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orto botanico, Palermo ITALY
The gardens are currently home to at least 12,000 different species.
In the Aquarium many species of Nymphaea are to be found, including Nymphaea alba, Nymphaea tuberosa hybrids of Nymphaea marliacea..., while in a nearby pond, the so called laghetto, Egyptian papyrus and other cyperaceae such as Scirpus lacustris... Various species of bamboo grow nearby and directly behind here, atop a small artificial hill, there is a healthy specimen of the drago tree. Not too far away we can see a magnificent Araucaria columnaris, and a gigantic specimen of Ficus macrophylla. The garden of succulents of the bioecological zone is home to numerous species of the genus Aloe and various other plants of arid regions, including Cereus, Euphorbia... In the area containing Cycadetum there are certain species of cicadi that have a notable history. Of these we have Cycas revoluta, donated by Queen Maria Carolina in 1793, was the first such specimen to find a permanent home in Europe. In the area of Palmetum we can find Chamaerops humilis, the only palm native to Sicily, and numerous exotic palms, in which the gardens are particularly blessed. The genus Washingtonia is represented by W. filifera, that flowered in Palermo for the first time ever, and by W. robusta. The Winter Garden is home to a number of species native to the warmer climes of Africa, Central America, South America, Asia and Australia : the coffee plant, papaya, numerous species of Bougainvillea, cinnamon... and mimosa. In the greenhouse of the region, there are potted specimens of Ravenala madagascariensis and various species of Anthurium, Codiaeum..., and other plants from tropical and equatorial climes. Two smaller glasshouses are located alongside this one, housing orchids and carnivorous plants respectively. In the experimental zone and zone of practical plantings, plants which produce foodstuffs are exhibited, such as sugarcane and Sorghum saccharatum, both used for the production of sugar ; avocado, various cultivars of banana, pecan nut, not to mention an extensive collection of vegetable plants with over 100 cultivars of great historical interest and hugely important in terms of the conservation of a local gene pool. Lastly we have the medicinal plantings, including Artemisia absinthium, Datura stramonium, ginseng, camphour and the opium poppy.
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