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Among others, we draw special attention to the renovation of the mountain botanical garden in Zavizan (The Velebit Mountain, Northern Velebit Nature Park ) and to new ex situ conservation project for croatian endemica nad endangered plant species.

 

The renovation of the Velebit Botanical Garden on Zavižan
 

In those four or five months of the year when  Zavižan   is not under snow, many of the visitors to the Lodge  make sure to visit the 800 m distant Velebit Botanical Garden in Modrić dolac.  The Velebit Botanical Garden on Zavižan is the only alpine botanical garden in Croatia.

 In 1967, the late Dr Fran Kušan, a botanist with a world-wide reputation, put into practice the idea of a Velebit botanical garden. He wanted to collect and label in the garden the variegated mass of lovely plants that grow wild in the pre-montane parts of Velebit.  Thus in a single place, the visitor can see all the plants that grow on the mountain. In a relatively small space, around a sinkhole fifty or some metres deep, called Balinovačka, there are about five hundred wild Velebit plants, collected over the whole of the mountain.

After the death of Professor Kušan (some twenty years ago) the garden rapidly lost its glory, and because of the conditions of the war, from 1990, it was completely neglected.
 

Balinovac sinkhole way

As part of a four-year project (2000-2004), staff members of the Botanical Garden of the SF have been helping the North Velebit National Park in a project for the renovation of the Velebit Botanical Garden, one that includes expert work (the re-identification of species actually growing in the garden, the procurement of new species, herbarium treatment, photographic documentation, mapping, procurement of literature) and horticultural work (mowing and cleaning the neglected parts, weeding and pruning the overgrown vegetation, tidying up visitor trails, arranging and clearly marking the borders of the Garden, the planting of new plant material).
 

horticultural work

 
Ex situ zaštita endemičnih i rijetkih biljaka hrvatske flore
 

Although there is a long tradition of growing endemic and rare Croatian plants in the Garden, we have only recently received a special licence of the national Nature protection agency to propagate, grow and sell a limited number of velebit degenia (Degenia velebitica, Brassicaceae).
Commercial production of such plants is strictly prohibited by the law, for they are considered to be a national nature treasure. However, some institutions, such as botanical gardens, are usually allowed to grow and sell a certain number of plant species which are otherwise under strict statutory protection. These and similar programmes help us to conserve the natural populations of rare plants, by offering them for sale in the botanical garden.

In the spring 2008 we plan a special exhibition and a series of interesting lectures and workshops, accompanied by the sale of 500 degenia specimens. Those will be reserved for educational institutions (kindergartens, schools and universities), and the rest will be offered for sale to other visitors and citizens. We will use the information from this first year to propagate the necessary number of plants for the next season.

We also plan to grow and sell several other attractive endemic plant species, for instance several species of the genuses Campanula and Edraianthus.

All plants are grown from seeds obtained from established garden populations (which are seldom ‘rejuvenated’ by plants or seeds collected in wild, also with special permits). We usually grow only small number of plants (classical methods or micropropagation) due to lack of space, time and personnel.

Funds obtained it the sale will be used for further program development, e. g. buying literature and laboratory equipment.
 

Degenia velebitica - from seeds, sawing, young plants to adult specimens in bloom.

 
 


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