Versailles-Chèvreloup Arboretum plays an essential role in the preservation of species. It is also an ideal location for genetic, pharmacological, ecological and physiological research thanks to the concentration of plants from all over the world in a single site.
What is an arboretum?
An arboretum (from the Latin arbor: tree) is a botanical garden devoted to trees.
In an arboretum, every tree in the collection is identified and labelled and all information concerning its origin and life (date and place of collecting seeds, planting, localisation, classification...) is stored in a database with a map to locate the plants in the field.
A place for education and awareness
Versailles-Chèvreloup Arboretum is an ideal tool for the spread of knowledge about biodiversity: the concentration of very different species from all over the world in one place allows for easy observation and effective comparison.
Today Versailles-Chèvreloup Arboretum has a key role to play: raise general awareness about the fragility of nature and the necessity to preserve it. Hence its teams organise numerous mediation activities: guided tours, events, workshops.
In addition, two tours are signposted with a series of educational panels:
- the first tour presents 40 remarkable tree species;
- the second tour offers a discovery of the diversity of trees in Île-de-France and an introduction to the recognition of species.
A place for research and preservation of plant species
At Versailles-Chèvreloup Arboretum, the objective of the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle is to assemble a reference collection of woody plants from temperate and cold regions. The variety of species is dictated by the characteristics of the local environment. Chèvreloup numbers 2,000 taxa of woody plants representing more than 200 genera and 70 families, making it one of the richest collections in Continental Europe
The wealth of its collection makes Chèvreloup a precious tool for scientific research. Genetics, systematics, pharmacology, ecology, physiology, pathology, plant sciences and biogeography are the scientific specialities that benefit from this remarkable collection of tree species.
In addition, along with the other scientific arboretums spread over the whole of France in all bio-geographical areas, Versailles-Chèvreloup Arboretum is engaged in a medium-term program to evaluate global warming by recording the dates when certain trees bud, flower or begin to bear fruit.
The Arboretum is also a privileged place to observe wild animals. Sheltered from urban areas, many species find refuge in the variety of biotopes present at Chèvreloup, where the lawns, meadows, humid zones and forest environments provide a home to hundreds of species of insects and dozens of birds, not counting mammals such as boars, roe deer, hedgehogs, red foxes, squirrels, etc.