Our living plant collections
Trees, flowers, cacti, palms and other living plant treasures are on display in our botanical gardens. Many of them are unique, and caring for them contributes to their conservation. Would you like to find out about them?
An enchantment... our plant collections promise you this if you come and admire them! Built up over nearly three centuries and constantly enriched, they are spread out over five areas. You can find all the diversity of flora, whether tropical or Ile-de-France, at the Jardin des Plantes in Paris, trees and shrubs from all over the world at the Arboretum de Versailles-Chèvreloup (78), Mediterranean species at the Harmas Jean-Henri Fabre in Sérignan-du-Comtat (84) or others, alpine, at the La Jaÿsinia alpine garden in Samoëns (74). The Jardin botanique Val Rahmeh in Menton (06) is home to many exotic plants. In these green settings, we focus on very well documented specialised collections that serve as references for scientists and horticultural professionals: orchids, cycads, Madagascar euphorbias, fuchsias, plants from New Caledonia, etc.
All our plants are identified and labelled. Information about their origin and life is kept in a database, which is itself associated with a map of their geographical distribution. And this database is updated daily by administrators. Extremely meticulous! A lot of different teams manage these treasures: botanists, draughtsmen, landscape gardeners, laboratory technicians, seed specialists, label engravers, mechanics, etc. More than 70 gardeners busy themselves every day with planting, transplanting, pruning, watering, weeding, working and enriching the soil, repotting... and all this, adapted to each species!
Collection and conservation
Where does this treasure come from? Collecting during explorations in the field, working in networks with other gardens or specialists, specialised nurseries, donations, building up collections as part of scientific work, seed catalogues - all helpful for acquiring new plants. These practices are highly regulated by law, particularly for rare and protected plants. Several pieces of legislation and international conventions govern the exchanges (CITES, Nagoya Protocol...) and our teams are trained for these constraints.
Enjoy the visual beauty of our gardens, but not only that: see too what is at stake with such a wealth of species today and for future generations. Some of the species we keep are threatened in their natural environment, or have already disappeared. And if we are witnessing significant erosion of plant diversity, this is not without impact on human life. Plants are not only valuable for the production of food, medicines and materials, but also for our health, landscapes, climate regulation, water and carbon cycles... Our living collections contribute to the fight against the alarming impoverishment of this natural heritage. How do we do this? Through the implementation of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation: (GSPC), which encourages botanical gardens to exchange and multiply the rarest varieties to ensure their survival on a global scale. The Museum participates in several conservation programmes, as illustrated by our arboretum in Versailles-Chèvreloup. For example, it hosts a small population of araucarias, a species that has difficulty regenerating in its native Andes. We also have a seed bank for reintroduction programmes or for strengthening populations in situ.
So, are you ready to go on an adventure? Come and share our passion for nature...