A princely pleasure garden with a spectacular greenhouse

Karlsruhe Botanical Gardens

Cockspur coral tree (Erythrina crista-galli) in front of the gatehouse at the Karlsruhe Botanical Gardens. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Thomas Huber
PLANTS AS OLD AS KARLSRUHE ITSELF

THE VIRGIN PALM

At 300 years old, the virgin palm at the Karlsruhe Botanical Gardens is a particular gem. It has been around since the founding of the city under Margrave Karl Wilhelm von Baden-Durlach and has survived reconstructions, wars and fires.

Virgin palm (Dioon edule) at the Karlsruhe Botanical Gardens. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Thomas Huber

Virgin palm in the conservatory.

THE MARGRAVE AS PLANT COLLECTOR

Virgin palms are tropical plants, which makes it all the more amazing that the one in Karlsruhe has survived for so many generations in the Karlsruhe palace gardens. Its botanical name is "Dioon edule". The Founder of the city and palace, Margrave Karl Wilhelm von Baden-Durlach (1679–1738) was a passionate botanist and plant collector. He himself took several research trips to Holland, the hub of plant trade at the time, where he primarily purchased the most desirable plant of the period: tulips.

Chestnut (Castanea) at the Karlsruhe Botanical Gardens. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Thomas Huber

Old chestnut in the palace gardens.

MORE SURVIVORS IN KARLSRUHE

Despite the damage caused in Karlsruhe by the wars, there are a few other very old plants in the gardens. The palace gardens are host to trees that are almost as old as the city. By the pond behind the palace, for example, stands a mighty chestnut with a trunk 9 meters in circumference. Of the potted plants within the botanical gardens, three cockspur coral trees (Erythrina crista-galli) survived World War II.

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