The Palmengarten and the Botanical Garden have different collection focuses that complement each other: while the Botanical Garden mainly houses representatives of the native flora and other regions of the temperate zones, the show and collection greenhouses of the Palmengarten comprise a wide variety of tropical plants.
A. Taxonomic collections (in alphabetical order)
The palm collection dates back to the founding time of the Palmengarten and is a particularly extensive collection with 390 accessions of 220 species. Palms are displayed in large numbers in the show houses and are a trademark of the Palmengarten. In 2018, a large exhibition on palms was also held.
Tropical orchids, as particularly valuable plants, were already part of the basic stock of the Palmengarten when it was founded. Especially under Director Schoser, the collection was considerably expanded and also became internationally known in connection with the World Orchid Congress. Today, the orchids are still the most diverse collection at the Palmengarten with approx. 1140 species.
B. Ecological Collections: Vegetation zones, habitats and special life forms
- Tropical habitats:
In the Tropicarium, the plants are arranged according to habitats and provide an insight into the most diverse forms of vegetation and their dependence on climatic factors. One large display house each is dedicated to species of tropical mangroves and coastal forests, lowland rainforests, mountain rainforests/cloud forests, monsoon forests, savannahs and dry forests, spiny forests and semi-deserts. Within these houses, the plants are partly subdivided geographically to enable the comparison of plants of similar habitats in different parts of the world.
C. Geographical collections
The Palmengarten is one of the few botanical gardens that collect plants (300 accessions) from the southernmost parts of the world. Our Subantarctic House is accordingly unique. The focus is on South America from the Valdivian rainforest to Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, the southern island of New Zealand and the subantarctic islands.
With 360 species in 600 accessions, the Palmengarten holds significant stocks from this particularly interesting region, many of which are threatened. The ecological focus is on dry areas and spiny forests, to which one house in the Tropicarium is dedicated. Other species can be seen in the display houses and the collection.
D. Conservation collections of endangered plants
Since 1977, a conservation collection has been established at the Palmengarten with the aim of propagating endangered species of this group and reintroducing them to their countries of origin after a large part of their natural habitats have become destroyed. Currently there are about 230 accessions, making this collection one of the largest of the group and therefore also of interest for international research projects.
- Conservation cultures of local species:
The Botanic Garden cultivates and propagates endangered plant species for which Hessen has a special responsibility and, in coordination with authorities and nature conservation associations, partly reintroduces the plants at suitable sites to support their populations.