A contemporary garden designed as an urban botanical library with rich plant heritage: over 100 botanical species, 500 trees forming 22 circular forests, and 135,000 aromatic plants, hedges, shrubs, bulbs, vines, aquatic plants, and herbaceous plants. To enrich this extraordinary collection, botanical and poetic phrases are arranged on the parks’ intersecting paths creating a chessboard of green rooms.

Circular Forests

True service tree

Sorbus domestica

Nome comune: Sorbo domestico Common name: True service tree Latin name: Sorbus domestica Family: Rosaceae Origin: Central and Southern Europe Characteristics: The service tree can easily reach 15 m in height and 10 m in diameter. It has a very long lifespan and can live for hundreds of years, but is slow growing. The leaves are compound and pinnate, up to 20 cm long. Each has an average of up to 21 leaflets which are strictly oblong, sharply and doubly serrate, and a dark green colour. In the autumn period the service tree manifests as a beautiful, ornamental plant. Towards September the leaves slowly change colour from an intense yellow to bright red. It flowers at the end of spring, and the flowers are gathered in large, cone-shaped corymbs, about 10 cm wide and white or creamy white in colour. The fruits, either a globular apple-shape, or pear-shaped, are called service berries. Their colouring varies from yellow-green to yellow-red and, like the flowers, appear in small bunches. When they are not fully ripe, the service berries are sour and not very appetizing, unlike fully ripe fruits which develop a pleasing degree of sweetness. Interesting fact: since Roman times, the fruit has been used to treat intestinal disorders and as an additive for apple cider preservation. Selection for the park: high branching plant; trunk circumference 30-35 cm; height 3-4 metres.

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Chinese dogwood

Cornus kousa subsp. chinensis

Nome comune: Corniolo o albero delle fragole Common name: Chinese dogwood Latin name: Cornus kousa subsp. chinensis Family: Cornaceae Origin: China Characteristics: Small tree with rounded and expanded foliage when mature. Columnar crown, reaching a maximum height and canopy diameter of 7-9 metres. It is very slow growing taking 20-50 years on average before the plant reaches full development. It prefers acidic, well drained soils, and develops best in full sun or in slight shade. In late spring this spectacular flowering tree is covered in countless creamy white bracts of considerable size that giving the plant a glorious aesthetic value. The bracts are actually four modified leaves that surround the real flowers, which are small and a greenish-yellow colour. The flowers are followed by striking green pedunculate fruits in the form of globular berries which ripen and change colour from late summer into early autumn until they become bright red. They are highly unusual and pleasing to the eye for many weeks, but are relished by birds, so they quickly disappear from our gardens as soon as they mature. The deciduous leaves are simple, oval and pointed. They are dark green in summer with a significant variation between red-orange-purplish tones during the autumn. The bark of this plant is decorative and eye-catching. In mature specimens the extensive peeling creates an intense brightness among the greyness of the winter garden. Interesting fact: the fruits are edible and similar to small strawberries. Selection for the park: shrubby plant; multi-stem; height 130-180 cm.

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Lombardy poplar

Populus nigra ‘Italica‘

Nome comune: Pioppo lombardo Common name: Lombardy poplar Latin name: Populus nigra ‘Italica‘ Family: Salicaceae Origin: Northern Italy Characteristics: The name of the genus, of uncertain etymology and different interpretations from place to place, was used even among the ancient Romans. The nigra species, meaning black, refers to the bark which is darker than others in the same genus. Tree with straight and slender growth that is columnar with a very branched crown. Not extremely long-lived (90-100 years), up to 30 m tall, and with trunk diameter up to 1 m. Trunk usually straight, often with noticeable protuberances, grey-brownish bark, cracked and deeply fissured in adult individuals. On the contrary, it is greyish-white and smooth in young plants. They require no special pruning, except for the removal of broken, unsafe, or dry branches. The leaves are triangular-rhomboidal blades, acute or acuminate at the apex, smooth, glabrous, dark green, and shiny on the upper surface of the leaf, yellowish-green and more opaque underneath. It is a dioecious species as male and female flowers appear on separate individuals. The male individuals have inflorescences with cylindrical pendulous red catkins, while the female ones are longer, thinner, and grey-pinkish. The flowers come out between March and April, before the leaves. The fruits appear in infructescences formed of small oval capsules which split open when ripe releasing numerous seeds, each provided with a tuft of cottony hairs thus easily carried by the wind. It is often cultivated for ornamental purposes in parks and especially in rows, which characterize many Italian avenues. Interesting fact: habitat for birds, bats, and squirrels. Selection for the park: high branching plant; trunk circumference 30-35 cm; height 3-4 metres.

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  Black pine

Pinus nigra

Nome comune: Pino nero Common name: Black pine Latin name: Pinus nigra Family: Pinaceae Origin: South-west Europe Characteristics: The name of the genus Pinus is of uncertain origin, though most likely derives from the Latin ‘pix, pic, picis’ (pitch, sting, resin) and emphasizes the characteristic resin of its wood. However, the species name, nigra, meaning black, comes from the colour of the bark: dark and with shades of black. It is a conifer that adapts to difficult climatic conditions and poor soils, has a rounded conical crown and can reach 20-30 m, though there are some unique specimens of over 50 m. The foliage is dense and in young individuals tends to be pyramidal, however, over the years it becomes more disorderly and takes on a rounded shape with a flattened top. Its straight trunk has numerous branches at right angles arranged in overlapping layers. Older specimens tend to lose their lower branches. The grey-black bark is thick and furrowed on the surface by irregularly shaped scaly plates. The dark, evergreen needle-like leaves appear in groups of two, about 8-17 cm long, rigid, and prickly. The male and female reproductive structures are present on the same plant: the male ones are golden-yellow oval strobili appearing in groups, the female ones are red strobili appearing in pairs. The infructescences are brown pine cones, conical-ovoid in shape, which widen at the base when mature. They appear on the plant alone or in groups of 2-4. The pine nuts inside are edible, like those of the stone pine. The wood is of low value and is mainly used for construction and paper production. Interesting fact: it is an extremely long-living plant that can live up to 500 years. Selection for the park: plant branching at 1.5 m; trunk circumference 30- 35 cm; height 4-5 metres.

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White poplar

Populus alba

Nome comune: Pioppo bianco Common name: White poplar Latin name: Populus alba Family: Salicaceae Origin: Europe, North Africa and Central Asia Characteristics: The genus, Populus, of uncertain etymology and different interpretations depending on the location, has been in use since ancient Rome. According to some authors, Populus stands for arbor populi or ‘people’s tree’, a name probably given to it as the incessant rustle of the leaves is reminiscent of the buzz of a crowd. The species name, alba, refers to the leaves which are white and hairy underneath. Even though when the tree is young the bark is smooth and greyish, in the intermediate phase it acquires a whitish colour, with evident lenticels in a ring arrangement. When mature it is blackish and rough, though only in the lower part of the trunk. Deciduous tree up to 30-35 m tall, quite long-lived, with columnar stem, often sinuous or branched, with large main branches, and wide, broadly rounded canopy. The leaves are simple with a long petiole, though there is an accentuated foliar heteromorphism on the plant. The leaves of the most vigorous branches and shoots are lobed with  dentate margins, and are 5-10 cm long. Leaves on the smaller branches are oval or elliptical, without dentation and with barely visible lobes. Both are initially white on both sides, then deep green on the upper surface and hairy on the underside. The unisexual flowers, male and female, are carried on different plants. Both have catkins that appear in February-March, before the leaves. The fruits, grouped in pendulous infructescences, are oval pedunculate capsules with a smooth surface that releases numerous seeds provided with long cottony hairs in the spring months. Interesting fact: different herbal products with health benefits are made from the plant. Selection for the park: high branching plant; trunk circumference 20-25 cm; height 8-9 metres.

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Himalayan birch

Betula utilis ‘Doorenbos‘

Nome comune: Betulla himalayana Common name: Himalayan birch Latin name: Betula utilis ‘Doorenbos‘ Family: Betulaceae Origin: Himalayas Characteristics: The name of the genus is a Latinism derived from the Latin betulla which, in turn, is of Gallic origin. The plants of this genus are known in Germanic countries as the Birke (Germany) and birch (English), from an Indo-European root *bherəg- , which means ‘shining, white’. An ornamental tree, deciduous leaves, often branched from the base, fast-growing, and can reach 20 m tall. The bark has a whitish colouring which is particularly intense in the ‘Doorenbos’ variety. It has a papery consistency, flaking over time in thin plates revealing the younger rind which is even paler. The trunk’s white colour is due to betulin, a substance present in the outermost tissues that turn white in the sun. The leaves are arranged spirally on the branches, are marked with cordiform deciduous stipules. They have doubly serrated margins and are dark green in colour turning deep yellow in autumn. The unisexual flowers usually appear in April-May and are grouped in pendulous catkins: the male ones have a yellowish colour and are 3-5 cm long, while the female ones have smaller dimensions and a greenish colour. The fruits are gathered in a cylindrical infructescences, formed of characteristic trilobed squama, which flake when ripe dispersing the winged seeds. Birch wood can be used for furniture, carving, and plywood. Oils are obtained from the wood and bark which are used as disinfectants, pesticides, and in the tanning industry. Additionally, after fermenting the sugary sap it can be used to prepare birch wine, beer and vinegar. Interesting fact: the bark was used in India for religious inscriptions. Selection for the park: low branching plant; multi-stem; trunk circumference 35-40 cm; height 6-8 metres.

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Tulip tree

Liriodendron tulipifera ‘Fastigiata‘

  Nome comune: Liriodendro o Albero dei tulipani Common name: Tulip tree Latin name: Liriodendron tulipifera ‘Fastigiata’ Family: Magnoliaceae Origin: Canada and eastern United States Characteristics: The name comes from its beautiful cup-shaped blooms, similar to tulips, which can reach over 6 centimetres in diameter. The word léirion in greek means “lily” and, déndron “tree.” One of the most prominent deciduous trees, it can exceed 30 m in height. It grows at a moderate speed, with straight columnar trunk. The leaves, an unmistakable and original shape, are coarsely square and palmate, with four pointed lobes and a truncated apex. In spring and summer they have a soft green colour, darker on the upper surface, while in autumn they acquire an intense golden-yellow. The flowers, appearing in summer, usually in June-July, are green-yellow, about 5 centimetres long, have a cup shape and are similar to tulips, which led to its common name, ‘tulip tree’. C. The bark is grey-green when young, taking on a rough and cracked appearance with age. Imported in the 1700’s, it is a tree often cultivated in parks, along avenues, and in city gardens, appreciated for the unique appearance of the leaves, flowers, and autumnal colour. It prefers sunny positions and soils that tend to be acidic, fresh and well-drained, not calcareous. Moderately resistant to drought, salinity, and water stagnation. Interesting fact: the tulip tree wood was used by Native Americans to make canoes. Selection for the park: high branching plant; circumference 35-40 cm; height 8-9 metres.

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Weeping willow

Salix babylonica

Nome comune: Salice piangente Common name: Weeping willow Latin name: Salix babylonica Family: Salicaceae Origin: China (Genus) Characteristics: The etymology of the name seems to be of Celtic origin, from sal-lis , which means close to the water. Other interpretations refer to the Greek term salos, which means oscillation, referring to the unusual flexibility of the branches. The Latin word babylonica derives from Linnaeus’s misunderstanding that this tree was described in the Bible in Psalm 137. It is a fast growing deciduous tree that normally reaches 10-15 m in height (but can reach 25 metres), with considerable resistance to cold. It prefers exposure to full sun or partial shade, and rich, deep soils. They can often be planted in places where many other species would suffer. In fact, they grow in humid and marshy soils without problems. The branches are pendulous and thin, so the tree takes on a peculiar crown, cascading downward, hence the common name ‘weeping’ willow. The light green leaves are narrow, long, pointed, and with finely serrated margins, and are spirally arranged. In autumn, before falling, they take a beautiful golden-yellow tone. The flowers, as in all willows, are grouped in catkins which appear early in the spring. The male and female catkins bloom in April-May appearing on separate trees as the plant is dioecious. The fruits are capsules containing numerous small seeds, each with a tuft of white and silky hairs. Due to their characteristic and majestic stature, they are often used as isolated specimens in meadows or near water. Interesting fact: willows have healing properties for fever and flu. Selection for the park: high branching plant; trunk circumference 40-50 cm; height 8-9 metres.

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Red maple

Acer rubrum ‘October Glory’

  Nome comune: Acero rosso Common name: Red maple Latin name: Acer rubrum ‘October Glory’ Family: Sapindaceae Origin: Europe and Central America Characteristics: The etymology of the genus name is Latin, from acer meaning sharp or pointed, referring to the leaves. Rubrum refers to the characteristic bright red colour of the leaves in autumn. A large and fast growing tree, when cultivated reaches 15-20 m, with columnar crown. Grown in Europe for its splendid autumnal leaf colour, going from bright red to yellow and orange.  A large deciduous tree with straight trunk, and wide spreading crown. It prefers fresh and moist soils. High resistance to pollution. The leaves are opposite, lobed-palmate with 3 or 5 lobes, pointed and serrated apexes. They are a green colour, which becomes a beautiful yellow, orange and scarlet in autumn. The flowers are small, not very significant, and red in colour, grouped in dense clusters, and pedunculate. The samara is the typical fruit of maples, with a winged seed to disperse the species. The fruits of the red maple are di-samara (double winged) and diverge at an angle of 50 to 60 degrees. This is a wonderfully scenic tree suitable for parks and gardens, growing in rows, river banks, and wetlands, as wind shields, noise screens, agricultural hedges, landscaping, and partially suitable for marine coastal zones or industrial areas. Interesting fact: even the petioles of the leaves are notably red, a characteristic that distinguishes them from many other maples. Selection for the park: high branching plant; trunk circumference 30-35 cm; height 7-8 metres.

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Common ash

Fraxinus excelsior

  Nome comune: Frassino maggiore Common name: Common ash Latin name: Fraxinus excelsior Family: Oleaceae Origin: Europe, Turkey and the Caucasus Characteristics: The genus name, Fraxinus, has uncertain origins and according to some authors comes from the Greek frasso ‘defend’, ‘crowd’, while the species, excelsior, refers to the impressiveness of this tree that can reach 40 metres in height. Large deciduous tree, slender and majestic crown in the individual examples. The trunk, which can exceed a metre in diameter, is straight and cylindrical. The bark, initially smooth and greenish-grey colour with light spots, later tends to assume grey-brownish tones and longitudinal cracks with age. The branches are smooth, a pale greenish colour, and arranged opposite each other on the trunk. The buds are very evident, tomentose, opposite, and black. The bud at the apex of the branches is larger than the others. The leaves are compound and very large, even more than 25 centimetres, opposite, imparipinnate, with 7-15 lanceolate leaflets, each having an acute apex, finely serrated leaf margins, and an intense green colour on the upper surface but lighter underneath. At the beginning of spring, on the still leafless branches, flowers appear gathered in axillary panicles. The fruits are samaras, up to 6 cm long, pedunculate and gathered in clusters. Initially they have a light green colour then, after ripening, they become yellowish and finally reddish remaining attached to the branches throughout the winter. Interesting fact: the wood was once used to manufacture skis. Selection for the park: high branching plant; trunk circumference 30-35 cm; height 6-7 metres.

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Liquidambar styraciflua

Nome comune: Storace americano Common name: Sweetgum Latin name: Liquidambar styraciflua Family: Hamamelidaceae Origin: Eastern United States, Mexico and Guatemala Characteristics: Both of the plant’s names highlight its characteristic secretion of a resinous amber-coloured substance. Liquidambar is a word formed from the Latin noun liquidus ‘liquid’ and the Arabic ambar ‘amber’. The term styraciflua, however, means tree from which storax flows, a substance used in medicine, cosmetics, and tanning industries. Slow-growing deciduous tree that reaches 35 metres in height (up to 50 m in places of origin) and 10 in diameter, with pyramidal crown when the plant is still young which successively tends to become roundish. The leaves are shiny, dark green, alternate, palmate and star-shaped. They have 3-5 lobes with pointed apexes. In the autumn period, before falling, they take on beautiful colours that turn from yellow-orange to intense scarlet. The trunk has a brown, very rough bark that is characterized by longitudinal ridges and deeply fissured corky outgrowths which become increasingly evident with the ageing of the plant. The branches are also characterized by the presence of these corky ridges. The flowers are insignificant and appear in March. Flowers are followed by a considerable number of fruits, grouped in almost spherical infructescences with a diameter of 3-4 cm, consisting of a set of capsules, each ending in a hook of woody consistency. These rather ornamental fruits remain on the plant for many weeks attracting birds and other wild animals. Interesting fact: a fragrant resin is extracted from the bark. Selection for the park: high branching plant; trunk circumference 30-35 cm; height 6-7 metres.

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Common hornbeam

Carpinus betulus

Nome comune: Carpino bianco Common name: Common hornbeam Latin name: Carpinus betulus Family: Betulaceae Origin: Europe, Caucasus, Turkey and Iran Characteristics: The genus, Carpinus, goes back to the Celtic terms car ‘wood’ and pin ‘head’. It seems that the wood of these trees was actually used to make yokes for cattle. The white hornbeam differs from its cousin, the black hornbeam, as its leaves does not have tertiary venation. Medium-sized deciduous tree, up to 20 metres tall, common throughout Italy in forests up to 900 metres of altitude, and also in shaded locations.   It withstands pruning well and characteristically retains dead leaves throughout the winter season. Equipped with ample adaptability, it grows well both in cold and warm temperate climates. It endures intense cold, but cannot stand prolonged droughts. The leaves are simple, ovate and acuminate, with alternate insertion, 5-10 cm long, doubly serrate, and with extremely evident venation. The upper surface of the leaf is dark green and smooth while the bottom is lighter and pubescent. In autumn the leaves initially acquire a beautiful yellow-orange colour, then browning as they dry. The male inflorescences are pendulous, yellowish green catkins, up to 5-6 centimetres long, carried on the branches of the previous year creating a decorative effect. On the other hand, the female flowers are gathered in green spikelets appearing on the branches the same time of year as the leaves. The fruits are grouped in decorative pendulous infructescences of -15 cm formed of a small green nut with thickened walls, located at the axil of a characteristic 3-lobed bract. The white hornbeam is used on avenues, in parks, and for road landscaping, because of its beautifully shaped crown, but they are also highly appreciated in border hedges or as wind breakers. Interesting fact: its leaves were used to treat wounds. Selection for the park: high branching plant; trunk circumference 35-40 cm; height 8-9 metres.

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Ginkgo or Maidenhair tree

Ginkgo biloba

Nome comune: Ginkgo Common name: Ginkgo or Maidenhair tree Latin name: Ginkgo biloba Family: Ginkgoaceacae Origin: South-east China Characteristics: The only arboreal plant in its genus on the planet, it is a species that has remained intact for millions of years and through the various upheavals that have affected life on Earth leading, for example, to the disappearance of the dinosaurs. For these reasons Charles Darwin described this plant as “a living fossil.” The name Ginkgo comes from an erroneous interpretation of Chinese terms yin (silver) and xing (apricot), referring to the shape and colour of the fruits, literally yinxing ‘silver apricot’. Introduced to Europe in the 1700’s this tree is widespread throughout the world. It is cultivated for many purposes and, under optimal conditions, it can reach 40 m in height and large circumferences of up to 8 metres. It has a pyramidal crown, sparse when young, becoming dense when mature. The bark is smooth when young with a silvery-grey colour, then takes on a dark brown colour with evident suberose ribbing. The leaves have a  soft green colouration in spring, tending to darken during the summer, until golden yellow in autumn. Their characteristic shape is flabelliform (fan-shaped) entire on developing or older plants, deeply fissured into two lobes on yonger specimens (which the term biloba comes from). Ginkgo is a dioecious plant, that is, with a male and female specimens. It is used as an ornamental plant and for road landscaping because it withstands climatic adversities and pollution well, and does not have significant parasites. In Japan and China it has been cultivated in temples for a long time as it is considered a sacred plant. Interesting fact: in the Far East the seeds are considered a delicacy, and are eaten roasted. Selection for the park: high branching plant; trunk circumference 30-35.

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Callery pear or ornamental pear

Pyrus calleryana ‘Chanticleer’

Nome comune: Pero ornamentale Common name: Callery pear or ornamental pear Latin name: Pyrus calleryana ‘Chanticleer’ Family: Rosaceae Origin: China Characteristics: The genus name is similar to the name the ancient Romans called the common pear, Pirus, itself derived from the Celtic peren (pear). The species term was given in honour of the Italian-French sinologist Joseph-Marie Callery (1810—1862), who sent the first samples of this species to Europe from China. Deciduous tree native to China with delightful ornamental characteristics, pyramidal crown, up to 8-12 metres. It is resistant to smog, water stress, and intense cold. It tolerates pruning and has a fairly robust growth. The root system is tapering, very strong, and is capable of thriving in even the poorest and stoniest of soils, however it does not tolerate strong water stagnation. It is excellent for use in sloping soils, where strong roots can help to strengthen the soil to avoid landslides. The leaves are alternate, ovate, shiny and, of leathery consistency. They are a soft colour in spring as soon as they sprout, then shiny green. In autumn, before falling, they colour early and take on warm, intense yellow, orange, and red tones. The white flowers, gathered in racemes, appear in April-May, before the leaves come out, and are very similar to those of the pear fruit. They are so abundant that, in the flowering period, the plant resembles a white cloud. The flowers are followed by a myriad of small round fruits of a light brown colour, with a long peduncle, greatly enjoyed by birds. Interesting fact: the cultivar is named after the rooster in one of the Canterbury Tales. Selection for the park: high branching plant; trunk circumference 25-30.

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Silver lime

Tilia tomentosa ‘Brabant‘

Nome comune: Tiglio Common name: Silver lime Latin name: Tilia tomentosa ‘Brabant‘ Family: Malvaceae Origin: Turkey and Syria Characteristics: The term, Tilia , derives from the Greek ptilon, ‘wing’, and refers to the characteristic flattened and elongated bract on the peduncle of the inflorescence. The species term, tomentosa, derived from tomentum due to the characteristic thick white hair that covers the undersides of leaves, young twigs and buds. Height of up to 30 m with a pyramid-shaped, globular, crown, and straight trunk. The bark is initially  greyish-brown, then cracks and fissures longitudinally with age. Young twigs and shoots are tomentous. The leaves are deciduous, simple, alternate, petiolate, with a cordate base, acuminate apex, and margins widely serrated more or less regularly. The upper surface of the leaf blade is greenish and smooth, the lower surface on the other hand has greenish-greyish shades and is tomentous due to the presence of hairs, especially in the young leaves. The yellowish-white flowers, very fragrant and hermaphroditic, appear in June-July. They are grouped in pendulous inflorescences at the end of a common peduncle on a wing-shaped membranous bract. This structure then contributes to the dispersion of the fruits, which are ovoid capsules containing the seeds dispersed by the wind with a movement that resembles helicopters. It blooms in June-July with a characteristic perfume that fills the air. Widely used along roads and in city parks due to its resistance to pollution, drought, and harsh climates. The wood is ideal for carving, inlays, sculptures, parts of musical instruments, and for manufacturing various objects. Interesting fact: the buds produce a natural calming effect. Selection for the park: high branching plant; trunk circumference 30-35.

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Magnolia ‘Heaven Scent‘

Nome comune: Magnolia Common name: Magnolia Latin name: Magnolia ‘Heaven Scent‘ Family: Magnoliaceae Origin: China, Nepal, and Myanmar Characteristics: The genus Magnolia is named after Pierre Magnol, professor of medicine and director of the Botanical Garden of Montpellier, who lived between 1638 and 1715. Tree or large deciduous shrub, which can reach a height of 8-12 metres and as much in circumference, with a vertical main trunk and broad branches. It is very resistant to frost, prefers sunny positions, and does not tolerate pruning well. Its growth is slow, in fact it takes 15-20 years for the plant to reach full development. This plant is a hybrid of two magnolias, M. liliiflora x M. xveitchii. Its large, ornamental, and fragrant flowers are purple-pink on the outside and white on the inside, up to 12 cm long, appearing in March-April. They arise with incredible abundance, particularly in older plants, and in optimal conditions have a long flowering period. Its oval-elliptical leaves are green, shiny, with entire margins, and up to 20 cm long. In autumn they change to an intense light yellow colour. Very ornamental plant and valued for its spectacular spring bloom. It is abundantly used in gardens and parks as an isolated specimen on lawns or in flowerbeds along with with lower shrubs. Interesting fact: similar to lilies, the flowers grow on bare branches. Selection for the park: high branching plant; trunk circumference 30-35 cm; height 6-7 metres.

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Incense cedar

Calocedrus decurrens o Libocedrus decurrens

Nome comune: Cedro della California, Librocedro Common name: Incense cedar Latin name: Calocedrus decurrens o Libocedrus decurrens Family: Cupressaceae Origin: Northern America Characteristics: The genus, Libocedrus, has an uncertain etymology. According to some authors it is composed from the Greek Libanos, ‘incense’ and tree Kedros, ‘cedar’. Others believe it is derived from another Greek term libos , ‘tear’, with reference to the resin that oozes from the trunk. Large evergreen conifer up to 60 metres high. Its crown narrow-columnar with a rounded top, often very slender. Widespread in Europe since 1850 for ornamental purposes for its aesthetic effect, its remarkable rustic bark, and its drought resistance which makes it suitable for areas with hot and dry climates. Nevertheless, the incense cedar prefers fertile, humid but well-drained soils, and sunny locations sheltered from cold winter winds. The root system reaches a reasonable depth and has a wide lateral extension. The massive trunk is conical at the base with brown-orange bark and highly evident, large roots that can reach 3 metres in diameter in its areas of origin. On the young branches, the bark tends to flake off in longitudinal plates, while on the trunk it is subdivided into large greyish, corky plates which lead to a reddish colouration. The leaves are scaly, green, and tightly attached to the branch. This tree is of great commercial value in its areas of origin as its soft, aromatic, and easily worked wood is one of the most used to make drawing pencils and wooden elements for outdoor use. Interesting fact: the branches give off an aromatic scent when rubbed.

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  Bald or swamp cypress

Taxodium distichum

Nome comune: Cipresso calvo o delle paludi Common name: Bald or swamp cypress Latin name: Taxodium distichum Family: Cupressaceae Origin: Eastern United States Characteristics: IThe genus name comes from the amalgamation of the two Greek terms taxos (yew) and eidos (shape, appearance), indicating the similarity of the plant to a yew (Taxus baccata), especially with regards to the leaves. The term distichum points to the arrangement of the leaves on two opposite rows. The common name, however, is due to the appearance of the plant in winter when it retains only the main, bare, leafless branches. Introduced to Europe in the mid-seventeenth century, it is a very long-living tree (up to 1000 years) that can reach 40 metres in height. Older specimens have a pyramidal and majestic crown. Its straight trunk has a grey-tawny or greyish-brown rind, which is longitudinally frayed. In swampy areas, it has a wide base surrounded by large conical nodes, or ‘cypress knees’, of up to one metre high (pneumatophores) that emerge from the muddy water and allow it to breathe. The leaves are acerose, flat, and soft, of light green colour, and 1-2 cm long. They are distichous, opposite on sprigs of the that year but alternating on older ones. They acquire a reddish-brown colour in Autumn before falling. The male cones, ovoid and small, are assembled in groups on terminal spikelets, while the female ones, at the base of the male spikelets, are greenish and roundish. The fruit is a brownish-green spherical juniper berry, which disintegrates completely when ripe. In the United States, bald cypress wood, tender but resistant to fungal attacks, is used very often. Elsewhere it is widely grown as an ornamental plant, especially in soils with poor drainage and along the water banks in urban parks. Interesting fact: it is one of the few deciduous conifers. Selection for the park: high branching plant; circumference 35-40 cm; height 8-9 metres.

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Paperbark maple

Acer griseum

Nome comune: Acero grigio Common name: Paperbark maple Latin name: Acer griseum Family: Sapindaceae Origin: China Characteristics: The genus name Acer , is Latin for ‘pointed’ and was first used by Joseph Pitton de Tournefort, referring to the typical pointed ends of the leaves of this plant. Tree with deciduous leaves. Ascending, sinuous branches from the base, not usually exceeding 12 m in height. Very rustic, resistant to cold, and prefers sunny or partially shaded positions. Its trunk has a characteristically decorative bark, reddish brown, or orange, which tends with time to peel off in thin layers from both the trunk and  branches over 2-3 years. The canopy is well developed, domed or vase-shaped, and not excessively dense. In spring it produces small greenish or yellow flowers, gathered in inconspicuous clusters. The dark green leaves are deeply incised in three oval lobes, pointed, slightly serrated, rough, and with very evident venation. During late Autumn, the foliage takes on a very showy, red-orange colouring, which persists for a few weeks. In autumn, the typical winged samaras fruits produced by maples, ripen and change from a green to a grey-brown colour. Interesting fact: attracts birds, butterflies and bees. Selection for the park: low branching plant; multi-stem; trunk circumference 30-35 cm; height 2-3 metres.

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Blue Atlas or Algerian cedar

Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca‘

Nome comune: Cedro dell’Atlante glauco Common name: Blue Atlas or Algerian cedar Latin name: Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca‘ Family: Pinaceae Origin: Morocco and Algeria Characteristics: The term Cedrus comes from the Greek word Kedros used to indicate a species of juniper. The species, Atlantica, indicates the place of origin: the Moroccan Atlas Mountains in North Africa, where there are entire forests of them. Large conifer, reaches and exceeds 40 metres in height. When young it has a pyramidal crown, though in older plants the branches can take an almost horizontal course, giving the foliage a broad and majestic shape. The bark is dark grey and cracks with age forming small squama. It is a very rustic plant, undemanding in terms of soil, and resistant to both pollution and low temperatures. The leaves are acerose and a grey-blue-silver colour that varies according to age: leaves on younger branches are softer, isolated and spirally arranged on the branch, while those on older branches are joined in tufts and are generally much stiffer and shorter than the others. The male and female reproductive structures are on the same plant. The male are assembled in grey and green erect cylindrical cones of 3-5 cm that ripen at the end of September. The female reproductive structures, on the other hand, are pale green ovoid cones positioned on the end of branches and mature after the male flowers. The pine cones are erect, shaped like small barrels, with a concave apex, and are about 8 cm long. They take two years on the plant to ripen and then the scales, fan-shaped with rounded margins, separate one by one from the central axis and disperse the winged seeds. Interesting fact: essential oils are distilled from the wood and leaves. Selection for the park: low branching plant; multi-stem;

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Ornamental crab apple

Malus ‘Evereste‘

Nome comune: Melo ornamentale Common name: Ornamental crab apple Latin name: Malus ‘Evereste‘ Family: Rosaceae Origin: Europe and Asia Characteristics: A slow growing variety of ornamental apple reaching up to 5 m tall. Rustic, tolerant to pollution, of limited development, columnar, conical-tending shaped crown. Prefers sunny locations in order to flourish and fruit at its best. It produces a spectacular prolonged bloom in April-May when the buds, also decorative because of their intense pink-red colour, hatch numerous white flowers. In autumn, and for much of the winter, the now leafless branches are instead covered with numerous ornamental fruits: small apples with a diameter of 2-2.5 cm, a green colour turning from yellow-orange and finally to red with magenta shades. The leaves are a beautiful dark green and in autumn turn to a red-orange colouring before falling. Ideal as an isolated specimen, for small avenues or in urban parks. Pruning is not necessary but, during the winter season, dry branches can be eliminated, or ones that cross and develop inside the canopy. Interesting fact: its fruits are edible and greatly enjoyed by birds. Selection for the park: low branching plant; height 2-3 metres.

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White ash

Fraxinus americana

Nome comune: Frassino americano o Frassino bianco Common name: White ash Latin name: Fraxinus americana Family: Oleaceae Origin: Canada and eastern United States Characteristics: The genus name, Fraxinus, has uncertain origins and according to some authors comes from the Greek frasso ‘defend’, ‘hedge’, while the species name, excelsior, refers to the impressiveness of this tree. Thriving deciduous tree with an wide and columnar crown that can reach up to 20-25 m. It grows well in fertile and humid soils and is often used to create shady areas. The bark is olive green to light grey in colour. The deciduous leaves are dark green, opposite, pinnate, composed of 7 leaflets carried on a long stalk, and are up to 30 cm long. During the autumn period these are tinged with a beautiful yellow-red colouring. The fruit is a pedunculate samara, with a long wing that is easily dispersed by the wind. The wood is economically important for its hardness and resistance. It is widely used in carpentry and furniture making. In forest ecosystems in North America its seeds and leaves are an important source of food for mammals and birds. The juice of the leaves can be applied on mosquito bites to reduce swelling and itching. In the United States it has been used for the recovery and reforestation of degraded areas. Interesting fact: the wood is used for baseball bats and electric guitars.

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Giardini di piante perenni by Piet Oudolf

Perennial Gardens by Piet Oudolf

In the Biblioteca degli Alberi park, the first extensive Italian intervention by the Dutch master will take place. By size, it is one of the largest interventions in the European community. In this park, in fact, about 20,000 square meters have been dedicated to the planting of these wonderful compositions of perennials for a total of almost 80,000 plants!

The technique used here was that of the matrix, a single large mass of basic graminaceae (Molinia caerulea ‘Dauerstrah’ in this case) within which are inserted large mono-specific spots of perennials

with organic shapes, which approach and interpenetrate alternating spectacular blooms with bright colours throughout the vegetative season. Some of these plants are evergreen while many others are deciduous, but retain the aerial part even in cold or dry periods, as important value considered in Oudolf creations. The compositions thus created offer catching effects, emphasizing naturalness and beautiful aesthetic effects.

Piet Oudolf, author of the New York High Line and numerous gardens around the globe, is the world’s most famous plant designer. His flowering fields are great compositions of perennials with spots that alternate spectacular blooms throughout the year.

Perennials, plants with a predominantly herbaceous consistency, long-lived and rapidly developing, are the basis of his work, whether they are grasses or blooms. The same, coordinated with the choice of some shrubs, are perfect for creating gardens and parks with a great natural effect but of a certain scenic look.

The naturalness, more and more sought after in his projects, is also expressed in the great mutability that the plants assume with changes over time, not only of the seasons, but even in the weeks of the vegetative season.

His work has influenced many garden designers from all over the world, bringing into vogue the wide use of perennials, even outside the northern European countries.


No. of plants: 76.020 surface area: 20.270 mq

ELENCO SPECIE Erbacee perenni:
  • Amsonia hubrichtii – Apocynaceae
  • Aster tataricus ‘Jindai’ – Asteraceae
  • Aster oblongifolius ’October Skies’ – Asteraceae
  • Aster macrophyllus ‘Twilight’
  • Sedum telephium ‘Matrona’ – Crassulaceae
  • Kalimeris incisa – Asteraceae
  • Iris sibirica ‘Perry’s Blue’ – Iridaceae
  • Perovskia atriplicifolia ‘Little Spire’ – Lamiaceae
  • Stachys officinalis ‘Hummelo’ – Lamiaceae
  • Echinops bannaticus ‘Taplow Blue’ – Asteraceae
  • Geranium hybridum ‘Patricia’ – Geraniaceae
  • Papaver orientale ‘Scarlett O’Hara’ – Papaveraceae
Poaceae (Graminacee)
  • Molinia caerulea ‘Dauerstrah’
  • Molinia caerulea ‘Strahlenquelle’
  • Panicum virgatum ‘Cloud Nine’
  • Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’
  • Stipa gigantea – Poaceae
  • Spodiopogon sibiricus – Poaceae

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Aromatic Plant Gardens

Aromatic Garden The aromatic gardens are formations of regular shrubs that the Dutch designer wanted in the Biblioteca degli Alberi Park. Generally obtained in areas where the crossing of the paths forms triangles with a smaller surface, these gardens are formed by plantations of shrubs in line, forming long prose with lines approaching to two by two and alternating between different species. The species have been selected among the most ornamental aromatics such as Artemisia ‘Powis castle’, Nepeta x Faassenii ‘Six Hills Giant’, Perovskia atriplicifolia and Origanum majorana. Thus, in addition to the beautiful blooms dotted with purple and yellow, the plants offer pleasant scents as visitors pass. n° of plants: 3,600 surface: 525 sq. m. SPECIES LIST Erbacee perenni:

  • Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’
  • Origanum marjorana
  • Perovskia atriplicifolia
  • Santolina chamaecyparissus Nepeta faassenii ‘Six Hills Giant

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Shrub and ground covering plant gardens

Shrubs and creepers ground cover Shrubs are another recurring theme in the Biblioteca degli Alberi Park. These are used in a playful and formal way, in compositions in which are recognizable the skill and training of the Dutch designer. For example, boxwoods are used in groups of 4, in the shape of a cube, in geometric compositions of crossed rows. Bamboo and Ilex crenata are modulated in a punctiform way but according to precise lines on large lawns or bark surfaces. Rubus and Viburni are used according to the same punctiform principle on large surfaces, this time of different groundcover. The same widely used ground covers have been carefully chosen according to design principles, with combinations openly modulated in order to compose a large colorful canvas, in which textures and colours of flowers become compositional elements of the ‘bigger picture’ of the park. SPECIES LIST Shrubs and Creepers n° of plants: 4,200.

  • Buxus sempervirens
  • Ilex crenata ‘Soft touch’
  • Azalea viola da lagg.
  • Lespedeza thunbergii
  • Hedera helix
  • Rhododendron ‘Palestrina’
  • Lonicera nitida
  • Fargesia spp.
  • Carex morrowii
  • Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’
  • Ajuga reptans ‘Black Scalop’
  • Carex pensylvanica
  • Rubus fruticosus ‘Thornless Evergreen’
  • Viburnum bodnatense
  • Vinca minor
  • Pleioblastus viridistriatus
  • Narcissus cyclaeminus
  • Heuchera ‘Lime Marmalade’
  • Veronica repens ‘Sunshine’
  • Festuca glauca
  • Dianthus arenarius

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Aquatic plant gardens

Aquatic Plants Aquatic plants are another unusual element within a park. Here the Dutch designer used another of his contrasts, creating a lake with very marked architectural forms that however has all the characteristics of natural bio-lake, thanks to the use of different types of aquatic plants. Questo tipo di piante si differenzia infatti per categorie a seconda della forma in cui è presente in acqua, libera o ancorata al suolo, e a seconda della profondità in cui prolifica e si colonizza. The construction of the bio-lake has therefore moved from a first selection that concerned rather simple plant forms, where the flowering and colour component are secondary to the affinity of reproduction of a natural environment. Similarly, the choice of species has thus covered the different biological forms found in ponds. The environment thus recreated should also encourage the arrival of all those forms of animal life that habitually frequented these habitats and, although it is certainly an urban park, we have already seen the first Dragonflies! n° of plants: 500. SPECIES LIST Aquatic Plants:

  • Ceratophyllum demersum
  • Hottonia palustris
  • Myriophyllum alterniflorum
  • Myriophyllum spicatum
  • Potamogeton pusillus
  • Ranunculus aquatilis
  • Stratiotes aloides
  • Utricularia vulgaris Z
  • Zannichellia palustris

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Flowering Meadows

Flowering meadows The flowering meadows are large rustic meadows dotted with wildflowers in their most attractive ornamental version, composed of mixtures of seeds of rustic floriferous species. The species of the flowering fields derive essentially from the same species found in our country grasslands, where the varieties have been selected among those with the greatest aesthetic values: larger, more colorful, taller flower, etc. Their great scenic effect, also due to the continuous change of shapes and colours during the season, is heightened in this case thanks to an extensive mosaic use; all while the maintenance costs of these fields are considerably reduced compared to an ornamental lawn, due to the reduced maintenance that they need. The demand for water is in fact very reduced and, for its complete success, it is necessary to carry out only one or two mowings during the season without removing the resulting vegetal material, which serves precisely to make the lawn self-regenerating thanks to the seeds which are spread naturally on the ground once the flower has dried up. surface area: 8,650 sq. m. SPECIES LIST

  • Achillea millefolium
  • Agrostemma githago
  • Anthyllis vulneraria
  • Aquilegia vulgaris
  • Arabis alpina
  • Borago officinalis
  • Centaurea cyanus
  • Cheiranthus allionii
  • Chrysanthemum leucanthemum
  • Dianthus barbatus
  • Dianthus plumarius
  • Echium vulgare
  • Gypsophila elegans
  • Helichrysum bracteatum Orange Iberis umbellata
  • – 1 gr mq di festuca trachiphylla Linum annum
  • Linum perenne
  • Lotus corniculatus
  • Lunaria annua
  • Medicago lupulina
  • Melilotus albus
  • Myosotis alpestris
  • Onobrychis vicifolia
  • Papaver rhoeas
  • Sanguisorba minor
  • Silene pendula
  • Trifolium incarnatum
  • Vicia sativa
  • Viola cornuta

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Mown Lawns

Mown lawns n the geometric plot that constitutes the park, the lawns (with their approximately 25,100 sq.m. of surface area) represent more than 25% of the entire area. This element may seem simple, but it is one of the fundamental factors in the creation of a park: it represents free play, gives rise to shady or sunny rest areas; thus delineating portions of park to live freely and that create mechanisms of well-being for the population. Here the lawns are one of the main destinations of the Fields (more or less extensive park surfaces formed by the intersection of paths) and thus represent one of the main compositional elements of the entire system, thought not as a single large surface, but like a large mosaic that gives each area of the park its own portion of lawn, thus giving life to what is the geometric texture that distinguishes the whole project.

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