Giuseppe Licari



Center for Urban Biodiversity


CUB - Center for Urban Biodiversity

Kunst in Het Witte de With Kwartier, Gallery Hommes, Rotterdam 2015.
Site-specific intervention. Variable dimensions.
Uncut grass of Westersingel Rotterdam, guided tours, dry plants, prints.

During the summer and until September 15th, the grass around the north Westersingel hasn’t been mowed. This non-action is part of an experiment to help the plants still inhabiting the grass field to develop and mature. In the nine weeks of free growth, 102 different species have been identified, harvested, dried and digitized to create a herbarium of the Westersingel, result and testimony of this process.

After years of mowing, most of the plants inhabiting the grass field have adapted to the conditions imposed by the city council and grew in a much smaller scale than if they would grow in their natural environment. This adaptation allowed some plants to develop fully and reproduce under the constant treat of the mower, while others have been facilitated by this action to spread and reproduce.

Only few areas of the Westersingel were inhabited by bigger plants; evidence of recent soil movement that has brought sleeping seeds from beneath to the topsoil. These areas are called ‘disturbance’ and are visible to the eye because they visually contrast the rest of the field.

This project was developed with the collaborations of city botanist Remko Andeweg from Bureau Stadsnatuur, Natuurhistorisch Museum Rotterdam.


from Bureau Stadsnatuur - Natural History Museum RotterdamGuided tours with Remko Andeweg



  from Bureau Stadsnatuur - Natural History Museum Rotterdam  
  from Bureau Stadsnatuur - Natural History Museum Rotterdam  



Diversiteit! | Galerie Hommes, Rotterdam,2017.
Herbarium with the 83 different plant species from CUB: dried, scanned and printed.
Each: 29,7 x 42 cm. Inkjet print on archival paper.



Aegopodium podagraria - L.
Very common plant, unpleasant to have it in the garden because it colonizes everything reducing drastically biodiversity.



Solanum lycopersicum L.
The tomato plant grew out of seeds spread out by someone that was eating a sandwich on the grass lawn. The plant had the chance to grow because the grass wasn’t moved.



Fallopia convolvulus - (L.) A.Löve



Festuca rubra - L. Rood
Very fine grass used to create a good and soft green carpet. It exists wild in the Netherlands but it is mainly cultivated in different forms and for different purposes.



Senecio inaequidens DC.
Originally from South Africa this plant was introduced with wool in Belgium. By river it spreads to south Limburg, and from there was transported by the railway system all over the country. The first plant was discovered in Amsterdam Central Station, on the place where the trains from Maastricht arrived. In the 1970s the plant was flowering from September-October till the beginning of the winter. Nowadays it begins to flower in May and keeps flowering until the winter comes. It became genetically different from the original one in South Africa.



Alianthus altissima (Mill.) Swingle
It’s a tree from Eastern Asia, brought to Europe as ornamental plant. It began to spread by itself in the southeast of Europe and slowly climbed up to the north Rheine region. The border of this colonization was quite linked to the changing of the temperature. With the constant rising of the temperature the tree has spread towards the northwest Europe. Nowadays it’s very common to find it in the Netherlands.



Prunella vulgaris L.
It is a plant able to flower at an height of 6-7 centimeters but in its natural conditions can grow up to 50 cm. Prunella is not specifically a lawn plant but it can adopt rather good. You can often find it in older lawns. It is a plant that doesn’t like rich soils but rather a lawn that after a long period of time has reached chemical equilibrium. During this period the plant adapts to the cutting regime and transforms itself into a smaller one. It is visible in the summer as red patches on the grass lawns.