University plants 350 Phoenix palm trees from around the world by the River Segura

Orihuela now has the largest collection o date palms – of the genus Phoenix – in the world. Miguel Hernández University (UMH) and the Town Hall have inaugurated El Palmetum, a garden with 350 examples from different countries which have been planted in the groves of the River Segura. This is a continuation of a project started at Orihuela Polytechnic (EPSO) in Desamparados where there is a garden with about 400 palm trees.

This project was started in 2013 but stagnated and did not take shape until a few months ago.

“The objective is to preserve as much biodiversity as possible and help to conserve and research the date palm,” explained Botany Professor and project manager Conchita Obón, and also to maintain this part of the River Segura.

El Palmetum is in Soto I6 of the River Segura, an area of 50,000 square metres split into 36 plots according to where the palms are from, including ones from India, tropical Africa, America and the Costa Azul. Although the most common ones are from south east Spain, there are also ones from Andalucía and the Balearic and Canary Islands.

EPSO Director Ricardo Abadia explained the garden is open to the public and there is educational material about the different examples planted there.

“If the palms are looked after and watered we could have a big palm tree park in a few years,”said Obón, and she called for the installation of a watering system “to guarantee its future”.

Mayor Emilio Bascuñana said he is proud that Orihuela has the second biggest Palmeral in Europe after Elche.

The garden was inaugurated on June 5th, which is World Environment Day. Children from Azahar Primary College were the first to walk around the park and learn more about the palm trees.