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The greenhouses contain collections of tropical crop plants and rainforest plants, subtropical species from deserts and semi-deserts around the world, and species of Mediterranean climates from four continents. The geographical focus of our collections is mainland Africa, Madagascar, and the Canary Islands (paleotropics).
The tropical greenhouse is a 400 m² lush environment of tropical crop plants, aquatic plants, montane rainforest plants, and epiphytes. There is also a waterfall, a special section of carnivorous plants, and a variety of bromeliad species. The climate in this greenhouse is regulated to remain at 25–30 °C (74–86 °F) with a relative humidity of over 80%. Natural fluctutions in temperature are imitated, since some species (many orchids, for example), require special climatic triggers for natural growing and flowering processes.
The collection of species from subtropical desert and semi-desert regions is comprised mainly of plants called succulents. These plants have fleshy organs that allow them to retain water especially well, an evolutionary trait aiding their survival during dry spells or in arid regions. These organs, producing structures that stabilize the plant, have developed in many different plant groups, and in addition to their function as water storage organs, they also allow for a more efficient production of biomass (CAM photosynthesis) in more extreme climatic conditions. In our collection, both Old-World and New-World succulents face each other, with the difference in growth forms clearly noticeable. Noteworthy is the convergent evolution of analogous growth forms by different plant groups that evolved in similar environmental conditions, albeit on different continents. In both New and Old-World taxa respectively, euphorbs and cacti, agave and the Aloe genus, and the Yucca genus and Dracaena trees, ecological challenges have been met with similar evolutionary solutions.
The succulent collection is currently housed next to the tropics greenhouse, until the planned succulent greenhouse is built.
You can download the pdf file of our booklet about the Loki Schmidt greenhouses (in German).
Species from regions with Mediterranean climates like rather small areas in Chile, California, South Africa, Southern Australia, and of course, Mediterranean Europe, constitute our cold greenhouse collection. Since the climate of these areas is characterized by hot dry summers and cool moist winters with little chance of frost, we need to protect the plants from hard frosts, which are common in Rostock in the winter months. During the summer months, however, we are able to display these plants outside of our greenhouse as well. Typical of the species from these climate regions cultivated in Rostock are evergreen sclerophyllous leaves and a pronounced seasonality in life processes.
Our cold greenhouse collection currently resides in a new cultivation greenhouse, which unfortunately doesn’t allow for visitor traffic. We ask for patience and understanding until these plants can be displayed properly in a new Mediterranean greenhouse scheduled to be built in the future.
Attention: The greenhouses in the Botanical Garden are first and foremost for education and research at the University of Rostock and were not built for large groups of visitors. We ask for your understanding that the greenhouses are only open to the public on Tuesdays through Thursdays during working hours of the greenhouse gardeners, and for guided tours on Sundays.
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