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Exposure of Brown Coal Formation

The life of Teplice citizens has always been impacted by the fact that the city is located in the North Bohemian coalfield. You could expect that people are roughly acquainted with the history of their region. Unfortunately they are not. Jiří R. Haager, the founder of the modern age botanic garden in Teplice, organized a small survey and asked 33 local university students “from what brown coal was formed and from which period it comes from“. Only two roughly knew it, the others remembered “something about giant sedges and horsetails“ from school – but that is black coal and “they were mistaken“ in about 300 million years.

That motivated us to include a part imitating Northbohemian brown coal landscape of early Miocene (this is the period roughly about 17-23 million years ago) in the new greenhouses. Quite a small exposure covers only a couple of meters in the greenhouse but will definitely provide basic information. We had to select replacement material because plants which had been inhabating Northern Bohemia about 20 million years ago do not exist anymore. Where possible we chose at least identical genus. Therefore the “landscape“ is dominated by glyptostrobus Glyptostrobus pensilis (today only one genus preserved in Southern China) and taxodium (we used Mexican Taxodium mucronatum). Prehistoric oaks were replaced by Northamerican small species, especially Quercus phyllireoides Instead of non-existing Zelkova zelkovifolia we used dwarf cultivar Zelkova serrata ´Goblin´. The same small cultivar was chosen instead of pincushion, Sciadopitys verticillata, growing only in Japan which we know from the brown coal layers in the form of pollen but in close Saxony it had created thick coal layers. There is still a lot of willows growing in our country but these wouldn´t stand greenhouse climate – so we also chose Japanese Salix bakko. Several, in the Teplice region already extinct species of heathers, are reminded by North American Myrica pennsylvanica. The exposure is supplemented with generally known Cissus and raspberry (Rubus), palms are represented by the Sabal and Calamus (rotang) genera and ferns Blechnum. The extinct ginger genus Spirematospermum is replaced by Alpinia chinensis from the mountains of south-eastern Asia.

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