Palermo botanical garden

Palermo botanical garden

Visit to the Botanical Garden of Palermo

This month we decided to visit an important and ancient garden which, thanks to its particular geographical position, embodies the charm of tropical and continental flora: the Botanical Garden of Palermo.

It is an institution that since the first years of life has represented an important reference for the cultural and scientific life of the Sicilian capital.

The construction of the first gardens dates back to 1789 with the destination of 12,000 square meters of land even if since 1779, the date of birth of the Royal Academy of Studies, we note the cultivation of medicinal herbs and other varieties near the ancient Porta Cute.

In these years, talented scholars take their first steps in search of modern classification methodologies and scientific approaches to analysis and description; among these we remember Father Bernardino da Ucria (1739-1796) who was the first to hold the chair of "Demonstrator of Botany". The construction of the garden took place between 1789 and 1795 by Salvatore Attinelli and then by the French architect Leon Dufourny to whom we owe the layout of the garden, which from the first years of life would have followed the classification of Linnaeus, and the construction of the structures still existing today.

Currently the Botanical Garden is a fundamental part of the Department of Botanical Sciences of the University of Palermo, thus continuing to represent a point of aggregation and reference for scholars and enthusiasts of the sector.

The garden currently contains about 12,000,000 species and the collections are located both in the open air and in the greenhouse. There is certainly no lack of species of particular interest both in scientific terms and in purely aesthetic terms.

Among all, almost to represent a symbol of the Garden and the city, is the immense Ficus magnolioides whose foliage reaches an extension of over 1200 square meters. This species imported in the first half of the nineteenth century on the Sicilian island, aroused the interest of local scholars who verified, with little success, the possible possibility of extracting rubber from its trunk.


Certainly of considerable interest is the collection of so-called succulents. In fact, these are plants which, thanks to the particular temperate climate of the island, have reached a considerable diffusion in the territory. Among these we remember the so-called Ficodindia (Opuntia ficus -indica) known for its delicious fruits and the Echinocactus grusonii, also called the seat of the mother-in-law, coming from Central Mexico. There is also an Aquarium and a pond which contains various aquatic plants including some piperacee, pontederiacee and pistiacee. In particular, the hybrids of Nymphea x marliacea and Nelumbo lucifera commonly known as lotus flower stand out among all, for the multicolored blooms.

Palermo botanical garden: Carnivorous plants

An element of notable attraction is the area dedicated to carnivorous plants. In fact, these are species that generally spread in territories with low nitrogen content and that provide for the reintegration of this nutritional element by capturing small insects inside particular leaves. In a greenhouse in the garden it is therefore possible to admire species belonging to the genera of Dionea, Drosera and Sarracenia.

Inside the park there is also a collection of palm trees that includes 34 genera and about 80 species. It includes the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera), the dwarf palm (Chamaerops humilis) and all the species belonging to the genus of Washingtonia including Washingtonia filifera which flourished for the first time in Europe in the botanical garden of Palermo.

An area of ​​interest is the collection of useful plants, including sugary sorghum (Sorghum sacharatum) and sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum) used for the production of sugar, papaya (Carica papaya) and avocado (Persea grateful).

Video: Natura a Palermo, Sicily Melissa Manchester. Thief of Hearts