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Trsteno Arboretum - Trsteno, Croatia

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Beach and harbour - Trsteno, Croatia Beach and harbour

The Arboretum of Trsteno is one of the oldest such institution in the world. The villa and the garden were founded by the Gučetić-Gozze family in 1492. In the early days it was a big help that the garden was established on the shore of the Adriatic Sea. At that time the collection was expanded by the following manner: they asked the shipmasters and the sailors to bring seeds and plants from their journeys.

Cycad (Cycadophyta) - Trsteno, Croatia Cycad (Cycadophyta)

Although the cycads (Cycadophyta) and the palms have undoubtedly quite similar appearance and they are often confused, these plants have not much to do with each other. They are only distant relatives, the palms are angiosperms but the cycads are member of the gymnosperms as for example the pines and other conifers. The palms were evolved "only" in the Late Cretaceous Period, while the cycad species appeared much earlier, in the Late Carbon geological era, so they already existed 310 million years ago. It can be easily calculated that the difference of the age of the two plant group is at least 200 million years which is as many as it is almost incomprehensible at the human scale.

Palm trees at the summer residence villa - Trsteno, Croatia Palm trees at the summer residence villa

The original early-renaissance style mansion was seriously damaged in a big earthquake in 1667. So the current building in the renaissance park of the Trsteno Arboretum is a newer villa but built on the same place. The park and the buildings are listed and under protection since 1948, the former family estate is considered a botanical garden since about then.

A green colored edible frog or common water frog (Pelophylax kl. esculentus) in the green algae in the pond (at the Neptune's Fountain) - Trsteno, Croatia A green colored edible frog or common water frog (Pelophylax kl. esculentus) in the green algae in the pond (at the Neptune's Fountain)

Earlier the edible frog or common water frog (Pelophylax kl. esculentus or Pelophylax ridibundus × Pelophylax lessonae) was considered as a separate species with the Latin name "Pelophylax esculentus". But later the DNA testings pointed out that in reality it is a fertile and very common natural hybrid of two other European amphibian species: the marsh frog (Pelophylax ridibundus or Pelophylax ridibunda) and the pool frog (Pelophylax lessonae). There are many possible variants, but most often its back is green with dark spots or bumps.

A hybrid creature is a mix of two different species and usually carries the characteristics of both parents, however most of the time the hybrids are infertile or unproductive. The edible frog is one of the exceptions, and to top it all it is able to reproduce with the marsh frog, the pool frog or other edible frog as well. But in long term for the survival of the hybrid features these frogs still need both parent species (the marsh frog and the pool frog).

Seaside road and azure blue crystal clear water - Trsteno, Croatia Seaside road and azure blue crystal clear water

If we see only in the last few decades the Arboretum of Trsteno even then already survived several damages. In autumn of 1991 during the Croatian War of Independence the Serbian-controlled Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) shot the area from ships and bombed it from airplanes and it set the vegetation on fire. It caused tremendous losses in the arboretum, even the oldest central part was damaged where the old mansion is located.

In the 2000s a forest fire destroyed an approximately 120,000-square-meter part of the garden. Despite it the park was still able to renew and today it is one of the number one tourist attractions in the surroundings.

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