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Lime Grove (Alameda das Tílias)
This is one of the most emblematic corners of the Garden, which
reminds one of the public walkways of large European cities. The
pleasant setting changes every season and in May/June the flowers
exhale sweet scents.
Built in 1856, this is one of the oldest iron buildings in the whole of
Portugal. The perfect combination of glass and iron enhance the
unusual beauty of this place. The greenhouse harbours essentially
tropical and subtropical plants, and it is divided into three sections,
simulating tropical, subtropical and temperate climates. Here one
finds a large variety of species, in particular orchids, carnivorous
plants, tropical trees and ferns.
In this greenhouse there is an artificial lake, where – amongst other
species - we find the largest water lily in the world, the Victoria
cruziana, originally from the equatorial region of the Amazon River.
Its leaves can measure up to two metres wide and bear a load of
up to 30 kg; the flowers, perfumed and exuberant, last no longer
than 48 h, and are white on the first day and purple on the second.
A prodigy of nature delivered to the public in the Summer months.
Excellent sun exposure has enabled the development of a tropical
environment in this corner, which includes different species of palmtrees
from all 5 continents, in particular the single Portuguese
species that grows spontaneously in the Algarve, Chamaerops
humilis ssp. humilis, and bird-of-paradise trees (Strelitzia nicolai).
Central Square/ Fountain
This is considered the Garden’s “birthplace”. The typical neoclassical
features are quite visible: forged iron gates, stonework,
walls and flower-beds in geometrical design, bordered by fences.
Diversity rules: several kinds of magnolias, garden cherry trees,
azaleas and others alongside the central fountain, lending a Romantic
atmosphere to this area.
Built in the 50s, under the supervision of the illustrious botanist,
Professor Abílio Fernandes, it houses flora typical of humid and
shade environments. The plants are surrounded by a wall cascade
and a stream running through the house. One can also admire a
contemporary statue, called “Botanica”, a female nude by the
sculptor Martins Correia, symbolising the Science of Plants.
Systemic Nurseries. Medicinal Plants Nursery
For many centuries – and even today – medicine depended on
Botany for the study of plants’ medicinal properties. The Systemic
Nurseries of the Botanic Garden, which have developed reserves
for the Garden’s seed bank, are in fact schools of Botany, and
include the Medicinal Plants Nursery, which displays aromatic and
medicinal plants. The plants are organised in the flower-beds by
order of families.
Bamboo Forest. São Bento Chapel
A good name for this part of the Garden would be the “Bamboo
Cathedral”. Introduced in the Garden in 1852, Phyllostacys
bambusoides is the bamboo species that is best adapted to the
Garden, covering a total area of one hectare. Here one can also
see the chapel of São Bento, initially a 17th century shade house
transformed into a place of prayer by the Benedict monks.
The wood occupies two thirds of the Garden’s total area. It is
covered in dense vegetation, which includes essentially exotic trees
from all parts of the world. The species sprout and grow freely here.
This area also includes a valley covered in monocotyledon trees,
50 distinct species of eucalyptus, a shade house and the magnificent
bamboo plantation. More recently, an orchard settled in and invaded
the area with new sweet smells.
Manufactured in 1884 by Mestre Galinha, the main gate is in forged
iron and bronze. This is an excellent sample of neo-classical art,
in beautiful wrought ironwork, which was quite popular in the 19th
Statue of Júlio Henriques
Appointed head of Coimbra Botanic Garden in 1873, Júlio Henriques
promoted plant and seed exchange with other Botanic Gardens.
From the Java Botanic Garden he managed to obtain seeds of
species like the Chichona, the bark of which quinine is extracted,
used as a prophylactic of malaria. He led several scientific expeditions
for collecting Portuguese plant species and was the founder of the
country’s single scientific society of botany, Sociedade Broteriana.
Statue sculptured by Barata Feio in 1951.
Bas-relief of Luís Carrisso
Appointed Director of the Garden in 1918, Luís Carrisso took up
the work performed by Professor Júlio Henriques of enhancing the
Botanic Garden’s floral heritage. He led several scientific expeditions
on Portuguese territory with this purpose in mind and initiated a
project of collecting African flora species. He died prematurely
during an expedition to Angola. Bas-relief produced by José dos
Santos in 1948.