Botanical Garden of Majella Michele Tenore

Botanical Garden of Majella Michele Tenore

The Michele Tenore botanical garden is located in Lama dei Peligni, in Abruzzo, in the province of Chieti.
This Botanical Garden is located at 650 m s.l.m., in the Majella National Park, and has been recognized as a Garden of Regional Interest by the Abruzzo Region with D.G.R. 3489 of 23/12/98.

History –
The Botanical Garden ”, together with the“ M. Locati ”, was created in 1995 by an initiative of the Municipality of Lama dei Peligni, with funds from the Abruzzo Region. In 2000 the management passed to the Majella National Park Authority following the suppression of the former Majella Orientale Regional Reserve (L.R. 38/1996).
The Michele Tenore Majella Botanical Garden was created with the aim of introducing visitors to the plants that grow in the Majella territories, in order to distinguish their names, properties or uses; over the years it has assumed a fundamental role in the protection of rare or endangered species in the protected area; about 7% of cultivated species are endemic, i.e. species with a more or less local distribution, while 13% belong to the Regional Red Lists of Plants of Italy, drawn up by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (UICN).
Many of the plants that are or could be at risk of extinction are the subject of specific conservation actions in the Botanical Garden.
With this in mind, the Park Authority became a founding member of the Italian Network of Germplasm Banks for the ex situ conservation of Italian flora (RIBES), whose function is to constitute a reserve of seeds of spontaneous plants at greatest risk of disappearance, by implementing thus a strategy for the conservation of nature complementary to the protection ensured by parks and reserves, in line with the objectives of the main international conventions on the protection of nature.

Description –
The Michele Tenore botanical garden currently houses about 500 plant species on an area of ​​9000 square meters. The symbol of the Garden is the Majella cornflower (Centaurea tenoreana), an endemism of the Eastern Majella dedicated to the Neapolitan botanist Michele Tenore who visited these places in 1831, identifying numerous floristic entities hitherto unknown. The Garden and the Museum constitute one of the Park Visitor Centers.
The Garden is structured in didactic sections and in sections that reproduce the vegetation environments of the Majella. Many of the cultivated species are endemic to the Central Apennines or exclusive to the Majella and the surrounding mountains.
The seed bank of endangered species of the Majella National Park, organized precisely in the structures of the Michele Tenore Botanical Garden, is therefore a useful tool that completes the conservation action carried out in nature by the institution.
The activities of seed collection and management of the carpoteca are aimed both at the exchange of seeds with other scientific institutions (index seminum) and at reproduction; the latter activity is useful to ensure the replacement and reintegration of the plants present in the collection in the garden or to constitute a useful reserve to activate any programs for the reintegration and improvement of populations at risk present in nature.
Another activity carried out by the Garden is the promotion of knowledge of the plant world in order to spread awareness of the need to implement effective strategies for its conservation. For this purpose, visitors are offered specific itineraries structured in order to respond to the different needs of knowledge, study and discovery and in particular:
• meetings and screenings on specific themes including nature, history, art and culture of the Majella National Park and surrounding areas;
• thematic didactic paths;
• seminars and theoretical-practical courses on various topics (ancient local customs and traditions, gardening, plant care methods, etc.).
It is also possible to carry out stages, internships, degree theses or consult naturalistic-floristic books in the library.
The activities developed to date for the Lama dei Peligni Botanical Garden are complementary to the activities carried out in the Sant’Eufemia Botanical Garden, created by the Park Authority in 2000, where the goal was to extend the field of action, developing therefore the activities of reproduction of the autochthonous plant material for all interventions of reintroduction in nature and reintegration in the environments in order to improve the possibility of conservation in nature of populations at risk.

Structures and Collections –
The altitude at which the Garden is located and the exposure of this side of the Majella, has favored the creation of environments such as the cliffs and low-altitude scree that host various endemisms including the Cavolinii bellflower, the Iris of the Marsica and the Aquilan astragalus next to species with amphidiatic distribution such as the daisy-leaved soapwort, the spiny drip, etc.
Another representative environment is the Mediterranean scrub and its degradation in garrigue. In these environments are hosted in addition to holm oaks, strawberry trees and alaterno, small colorful shrubs such as pink and white cistus, aromatic plants such as savory and helichrysum and various species of asphodel. In the garden, the typical forest habitats of the territory of the Park, such as the beech wood, the cerreta, the orm ostrieto and the oak wood with downy oak.
Of particular interest is the reproduction of the Neolithic agricultural landscape, where in addition to huts made with plant materials, earth and dung, sections with different varieties of cereals, legumes such as cicerchia, deer and plants from which oils were extracted were reproduced like hemp, flax and poppy. A part of the garden is dedicated to educational sectors such as the section of medicinal plants which houses species once used in the area of ​​Lama dei Peligni known as the town of “maybe” or sorcerers.
A further section is dedicated to the recovery of agronomic cultivars, with an orchard where about 20 local varieties of fig, peach and plum trees found in the Park and in the surrounding areas are grown.
The species of greatest floristic interest are the endemic or subendemic entities found on the Majella and in the Central Apennines, some of which in danger of extinction for the Abruzzo flora and included in the Red Book of Italy or in the Red List of Plants Abruzzo: Abies alba, Aquilegia magellensis, Acer cappadocicum subsp. lobelii, Allium moschatum, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, Artemisia umbelliformis subsp. eriantha, Astragalus aquilanus, Athamanta sicula, Atropa bella-donna, Aubrieta columnae, Aurinia sinuata, Betula pendula, Campanula fragilis subsp. cavolinii, Centaurea scannensis, Centaurea tenoreana, Cymbalaria pallida, Daphne mezereum, Daphne sericea, Dictamnus albus, Ephedra nebrodensis, Euphorbia gasparrinii subsp. samnitica, Festuca dimorpha, Geranium macrorrhizum, Goniolimon italicum, Juniperus oxycedrus subsp. macrocarpa, Juniperus sabina, Iris marsica, Iris pseudacorus, Laburnum alpinum, Leontopodium nivale, Lilium bulbiferum subsp. croceum, Lilium martagon, Myrtus communis, Paeonia officinalis subsp. italica, Phlomis fruticosa, Pinguicula fiorii, Pinus mugo, Pulsatilla alpina subsp. millefoliata, Pulsatilla montana subsp. montana, Ranunculus thora, Ranunculus magellensis, Ranunculus Segueri, Salix apennina, Salvia officinalis var. angustifolia Saponaria bellidifolia, Sesleria juncifolia, Senecio samniticum, Soldanella minima subsp. samnitica, Stachys thirkey, Trollius europaeus subsp. europaeus.

Guido Bissanti

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