Lecce University Botanical Garden – Salento Botanical Garden

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

The Botanical Garden of the University of Lecce, a.k.a. Botanical Garden of Salento, was conceived in the early 90s by Sergio Sabato, a professor of botany from Naples: it was intended as a section of the local “Ecotekne” university campus, twinned with another botanical garden near “Masseria Sant’Angelo” (currently managed by a Foundation which includes the very University of Lecce).

Today, that very Foundation also manages the Botanical Garden in Lecce with the help of private funds and it’s responsible for carrying out cultural, social, educational, research and tourism activities related to the protection, conservation and enhancement of plant biodiversity.

The garden houses the Herbarium Lupiense, a collection of about 20.000 dried flora specimens from Italy and Salento, in particular.
Several activities and projects have been carried out for years, including conservation programs, research, floristics and horticulture activities, as well as guided tours, exhibitions and various events; educational programs and workshops for schools have also been offered for quite some time.


Today, the botanical garden covers some 32 acres, east of the city, in a sub-flat area originally used for grazing sheep. It still retains patches of pseudo-steppe made of Stipa austroitalica unaltered subsp. austroitalica, with spontaneous orchid blooms.

The very botanical garden covers more than 5 acres and features small groves of Tasmanian blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) and Aleppo pines (Pinus halepensis), while along the perimeter there are native and ornamental species such as myrtles, mastic trees, thorny gorse, cystus, phyllirea, shrubby thyme, local heather and rosemary.

A patch of scrub and bushes contains almost 400 wood species typical of the Salento area; there is also an orchard with traditional local trees. A small lake and an artificial marshland host spontaneous and exotic aquatic plants; on the opposite side, there are succulent plants grown in the ground and a small collection of medicinal and ornamental Mediterranean species.

The spontaneous collection, growing on more than 7.5 acres, is extremely useful for studying and researching the popular pharmacopoeia, alimurgic applications and the artisanal use of plants, such as laurel, rosemary, officinal sage, salvia tribola, lavender and common rue, not to mention wild fennel, lemon balm, lesser calamint, clary, savory and hyssopus.

A square section hosts rare spontaneous species, threatened of extinction and typical of Salento – they’re grown inside special enclosures. Finally, there is a field reserved to herbaceous species of agricultural interest and several protected structures (greenhouses and tunnels) for the propagation of plants.

On a slope, there is an olive grove and a Pomarium made of different varieties of pear, quince, pomegranate and apple trees; it also features a fig grove with some 50 different ancient varieties of trees from Salento.

In the “field of minor fruits”, visitors can admire walnuts, mulberries, jujubes, mountain-ashes, azaroles, and carob trees. Beyond that field, there is the “path of the oaks”, with thorny oaks, holm oaks, Macedonian oaks, downy oaks, and cork oaks.
Last but not least, the pine forest that frames a hygrophilous grove is made of narrow-leafed ashes, white poplars, elms and tamarisks.

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)


Via Prov. Lecce-Monteroni 65 - 73100 Lecce(LE)

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Dal 15 settembre al 30 giugno, dal lunedi¬ al venerdi¬ 9.00-13.00, 15.00-18.00; dal 15 ottobre al 15 marzo, dal lunedi¬ al venerdi¬ 9.00-13.00, 15.00-16.30.

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