree is then the solution. Natural rubber oﬀers also a greater density (useful for condoms) and a greater durability and safety (required when making tires for airplanes for example). So yes, we cannot go without the rubber tree. e rubber three (Hevea brasiliensis) is cultivated in Brazil (its natural habitat), Malaysia and in African countries. Unfortunately, a soil fungus has reduced the Brazilian rubber production to just 1 percent of the world production. Malaysia now produces the bulk of the natural rubber (about 9 million tons per year), but it is feared that the soil fungus will be imported from Brazil. If this happens, a real shortage of natural rubber would occur (because no remedy for the disease has been found until now). Luckily, scientists have found that other plants can produce rubber as well. Among others, scientists are interested in the Guayule (Parthenium argentatum), a shrub growing in the deserts of northern Mexico and of the southwest of the USA (Arizona, New Mexico, Texas). But this plant could also be cultivated in countries with a Mediterranean climate. However, some production problems still need to be solved. e method for extracting the rubber out of the Guayule is labor-intensive and is also harmful for the environment. 63
But science does not stand still. Other plants containing rubber are dandelion and sun ower. ese plants do not yet deliver the required quality and return. 5. PLANTS LIKE HEAVY METAL Some plants can be used to clean soils, contaminated by metals (zinc, cadmium, lead, copper). By doing so, soils no longer need to be excavated and chemically cleaned. Examples of such “metallicolous plants” are: mustard plants, Alyssum and laspi. Some willow trees also belong to this category of plants. But soil remediation by plants (“phytoremediation”) is a very slow process. erefore, scientists look for the possibility to speed up the cleaning process, and they also try to link the cleaning of soils to the production of energy and chemicals. If they succeed, plants may be the ideal soil cleaner. 6. PLANTS SHOW HOW TO DO IT When raindrops are falling on the foliage of an Indian lotus (Nelumbo nucifera), they immediately roll oﬀ. is phenomenon is mainly due do the structure of the leaf surface. Indeed, the cells of the foliage exhibit bulges, which are standing very close to each other. In addition, the falling raindrops take a lot of dust and dirt with it. e foliage of the Indian lotus is therefore self-cleaning (i.e. the "lotus eﬀect"). Scientists try to imitate this “lotus-eﬀect” throughout industrial applications. What to think about self-cleaning windows, car paint, roof tiles, solar cells, or clothing? Another example of industrial products imitating plants (a process called “bionics”) is Velcro. Velcro is inspired by the adhesive properties of the prickly heads (burrs) of the burdock plant (Arctium), a plant living in the wild in Europe and Asia. In the early 1940’s, aer taking his dog for a walk one day, a Swiss man called George de Mestral became curious about the seeds of the burdock plant that had attached themselves to his clothes and to the dog's fur. Under a microscope, he looked closely at the hook system that the seeds use to hitchhike on passing animals aiding seed dispersal, and he realized that the same approach could be used to join other things together. As a result, Velcro was invented (and our Swiss man probably became rich aer he patented his invention in 1955). e name Velcro is a portmanteau word of the two French words “velours” and “crochet”, respectively velvet and hook. CONCLUSION As the examples above demonstrate, the industrial world is also fascinated by plants. Sometimes plants are imitated; sometimes plants are used to create new products or techniques. In addition, plants are expected to save our planet, by keeping the CO2-balance under control and by delivering alternative energy. Is this a surprise? Not really, nally plants are the source of all (other) life on earth, isn’t it?
Workshop: Medicinal plants as healing heritage
PURPOSE: • • Let know and recognize medicinal plants for using and processing them as support in diet and care. In addition, emphasis is placed on teamwork, respectful treatment of wild plants and insight that "weeds" do not really exist!
CONTENTS: e workshop consists of 2 parts, a tour and a workshop. e workshop starts with a guided tour in the medicinal garden with a subsequent workshop in a nearby room, where some of the studied herbs can be processed. e processed products can be taken home by the participants! GENERAL METHOD: A guide takes a group of about 15 participants across the medicinal garden and aerwards accompanies the workshop. For the workshop, the participants are divided into small groups of about 3 people per group. Material is available for them to process the herbs! DURATION: e whole is estimated for 2h30 where both parts of the workshop are evenly distributed. METHOD IN THE MEDICINAL GARDEN: Giving a brief historical overview of the evolution of the use of herbs, beginning from the ancient Greek philosophers and their view of the medicine. Skip to the development of medicinal gardens and plant gardens, with emphasis on the comparative research of the 17th century. So further to contemporary phytotherapy. e diﬀerence between homeopathy and phytotherapy is brie y explained with a concise overview of the main components. is theoretical introduction should not be longer than 10 minutes. Aerwards there will be a meeting with about twenty species of medicinal herbs, each with information on their ingredients, uses, cultivation, and their value! A certain number of plants gets more emphasis because they will be later on processed in the workshop! Botanic gardens and medicinal gardens Medicinal gardens = Reference Collection and teaching materials for medical students. Oldest: University of Pisa in Italy in 1543. Collection of living medicinal plants as a starting point, for making a medicine from any form of the plant. ey went through mutations to evolve into Botanic Gardens, with the mission to establish, maintain, and manage scienti cally documented collections, where conservation, research and education are central. Very special role in the conservation of biodiversity! e scale of collection development is unique and always framed within scienti c insights! eophrastus of Eresos (371-287 BC) One of the disciples of Aristotles, A collection of 500 species of plants. e plant kingdom divided into three groups: trees, shrubs, and herbs, considered as true layout until the Renaissance! Dioscorides (40-90 AD) Greek doctor in Rome of Emperor Nero. Collected herbs together with the Roman armies. A comprehensive book, consisting of ve parts, with 600 plants: description and medical use. Still considered a standard of herbal medicine in the 16th century!
Galenus (131–201 AD) City Doctor of Rome. A pharmacy with more than 300 plant and 100 animal substances. e simplicibus, work with 540 plant, 180 animal, and 100 mineral medicines. Dominated the medicine almost 1500 years. inking: e human body consists of four bodily uids or humors associated with a particular temperament: phlegm, blood, yellow bile and black bile. Connected to the four elements: hot, cold, moist and dry Roman period and the Middle Ages Herbs were taboo because many superstitions. lots of empirical knowledge. Idea of a «botanic garden» disappeared almost completely. Monks were cultivating enclosed gardens, only the study on practical properties such as healing and nutrition. Under Charlemagne: list of some 100 plants in "Royal Gardens" and abbey gardens with utility plants, bean, pea, chives, garlic, lettuce, sage, fruit trees... Great importance to remove waste that means disease. Explains the frequent use of bloodletting, purging and sweat cures! Plants with the same properties restore balance. e Renaissance (16th century) e rebirth of the culture of antiquity. Scienti c research, observation, and experiment are the key to knowledge! e botanical garden arises with research and collection! e medicinal botanical garden: 16th century Arise in connection with medical or pharmaceutical research. Associated with the medical faculty of a university. e oldest: Pisa, Firenze, Padua, and Leiden. Simple in design: planted beds around a central point = A new look at the world! Leiden 1587: Carolus Clusius (1526-1603) as Director. Garden with over 1100 species in cultivation in 1600 with many exotics, half of the then known biodiversity! Not only medicinal herbs: many exotics which became naturalized in Europe: tulips, hyacinths, imperial crowns, anemones, horse chestnut, potato, tomato, ginger, okra, sugarcane and elephant ear. e basic = botanical science! e botanical Curiosity: 16th - 17th century A broader approach to the plant kingdom Explorers bring new plants to Europe. Specialization: Plant systematics arise besides the medicinal properties and the cultivation! Botanical Gardens arise where the rich people marvel at bizarre plants such as pineapples, cactus, dragon trees or the odd double coconut! e Economic botanical: 17th - 18th century A botanical world power. European colonies. Botanical Gardens play a major role in the distribution, introduction and cultivation of various tropical plants; spice plants, the rubber tree, the cotton plant, the coﬀee bush, the bush tea, or sugar cane. 66
e classifying botanical: 18th - 19th century Descriptive botany with indispensable beautiful botanical illustrations. e Swede Carolus Linaeus (1707-1778): e binomial nomenclature (1753): a two-part name. e still current terminology rather cumbersome descriptions of plant parts. Genius systematic insight into a fantastic classi cation schemes based on inheritable characteristics. He created order in the confusion which then prevailed in the nomenclature. e public botanical garden: 19th - 20th century botanical gardens are not parks! Botanical Gardens attract public to the «green», but there is a risk of loss of unique plant collections! e protective botanical garden: late 20th century A new role in the conservation, development of nature conservation actions and creation of seed and gene banks. One of the old core gets much value: study and preservation of biodiversity! e visible botanical garden: early 21th century Additional important task: give information about the plant kingdom, the essential usefulness, the threats, the beauty, the fascination of biodiversity! Spread the importance of maintaining as much as possible! Medicinal plants in the Botanic Garden To accomplish the current basic tasks of conservation, research and education, a medicinal garden is essential. e global interest in natural and healthier lifestyle, gives these medicinal gardens more attention! Some de nitions : Phytotherapy Derived from the Greek phytos (plant) and therapeia (care) = use of plants as medicine = herbal medicine. e forerunner of the modern medicine: use of eﬀect of the raw material of the plant. It is a scienti cally recognized treatment for complaints and diseases. Homeopathy Derived from the Greek homoios (similar) and pathos (suﬀering or disease). Similarity Principle or similia similibus curentur: a substance that can induce symptoms, is also able to cure the same symptoms; late 18th century. Founder Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843), a German doctor and chemist. Holistic vision: not just the symptom, but the patient as a whole. Dilution: To deprive the harmfulness of toxics, substances are diluted. Potentiate: by shaking the medicine become stronger. Homeopathy uses plants, animals, and minerals substances in its preparation. Allopathy Derived from the Greek allos (opposite) and pathos (suﬀering or disease). A term from Hahnemann for the then conventional medicine: "the doctrine of the four humors". Illness is an imbalance in these humors and healing means restoring the balance using the «opposite». Ex: feverish (wet and hot) is cured by plants associated with dry and cold. e modern conventional medicine doesn’t recognize these concepts anymore. 67
e comparative research 1700: from Galenic conceptions, diseases are described rather than the symptomatic treatment. Diseases are investigated and described, the functioning of the organs studied, the rst use of instruments as a stethoscope, a sphygmomanometer and a laboratory. e eﬀect of herbs are investigated in laboratories, and the active working substances detected, isolated, and puri ed. en, the substances are chemically improved or synthetically replicated (ex: aspirin). Herbs in medicine and their eﬀect Herbs: All plants contain active substances in any of their parts! Ingredients = the main active components, ancillary materials, and bulking materials. Main components: active substances. Ancillary Substances: in uencing the active main components; strengthen, weaken, or modify. Bitter substances, tannins, essential oils, glycosides, alkaloids, saponins, mucilage, coumarins, avone derivatives, resinous substances... Synergistic eﬀect: the natural composition of all substances = the overall operation. Important: the habitat of the plant, harvest, processing (drying, tincture, infusion, macerate...), dosage, duration of use... PROCESS FOR THE WORKSHOP: e 3 Botanic Gardens involved in this project are not responsible for consequences from the use of these recipes. ey are given merely as an illustration of practices in Botanic Gardens. ere are 5 diﬀerent product applications oﬀered. (ese were chosen in function of the simplest possible application, low cost and applicability to the layman, other products such as creams, syrups, ointments, lotions needs additional equipment such as a heater.) Depending on the time of the year (the availability of herbs) and the choice of the group, twe choose 2 of the 5 applications for the workshop. All participants will process 2 products which may be taken home aer the workshop. ese 5 product applications are: Massage, Bodyshrub, Tincture, Tooth Powder, and Hair Gel.
Tincture of yarrow - celandine
Ingredients: 1l alcohol vodka 40° herbs 20 g yarrow (dried) 200g celandine (fresh) Preparation: Fill a jar with celandine or yarrow and poor the vodka 40° until everything is submerged. Close the jar and let macerate 3 weeks to one month away from the sunlight at room temperature. Shake every day making sure that the plant material stays submerged. Filter the maceration through a muslin and store in dark bottles. Apply a label with name, ingredients, expiration date and application. Use: Internal use 10 to 20 drops 3 times a day in a half glass of water. external use directly onto the wart. Make sure you shield the healthy skin. Tinctures work fast because they are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream.
Product information: Vodka is a colorless and nearly tasteless alcohol of 40° Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) improves digestion. Celandine (Chelidonium majus) internally used by gallstones and liver disorders, externally for warts. With dried herbs work with a ratio 1/5 (20g herbs on 100 ml alcohol) and with fresh herbs use ratio 1/2.
Soothing massage oil
Ingredients: 90% almond oil (90 cc) 5% wheat germ oil (5 cc) 5% essential oil (5 cc) 1cc = 1 cubic cm = 1g Appropriate soothing Essential Oils: Basil, Bergamot, Chamomile (expensive), Lavender all types, Marjoram, Hawthorn, Melissa, Tangerine, Orange-blossom Neroli (very expensive), Orange skin and ower, St John's wort, Valerian. Preparation: A massage oil is composed of a carrier oil, essential oil (E.O.) and an antioxidant product in order to prevent rancidity, for example wheat germ oil which contains a high amount of vitamin E. e E.O. quantity varies from 1% to 5%. Add wheat germ oil 5% to 10% to keep the mixture for more than one month. 1 ml E.O. = slightly less than 1g and 1 ml = +/- 20 drops Put a bit of base oil and antioxidant product in a bottle and add drops of E.O. Shake long and thoroughly and add the rest of the oil and shake again. Apply a label with name, ingredients, expiration date and application. Use: Aer a hot shower apply 20 to 30 drops of the soothing oil on the chest, neck, spine, soles, arms and legs, solar plexus and rub so and gently in a clockwise way. Product information: Almond oil (Prunus amygdalus) is a high and stable ne oil with a pale yellow color and a nice smell. e oil is also rich in omega 6 fatty acids. While it contains unsaturated fatty acids this oil rancid aer a while, so one can add an antioxidant like vitamin E. e oil has skin smoothing, moisturizing, and soothing properties. It can be used for baby care, for irritated, oily or dry skin, and is pleasant for massages. Wheat germ oil (Triticum aestirum) has a high content of poly saturated fatty oil, linoleic and is rich in vitamin E. It's an orange-yellow oil pleasant in taste and smell. It is mixed with other oils to counteract rancidity. (5% to 10%).
Bodyscrub with Himalaya-salt
Ingredients: 155 g Himalaya-salt or dead sea-salt 45 ml almond oil 5 dr. E.O. Ylang Ylang 5 dr. E.O. Rosemary 2 dr. pigment for example E124 ponceau 4R (red dye) Preparation: Mix the almond oil, pigment, and essential oil in a measuring cup. Put the Himalaya-salt (or dead sea-salt) in a jar. Mix the previous mixture with the salt. Apply a label with name, ingredients, expiration date and application. Use: Use the bodyscrub aer a hot shower or sauna when the pores are open. Rub the scrubsalt in with massaging, circular motions. Avoid face, armpits and genitals. Soak for 30 minutes and rinse with hot water and dry. Product information Himalaya-salt: is a pure rock salt. e pink color results from the iron oxide. It contains 84 diﬀerent minerals with a detoxifying eﬀect. Dead sea-salt: contains many minerals and is widely used as bath-salt. It stimulates the metabolism of the skin and has a detoxifying eﬀect. It contains a high level of magnesium and a low level of sodium (sea-salt has a high level of sodium and a low level of magnesium while table-salt contains only sodium and very little or even no magnesium.) Almond oil (Prunus amygdalus) is a high and stable oil which is very rich in vitamins A, B, E, and unsaturated fatty acids. e oil activates the metabolism and supports the cell renewal. It's suitable for all skin types but especially for a dry and mature skin it works as a moisturizer. It is mostly used in creams, lotions, herbal oils, and as a carrier for E.O. Because of it's high content of unsaturated fatty acids this oil rancid aer a while. E124 ponceau 4R is a red synthetic azo dye. Azo dyes are not allergenic and do not cause allergic reactions. But they may cause side eﬀects to asthma suﬀerers and may enhance reactions in people who are intolerant to salicylates. E.O. ylang ylang (Cananga odorata) is an incentive to massage. E.O. rosemary (Rosmarinus oﬃcinalis) stimulates the blood circulation in the skin.
Alcohol-free and translucent hair gel
Ingredients: 100 ml mineral or demineralized water 4 dr. heliozimt 15dr. LV41 dissolution enhancer 1,5 g xanthan gel former 5 dr. E.O. rosemary eventual 2 dr. pigment Preparation: Bring water, heliozimt, dissolution enhancer and E.O. in a recipient together. You can warm up the dissolution enhancer so it becomes easier to handle. an add the xanthan and shake well or stir for a while. Aer 1 hour to 1.30 hours the gel will reach his rmness. 70
Use: Use to reinforce the hair-dress. Product information: Heliozimt is a compound of heliotropine, a natural substance with a chemical compound, hydrozimalcohol. Use 2 drops per 10 g. is product extends the storage time to 2 month and replaces parabens. LV41 is an emulsi er which ensures the essential oil to dissolve in water. Xanthan E415 is a natural thickener derived from fermentation of glucose or sucrose by a bacterium the Xanthomonas campestris under controlled conditions whereby the quality is more eﬃcient than Arabic gum. Xanthan gum is frequently used in food as a tickening agent and as a stabilizer in cosmetic products. Xanthan dissolves very slowly in water and may not be heated above 40°C else it looses it's thickening ability. Already 1% gives a high viscosity to the compound. E.O. rosemary (Rosmarinus oﬃcinalis): ct cineol, ct camphor, ct verbenon (ct = chemotype) stimulates the scalp and hair growth, cleans the scalp, removes dandruﬀ, and makes the hair so and shiny. With dark hair one can use the E.O. of sage as well, to conceal graying hair.
Tooth powder with sage and sea-salt
Ingredients: 350 g sea-salt 100 g dried sage leaves Preparation: Crush the sea-salt and sage leaves with a mortar and pounder. Aerwards grind once more in a grinder to a ne powder. Put the powder in a shallow sterilized jar and close airtight. Apply a label with name, ingredients, expiration date and application. Use: Use as an ordinary toothpaste every morning and evening to remove dental plaque and cure gingivitis. You can keep it for a long time if stored in an airtight packing. Use until sage has lost his smell. Product information: Sea-salt contains a high level of sodium and low level of magnesium Sage (Salvia oﬃcinalis) has an astringent, anti-in ammatory and soothing eﬀect. Can be applied to obtain whiter teeth, and to soothe bleeding gums and loose teeth.
Almond oil Wheat germ oil E.O. Lavender (Lavendula angustifolium) Himalaya-salt Almond oil E.O. Ylang ylang (Canaga odorata) E.O. Rosemary (Rosmarinus oﬃcinalis) E124 ponceau 4R Vodka 40° 100ml Dried yarrow Sea-salt Dried sage Demineralized water 100ml Heliozimt LV Xanthan E.O. Rosemary (Rosmarinus oﬃcinalis)
Bottle 50 ml
Weck jar 200ml
A tour in the Botanic Garden for visually impaired visitors
Kind of activity: Existing tour adapted for blind and visually impaired people (B&VI) Duration: 1h30 or 2h00 Required guides: 1 for a group of 8, max 9 B&VI and their accompanying person. Where: In the Greenhouses Aims of the tour: Give the same satisfaction and knowledge to the B&VI visitors as to the seeing people when they visit our garden. Try to give them the impression that they are really in another place or in another country with the help of feeling, handling, smelling, and listening. e tour: e rst meeting with the group : acquaintance, also with the diseases Introduction to the Botanic Garden e walk to the Greenhouses 72
Description of the greenhouses and an explanation about the building with a 3D model or relief drawings Inside the greenhouses: Presentation of the biomes with a relief map In each greenhouse, a rst walk through the place with a description of the space and the building Back in front, the same story as for the seeing people but kept short and in diﬀerent sequences Handling and smelling the chosen plant-parts to experience the climate adaptations A full description about max 2 plants in each greenhouse Material: A white stick of 1meter, to show something and also to show a length A relief world map, if possible with details; ex: a diﬀerent one for each biome A pair of scissors or shears (for Nepenthes or other plants) A few products; ex: cotton, cork, an olive, a leave or two, to compare etc. Wet tissues to use aer plant handling A model or relief drawing of the Greenhouses A few folding chairs A children trolley to keep everything Guided tour: I have chosen to speak about the diﬀerent climate areas. In our Botanic Garden we have several greenhouses, each of them presenting a biome, a climate area. Each climate gives some diﬀerent smells and a diﬀerent atmosphere. e plants have diﬀerent adaptations that you can perfectly illustrate in a tour were feeling and smell are the guidelines. e proceedings remain the same as in every kind of tour. e B&VI organizations recommend to work with maximum 8 B&VI in 1 group. If possible, wait outside in front of the Garden to meet the group. Present you and take them to a safe place for a rst contact. Try to wear some clothes with bright colors; it helps visually impaired people to locate you easily. Start the conversation in a very open and friendly manner. e rst thing to know is what kind of disease they have: if they are blind or visually impaired – born blind or became blind – what kind of disability the visually impaired people have. Each diﬀerent disease needs to be handled in a diﬀerent way. Don’t be afraid to talk with them and to ask about it in a friendly way. ey know very well that the best way to enjoy their trip is to give you all the information, so you can help them to “see” the plants. Try to create a bond, it is very important that they trust you. Be as friendly as possible. Many B&VI don’t feel safe, certainly not new B&VI, when they come to new places. at’s also the reason why in some places (we do it) there is a possibility to take some folding chairs with you. A lot of new B&VI feel safer when they can sit down (65% are elder people). Of course, to start with, you have to explain where they are; the Botanical Garden (history – science institution), don’t forget to explain the buildings and the surrounding too (be their eyes). Also, present the activity: but keep it short, sometimes it is better you don’t do it at once, walk a little bit rst and make another stop. It is really very diﬃcult for B&VI to follow a verbal description. Everything the guide tells them, they have to remember without sight-references, they have to put it all together to 73
reassemble the puzzle. ey cannot look around to remember the start of the description and if they don’t dare to ask (disturbing other people) they cannot follow anymore. It is sometimes very intensive and needs a lot of concentration. SO NEVER TALK MORE THAN 5 – 7 MINUTES AT ONCE If there is more than one way to reach the greenhouses, take the safest way, even if it’s a bit longer (think on: trees with low branches, muddy places, puddles, uneven ground, etc.). e plants you want to show them have to be chosen very carefully because they are very limited. In our Garden, I show 4-5 greenhouses: 2 whole plants and some parts of a few other plants in each room are more than enough. Just before you start your tour you should have a look to know if the plants are still pleasant enough to be used with blind people. Never change your mind or add plants while you are busy, there is so much to do: it could disturb the tour and you will not have enough time anymore to nish the whole tour. When you arrive in front of the greenhouses, make another stop for a few minutes, and explain again the surroundings and the greenhouses, how big, high, what kind of materials and glass they used, how heated. But again very short. You have to talk loudly, speak slowly, and don’t use unnecessary words. You can use a model of the greenhouses and/or the botanical garden. If it’s too diﬃcult to get one, a relief map could be used instead. When you enter the rst greenhouse, give the B&VI some time to experience their environment. Because they have failing sight, their other senses are much more developed than ours. Leave them time to feel, smell the climate (temperature, odors, humidity). Ask them aer a few minutes what they think about it, where they think they are. Pay attention so that your visitors don’t talk all at once. Explain in the same way as for seeing people where they are, but with the help of a relief map. A walk through the room can help them to understand the size of the greenhouse, how it is organized. Don’t talk while you are walking, but make one or two stops to explain how the plants are arranged, what kind of ground, how high they are, but don’t speak about one particular plant at that moment, your visitors have rst to make an idea about their environment, see the room through your eyes. On the other side of the room nish the explanation about the greenhouse and take the way back to go where you have chosen the plants you want to explain. In this case (climate tour) I show the adaptations to diﬀerent weather conditions: cold, rain, humidity, dryness, aridity, heat, etc. With the help of their accompanying person, let them touch and smell some parts of the plants to feel the adaptations. In some case, you may ask them before if they want to experience it and explain very well what exactly they are going to touch. Ex: the cactus: you have to choose one with big needles, and compare them with the euphorbia. Most of the B&VI will rst approach it with the back of the hand. at is the way they approach something that frightens them a little bit. Never push people to touch something they don’t like! Never take a plant out of its environment before they experienced the plant in its environment. ey rst have to know where and how the plant lives. Ex: e water hyacinth: it is very interesting to show the whole plant, with the roots, but don’t take it out of the water before they touched it in the water. To explain a whole plant, example the olive tree, start with a full image: form, size, color, what it looks like. Aer that, you can focus on details; you can start with the roots, the stem (can be touched), the branches and leaves (can be touched too) the olives (if there are none bring some). 74
But, you have to always stay on your subject. First a general image, aer that the details so they can really “see the tree” and only aer that, have a small talk about the products! So never start an explanation about the oil while you explain the tree, otherwise, it would become too diﬃcult to get a good image of the tree. You can start again in the same way in the next greenhouse. Some food plants can be very interesting too, and can even be tasted, but never forget to show or speak about the whole plant and not only the fruit or other product. It is always very interesting to speak about all this with the gardeners : when they must cut a part of a plant, you can ask them to cut it the same day or the day before your tour and leave the cut parts for you (they could be used to touch). Ex: the Nepenthes. Every Botanic Garden and every guide have to nd out with which plants they want to work. It will be adapted to every place. It is only the general concept I wanted to explain here.
Who are the blind and visually impaired visitors
At rst, you have to know that about 2% of the population, from the industrial countries, is blind or visually impaired, and there is not a typical person who is B&VI. ere are many diﬀerent groups with very diﬀerent, sometimes con icting, needs and interests that may depend on what point in life a person became blind or visually impaired and how complete the vision loss is. Blind means having a maximal visual acuity of the better eye, aer correction by refractive lenses, of 1/10 normal vision or less (20/200 or less on the Snellen test). Blindness encompasses a narrower population than legally blind or visually impaired. Legally Blind is a term used if both eyes have a visual acuity of 20/200 or worse according to a Snellen chart examination. is term is primarily used for legal and oﬃcial purposes. is term encompasses a broader population than blindness but a narrower population than visually impaired. Visually Impaired means: having a visual acuity of less than 3/10 and (US: 20/40) vision eld or less than 40°. Severely Visual impaired is a term applied to the approximately ¾ of those considered blind that have some useful vision; typically means a person cannot read newsprint. Low vision is the level of best corrected visual acuity at which a person is said to have “low vision”. Measured levels of 20/60 or 20/70 are commonly used and correspond roughly to the more qualitative de nition of inability to read regular newsprint As the geriatric population grows, the number of people with low vision and other age-related disabilities will increase. e rst thing you have to learn is the most common handicaps, to be able to help the person and use the most appropriate way to guide his sight: is the person blind or partially sighted? Is it since birth or did it happen later in life? If partially sighted, what is the nature of the disability? Peripheral, tunnel, light and dark, spots or marks, color etc. ? I think it is very important that if you want to help, or guide the B&VI you rst experience it too and that you learn the most important diseases. Because there are a lot of diﬀerent problems and each diﬀerent situation requires a diﬀerent way to handle it. I attended a workshop where I had to wear 4 diﬀerent diving goggles that illustrated diﬀerent diseases. I had to walk wearing the goggles, nd some things, and places, read and write. I found this workshop indispensable, thus I made the same diving goggles for myself because I think that one can forget very soon how these goggles make you experience your environment. For me, it is really necessary to know how the B&VI people «see» their environment and the plants you want to show them. 75
How to handle with B&VI: some suggestions
Speak slowly and clearly, with diﬀerent intonations: It needs a lot of concentration to follow a verbal, description. e intonations have to replace the face-language and eye-contact. Your voice has to captivate them. Otherwise, the explanation could become boring. You always have to talk in a calm way, even if something happens, they don’t see what happens and could get afraid for nothing Never touch a B&VI without telling him rst (to help him touching plants or to give him something etc.) Do not use body language, blind people don’t see it, but could disturb visual impaired people. Do not speak about plants they can’t touch (or very short) it doesn’t bring them enough and there is not much time. It is much more interesting to have a whole idea about a plant. Don’t speak while you are walking, 1st reason, they have to pay attention where they walk, and 2nd reason, your voice is not so clear because you are not in front of them. Pay only attention to the B&VI: of course, the accompanying persons have to enjoy it too (most of them are volunteers) but don’t let them disturb you. ey have to stay discreet. Try to stay at a distance from other noisy groups, or ask them gently to be quieter. For a B&VI person, it is really very disturbing when there is much noise (I experienced it). Without sight, the noises are much louder.
How I worked on that tour
ere are a lot of diﬀerent ways to enhance the B&VI visitors’ experience in Botanic Gardens. As a guide, I preferred to work out a guided tour. I wanted to give the opportunity to enjoy nature and plants to a larger part of the population. e B&VI organizations made a study about what the visitors preferred, and they have a preference for audio features supplemented by features stimulating the other senses of smell, touch, and taste: all these things can be perfectly incorporated in a guided tour in a Botanic Garden. Guided tours oﬀer the audio stimulation that seems to be desired. Guided tours promote interacting and learning. Being able to handle plants enhance the experience. e tour can be adjusted for a particular group or for a particular person's interest. Our Botanic Garden in Meise is located out of town and is not so easy to reach: for B&VI visitors it is very diﬃcult to visit us on their own, this is a supplementary reason for my choice. When I started I didn’t know anything about blind people; I had never met some and didn't know where to go. Aer searching a while I found a very good book in the library of our Botanic Garden “Art in the Dark”, a Flemish book written by guides and organization actors. ey talk about blind people and art & museums. Many museums worked out a tour for B&VI. I got a rst idea about the kind of people, kind of disease, and how to act and handle. ere were many addresses of organizations, blind people, guides who could help. Aer learning about the diﬀerent diseases, I started to learn (only in books in the beginning) the way to handle this public: how to act, how to talk, how to guide in normal life, how to guide a tour, what you can and can’t do. Later on, I attended workshops provided by Blind & Visually Impaired organizations. In Belgium, there are a lot of these organizations and all of them produce workshops, some you have to pay for (sometimes very expensive), and some are free.
Meeting blind people
In the book I got, I found addresses from guides (some of them are blind) who work with B&VI people. One of them invited me on an “Info-aernoon” in a museum in Leuven. ere, I met a very sweet blind person. It was the rst time I really had some contact with a visually impaired person. One of the activities I followed with her (I was her accompaniment for the aernoon) was a guided tour given by two guides, one of them blind. It was very interesting for me to notice that it is really diﬃcult to follow a verbal description while wearing a blindfold. e guides started with the explanation of a statue and aer that of a painting, both with a lot of details. Very soon I didn't know what she was talking about anymore. So I now know what you can and can’t do when you give a verbal description. I learned to use short sentences, to speak very clearly and pay attention to my voice. I also understood that you cannot speak for too long (not more than 5 to 7 min) and that you cannot speak while doing something else (for ex. handling plants). e words you choose are important, and because you cannot have eyecontact and they cannot see your face, the intonation is very important.
BOTANIC GARDENS AS NEW TOOLS
Environmental education is nowadays mainly focused on safeguarding animal species on the one side and on diminishing the ecological footprint on the other side. Botanic gardens have all the means to contribute to another important element in environmental education, i.e. raising awareness and sensitivity about ecosystems and ecosystem services. In many botanic gardens, diﬀerent biomes are reconstructed in the permanent plant exhibitions inside or outdoors. ey form the ideal framework to explain to visitors the importance of natural habitats for the survival of plants, but also for the animals living within the biomes. rough speci c plant exhibitions the dependency of humans on plants and plant related products can also be explained.
Steven Dessein - Director ad interim - National Botanic Garden of Belgium
Botanic gardens have two unique and important contributions to environmental education. Firstly, they oﬀer an international context, their plant collections originate from all over the world and, using these collections, the global context of local issues can be easily illustrated. Secondly, the living collections of a botanic garden are also a window on the various adaptations that plants have developed and which enable them to survive in very diﬀerent environments. By comparing these exotic plants with local species, the adaptations of indigenous plants, which are oen overlooked, can be more appreciated. When the botanic garden also has a scienti c department, this adds a third aspect. e link with science provides very detailed and well documented examples that can be used in an educational context.
Gert Ausloos - Head of Education - National Botanic Garden of Belgium
Botanic Gardens are great educational tools because of all the material available in the same place (plants, books, and scientists...). Furthermore, it is easy with the collections to retrace evolution, and inform (and convince) the public about life evolution. Because of the increasing in uence of creationists and religions, there is still a need to ght this obscurantism. Botanic gardens are increasingly concerned and active in plant diversity conservation (e.g. GSPC : Global Strategy for Plant Conservation). Botanic Gardens combine in-situ (expertise) and ex-situ (seed collection) conservation: they can therefore be a good place to educate people to the need for preserving biodiversity, as well as wild plants as the economically important ones (why, how, and what every person can do...).
Fabienne Van Rossum - Research Scientist - National Botanic Garden of Belgium
Botanic Gardens are excellent places where plants and people can meet each other. ere are many opportunities to come in contact with the botanical diversity of our planet: within the collections (living and preserved), through public exhibitions and meetings with researchers. In these encounters, people can admire the beauty of the plants, people can be amazed by the complexity of the wonder named ‘nature’, and people can learn more about plants and terrestrial ecosystems and their relation to humans. When Botanic Gardens succeed to link collections, research and education, they become unique places where people can come in contact with various aspects of plants and they help to develop a more sustainable and respectful attitude to nature.
Piet Stoﬀelen - Collection manager and Researcher - National Botanic Garden of Belgium
Botanic gardens worldwide are very diverse institutes, yet they all share their focus on Plant life in its various aspects. Since plants are generally not considered to be cuddlesome, their importance and overall impact on our lives and environment is mostly underestimated or ignored. One of the main targets of Botanic Gardens is to create the necessary awareness and respect for Plant life as one of the main axes that build, determine and support our environment. rough active participation in environmental education, Botanic Gardens can act as ambassadors of the Plant Kingdom.
Elke Bellefroid - Scienti c Collection of the Greenhouse Collections - National Botanic Garden of Belgium
I.WHAT DO WE HAVE TO OFFER?
In Botanic Gardens, you will nd plants from all over the world, some of them really threatened, and you will probably nd well preserved indigenous species from your region. ose indigenous species are sometimes rich with an ethnobotanical knowledge coming with them in this particular region you live in. With their scenography and landscapes and museologic designs, Botanic Gardens are generally beautiful places that raise attention and awareness on plants, their beauty, their utility, their scarcity, their role in ecosystems... e place itself where is set the Botanic Garden will also probably be rich in history, sometimes in a very close relationship with the country’s (or region’s) own history. Even loaded with all of this history, Botanic Gardens are also modern scienti c and educational structures, which can oﬀer training, lifelong learning opportunities, facilities, materials... Never in human history has basic knowledge about plants been more important than today. Plants are the foundation of a viable and healthy environment, but the plant kingdom is counting serious losses, about 40% of all plant species are threatened in one way or another. e past century has been devastating and more and more plants species are becoming extinct. is biodiversity crisis is mainly caused by us, humans. We recklessly waste energy and resources. We disturb natural environments with disastrous consequences, for ourselves but also for plant species. Climate changes, soil erosion, drought, and pollution claim their victims. How much longer before the damage is irreversible? But, we have the solutions within hands reach; by sustainable management of our living botanical resources we can successfully keep our world intact and hand it over to our children. Botanic gardens with their unique vision on the plant kingdom and their vast knowledge about plants are an indispensable tool in nding solutions to the problems our world and our societies face. Botanic Gardens hold a wealth of information on the ecology, the distribution, and the uses of plants. e living collections oﬀer a unique view on the plant kingdom in all its diversity and the passionate researchers, gardeners, educators, guides, know how vital plants are. Botanic Gardens can be promoters of eco-management of plants and landscape. As the curator of Florence’s Garden says, they can become «sanctuary of permacultures, looking toward a greener future». Located in cities or in their surroundings, Botanic Gardens can increase their social role: connect with communities around them, inspire «green» connections between people. Let’s give a word to Richard Louv, author of «Last Child in the Woods: Saving our children from Nature-De cit Disorder» : «Botanic Gardens in our cities do oﬀer urban children and adults a portal into nature, and these institutions may also oﬀer passage into the new era: the transformation of our cities. In that coming time, the city does not only contains a botanic garden; it becomes one. What if botanical gardens helped galvanize urban regions to connect children, their families and their communities to nature, knowledge and wonder? By planting and nurturing a human network of families, natural teachers, pediatricians, landscape architects, and others, each botanic garden can become a hub of bioregional information.»
I. INSPIRATIONAL TEXT
To develop this project, we have relied on the text of H. Bruce Rinker “e weight of a petal: the value of Botanical Gardens”, published in 2002 by the American Institute of Biological Sciences. H. Bruce Rinker, Ph.D., is an ecologist, educator, and explorer committed to establishing sustainable environmental links between people and culture. He is the director of scienti c advancement and development at the Biodiversity Research Institute in Gorham, ME. He received his doctorate in environmental studies with an emphasis on forest ecology from Antioch University New England (Keene, NH) in 2004. Dr. Rinker is a National Fellow of e Explorers Club, a Switzer Environmental Fellow, and a Fellow of the New York Academy of Sciences. He is co-editor of Forest Canopies (Elsevier Press, 2004) and Gaia in Turmoil: Climate Change, Biodepletion, and Earth Ethics in an Age of Crisis (MIT Press, 2010) and the author of numerous technical and popular articles including a regular “Naturalist’s Column” for the Roanoke Star-Sentinel http://newsroanoke.com/. We reproduce here his text : Gardens, as landscapes with scattered trees and copses interspersed with open spaces or bodies of water, widely appeal to our aesthetic sense and our need to perceive an organized natural world. Such settings may even appeal to a genetic memory of humanity’s remote origins on the African savanna. Undoubtedly, owers and the near-in nite diversity of their fruits in uenced the survival of early hominids and the skill of modern humans to inhabit every corner of the planet. Flowering plants originated during the Cretaceous Period, nearly 100 million years ago when Africa and South America were still connected to each other. e dramatic co-evolution of owering plants and their insect pollinators colored the face of the planet and set the stage for the emergence of our vision-dominated ancestors millions of years later. Loren Eiseley, late anthropologist from the University of Pennsylvania, exclaimed, “the weight of a petal changed the face of the world and made it ours.” What are botanical gardens? Some people have the mistaken impression that botanical gardens are parks devoid of play, something like 19th century museums where plants bear labels with unpronounceable names. Modern botanical gardens, however, are global treasures in an age of ecological crisis. Today numbering more than 3000 gardens worldwide, they are places devoted to the culture, study, and exhibition of documented collections of living plants. Further, they: • are committed to developing, documenting, verifying, maintaining, sharing, propagating, and disseminating their plant collections — a description oﬀered by the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta (AABGA) • serve as reference centers for plant identi cation, cultivar registration, nomenclature, and plant exploration • and, for some threatened species, have become the last hope for their precarious survival Simply put, modern botanical gardens are scholarly places for the research and conservation of plants. e western tradition of botanical gardens Botanical gardens can be traced to human beginnings and are found in all cultures, past and present. In the western world, gardens went through a metamorphosis: 80
e weight of a petal : the value of Botanical Gardens
Medicinal Gardens: 16th and 17th centuries e early European institutions were medicinal gardens, also called physics gardens or gardens of simples (such as Florence’s Giardino dei Semplici), whose principle role was to provide material for medical faculties in Italy, France, and other western countries. e earliest medicinal gardens in Europe were all established in the 16th and 17th centuries: Pisa (1543), Zurich (1560), Paris (1597), Oxford (1621), Berlin (1679), and others. Colonial Gardens: 17th and 18th centuries Later on, governments created tropical botanical gardens as instruments of colonial expansion and commercial development. e celebrated 18th century Calcutta Botanical Garden and Royal Botanic Gardens Pamplemousses in Mauritius come to mind. Linnaean Gardens: 18th and 19th centuries Gradually, a strict utilitarian display gave way to a comprehensive study of plants. Based on the work of Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778),15 the father of modern taxonomy, gardens were laid out to show plant relationships. Live and preserved material poured into the botanical gardens of Europe, especially from the New World, to be exhibited, studied, and identi ed. As taxonomy gained in prominence, botanical gardens emphasized their herbaria, laboratories, and libraries over their living collections, on which little research was then undertaken. Civic Gardens: 19th and 20th centuries Municipal gardens were founded in the 19th and 20th centuries (e.g., Missouri Botanical Garden in 1859) that advanced the horticultural aspects of their living collections. Specialist Gardens: 20th and 21st centuries Specialist gardens, such as experimental stations and orchid gardens, emerged in the 20th century that highlighted research on particular plant groups. Floristic explorations and taxonomic studies, especially in remote tropical locations, allowed botanical gardens to expand their living and preserved collections. It also allowed them to advance as leading research centers for plant conservation. Sanctuary Gardens: 20th and 21st centuries Today, much of the responsibility for the genetic protection of threatened species, along with ex situ protection of plants with economic and ecological importance, rests with botanical gardens. For instance, the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida propagates a handful of species that are listed as no longer existing in the wild: Anthurium leuconeurum (Araceae) from Chiapas, Mexico; Epidendrum ilense (Orchidaceae) from the Pinchincha Province in Ecuador; Platycerium grande (Polypodiaceae) from Mt. Banahau in the Philippines; and others. ese species may depend upon the horticultural and scienti c support of trained staﬀ members at the Gardens for their survival. Botanical gardens have become agships of our international botanical eﬀorts in the service of science and humanity during an age of unparalleled ecological crisis. Stewardship in an age of crisis Botanists have identi ed more than 400,000 species of plants worldwide. However, • approximately 34,000 are threatened at present • two-thirds of the world’s plant species are in danger of extinction during the course of the 21st century • of the 20,000 known plant species in the United States, more than 200 had already vanished by the end of the 20th century; and another 600 to 700 are in imminent jeopardy ese plant species are in jeopardy because of a burgeoning human population that then aﬀects proximate causes such as deforestation, habitat loss, the spread of invasive species, and agricultural expansion. Given the deplorable rates of deforestation throughout the tropics, where most of the planet’s biodiversity is located, we stand to lose thousands of plant species worldwide in the next few decades unless we make a concerted and collaborative eﬀort to conserve them. 81
Conservation is not always synonymous with preservation. Conservation implies wise management. Preservation means to put aside. Preservation can be a conservation strategy, however, for a natural resource that is rare, nonrenewable, or irreplaceable. For example, authorities for a national forest may decide to protect an old-growth stand from hunting, logging, and other extractive uses because of its overall value for posterity. Conservation, then, is an umbrella term that widely encompasses use and nonuse of natural resources, depending upon our management strategy. Ideally, that strategy should be based on four considerations: • What ecosystem service is provided by the resource? • What is the economic bene t of the resource? • What is the aesthetic value of the resource? • What is the ethical value of the resource? Ecosystem service Easily overlooked are free services provided by nature, such as: • clean air and water • nitrogen cycling • decomposition • erosion control • climate stability It is near-to-impossible to place a dollar value on these bene ts, and attempts to replace them with human technologies have fallen short. Mangroves are superior to seawalls, protecting our shorelines from wave erosion and acting as a resilient living barrier during hurricanes. Bacteria return nitrogen gas from our atmosphere to all other living things, where it is essential for the construction of proteins. No invention has been able to imitate that ancient global function. ese services have immeasurable value for all living things on the planet. Economic bene t Many plants provide us with food, shelter, fuel, clothing, and medicines. Indigenous peoples face this reality on a daily basis. People in the United States and other aﬄuent countries may think they live removed from local ecosystems, but no one escapes from nature entirely. As a global species, we gain our sustenance from our surroundings. For example: • fully 50% of our medicines are derived from plants • 25% of all prescription drugs have their origins in tropical forests e cinchona tree of the eastern Andean tropical forest yields the anti-malarial drug, quinine. e rosy periwinkle from Madagascar produces scores of diﬀerent alkaloids, two of which led to major breakthroughs in cancer treatment. In addition to their medicinal value, plants provide us with numerous other economic bene ts: food products, building materials, paper, ornamentation, fuelwood, green gas, even pest control (e.g., the use of the carnivorous plant, Utricularia, to trap aquatic insect pests in ponds). Life on the planet, much of it unexplored, represents a cornucopia of natural resources for humanity. Aesthetic value In addition to deriving our livelihood directly and indirectly from the planet’s rich biodiversity, we also value species richness for • recreation • scienti c research • wonder • and primal companionship 82
Early exploration of the tropical rainforest canopy yielded new kinds of organisms and new ecological processes unknown to us. Fishermen, hunters, skiers, golfers, pet owners, and boatmen all value the outdoors for their sports and livelihoods. And who can say how the faithful of major world religions have been affected by the natural world in which their credos emerged? Ethical value What is the moral basis for conserving our natural resources, especially the more diminutive, not-soglamorous species such as bacteria, mosses, and worms? Some scientists argue that morality is the most valid reason for our management strategies, obligating us to do everything possible to prevent human-caused extinction everywhere on the planet. For many scientists, in situ preservation of species is the first commandment of conservation. As Aldo Leopold wrote in his A Sand County Almanac, “To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.” Education and environmental ethics Education and ethics are components of a vital formula for our survival on an ancient, but latterly threatened, planet. Already botanists have documented relentless threats facing the tropics and their plant stocks. Recent data from the latest IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, released in September 2000 by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, indicate that the global extinction crisis is worse than previously believed: • Not only has the magnitude of risk increased with forest areas shrinking around the world, but the capacity of remaining forests to maintain biodiversity also appears to be diminishing significantly. • Plant species are declining most rapidly in Central and South America, historically important areas for many botanical gardens, as well as in Central and West Africa, and Southeast Asia. • Some plants are no longer found in the wild. Botanists have catalogued and preserved many species of orchids and bromeliads that, because of tropical habitat destruction, may now exist only in greenhouses. In short, the plants forming the basis of botanical gardens’ core mission and ethics are under serious threat around the globe. A solid commitment to education and ethics could stem this appalling trend, launching botanical gardens as leaders in ecological stewardship. Conclusion: the weight of a petal Many modern botanical gardens started in far different times. Twenty-five years ago the threats to tropical systems were not as widely documented as they are now. Then we had barely begun our explorations in the world’s treetops. Today we sense the imminent collapse of entire ecosystems, including many vital habitats for threatened plant species. The early mission of botanical gardens prioritized the exploration and cataloguing of the wealth of tropical rainforest flora that formed the basis of their plant collections. Today exploration and collection of species are increasingly limited by international regulations and botanical gardens are expanding the scope of their mission to be relevant in the next 25 years. Botanists now recognize unequivocally the temporal/spatial ecological connections operating within plant communities. We no longer simply focus on collections of rare and unusual species but also include in situ and ex situ conservation of their ecological associates. Thanks to pioneering efforts during the last 25 years in many remote regions, especially the canopies of tropical rainforests, we now realize how little is known about the diversity and ecological richness of the world’s plants — and how much effort is needed to conserve them. Botanical gardens can change the world as flagship institutions for research and education about the plant kingdom. Plants represent the basis of most life on the planet. Like the weight of a petal, a handful of botanical gardens across the globe can help us steward earth’s green mantle and, thereby, insure our own survival in an age of ecological crisis. © 2002, American Institute of Biological Sciences. Educators have permission to reprint articles for classroom use; other users, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for reprint permission.
II. AUDIOVISUAL MATERIAL
e Cube Panels in Meise : interpretation material
Botanic Garden and Seed Bank in Meise
Archives, Library and Herbarium in Meise
VIP day for Educators in Meise - 12 June 2013
e Botanic Garden of Florence
Archives, Library and Herbarium in Florence
Educational Activities in Florence
Garden, Archives, Library, Seed Bank and Herbarium in Madrid
Educational Activities in Madrid
Sharing Practices in Madrid
A Workshop in Madrid «From the Tree to the Forest»
Three partner Botanic Gardens — Orto Botanico di Firenze — Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid - CSIC — National Botanic Garden of Belgium joined in a two year Grundtvig programme, part of the European Lifelong Learning Programme. They defined the project “Botanic gardens: new tools for environmental education” highlighting the role that European botanic gardens have played during the past five hundred years and the function that they still have today. Botanic gardens have been responsible for introducing numerous economically important plants like coffee. They have also played a vital role in developing and publishing knowledge on medicinal plants, and today they are key actors in developing programs to understand and conserve botanical biodiversity worldwide. They are still great places to deliver Environmental Education, offering you multiple educational resources. This handbook designed for teachers and educators will answer these questions: — How to use a Botanic Garden for my educative purposes? — What do it has to offer? — What kind of activities can deliver a Botanic Garden? The handbook will be translated in the future and will be available online.
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