Historical Garden

This section hosts plant species both from ancient Greek mythology and plant species, that have been reported by Theophrastus, Pliny and other ancient Greek or Roman authors. Visitors have the opportunity to see many trees and shrubs, described by ancient authors in early botanical books, mentioned in myths and sacred to the gods. For instance, the cypress tree (Cupressus sempervirens) that is related to the myth of Cyparissus, a young boy loved by the god Apollo and transformed by him into a cypress tree. Many other plants are mentioned in metamorphosis myths. The laurel (Laurus nobilis) transformation of the nymph Daphne, loved by the god Apollo, the stone pine (Pinus pinea) transformation of the nymph, Pitys, loved by Pan and the white poplar (Populus alba) transformation of the nymph Leuke, daughter of Oceanus, loved by Pluto. Other species have more intricate stories with multiple versions. The almond tree (Prunus dulcis) related to the birth of Attis, the pomegranate (Punica granatum) related to the rape of Persephone, the apple tree (Malus domestica) related to the Judgment of Paris and the mulberry (Morus nigra) related to the death of Pyramus and Thisbe. Some trees are reported in the ancient cult of Hamadryad nymphs such as oaks (Quercus spp.), mulberry, walnut (Juglans regia) and fig tree (Ficus communis). Many trees and shrubs instead, are sacred to gods such as the chastberry (Vitex agnus-castus), sacred to Hera and symbol of purity, oaks sacred to Zeus, the laurel sacred to Apollo and the myrtle (Mirtus communis), sacred to Venus.