8. Plants of the Bible

8. Plants of the Bible

In the Botanical Garden, a new area has been established to display the plants mentioned in the Holy Scriptures.

In the section dedicated to the plants mentioned in the Old Testament, the olive tree, the cypress tree, and the papyrus plant are on display.
In the second part of the exhibit, visitors can see the plants that played significant roles in the life of Jesus, such as frankincense, myrrh, and the crown of thorns made from the Jerusalem thorn during the Passion.

Each plant on display has a tag with detailed information, such as the scientific and common names of the species, its distribution area, and the biblical verse in which it is mentioned (in its Italian version). Below are some examples.

08 Area delle piante citate nella Bibbbia

Aloe (Aloe vera L.) was used in the burial rites: And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. (John 19:39)

AloeAloe plant (Aloe vera L.)


The thistle (Cynara cardunculus L.) recalls Adam and Eve's expulsion from Paradise: And unto Adam he said, ... cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee... (Genesis 3:17-18)

The cedar tree (Cedrus libani A. Rich.) was used in the construction of Solomon's Temple: So he built the house, and finished it; and covered the house with beams and boards of cedar. (1 Kings 6:9)

The cypress tree (Cupressus sempervirens L.) was used by Noah to build the ark: And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee. (Genesis 6:17-19)

Coriander (Coriandrum sativum L.) was often used in size comparisons: And the manna was as coriander seed, and the colour thereof as the colour of bdellium. (Numbers 11:7)

Incense (Boswellia sacra Flück.) is a resin obtained from a shrub that grows in the Horn of Africa and Arabia: And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2:11)

IncensoBlooming incense (Boswellia sacra Flück.)

Myrrh (Commiphora sp.) was used in the embalming procedures and was one of the ingredients of the Anointing Oil: And when they had come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down and worshiped him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2:11)

Commiphora myrrha 019Detail of the stem of a myrrh plant (Commiphora sp.)

Myrtle (Myrtus communis L.) is a shrub widespread throughout the Mediterranean region: Iwill turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs. I will plant in the desert the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive ... (Isaiah 41:18, 19)

Papyrus (Cyperus papyrus L.) was used to make the basket in which baby Moses was laid: And when she could not hide him any longer, she took a basket made of papyrus reeds and waterproofed it with tar and pitch. She put the baby in the basket and laid it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile River. (Exodus 2:3)

Sycamore (Ficus sycomorus L.) is a fig tree widespread in the southern part of the Mediterranean region: ... he sought to see who Jesus was... And he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way.(Luke 19:3, 4)

Jerusalem Thorn
The Crown of Thorns, made of the Jerusalem thorn (Paliurus spina-christi Mill.), was placed on the head of the Redeemer: And when they had plaited a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! (Matthew 27:29)

SpinacristiBranch of Jerusalem thorn (Paliurus spina-christi Mill.)

The Olive tree (Olea europaea L.) was a symbol of the new covenant between God and men: ...and the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf plucked off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth. (Genesis 8:11)