The mild climate at Lago Maggiore is unique in Switzerland, and enables subtropical plants to flourish in the open air on Isola Grande, the large island. The Botanical Gardens of the Canton of Ticino house around 1,700 plant species.
Lotus blossoms, giant sequoias, bald cypresses, perennial banana plants, and even eucalyptus trees grow in the Botanical Gardens on the two Brissago islands in Lago Maggiore. The water of the lake stores warmth so well that there are hardly any days with frost in the winter, and the Alps also form a protective barrier against cold air from the north. This climate favors the growth of exotic plants.
The 2.5-hectare park houses plants from nearly all of the subtropical regions of Asia, South Africa, America, Australia and the islands of Oceania. The smaller Brissago island, Isola di Sant'Apollinare, is covered by vegetation that grows of its own accord, and that is kept in its natural state.