City greenery · Sustainability

Synanthropic plants in green areas

The origin of this word comes from the Greek:

syn” means “together with

anthro” means “man, human

so “together with a man“.

A synanthrope  is a member of a species of wild animals and plants which live near humans and at the same time benefit from that and are ecologically associated with humans.

Among plants, synanthropes are classified into two main types – apophytes and anthropophytes.

Apophytes are synanthropic species that are native in origin.

Anthropophytes are synanthropic species of foreign origin, whether introduced voluntarily or involuntarily.



.Synanthropic species are connected closely to ecological gardens and parks, where they are used. An ecological approach is closely connected with the idea of the wild garden of William Robinson. It shouldn’t be confused with the proposal of special type or layout of a garden. Robinson suggested to cultivate plants, which are suitable to soil and weather condition specific to the garden location. Therefore the total labour input as well as total cost is quite lower comparing to other types of gardens, especially existing in times when he lived.

At present this type of green area is more and more popular both because of ecological issues as well as financial ones.

It is also connected with an environmental art was a trend which started in 50’s of the twentieth century, when people started to pay more and more attention to environmental problems. It used synanthropic plants in urban green areas. Presently, the plants are used in new-tech naturalistic gardens, so-called wild gardens.


There are two various trends of green area design using the synantropic plants. The first one consists in preserving of existing environments and adding some infrastructure , e.g. ecological parks. The second one uses these plants as new ones in given location, to create new green areas types like meadows, extensive roof gardens, etc.

Such implementation are usually low-cost in comparison to more tradition laws and other urban green areas.




  1. Robinson W., 1870. The wild garden.
  2. Trzaskowska E., 2012. Use of synanthropic plants in the landscaping and green areas – new trends in design. Nauka Przyr. Technol. 6, 2, #20.

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