Parks and gardens

The Botanic garden, extraordinary plants

  • You’ll find many remarkable plants in the Botanic Garden, including some that are very rare or old.

    These beautiful trees, shrubs and flowers are an inexhaustible source of pleasure and wonder for nature lovers.

Magnolia grandiflora

Magnolia d'Hectot
This tree is 200 years old and its trunk measures 2.30 metres in circumference. It’s one of the oldest magnolias in Europe, as well as the first to arrive here. It was planted by Jean Alexandre Hectot, the first director of the Botanic Garden. The Marquis Barin de la Galissonniere, a ship owner, brought this magnolia as a sapling to Nantes.

Metasequoia glyptostroboides

Metasequoia glyptostroboides
The metasequoia is one of the few trees that have been discovered in the 20th century. Known for centuries as a fossil, it was found growing in a valley in China in 1941. It’s one of the few conifers which loses its needles.
It was in 1955 that the Botanic Garden collected and planted some seeds of this magnificent tree. It now measures about twenty metres in height.

Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo biloba
Known as the Maidenhair tree, it disappeared from its natural habitat thousands of years ago. The only specimens known today have been cultivated. This tree is slow growing and is widely used in pharmacy. The Botanic Garden has a group of three specimens, all over a hundred years old, which is extremely rare.

Liriodendron tulipifera

Liriodendron tulipifera
The American Tulip tree - At 35 metres high, the American Tulip Tree is a big tree - as big as an oak. Its enormous flowers grow in the shape of tulips. The Botanic Garden has several dozen examples of this trees, the majority of which are over a hundred years old. An allusion to the city’s connection with this species, tulip tree wood was used to make the Elephant at the Machines of the Isle project in Nantes.

Taxodium distichum

Taxodium distichum foliage and roots
Bald cypress – A conifer from Louisiana, this swamp inhabitant has roots that grow above the water (pneumatophores) which allow the rest of the plant to “breath”. It got its name because it loses its needles in winter. The Botanic Garden’s bald cypress, which is over a hundred years old, has developed very visible pneumatophores.

Wollemi nobilis

Wollemi Pine
The youngest member of the garden, the Wollemi Pine was discovered in 1997 by a forest ranger in an Australian valley. There are fewer than 100 specimens left in the wild. This young tree, that has wild parents, was planted in the Botanic Garden in 2009. It is part of the conservation plan for this species.

Welwitschia mirabilis

Welwitschia
This tree is situated close to the Clémenceau entrance to the park and its trunk measures 2.10 metres in circumference.

Myrmecodia

Myrmecodia platyrea Becc
Myrmecodia platyrea Becc ©Philippe Férard
The base of the stem of this plant has transformed itself into an ants nest. It makes nectar at the base of its leaves and therefore provides food and housing for the ants. In exchange, the plant feeds on their waste and benefits from the protection of these dangerous insects (You can see an example in the Palmhouse).