The Orto Botanico di Padova is a botanical garden in Padua, northern Italy. Founded in 1545, it is the world's oldest academic botanical garden that is still in its original location The garden, affiliated with the University of Padua, currently covers roughly 22,000 square meters, and is known for its special collections and historical design.
The Garden of Padua was founded upon deliberation of the Senate of the Venetian Republic. It was devoted to the growth of medicinal plants, the so-called "simple plants" which produced natural remedies, and also to help students distinguish legitimate medicinal plants from false ones.
Collections of the garden include:
- Insectivorous plants: found in nitrogen-poor soils, these plants must use the proteins of some small insects captured with their leaves to avoid deficiencies.
- Medicinal and Poisonous plants: plants representing the original purpose of the Botanical Garden.
- Plants From the Euganean Hills and Triveneto Region: a collection of representative plants from the Euganean Hills and the area surrounding the Botanical Garden. There is also a section devoted to the collection, preservation and study of plants in danger of extinction.
- Carnivorous plants
- Aquatic plants
- Alpine plants
- Mediterranean plants
- Mediterranean Maquis: contains typical coastal vegetation from the Mediterranean basin, a climate characterised by hot summers and mild winters. An impenetrable scrub is composed of a thick evergreen underbrush and trees as well as many climbing plants, often thorned.
- Alpine Garden: a typical Alpine climate, set above the mountain wood. Characterised by tracts of rocky detritus kept together by plant roots, shrubs, and small twisted trees such as the mugho pine and the dwarf juniper.
- Fresh Water Habitat: water plants are grown here in many tanks ,and undergo similar adaptations caused by the habitats despite their original species.
- Succulent Plants: a reconstructed desert habitat (in spring and summer).
- Orchid Greenhouses: hot humid micro-habitat that allows the cultivation of tropical forest plants.