Identification, selection and characterization of plant species designed to establish tactile sensory gardens for the vision impaired, in Piracicaba (SP), Brazil

Identification, selection and characterization of plant species designed to establish tactile sensory gardens for the vision impaired, in Piracicaba (SP), Brazil


The tactile perception of plant species by a visual impaired population of Piracicaba (SP) were evaluated at different impair intensity degree, gender and age, assorted according to higher or lower preference through affective sensorial analysis. The plants were collected from parks and gardens under the environmental conditions of Piracicaba (SP). The selection of plants for this study considered physical and psychological safety to the visual impaired and market availability. Adult plants were selected for the tests, organized into distinct groups according to size, structure and specific function in the landscape composition: thirteen arboreal species; five palm trees; two types of bamboo; nineteen shrubs; thirty four herbaceous species and four types of grass, in a total of seventy seven different plants. The arboreal species were evaluated according to the trunk characteristics: circumference at breast height (CBH) and bark texture; shrubby plants according to plant size, type, texture and leaf size; herbaceous plants and grasses according to type, texture and leaf size. Regarding the testers, the results showed that no significant difference occurred among gender, age, deficiency degree and time as to the preference for plant species within each category. For arboreal species, one verified that lower CBH values and thinner bark texture were associated to the mean scores, thus reflecting the preference of testers for lesser diameters and soft, smooth and very smooth texture species. The results suggested that the bark texture feature was more important, from the affective viewpoint, than the stem circumference at breast height. Regarding the tested shrubs, one verified that the size was not significant and that both leaf texture and size were preponderant in discriminating the species, with soft textures being much more preferred. Tests with herbaceous plants and grasses for grassland also pointed that the more important characteristics, from the affective viewpoint, were leaf texture and size. Blooming herbaceous plants were given higher mean scores, except for the Anthurium and Strelitzia, probably because of their medium and large size leaves, respectively, or due to specific flower features.

ISSN: 2447-536X

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