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Large cactus house (hall A)

The tour of the greenhouses starts in this airy Hall dedicated to the drought tolerant plants of the New World. Gneiss and sand form the typical desert or semi-desert landscape of the Americas. Particularly remarkable are the globular and the columnar cacti as well as the mighty Agaves. We have limited the species selection to just one continent in this hall. Only at the edges did we make an exception allowing plants like the magnificent Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae) which is indigenous to South Africa.

Succulents at the entrance to the glasshouse complex

Plants inhabiting environments such as deserts, semi-deserts, craggy rock faces and dry grasslands with very little precipitation are known as xerophytes. They have developed different techniques to survive long dry spells. Some cover their leaves with a tough and leathery skin to minimise water loss. Others store water from short rainy seasons in their fleshy plant tissue and, therefore, are known as succulents.

Water is also stored in roots, stems or leaves. Succulent geophytes, which have underground storage organs, are rare whereas succulents storing water in their stems and leaves are more common. There are succulents storing precious moisture only in their thick bulbous stems or bases, whereas others use their entire shoots as well as the main and side branches as their water reservoir.

Madeira cranesbill (Geranium maderense)

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