Porto Caleri Botanical Garden... - Secret World

Via della Boccavecchia, 45010 Rosolina RO, Italia

Jessica Markle


The Botanical Garden, located in the southern part of the Rosolina Mare coastline, covers an area of about 44 hectares. Created by the Veneto Region in 1990 in an area that was later declared a Site of Community Importance (S.I.C.) and became part of the territory of the Veneto Regional Park of the Po Delta, it aims to conserve a unique natural environment of considerable scientific interest. Visits to the environments of the Coastal Botanical Garden can be made thanks to three different paths: a short one, which is of particular interest to the pine forest; an intermediate one, which includes all environments except the brackish water wetland; and a longer one, which also includes the latter. Vegetation of the sands Close to the sea the typical vegetation of the loose sands consists of very adaptable pioneer species, such as ravastrello (Cakile marittima), calcatreppola (Xantium italicum), is eryngium (Eryngium maritimum). On the first dunes, which are still unstable, the flora begins to be enriched with elements such as bunting (Cyperus Kalli), beach bunchgrass (Agropyron junceum) and maritime vilucchio (Calystegia soldanella). At the top of these dunes are dominated by dense tufts of stinging esparto (Ammophila littoralis), which, by forming a barrier to the wind, result in the accumulation of sand, contributing to the development of the dunes themselves. In the backdune belt, different physiognomies of vegetation can be observed depending on the degree of stabilization achieved in the dynamics of dune development; thus, plants such as paleo (Vulpia membranacea), or beach vedovina (Scabiosa argentea) are found. Scrub In the rearmost areas, juniper (Juniperus communis) and ilatro (Phillyrea sp.) shrub vegetation is established, which is a prelude to a Mediterranean scrub-type thicket. Freshwater wetlands. Where the water table emerges, in infradunal depressions, the vegetation is enriched with hygrophilous species including fishbone (Typha sp.), sedge (Cladium mariscus) and reed (Phragmites australis). Pine forest The pine forest behind, composed of maritime pine (Pinus pinaster) and lodgepole pine (Pinus pinea), is the result of reforestation carried out between the 1940s and 1950s and has been spontaneously enriched in the undergrowth by rare elements such as orchids of the genera Cephalantera, Ophrys and Orchis. Also noteworthy is the presence of holm oak (Quercus ilex), witness to the spontaneous tendency to form a Mediterranean-type forest. In the belt to the west, an area rich in elm (Ulmus minor) can be observed, indicative of a natural environment favorable to the formation of a lowland-type forest. Brackish water wetlands Since 1992, an equipped trail has been built through the brackish environments near the Caleri Lagoon. The itinerary includes a first section with the crossing of an environment overlooking the salt marshes, characteristic tabular islets of the lagoon, clayey in nature and covered with dense halophytic vegetation formed by perennial plants resistant to the strong salinity of the soil. The path winds along the sandbar and by means of special footbridges it is possible to easily cross the small canals, on the bottom of which, if the water is not turbid, one can observe benthic fauna (crabs, juveniles, etc.), submerged flora (Zostera noltii) and algae (Ulva, Enteromorpha, etc.). On the margin of salt marshes or near the "salt marsh" soils, a seasonal halophytic vegetation formed by Salicornia veneta, Suaeda marittima and Salsola soda develops. In some stretches, margin areas stabilized by Spartina maritima are also evident. After crossing the sandbar, the "halophilic trail" concludes by walking along the dune terrains to the southeast; here the halophytic vegetation mixes with that more proper to the dunes, the soils are less salty and looser, and there is a fair development of Juncus maritimus, Inula crithmiodes and other typical species.