Cultivation of plants for ornamental purposes throughout the Mediterranean dates back to deep antiquity. In fact Egyptian, Greek, Roman and other previous myths are pervaded with correlations among humans, gods and plants either useful or ornamental – whose names such as hyacinth, narcissus, and many others that are still common. In that period almost all of the ornamental flora was native to the Mediterranean and next countries, having been the flow from other territories irrelevant up to the Renaissance. From XVI century on, the whole Mediterranean ornamental heritage was gradually spread throughout the new discovered territories, and from there a huge number of plants was introduced to Mediterranean and Europe. These floristic exchanges were greatly facilitated by the botanical gardens that, since 1545 (Padua) put into cultivation and spread plants everywhere in the world. In regards to geographical features, the whole area is of remarkable interest, but within it there many countries from where a greater number of ornamentals was selected: in the eastern Mediterranean border, Turkey was the source of the Tulipa germplasm and other geophytes introduced in Italy and the Netherlands, when modern floriculture started. As for the Mediterranean progenitors of ornamentals as Scilla Peruviana from Southern Spain, Lathyrus odoratus from Sicily and Southern Italy, and many other local endemics frequently belong to floristically rich regions. Another area biogeographically very close to the Mediterranean is the Canary Islands archipelago, in front of North Africa. Its flora, including more than 600 endemics, is rich in taxa of remarkable ornamental interest some of which since the XVI century are cultivated in European gardens and parks. Several species, such as Phoenix canariensis, today characterize artificial landscapes throughout the Mediterranean. In this symposium the ornamental flora of the Canary Islands is treated by A. Santos Guerra who particularly emphasized endemism and its value, even potential, in gardening and marketing. With respect to Turkey, the wild representatives of Tulipa and Hyacinthus, symbolic genera of Turkish ornamental horticulture, are surveyed by N. Özhatay, M. Koçyiğit, and S. Demirci, also taking into account their possible place in garden. Finally, a systematic and phytogeographical review of the genus Crocus is provided by L. Can and O. Erol which put a special emphasis on the taxa discovered in the last decades and their ornamental interest. Indeed the reviews presented in this symposium focus on the present and potential status of the ornamental flora at the extreme borders of the Mediterranean. These analyses could represent a starting point of a comprehensive inventory of the ornamental heritage, including its wild representatives, in the whole Region.
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2013|