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Reopening of the Jardin des Plantes greenhouses (Paris)

Reopening of the Jardin des Plantes greenhouses (Paris)

AFP - 2010-07-28

After six years of work, the doors of the historical greenhouses of the Jardin des Plantes (Botanical Gardens) are reopening. From a dry desert to a hot and humid jungle, four huge caskets of glass and metal put biodiversity and its history in the spotlight.

More than five years after closing for security reasons, the historical greenhouses of the Jardin des Plantes, the showcases of exotic plants in Paris, have finally been reunited with their collections and their splendour. "In 2004, bolts fell from the roof and the windows broke, so we had to close," says Eric Joly, director of the Jardin des Plantes.  The existing greenhouses have been built at the site where the first ones were constructed in the 19th century between 1834 and 1836. At that time they were the first large metal and glass greenhouses in the world. The four new greenhouses are dedicated to tropical rainforest vegetation, deserts, New Caledonia and the history of plants.

In the Desert greenhouse you can appreciate the defence strategies that plants develop to counter extreme heat and lack of water, the New Caledonia is a showcase for the rampant flora to be found in the territory at the world’s end, considered to be an important area for global biodiversity due to the many exceptional and unique species that it harbours.

The greenhouse on the history of plants tells the story of ‘green colonization’ that started 420 million years ago when small, short, half-moss, half-seaweed plants moved from the oceans to start progressively covering the continents. The history of man which started 200,000 years ago with Homo sapiens seems incredibly short compared to that of plants!
Throughout the visit you can’t help but feel fascination for the amazing genius of nature that has conquered every environment in every era.  

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