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The Conservatoire Botanique National de Brest
The Stangalar- An open space for all- Brittany flora rescue-An international vocation


Jean-Yves Lesouëf, a biologist worried to protect the biological heritage and aware of the threats on vegetal species, has founded, pioneer in his field, a nursery garden for endangered plants.

In 1975, he gained the support of the « Communauté Urbaine de Brest », the minister of the Environment, and the “Société pour l’Etude et la Protection de la Nature en Bretagne” (Foundation for studying and protecting the Nature in Brittany) to create the first Botanical nursery garden.

Within the scope of the ex situ preservation programmes, The Botanical Conservatoire main task is to grow endangered plants from the Massif Armoricain, France, Europe, and islands all around the world.

The ex situ preservation aims at growing a specie (in greenhouses or gardens) which is too threatened in its own environment, and at multiplying it abundantly to be provided to other Botanical Gardens and if possible, to be reintroduced.

For safety, packs of seeds are stored in cold storage rooms. Since 1990, Brest is registered as a “ National Botanical Conservation center” by the minister of the Environment to protect the endangered and protected plants of the Massif Armoricain.

For these species, the Conservatoire Botanique collects data through bibliographical research and out in the field inventories. It also ensures plants in situ ( in Nature) and ex situ (growing) conservation.

It informs and contributes its expertise to related topics for the authorities and heightens public awareness of species preservation.

Plants preservation means a good knowledge on their native environments. Therefore, the Conservatoire Botanique takes part, among other actions, to the “Natura 2000” European program.

The Stangalar

As you come and discover this park, don’t rely too much on the enduring aspect of this place whose past is still in the memory of the elders. Formerly, the water of the Stang-Alar stream was so pure that it provided drinking water to Brest until the end of the 19th century.

At this time, the small valley was very praised by the people of Brest for a walk and as a playground. After WWII, a quarry was opened in the valley and dig its sides until 1966. Then, abandoned by the owners, the site, ravaged, suffered the last insult being used as rubbish dump.

In 1971, the “Communauté Urbaine de Brest” bought the plots of land and sought to create the first open space of the district.

Meanwhile, Jean-Yves Lesouëf was looking for a place to create a garden for endangered plants.

The “Communauté Urbaine de Brest” showed interest in this project and offered to put the small valley at his disposal. The development works started in 1977 under the supervision of the technical Services of the “Communauté Urbaine” and the local Marc et Simon companies.

35 000 m3 of topsoil that came from the Kergaradec area was collected to lay out the clumps, paths were designed, the stream was modified with successions of ponds and falls, and buildings were dig up.

Nowadays, this open space, located between the cities of Brest and Guipavas, includes 17 hectares for the public park and 32 ha for the Conservatoire Botanique.

Since 2000, a pedestrian path brings the valley up to the seafront.

This site managed and looked after by the “Service des Parcs d’Agglomération de la Communauté Urbaine”, has achieved its metamorphosis and recovers its former purpose as a charming walkway.


An open space for all

The northern part of the Vallon du Stang-Alar hosts a large 16 hectares Public Park open all the year. Its a wonderful place to go for a walk and to relax for everyone in the family.

There are playgrounds for the children, a “ Crêperie “ open every day, sport trails, many paths and well-kept clumps and bed flowers.

First park created by the district “Communauté Urbaine”, the “Vallon du Stang-Alar” is the open space the most visited in the Brest and suburbs area.

Each year, for May Day, the “l’Arche aux plantes” association organizes, together with the “Communauté Urbaine” and the Conservatoire Botanique a big plant sale in the “Vallon du Stang-Alar” which attracts several thousands of visitors and fulfils the expectations of the most demanding plant lovers.
Since July 2000, the path that goes through the “Vallon du Stang- Alar” is extended by a pedestrian path to easily access the harbour of the Moulin Blanc and Océanopolis.

The National Botanical Garden and the front sea will be laid out gradually to create a transition between the terrestrial world and the maritime world.

People from Brest and its suburbs as well as any walker will have a great network of pedestrian paths for miles, enjoying peacefully some of the most leading sites in Brest.


Brittany flora rescue

The Conservatoire Botanique is officially in charge of protecting the threatened or protected plants in the Massif Armoricain area, a territory that includes the Brittany regions, Basse-Normandie and Pays de la Loire.

First and foremost these plants are kept in their native environments according to programs set in collaboration with the authorities, associations and various organisms for environment management and protection, as well as the owners of the plot of lands where rare species grow.

It is the case for the small statice (Limonium humile). The unique wild statices listed in France are grouped together in the Brest roadstead.

This limonium is threatened by a grass, introduced at the beginning of the 20th century, which is invading its native environment.

In partnership with the “Communauté Urbaine de Brest”, the Conservatoire Botanique is testing several methods to protect the most beautiful areas of the roadstead .  

Limonium humile


An international vocation

Since its creation, the Conservatoire Botanique has targeted its international programs to endangered plants from Europe and islands all around the world.

The Conservatoire Botanique manages and looks after one of the largest set of endangered plants, growing about 1700 species and among which twenty have been kept alive thanks to their actions.

For example, the Normania triphilla, a plant of the solanacea family and a native of Madeira island was presumed extinct.

A specimen was discovered by a botanist of Madeira in 1995. Some seeds were collected and shared out between Madeira and Brest.

Here, in 1998, the plants had thrived enough to produce seeds for the Funchal Botanical garden of Madeira in order to try to reintroduce it in several parts of the island.

Amorphophallus titanum Becc.


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dernière mise à jour 03 septembre 2012