Biosphere

A tropical forest on the sea

Aquarium Hours

from 9:30am to 20:00pm last entrance at 18:00

A Botanical Garden in Genoa

A Sphere of Glass and Steel

 

 

The Biosphere is a striking sphere of glass and steel designed by the architect Renzo Piano, which you can find in Genoa’s Porto Antico (the Old Port). Here you can learn about the plant and animal life in tropical forests, and find out more about these fragile environments that are highly endangered by human activities. Visitors will have the chance of taking a close look at more than 150 species, with their fragile beauty, and you will also find out why their survival depends on all of us.

You will see rare tropical plants: not only tree ferns, but also plants that are traditionally used for human activities, such as gum trees, coffee plants, banana trees and cinnamon. The tree ferns that grow in the Biosphere are the tallest cultivated plants of this species in the whole world.

 

Phalaenopsis amabilis, Dendrobium compactum

Orchids

 

Orchids belonging to the genus Dendrobium originally came from Eastern Asia, form the Himalaya Mountains, India, China and Australia.

Phalaenopsis amabilis is a species of orchid that came from the tropical region of Southeast Asia. It grows wild especially in India and Malaysia. Its leaves are elongated and highly decorative.

 

Eudocimus ruber

Scarlet ibis

 

Of all the animals that you can find in the Biosphere, the most striking is certainly the scarlet ibis, with its characteristic vivid red plumage. This birds lives in mangrove forests, in wetlands and other areas of shoreline, such as fresh and salt water estuaries of the North-West of South America. They feed mainly on crustaceans, molluscs and small fish, which they search in the mud using their long curved beak.

 

Pteridophyta

Tree Ferns

The big tree ferns are the crown jewel of the Biosphere. They are primitive plants that date back to the Carboniferous, a geologic period coming about 100 million years before the first dinosaurs appeared on Earth. When tree ferns first appeared on Earth, they started to put down roots almost everywhere on the world’s land surface, competing with other primitive plants without trunk. Over time, even if they maintained their original characteristics, they differentiated into thousands of species that are now widespread all over the world.

Passiflora phoenicea

Passiflora

 

Passiflora, a group of plants also known as passion flower, is a good site for butterflies to lay their eggs, because caterpillars feed on the leaves of these plants. To protect from these voracious animals, the species Passiflora phoenicea produces two false butterfly eggs on each stalk, so that butterflies have to look for other – less “crowded” –places to lay their eggs.

 

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