ARBORETUM DE VILLARDEBELLE
Conifers from all around the world
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Aims of the arboretum
That is the rationnal thinking,
- to help the conservation of endangered species.
- to study the environmental requirements of most
species and to have at hand a wide choice of material.
- to reveal the diversity of the conifers.
- to build a green cathedral.
- to protect the soil from erosion.
- to enlarge the choice of valuable species
to be planted in the region.
but above all there is the simple pleasure
to create with the help of nature in its greatest diversity
and to feel like part of it.
The Arboretum de Villardebelle is in the South-West of France, in the
"Departement de l'Aude" (near Limoux, near Carcassonne).
Latitude : 43° 01' North; longitude :
2° 23' East.
Altitude : between 570 and 670 m.
Distance to the sea : 53 km.
Size : about 6 hectares (14 acres) in four different places (and is
Hardiness zone : 8b (with the absolute minimal t° since 1993 being
-10,4° Celsius [13.3° F]).
Average annual rainfall (1972-1997) : 1.074 mm (about 42 inches).
Landscape : hills. There are many microclimatic conditions due to the
different slopes and exposures to sun and winds.
Geology : in Villardebelle, the rocks are from Devonian (usually : limestone) and Carboniferous (usually : schists)
ages. In the Arboretum, rocks are mainly limestone, but not exclusively. The geology of the
region (Pyrénées) is a true puzzle, also because there are many inclusive
rocks. Investigations are still under way.
|Absolute yearly minimal temperature : average 1970-1997||-8.7° C [16.3° F]
|Absolute january minimal temperature : average 1970-1997||-7.5° C [18.5° F]
|Mean january minimal temperature : average 1970-1997||0.3° C [32.5° F]
|Average number of days max. temperature < 0° C [< 32°
|Average number of days min. temperature < 0° C [< 32°
|Average number of days min. temperature < -5° C [< 23°
|Average number of days min. temperature < -10° C [< 14°
Main natural vegetation is :
Quercus ilex, and other deciduous Quercus sp., Fraxinus
excelsior, Acer monspessulanum, Prunus spinosa,
Corylus avellana, Crataegus monogyna, Buxus
sempervirens, Ilex aequifolium, Genista sp., Cupressus
sempervirens, Juniperus communis, Prunus avium and
Main trees planted for timber in the surroundings are :
Fagus sylvatica, Quercus sp., Pseudotsuga menziesii,
Pinus nigra laricio or calabrica, Cedrus atlantica,
Pinus sylvestris, Picea sitchensis. A plantation of Abies
grandis died when 30 years old.
The arboretum (created since 1994-95) is mainly dedicated to
conifers with today more than 130 different species or subspecies of
Gymnosperms (quite a few cultivars are not being taken in that count). A
second hundred is waiting in the nursery. Fast growing species : Sequoia
sempervirens, Metasequoia, Cryptomeria, Cupressus
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Conifers in the arboretum
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Policy of the Arboretum
Forests precede civilizations, deserts follow
We need people to disprove this
Although there are some angiosperms (see table below), the policy of the Arboretum
is to try to acclimatize as many conifers species as possible (to hardiness zone
9). Only a few cultivars are planted, and the main objective is to display type species and
geographical subspecies and varieties.
Emphasis is brought on rare and/or endangered species.
The Arboretum is ready to study any cooperation program with others institutions
pursueing the same goals.
To ensure the genetical diversity of the trees, the plants are as far as possible grown
from seeds and a sufficient number of trees will be installed. Several trials will be conducted
in the Arboretum to find the best place for each species.
As far as the different types of soil and exposures will
allow it, the planting will be organized into biogeographical sub-units.
|Planted :||Natural occurence :|
Nursery of the Arboretum
- Soon after the creation of the Arboretum, it became obvious that the
choice of species and the quantity of plants available in the nurseries were
too limited or too expensive. Growing the plants from seeds has the following
- there is a much wider choice of species to be obtained as seeds;
- all trees will be geneticaly different (no clones), which is of special
importance for dioecious plants;
- it is usually much easier to get provenance information (altitude, latitude, locality)
with seeds than with plants purchased in nurseries;
- in most cases (that is : if the quality of the seeds is good, and if
process is mastered), it will be possible to plan the
quantity of the seedlings needed to meet the requirements;
- the quality of the seedlings will be under control by using professional material as in the forestry
nurseries (the main problem is to avoid spiralling roots - air pruning using
deep pots or tubes is the solution);
- after the first investments, the expense for each plant will be fairly low;
- a first control of the nature of the seeds (size, color) might be
important to avoid a species identification error (quite rare, but still
- there is the pleasure - among many other things - to see the birth of a
huge tree from a tiny seed (Redwoods are the most spectacular example);
- a better knowledge of the plants and their biology will be developed.
- The main required quality for growing some species from seeds is patience.
If it is possible to see a Metasequoia, a Pinus canariensis, a
Pinus massoniana or a Pinus patula close to 1 meter high after 18
months, it will need far more time to see most Abies species or a Pinus
aristata reaching 10 cm, or even 5 cm. Some seeds (Juniperus, Cephalotaxus,
Torreya, Taxus, Prumnopitys) are also long to germinate : up to 18 months.
The site is maintained directly by the Arboretum.
11 december 1998
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3 January 1999
During the last week of 1998, 80 trees were planted in the different Units of
Here is the list of the species introduced for the first time (* species grown from seeds in the
- Abies fraseri
- Abies gamblei
- Callitris tasmanica *
- Cephalotaxus harringtonia koreana *
- Cryptomeria japonica sinensis *
- Cupressocyparis notabilis
- Picea gemmata
- Picea montigena
- Picea smithiana *
- Pseudotaxus chienii
- Tsuga chinensis
- Tsuga diversifolia
Other species planted to complete the collection :
During Fall the first serious frost came early (November) and the temperatures went as low
as -10°C. Some dammages were observed on Pinus canariensis, Pinus michoacana and
on newly planted Keteleeria davidiana. All other species seem to do well (even if it is to
early to draw a conclusion), especially Pinus massoniana, Pinus patula, Calocedrus
formosana and Cunninghamia konishii.
- Cupressus dupreziana (4x) - a gift from the INRA Antibes, Mrs Andreoli -
- Metasequoia glyptostroboides (4x)
- Pinus attenuata (3x)
- Pinus edulis (10x)
- Pinus koraienssis (3x)
- Pinus leucodermis (2x)
- Pinus resinosa (3x)
- Sequoia sempervirens (4x)
- Sequoiadendron giganteum (2x)
- Taxus baccata (6x) - a gift from the Arboretum of Freiburg - Germany.
2 November 1998
During the last week of October, some 63 trees were planted in the different Units of
the Arboretum. Here is the list of the species introduced for the first time :
- Calocedrus formosana
- Cedrus brevifolia
- Cunninghamia konishii
- Cunninghamia lanceolata (type and 'Glauca')
- Picea alcoquiana (= P. bicolor)
- Picea engelmannii mexicana (= P. mexicana)
- Pinus jeffreyi
- Pinus lambertiana
- Pinus mugo mughus
- Pinus mugo pumilio
- Prumnopitys andina (= Podocarpus andinus)
- Taxus brevifolia
- Torreya taxifolia
More and more seedlings are planted that were grown in the nursery of the Arboretum
(with the number of seedlings) :
- Cupressus cashmeriana (5x)
- Metasequoia glyptostroboides (3x)
- Pinus coulteri (2x)
- Pinus edulis (4x)
- Torreya californica (3x)
Four different clones of Cupressus dupreziana (the Cypress of the Sahara
Desert) - a gift from the INRA Centre d'Antibes in France, Mrs Andreoli - were also
After a rain deficit during the Winter, Spring and Summer 1998, the months of
September and October were quite rainy : 105 mm and 86 mm respectively, allowing most
of the young trees to recover at the very end of the growing season.
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Books on Conifers
- Gerd Krüssmann, MANUAL OF CULTIVATED
- Timber Press, 1985, 361 pages, 455 black-and-white
photographs, 231 line drawings
- D.M. van Gelderen & J.R.P. van Hoey Smith, CONIFERS, The
- 2 Volumes, with Indexes, Timber Press, published in
association with the Royal
Boskoop Horticultural Society, 706 pages, 2347 color photographs, 113 drawings
- Keith Rushforth, CONIFERS
- Christopher Helm, 1987, London, 232 pages, color
photographs, line drawings
- Mirko Vidakovic
CONIFERS, Morphology and Variation
- Graficki Zavod Hrvatske, Croatie, 1991, 755 pages,
black-and-white photographs, line drawings, tables, maps
- G. Callen
LES CONIFERES CULTIVES EN EUROPE
- Editions J.-B. Bailliere, France, 1976, 2 volumes,
875 pages, black-and-white photographs, maps
- Peter Schuett, Hans J. Schuck, Gregor Aas, Ulla M. Lang
ENZYKLOPAEDIE DER HOLZGEWAECHSE, Handbuch und Atlas der
- ecomed, Landsberg am Lech, Germany, 1994, evolutive
book, two bands so far, color photographs, line drawings, maps
Books on Conifers by Geographical
- John Laird Farrar
LES ARBRES DU CANADA
- Fides & Service canadien des forêts, 1996, 502
pages, color photographs, line
This Book is published in English under the name
Canada by Fitzhenry and Whiteside Limited
- E.C. Pielou
THE WORLD OF NORTHERN EVERGREENS
- Comstock, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York,
1988, 174 pages, line drawings, maps
- Neal J. Enright & Robert S. Hill (Ed.)
ECOLOGY OF THE SOUTHERN CONIFERS
- Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C., USA,
1995, 342 pages,
black-and-white photographs, figures, tables, maps
- J.T. Salmon
THE NATIVE TREES OF NEW ZEALAND
- Reeds Books, Auckland, New Zealand, 1996, 384
pages, color photographs, figures, maps
- David Alan Charlet
ATLAS OF NEVADA CONIFERS, A Phytogeographic Reference
- University of Nevada Press, Reno, Nevada, USA,
1996, 320 pages, line drawings, tables, maps
- M.J. Brown, J.B. Kirkpatrick & A. Moscal
AN ATLAS OF TASMANIA'S ENDEMIC FLORA
- Tasmania Conservation Trust, 102, Bathurst Street,
Hobart 7000, Tasmania, May 1983, illustrations by Fred Duncan,
110 pages, line drawings, maps
Books on Conifers by Genus or
- Tang-Shui Liu
A MONOGRAPHY OF THE GENUS ABIES
- Department of Forestry, National Taiwan University,
Taipe, Taiwan, 1971, 609 pages, black-and-white photographs, line drawings, tables, maps
- S.S. Negi
HANDBOOK OF FIR AND SPRUCE TREES OF THE WORLD
- Indus Publishing Company, New Dehli, India, 1996,
232 pages, line drawings
- Jesse P. Perry Jr.
THE PINES OF MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA
- Timber Press, Portland, Oregon, USA, 1991, 231
photographs, line drawings, maps
- David M. Richardson (Ed.)
ECOLOGY AND BIOGEOGRAPHY OF PINUS
- Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England,
1998, 527 pages, black-and-white
photographs, figures, tables, maps
- Jeremy Joan Hewes
REDWOODS, The World's Largest Trees
- Smithmark, New York, USA,
1995, 192 pages, color & black-and-white photographs, figures, maps
- Michael P. Cohen
A GARDEN OF BRISTLECONES, Tales of Change in the Great
- University of Nevada Press, Reno, Las Vegas, USA,
1998, 308 pages, black-and-white photographs, color paintings, figures, maps
11 janvier 1999
- James A. Young & Cheryl G. Young
SEEDS OF WOODY PLANTS IN NORTH AMERICA
- Dioscorides Press, Portland, Oregon, USA,
1994, 407 pages, black-and-white photographs, line drawings, tables
- Bruce Macdonald
PRACTICAL WOODY PLANT PROPAGATION FOR NURSERY
- Timber Press, Portland, Oregon, USA,
1986, 669 pages, black-and-white photographs, line drawings, tables
- Michael A. Dirr & Charles W. Heuser, Jr.
THE REFERENCE MANUAL OF WOODY PLANT PROPAGATION,
From Seed to Tissue Culture
- Varsity Press, Athens, Georgia, USA,
1987, 239 pages, black-and-white photographs, line drawings, tables
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11 janvier 1999
All you want to know about Pines, you will find it here.
Great arboretum in the South of Germany; display a complete collection of Abies.
Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden
The Garden is "devoted to the collection, cultivation, study,
and display of native California plants".
.. Its "mission is to make significant contributions to the appreciation,
enjoyment, conservation, understanding, and thoughtful utilization
of our natural heritage."
Index Seminum : seed
source for other Botanical Gardens.
Kriekelaarstraat, 29, 9100 Nieuwkerken, Belgium.
Tel: +32.3-775.93.09, Fax: +32.3-755.36.50
Michel Decalut, Director.
Situated in Belgium, near St Niklaas, this arboretum presents all kinds of trees. Also
a very good source for plants.
American Conifer Society
Join the ACS ! A quite friendly association whose aims are to encourage the
development, conservation and propagation of conifers, with emphasis on those that are
dwarf and unusual, to aid in the standardization of conifer nomenclature and to educate the
- SEEDS AND PLANTS SOURCES
Very good seeds source, with a tremendous Web site that will inform you
directly on prices, availability, pre-sowing treatments, etc. You can order 2 grams and
A quite complete catalogue of Trees and Shrubs.
High quality service; the seeds are thoroughly tested for germination.
AustraHort Pty Limited, formerly M.L. Farrar Pty Limited.
Australian seeds source. Also seeds from around the world.
Pieter Zwijnenburg jr.
Halve Raak 18, 2771 AD Boskoop, Holland
Tel: +31.172-21.62.32, Fax: +31.172-21.84.74
Plant source for all kinds a trees. Highest choice and highest quality of the plants.
- NURSERY MATERIAL
Stuewe & Sons
Do you need tubes and containers to propagate your favorite trees ? This is the
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