The Collections of the Observatoire du Monde des Plantes


The Observatoire du Monde des Plantes (OMP, Observatory of the World of Plants) is the botanical garden of the University of Liege. A complex of greenhouses spanning 2300m², its collections cover various areas, each one reconstituting the biomes of our planet. It has a temperate greenhouse, a Mediterranean climate greenhouse, a tropical greenhouse and a semi-desert to desert climate greenhouse. 

The collections of the OMP include about 3,000 species, subspecies and varieties of plants. Some have disappeared in their natural state, others are rare: the collection of Bryophytes - unique in Belgium, the collection of Malagasy and Namaqualand plants, the collection of Orchidaceae and myrmecophytes (plants living in mutualism/symbiosis with ants), the carnivorous plants or the "tropical flooded forests" basin are among the most remarkable elements of the Observatory.

Raising Awareness of Environmental Issues

With this rich plant heritage, the OMP highlights typical or thematic plant formations - such as the evolutionary history of land plants, the co-evolution of plants and animals, or exceptional species or biological mechanisms. In this way, it aims to raise awareness among the general public of various disciplines, in particular biology and ecology as well as of environmental issues, such as the erosion of biodiversity, global warming, and the loss of natural habitats.

Various educational materials and guided tours inform the public about the dramatic consequences (for the environment, biodiversity and natural habitats) of certain human practices, such as monoculture and intensive livestock farming, deforestation, use of pesticides, etc. Visitors' attention is also drawn to various sensitive ecosystems, such as mangroves or cloud forests.

Field of Observation and Research

In addition to the school and family public, the OMP receives students from ULiège and other higher education institutions, as well as researchers. It hosts numerous internships, provides a field for final year work, and supplies material for practical work for students in pharmaceutical sciences, biology and veterinary medicine.

Moreover, the OMP offers support for research. For example, ants from the OMP have been collected by an expert in myrmecology from the University of Montpellier (Centre for Functional and Evolutionary Ecology, Biotic Interactions, Rumsais Blatrix); a researcher, Mrs. Olivia Jansen, is studying the pharmacological potential of various Euphorbiaceae; several doctoral students from the Faculty of Applied Sciences have found the botanical material necessary for their research at the Observatory, etc.

Concrete Actions for the Conservation of Plant Species

The University collections are managed by the non-profit organisation Les Espaces botaniques universitaires de Liège, whose mission is to set up very concrete actions not only to educate and raise the awareness of its various publics to environmental issues, but also for the ex-situ conservation of plant species.

Thus, a specific label, linked to a new database, has been implemented. It provides information on the conservation status of plant species, a status listed on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) red list of threatened species.

The Plant World Observatory has also joined various networks, such as the BGCI (Botanic Gardens Conservation International), the VBTA (Vereniging Botanische Tuinen en Arboreta), the Association des Jardins Botaniques et Arboreta de Belgique and the JBFF (Jardins Botaniques de France et des pays Francophones). It is also preparing to join the IPEN (International Plant Exchange Network). These networks share the same will to multiply the relations and the exchanges of competences and plant material (seeds, plants) between the various botanical gardens, in the respect of the CBD (Convention on Biological Diversity) and to work for the conservation of plants and threatened biotopes.


Les collections de l'Observatoire du Monde des Plantes

L’Observatoire du Monde des Plantes est le jardin botanique de l'Université de Liège. C’est une grande serre d'environ 2300 mètres carrés composée de quatre zones à profils climatiques différents. Elle renferme 3000 taxons végétaux, dont des espèces très rares. 

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