Friday, December 04, 2009

Barcelona Botanical Garden


I love botanical gardens, and in particular those that is located in warmer climates. Barcelona Botanical Garden is found on top of Montjuïc, with a spectacular view of the city.

Montjuïc rise 173 meters (567 ft) up over the city centre. Here you find many major attractions as the former olympic stadium and olympic museum, the Miro Museum, the museum of ethnology, and the Catalan museum of archaeology (housed in the 1929 exhibition's palace of graphic arts).

To find the Botanical Garden you have to pass the impressive Olympic stadium and walk up the hill above it. Here you will find a Garden of Eden appear in front of you eyes. The current garden was established on the grounds of the Olympic games in 1999.

History

The garden at Montjuïc is by noe means the first of its kind in the Catalan capital. Already in 1723, Jaime Salvador i Pedrol created a Botanical Garden in Sant Joan Despí. What is now known as the Historic Botanical Garden was created in 1930 by Pius Font i Quer on the site known as Els Sots of la Foixarda on the slopes of Montjuïc.

The construction of the new Olympic facilities in 1986 undermined the stability of the Historic Botanical Garden and this resulted in a proposal to establish a new Botanical Garden in Barcelona making it into a central point of reference for the conservation of Mediterranean flora.

Barcelona’s new Botanical Garden was officially opened on 18 April 1999. The project was supported both formally and economically by Barcelona City Council and the European Union.

Some of the species found in the garden

Macrozamia moorei

The Macrozamia moorei may look like a palm tree, but it is not. It belongs to the cycads.

Cycads are an ancient family of species going as far back as 280 million years - to the early Permian era. Many larger specimens are easily mistaken to be palm trees, but they are actually related to the conifers.

Today there are 305 described species, in 10–12 genera and 2–3 families of cycads, growing wild in tropical areas in all continents. Some species, as Cycas panzhihuaensis, and Revoluta, are more widely cultivated and may even tolerate some frost.

The Macrozamia Moorei originates from New South Wales in Australia. It was described in 1881 and named after Charles Moore, the Director of the Botanical Garden in Sydney.

It is a beautiful plant, with long, curved leaves. It can grow up to 7 meters tall and the leaves can get up to 2,5 meters long.

Artichokes

For those of you that do not believe that artichokes are large thistles, look here! Here you see one in bloom - a first time even for me.

Artichokes are a well known ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine. When traveling in Spain, you can see fields growing these giant thistles along roads and railway tracks.

As they are harvested as buds, you rarely see one in bloom, but when you do, you are struck by the resemblance with your own species of thistles.

The art of enjoying an artichoke - see story here

Acacia

Acacias belong to another large family of plants. The most famous is the species growing in Africa, with long spines and beautiful foliage.

Acacias, or related species known under the same name, are growing on all tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions on all continents.

I have observed Giraffes feeding on tall acacia trees in the Pilanesberg Reserve in South Africa, and saw specimens growing in our garden at Aintree Lodge in Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu Natal. They are beautiful, gracious and highly decorative plants with round furry flowers of different colours.

Where to find the Botanical Gardens in Barcelona


View Barcelona and Catalonia on Enjoy Food & Travel in a larger map

More botanical stories on this site

Gran Canaria - an island in bloom

Resisting the Norwegian winter

South Africa - Breathtaking Botanical Beauty


1 comment:

John said...

We'll have to give this one a visit...next summer maybe! :)