Forest Plants

Shade-loving forest plants (or sciophytic perennials) are a broad and diverse group of plants. They include mostly hygrophilous species and species from nutrient-rich habitats. The most important thing for them is a low level of sunlight. Many species bloom in early spring before trees grow their first leaves. Some of these plants, also called ephemerals, survive the next part of the year hidden in underground storage organs. Others keep their leaves and their fruits ripen more slowly during the following seasons. 

The vast majority of forest plants in our collection are used in the forest expositions in the North and Central Grounds, as well as in smaller units in the Ornamental Garden or in the Mediterranean area. These areas are very popular amongst our visitors, especially in spring and during warm summer months, when they provide a pleasant atmosphere and shade. Our collection is rather extensive and includes about 1500 items.

Forest plants include perennials that grow in semi-shaded or shaded places in gardens, parks or forests, as well as some bulbous plants, grasses and rock plants. Another important group are ferns. Although forest plants are a diverse group of unrelated species, it is possible to find families which are more abundant than others. These are for example the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae), the primrose family (Primulaceae) and the lily family (Liliaceae). There are many important genera, for example: Ficaria, Anemone, hellebores (Helleborus), Primula, toad lilies (Tricyrtis), fawn lilies (Erythronium), barrenworts (Epimedium), hostas (Hosta), lungworts (Pulmonaria), wild gingers (Asarum), elephant's ears (Bergenia) or false goat's beards (Astilbe). 

Forest plants belong to popular cultivated species and many of them have numerous cultivars. They are traditionally grown in the USA and in England, but thanks to their undeniable beauty they are increasingly popular also in Europe and East Asia.

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