The ecological-genetic department deals with life forms, plant communities, pollination biology, seed dispersal and heredity. The “Teaching Garden”, which shows many functions and morphological formations of plants in a comparative context, also houses a water garden. Water and marsh plants are located there in special sunken basins surrounding two small glass houses. This area is flanked by two arbors, the pergolas, which give place to a wide range of climbing plants of various affinities.
Basin for sump and water plants
The basins for marsh and aquatic plants allow visitors to see plants adapted to damp and wet habitats at close quarters, which is rarely possible in the wild. These water basins were created in their present form on the occasion of the Federal Garden Show in Munich in 1983. The plants presented in them are often threatened with extinction in their habitat, because wetland biotopes have been drained, especially in recent centuries, to gain cultivated land. Two small greenhouses present carnivorous plants and other rarities.
Heredity and genetics
Beds in the western part of the sunken area north of the café illustrate topics from heredity or genetics.
The foundation stone of modern heredity was laid by the monk and researcher Gregor Mendel (1822 – 1884). He experimented with peas, specifically with seven different characteristics of purebred pea lines, and summarized the results of his crossing experiments into three basic rules. These three “laws”, which he formulated on the basis of his observations, became known as “Mendel’s rules”.
Mutations – hereditary changes and the resulting genetically modified plants – and the variability of a species are further topics of the Genetics Department. The latter is demonstrated using various cultivated forms of vegetable cabbage (Brassica oleracea); a species that is one of our most important vegetable plants due to its diversity of forms and versatile usability.
Another topic is chimeras. In biology, this refers to an organism consisting of two or more different components. For example, from normal and mutated cells. This phenomenon can also be observed in so-called graft bastards in woody plants. At the grafting site, cells give rise to both partners. However, segregation and partial dominance of one or the other species can also occur.