Sjuttiofem år efter Nils Hylander: nytt ljus över engelska landskapsparker och deras flora i Sverige

Research output: Contribution to specialist publication or newspaperSpecialist publication article


During World War II, Nils Hylander worked on his monumental theses about the wood lawn neophytes [German: Grassameneinkömmlinge] of Swedish parks. Most probably, the original aim was to date and locate the sources of the imported seed that had obviously been widely used in the 1800’s for establishing lawns in parks of the English style, but due to restrictions to work and travel during the war, Hylander’s work became mostly focussed on describing the constituents of the ’park flora’ and in particular the many non-indegenous species of Hieracium sect. Hieracium fincluded. Since the time of Hylander, many new sites with the characteristic wood lawn neophytes (e.g. Poa chaixii, Luzula luzuloides, Tristum flavescens, Bromopsis erectus, Galium pumilum, Phyteuma spp. and many Hieracium spp.) have been found, both in Sweden and in other countries. Here, our present knowledge about these wood lawn neophytes is summarised and discussed, their conservation value from both biological and cultural history perspectives is discussed, and a complete list of known sites in Sweden, 624 altogether, is presented. In addition, statistical analyses of the flora is attempted to test some of the major hypotheses and assumptions of Hylander. It is concluded that the number of sites where the imported seed has been used is far larger than previously understood and that it was probably used over a longer period of time (possibly 1750–1935) than previously believed. With exception for Trisetum flavescens which is mostly found in the older parks, the species composition of the seed used appear to have remained remarkably constant throughout this long period. Statistical analyses does not confirm the widely accepted conclusion of Hylander that the seed had two different (French and German) geographic origins but rather suggests that more or less the same mix of seed and species have been sown at all parks concerned. Revisits at some of the Swedish parks suggests that in c. 20 % of them no wood lawn neophytes remain today and at c. 60 % of the sites only impoverished fragments of the original lawns can be found, but there are also some well-preserved sites. It is argued that from the perspective of cultural and gardening history, conservation of extant remnants ought to receive much higher priority than presently, and since the history in Sweden of the species concerned appears to be considerably longer than previously believed, their value from a nature conservation perspective should be reconsidered and they may be considered for inclusion on the national Redlist.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Botany
Translated title of the contributionSeventy-five years after Nils Hylander – new light on the wood lawn neophytes of English landscape gardens in Sweden
Original languageSwedish
Issue number3-4
Specialist publication or newspaperSvensk Botanisk Tidskrift
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch