The Slovenia Times

Wild fruits in abundance in Goričko sample plantation

Environment & Nature
Budinci, a small village a stone's throw away from the border with Hungary in eastern Slovenia, is home to what is arguably the biggest sample plantation of fruit trees and shrubs in Europe. Owned by a Swiss expat, the plantation is all the more remarkable because it features only wild species.

Stretching across more than 7,000 square metres, the estate numbers 1,400 trees and shrubs, and was launched with the objective to make non-cultured species more familiar, and encourage people to plant them, owner and founder Pavel Beco told the STA.

The plantation does not sell the trees or the fruits, but allows visitors to look at the trees and taste the fruits, said Beco, who moved to the quaint Goričko region from Switzerland.

For the retired teacher fruit trees used to be a hobby. He says that there is a myriad of wild species of fruit trees and shrubs, but people do not know them.

What is more, the wild varieties are much healthier, while their fruits are veritable superfoods packed with vitamins and minerals, he said.

He collected his trees and shrubs in plant nurseries all across Europe, focusing mostly on edible varieties. However, the edges of the plantation are lined with poisonous varieties, "as a lesson ... what we absolutely cannot put in our mouths".

But visitors need not worry. The poisonous varieties are clearly marked with red information signs, while the edible varieties have yellow signs. They contain the name of the species in Slovenian, German and Hungarian, and its botanical name.

Budinci Pavel Beco in his sample plantation. Photo: Vida Toš/STA
The plantation contains several varieties of apple, pear, cheery, sour cherry and plum species, as well as other less known species such as dogwood trees, blueberries, the Juneberry, medlar and the quince. There are also olive and elder trees, rowans, hazels, the mulberry, juniper, dog rose plants, the pomegranate, boxthorns producing goji berries and other exotic fruit plants such as the paw-paw.

While the plantation does not sell the fruits or the trees, some varieties will in the future be available for purchase in a nursery nearby, run by Beco's friend Alex Jakob.

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