Toxic and allergenic plant species in primary school yards of Zagreb’s Lower Town district

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Authors: Mihael Kušen, Lara Stura, Dubravka Dujmović Purgar, Miroslav Poje and Vesna Židovec

Volume/Issue: Volume 25: Issue 1

Published online: 14 Jun 2022

Pages: 99 - 106

DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/ahr-2022-0013


Abstract

The green infrastructure of Zagreb’s Lower Town is made up of row-planted trees and green spaces within blocks of buildings. All schools are surrounded by green spaces that have a positive impact on the environment. Although most green spaces contribute to improving the quality of life, they also contain toxic and allergenic species which are potentially hazardous, particularly to children. This paper aims to make an inventory of plant species in the environment of primary schools in Zagreb’s Lower Town district, and to determine the presence of toxic and allergenic species. The field research was conducted from March to the end of May 2021 at 7 primary school locations. 13 either annual or biennial plant families were catalogued. In total, 34 species of herbaceous perennials and geophytes, and 36 species of trees from 17 plant families were listed. A total of 38 species of shrubs and climbers were found. Also, a total of 35 poisonous and 28 allergenic plant taxa are planted in the green spaces surrounding primary schools. The most common poisonous species found are Hedera helix and Taxus baccata, and Ilex aquifolium, a highly poisonous species, was also found. No moderately poisonous species have been found at all. As far as allergenic species are concerned, school environments are dominated by those that produce low and moderate levels of pollen concentration in the air. Species that produce high levels of pollen concentration (e.g., Betula pendula, Robinia pseudoacacia, etc.) are the least represented ones, while species that produce a very high concentration of pollen have not been recorded in any of the localities.


Keywords: primary schools, school gardens, ornamental plants, poisonous plants, allergies

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