The sub-tropical climate of Madeira has allowed the island to blossom and grow some of the most beautiful and well-maintained gardens in the world. For any botanist or gardener, Madeira offers the perfect setting for the enjoyment of plantlife.
Madeira's Botanical Gardens
The desire to establish a Botanical Garden in Madeira dates back to the 19th century. Various scientists and botanical experts, including J.R. Theodor Vogel, Frederico Welwitsch, and the naturalist Baron Castello de Paiva, promoted the idea of creating a Botanical Garden because of its climatic conditions, and its unique botanical and floral diversity. However, it wasn't until the middle of the 20th century that Quinta do Bom Sucesso was bought, by the now defunct Junta Geral, with the object of installing the headquarters of Madeira's Botanical Garden, on 30th April, 1960.
The Quinta do Bom Sucesso, built in 1881 and previously the private home of the Reid family, is situated about 3 kilometres from the centre of Funchal, and enjoys a privileged position on the south slopes of a valley and at an altitude of about 350 metres. Up here, the varied conditions provide a luxuriant vegetation, in over 35,000 square metres of gardens.
The increasing loss of biodiversity and natural habitats on a world scale, has given rise to a comprehensive development program at Madeira's Botanical Garden which has become a centre for conservation. Various species of Madeiran plants that are threatened in their natural surroundings are the subject of continuous study and propagation, and can be appreciated in the gardens by visitors from around the world.
The Main Areas of the Garden
Indigenous and endemic
You can see plants exclusively from Madeira and other Atlantic Islands (Azores, Canaries and Cape Verde). There are about 100 indigenous plants exhibited, ranging from those characteristically found on the more exposed slopes of Madeira, to those typical of mid-altitude vegetation and trees found in the island's natural forest - Laurel Woods. The Laurel Woods are evergreen forests with subtropical characteristics, the Lauraceae being the most common, together with the Till tree (Ocotea foetens), Laurel (Laurus azorica), the Barbusano (Apollonias barbujana) and Vinhático (Persea indica).
You can admire plants from ecologically opposed areas of the globe, such as those from the Himalayas and the tropics. Especially noteworthy, by their gait, shape, colour of crown and bloom, are various trees and shrubs such as the Blue Palm, Dombeyas, the Magnolias with their majestic flowers, the Ginkgo, the multicoloured Rhododendron trees, Cedars and Araucarias, as well as the elegant Melaleucas and the exotic Coral trees.
The plants in this section belong to the succulent group, which share the common characteristic of storing water. In this section dozens of plants, most of which are of South American origin, create a very special environment which is typical of the deserts.
Tropical, Cultivated, Aromatic and Medicinal
In this section there are several tropical and subtropical fruit trees, namely the Surinam Cherry tree, Guava, Brazilian guava, Mango, Papaya, Avocado, Coffee and Banana. Typical Madeiran produce such as Yam, Sugar Cane, Sweet Potato and popular medicinal plants are on display here, too.
You can find some of the most exotic and rare birds in the world in Loiro park: Cockatoos and Loricos from the Asiatic tropical islands, Australian Parakeets, Dwarf Parrots, Macaws, Parrots from the Brazilian tropical forests etc. In this unique "free-flying" aviary, multicoloured birds fly about freely and reproduce as if in their own natural habitat.