The Plants & Trees of the Valsanzibio's Monumental Garden

Above, the bark of the century-old American or California Cedar
(Calocedrus o Libocedrus Decurrens)
– more than 350 years old; considered the oldest specimen of its species in Europe.

In the historic garden of 8 hectares and in the adjacent park of 4 hectares, there are about 800 plants and trees of over 100 different species.  Even today there are still many trees planted between 1664 and 1669 (about 70% of the plants present today are the original one!). The garden of Valsanzibio is unique in the world for the abundance of Boxwood plants (Buxus sempervirens, in this garden there are more than 60.000 square meters), for the longevity of the same plants (many boxwood plants are more than 350 years old) and for the height that these plants reach in some Boulevards (more than 6 meters tall!). There are 40.000 square meters of Hornbeam plants (Carpinus betulus) that, for the most part, are trimmed in such a way as to form a tunnel made of leaves and make the three “Shadow’s Alleys”; about 70% of these plants are the original one, planted between 1664 and 1669,  and, thus, since when they were planted they were coming from a nursery and were already plants of 15/20 years old, they are more than 350 years old.  The California Cedar (Calocedrus Decurrens, # 4 in the map), one of the original plants of the garden, is the oldest specimen of its species present today in Europe.  Normally, all the Boulevards and Alleys of the garden are bordered on both side by boxwood plants (The “Cardo” or Main Boulevard, The “Decumano” or Water Boulevard and the “Venetian Alley”) or by Hornbeam trees (the three “Shadow’s Alleys”) with the exception of the “Rainbow Boulevard” that has the south part bordered by boxwood plants while the north part is bordered by different species of maple trees (Acer campestre, Acer platanoides ed Acer negundo). The “Venetian Alley”, bordered by century old Boxwood plants about 5/6 meters tall, is a unique Alley that reproduce with the tall Boxwood’s espaliers the typical passageways bordered by buildings that you can see in Venice, the “Calle Veneziane”. This unique Alley, that you can see only in Valsanzibio, run through the entire east-west length of the garden (about 500 meters) and is less than 1,5 meters wide.

mappa piante Valsanzibio

1. Cedrus deodara
2. Quercus ilex
3. Cedrus atlantica
4. Calocedrus o Libocedrus Decurrens
5. Cryptomeria japonica
6. Chamaecyparis lawsoniana
7. Cupressus arizonica « Glauca »
8. Platanus acerifolia (hispanica o hybrida)
9. Sequoia sempervirens
10. Taxodium distichum
11. Photinia serrulata
12. Fagus sylvatica pendula
13. Magnolia grandiflora
14. Chamaecyparis pisifera
15. Cupressus sempervirens
16. Lagerstroemia indica rubra
17. Aesculus hippocastanum
18. Taxus baccata
19. Pinus pinea
20. Cephalotaxus harringtonia drupacea
21. Buxus balearica
22. Thuja occidentalis
23. Thuja orientalis
24. Elaeagnus angustifolia
25. Carpinus betulus
26. Tilia cordata
27. Eriobotrya japonica
28. Cedrus libani
29. Picea abies
30. Buxus sempervirens “Aureomarginato”
31. Aucuba japonica
32. Vinca major
33. Convallaria japonica
34. Hypericum calycinum

a. The “Cardo”, the Main Boulevard – bordered by high wall of Buxus sempervirens;
b. Il The “Decumano”, the Water Boulevard – perpendicular to the ‘Cardo’ and bordered byhigh wall of Buxus sempervirens;
c. The Venetian Alley, “La Calle Veneziana” – this alley reproduce with the high wall of Buxus sempervirens a typical venetian alley within buildings;
d. The Rainbow Boulevard – bordered on the North part by maple’s trees (Acer campestre, Acer platanoides and Acer negundo) and by high wall of Buxus sempervirens;
e. The Shadow’s Alleys. – mainly made by Hornbean’s trees (Carpinus betulus).

PLANTS EVERGREEN (see map of the historic garden and list above)

1. Cedrus deodara – Indian Cedar or Deodora Cedar (Pinaceae): conifer coming from the Himalaya; it can grow over 70 meters; the older specimen of the garden are about 200 years old;
3. Cedrus atlantica – Atlantic Cedar (Pinaceae): conifer coming from the Atlas region (Algeria & Marocco); it can grow over 40 meters; the four older specimen of the garden are about 300 years old;
28. Cedrus libani – Lebanon Cedar (Pinaceae): conifer coming from the Lebanon region; it can grow over 30 meters; the older specimen of the garden is about 90 years old;
2. Quercus ilex – Holm oak (Fagaceae): original of the Mediterranean area; it can grow up to 28 meters; the four older specimen of the garden are about 350 years old;
4. Calocedrus o Libocedrus Decurrens – Incense, California or American Cedar (Cupressaceae): conifer coming from the Oregon & California region; it can grow up to 35/40 meters; the older specimen of the garden is over 350 years old and is the oldest specimen of its species in Europe;
5. Cryptomeria japonica – Jappanese Cedar or Cypress (Taxodiaceae): conifer coming from Cina and Japan; it can grow up to 33/50 meters; the three older specimen of the garden are about 220 years old;
6. Chamaecyparis lawsoniana – Lawson or white Cypress (Cupressaceae): conifer coming from the Oregon & California region; it can grow up to 60 meters; the older specimen of the garden is over 350 years old and it is a spontaneous cutting from the original tree died about 20 years ago;
14. Chamaecyparis pisifera – Japanees Cypress (Cupressaceae): conifer coming from Japan; it can grow up to 45 meters; the older specimen of the garden is about 300 years old;
7. Cupressus arizonica « Glauca » – Arizona Cypress (Cupressaceae): conifer coming from the United States; it can grow up to 23 meters; the older specimen of the garden is about 180/200 years old;
9. Sequoia sempervirens – Redwood or bastard cedar (Taxodiaceae): conifer coming from the American Pacific coasts; together with the Sequoiadendron giganteum, this redwood is the taller and longer lived tree of the world, in California a specimen has reached the hight of 111 meters and exceeded the age of 1000 years! The older specimen of the garden are over 350 years old;
15. Cupressus sempervirens – Italian or Common Cypress (Cupressaceae): conifer coming from the European mediterranean area; it can grow up to 45 meters; the older specimen of the garden are over 350 years old;
19. Pinus pinea – Umbrella or domestic or “pine nuts” pine (Pinaceae): conifer coming from the south-west part of Europe; it can grow up to 30 meters; the older specimen of the garden is over 350 years old;
22. Thuja occidentalis – Western Thuja (Cupressaceae): conifer coming from western America; it can grow up to 15 meters; the older specimen of the garden are about 350 years old;
23. Thuja orientalis – Eastern or Chinese Thuja or the tree of life (Cupressaceae): conifer coming from China, the Manchuria region and from Korea; it can grow up to 18 meters; the older specimen of the garden are over 350 years old;
29. Picea abies – Red spruce or Norway spruce (Pinaceae): conifer coming from the mountain chain that goes from Scandinavia to north western Russia and to central Europe; it can grow up to 36 meters; the older specimen of the garden are about 180 years old;
18. Taxus baccata – Yew-tree (Taxaceae): coming from Europe, Iran and Algeria; it can grow up to 25 meters; in this garden there are several (more than 40) yew-trees that are over 350 years old, some are of the Taxus bacata ‘fastigiata’ subspecies and are easily distinguished from the more common yew-tree because their leaves point upward. The branches, the seeds and especially the old leaves of the yew-trees are very poisonous because they all contain an alkaloid, the taxin, present in different percentage, from 0,5 up to 2%. This potent natural toxin has narcotic and paralyzing effects on man and on many domestic animals. The only part of the yew-tree toxin free is the pulp of the fruit, the typical reddish or yellow berry. The birds will eat this berry, they will digest the pulp and then, since the highly poisonous seed will pass the digestive system untouched, they will expel the seed all around defusing this plant all over the land.
20. Cephalotaxus harringtonia drupacea – Japanese ‘Cefalotasso’ (Cephalotaxaceae): coming from central China, it grows spontaneous in Japan and in Korea; among all the aspects that differentiate this plant from the Taxus baccata is its NON toxicity and its longer an brighter colored leaves; it can grow up to 3-5 meters; the older specimen of the garden are about 300 years old;
21. Buxus balearica – Balearic or gentle boxwood (Buxaceae): coming from the Balearic islands and from the south-western region of Spain; it can grow up to 8 meters; it differs from the evergreen boxwood (Buxus sempervirens) for the larger, smoother and brighter colored leaves; the older specimen of the garden are over 350 years old;
30. Buxus sempervirens “Aureomarginato” – Chequered evergreen boxwood (Buxaceae): coming from Europe, northern Africa and western Asia; it can grow up to 8 meters; it differs from the evergreen boxwood (Buxus sempervirens) for the whitish/cream colored edges of the leaves; the older specimen of the garden are about 250 years old;
11. Photinia serrulata – Photinia (Rosaceae): coming from Japan and China; it can grow up to 5 meters; its leaves resemble the one of the cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) and its white flowers bloom in April;
13. Magnolia grandiflora – White Magnolia (Magnoliaceae): evergreen tree coming from the United States; it can grow up to 18-30 meters; the older specimen of the garden are over 350 years old;
24. Elaeagnus angustifolia – Fake ‘oleastro’ or Bohemia Olive tree (Elaeagnaceae): coming from the western Asia; it can grow up to 10 meters; the older specimen of the garden is about 70 years old;
27. Eriobotrya japonica – Japanese medlar tree (Rosaceae): coming from Japan and China; it can grow up to 4 meters; the older specimen of the garden is about 120 years old;
31. Aucuba japonica – Aucuba (Carnaceae): coming from Japan and China; it can grow up to 2-3 meters; in this garden there is also the Aucuba japonica foliis variegatis that has the leaves chequered with cream-whitish and light green spots;
32. Vinca major – Periwinkle (Apocinaceae): coming from Europe and Asia; its purple colored flowers bloom in February-May;
33. Convallaria japonica – Convallaria (Convallariaceae): coming from Japan and China; it is a grass that grows in the shadow and suffer a lot the direct sunlight;
34. Hypericum calycinum – St John’s wort or hypericum (Clusiaceae): coming from the Far East; its bright yellow colored flowers bloom in June-September;

PLANTS DECIDUA (see map of the historic garden and list above)

8. Platanus acerifolia (hispanica o hybrida) – Plane tree (Platanaceae): Decidua tree, hybrid of the P.orientalis and P.occidentalis; it can grow up to 35 meters; the older specimen of the garden is over 350 years old;
10. Taxodium distichum – Swamp cypress (Taxodiaceae): decidua conifer coming from the south-western United States; it can grow up to 45 meters; the older specimen of the garden are about 280 years old; it is one of the few conifer that looses the leaves in autumn;
12. Fagus sylvatica pendula – Weeping beech (Fagaceae): coming from Europe; it can grow up to 15 meters; the older specimen of the garden is about 300 years old; note the difference in size with the other weeping beech that grows near the century old one and that is only 75/80 years old;
16. Lagerstroemia indica rubra – Lagerstroemia (Lytraceae): coming from Japan and China; it can grow up to 3-5 meters; it is one of the few trees that bloom in late summer and its trunks are so smooth that seems without bark; the older specimen of the garden are all about 200 years old;
17. Aesculus hippocastanum – Common horse chestnut tree or Indian horse chestnut (Hippocastanaceae): coming from the northern part of Greece and from Albania; it can grow over 30 meters; the horse chestnut trees, since about 15/20 years, have been attacked by the Cameraria, an insect coming from the Far-East, which larvae causes an early autumn in May. Thus, the tree looses most of the leaves by early June and it is forced to generate new leaves in full summer. This situation weaken the tree and, eventually, year after year, can cause the dead of the tree itself. Lately this phenomenon is taken under control by making to the plants in early spring some ‘drips’ of insecticide diluted in water…the insecticide, harmless to the tree, reaches the leaves and kill the caterpillar that is feeding on it (70/80% of success!); the older specimen of the garden are all over 250 years old;
25. Carpinus betulus – Comon hornbeam (Betulaceae, Carpinaceae): coming from central Asia and Europe; it can grow up to 19 meters; the most part of the specimen of the garden make up the “Shadow’s Alleys” and about 70% of them are over 350 years old;
26. Tilia cordata – Wild linden or limetree (Tiliaceae): coming from Europe and from the Caucasus and Siberia regions; it can grow up to 30 meters; the older specimen of the garden are all about 250 years old;

OTHER PLANTS SPECIES PRESENT IN THE GARDEN

Acer campestre, Acer platanoides ed Acer negando (maple trees), Cupressus macrocarpa (Monterey Cypress), Pinus sylvestris (Silvestre Pine tree), Pinus strobus (White or Strobo Pine tree), Quercus robur (Farnia Oak), Euonymus japonicus (Japanese Evonimo), Ilex aquifolium (Common holly) e Ilex a. ‘Argentea Marginata’, Laurus nobilis (Laurel), Magnolia soulangeana (Magnolia of Soulange), Chimonanthus precox (Japanese or Winter Calycanthus), Prunus laurocerasus (Cherry Laurel), Prunus Lusitanica (Portuguese Cherry tree), Prunus domestica (Plum-tree), Prunus armeniaca (Apricot tree), Prunus avium (Cherry tree), Fraxinus ornus (‘Ornello’ or Manna’s Ash tree), Fraxinus excelsior (Common or European Ash tree), Celtis australis (Nettle tree), Betulla pendula (Whipping Birch), Juglans regia (European Walnut tree), Pterocarya fraxinifolia (Caucasian Walnut tree), Corylus avellana (Hazelnut tree), Castanea sativa (Common Chestnut tree), Zizyphus sativa (Jujube tree), Robinia pseudoacacia (Locust tree or False Acacia), Salix alba (Willow), Ulmus (Elm tree), Phyllirea latifolia (Ilatro comune), Populus alba (White Poplar), Populus nigra (Common or Black Poplar), Populus nigra’Italica‘ (Italian Poplar), Juniperus phoenicea (Phoenicia Juniper), Juniperus chinensis (Chinese Juniper), Corpus sanguinea (Corniolo), Sambucus nigra (Common or Black Elder), Paulownia tormentosa (Paulownia), Cercis siliquastrum (Jude/ Judas tree), Cydonia oblongata (Cotogno), Ficus carica (Common Fig tree), Punica granatum (Pomegranate tree), Malus sylvestris (Wild Apple treeo), Viburnum tinus (Lentaggine o Laurotino), Morus alba (White Mulberrytree), Ailanthus altissima (Ailanto), Sophora japonica (Japanese Sophora), Forsythia (Forsizia), Mahonia “Charity” (Maonia), Osmanthus fragrans (Olea fragrans), Hibiscus syriacus (Ibisco), Phyllostachys nigra (Black Bambù), Gynerium argenteum (Pampas grass), Rubus ulmifolius (Blackberry bush), Rosa sp. (Different species of Roses).