The Genesis of an Urban Flora: New Plants, Their Conflicts and Regulations in Colombian Cities

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This paper addresses the nineteenth-century genesis of the urban flora in Bogotá and Medellín. Using historical evidence, it explores how these two Colombian cities turned into floristic islands different from their nearby environments. This study shows how the uniqueness of the urban flora responds to a historical accumulation of species followed by an increase of the botanical repertoire of the cities. This enrichment of plants was accompanied with new human-plant interactions based on disciplined behaviours implemented by the emergent urban elite. Through organisations such as the Embellishment Society of Bogotá, these elites established mechanisms of green proselytising to solve conflict between people and plants that unfolded in the recently opened parks and gardens. By opening a dialogue between urban, landscape and ethnobotanical studies, this paper explores an integrative approach towards the plants in cities, showing how the urban nature in highly biodiverse cities is a historical process not free of conflicts and negotiations between humans and photosynthetic organisms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-356
Number of pages32
JournalGlobal Environment
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2023


  • Urban nature creation
  • Colombian cities
  • Disciplined green spaces,
  • Floristical island,

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