Montag, 27. Februar 2012

Evergreen Plants, trees and scrubs at the "Südfriedhof" in Herne

Recently, I participated in a new Field Trip; this time to the “Südfriedhof” (literally “southern cemetery”) of Herne, a small town in Western Germany. This field trip was planned and carried out by the “Botanischer Verein Bochum” (Botanical Society of Bochum). For further information, check out their homepage (use google, because I don't know if deeplinking is allowed). The main focus of the field trip was upon the evergreen plants. So, in this Post, I want to present you some evergreen species, which we've found on the area of the cemetery. But first, it's time for a little bit history.

1. The Southern Cemetery of Herne

This cemetery is located in the South of Herne in Western Germany. It was founded in the year of 1905 by the city council, which bought an uncultivated area at the “Wiescherstraße”; a road which connects the small town with the town of Bochum in the south. Before the founding, the dead were buried on smaller cemeteries and, until 1850, in the neighborhood of the town church.

a fountain at the cemetery

Over the centuries, the area was extended multiple times. The first expansion was in the year of 1908 0,5 ha. Other expansions happened in the years of 1920/21 (3,5 and 12 ha), 1930 – 1932 (3,5 ha) or 1990 (20 ha). So today, the whole cemetery hat a total area of 34 ha, which makes it to the biggest cemetery of Herne.

view at the cemetery

The “Südfriedhof” is the final resting places of many people, who have made outstanding contributions to the Town of Herne or play a major role in its history. The most of them were businessmen, who founded major factories or productions plants in Herne, that brought prosperity to the town. Of course, many of this companies have something to do with mining, because Herne is part of the “Ruhrgebiet”, one of the former major areas of mining in Germany. But also many local politicians are buried here.

the left part of the chapel

Beside this, there are also some honorary graves on the cemetery. One of them is dedicated for the dead soldiers of both World Wars, while another is for the civilians, which were killed during allied bombing raids. There is also honorary graves for foreign victims of World War II. The most of them were Soviets and Poles. They were Prisoners of War, who were abducted by the Germans in order to work as forced labors in the factories and mines.

Graves of the forced labors

Other interesting places are the two memorials for the victims of two mining disasters and the memorial of demonstrators, who were killed at at demonstrations against a coup attempt (Kapp-Putsch) in the year of 1920.

Another very touching place is a burial ground “Pusteblume” (dandelion) for preemies and miscarriages.

In the center of the “Südfriedhof” stands the chapel, which was completed in 1909 and is built in the style of Neoclassicism.

2. Evergreen Plants on the Cemetery

Evergreen species are very popular for cemeteries, because in many mythologies evergreen symbolized also eternal life. However, this species are not really “evergreen”, because they also loose their leaves but not in such a big number as abscissional plants and new leaves replace the old ones also over the whole year. A true evergreen plant is Weltwitischia mirabilis Hook. F.; an indigenous plant of Namibia, which produce only two leaves in its long life.

Many of these evergreens on cemeteries have also hanging leaves or branches, because this is a symbol for mourning. Since the cemetery is also a park, the planting should not be too high.

Because of this, cemeteries plants are often small, scrub-like conifers or special breeding of the wild forms.

3. List of Species

Name Familie
Rhododendron catawbiense Michx. Ericaceae
Skimmia reevesiana Fortune Rutaceae
Skimmia japonica Thunb. Rutaceae
Taxus baccata L. Taxaceae
Chamaecyparis lawsoniana (A. Murr.) Parl Cupressaceae
Chamaecyparis obtusa Endl. Cupressaceae
Chamaecyparis pisifera Endl. Cupressaceae
Juniperus chinensis L. Cupressaceae
Abies pocera Rehd. Pinaceae
Thuja occidentalis L. Cupressaceae
Platycladus orientalis (L.) Franco Cupressaceae
Microbiota decussata Kom. Cupressaceae
Tsuga canadensis (L.) Carriere Pinaceae
Picea glauca var. Albertiana (Moench.) Voss. Pinaceae
Aucubua japonica Thunb. Garryaceae
Juniperus squamata D. Don Cupressaceae
Picea pungens Engelm. Pinaceae
Abies koreana E. H. Wilson Pinaceae
Pinus mugo Turra Pinaceae
Pachysandra terminalis Sieb. Et Zucc. Buxaceae
Picea omorika (Pankc.) Purk. Pinaceae
Ilex crenata Thunb. Aquifoliacae
Osmanthus heterophyllus (G. Don) P. S. Green Oleaceae
Pieris japonica (Thunb.) D. Don Ericaceae
Picea parviflora Sieb. & Zucc. Pinaceae
Cedrus atlantica endl- Manetti Pinaceae
Tsuga heterophylla (Raf.) Sarg. Pinaceae
Cupressus macrocarpa Hartw. Cupressaceae
Xanthocyparis nootkatensis D. Don, Farjo et Harder Cupressaceae
Picea wallichiana Jacks. Pinaceae
Metasequoia glyptostroboides Hu & Cheng Cupressaceae
Pinus nigra J. F. Arnold Pinaceae

3. Pictures


 Chamaecyparis obtusa - variety "nana gracilis"

Chamaecyparis lawsoninana - white sort

 Chamaecyparis lawsoninana - green sort

 Cupressus macrocarpa - sort "Goldcrest"

Chamaecyparis pisifera - Sub-Clade "Filifera"

 Chamaecyparis pisifera - Sub-Clade "Squarrosa";  "Boulevard" Variety

Juniperus chinensis

Juniperus squamata - "Blue Star" Sort

Platycladus orientalis

Thuja occidentalis 

 Xanthocyparis nootkadensis


 Abies koreana
 Abies procera

 Cedrus atlantica - "Glauca" Variety

Pinus omorica - a glacial relict

 Picea pungens

 Pinus mugo 

Pinus parviflora

 Pinus wallichiana

Tsuga canadensis


Taxus baccata - male plant with male cones

Non conifers
 Aucuba japonica

 Ilex crenata

Osmanthus heterophyllus - "Goshiki" Sort

 Pachysandra terminalis

 Pieris japonica
 Rhododendron catawbiense

 Skimmia japonica

Skimmia reevesiana 

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