"The Virginia creeper is the IBMC’s identity"

Flaming red in autumn, lush green in spring: the greenery outfit of the Institut de biologie moléculaire et cellulaire (IBMC) is visible from a large distance. The shelter for biodiversity makes the institute’s occupants proud – but who does still remember that the Virginia creeper was planted to counter unwelcome tags?

There are some who mix it up with ivy, other use it as way to identify the IBMC. But no one on the campus Esplanade is able to ignore it. It has even become an object of pride for the occupants of the “cube” that rallies three unities of the CNRS dedicated to research in molecular biology, directed by Sylvaine Muller since the beginning of this term. “This Virginia creeper is the IBMC’s identity!” exclaims enthusiastically Magali Frugier, team leader of a laboratory “Architecture and reactivity of the DNA” (UPR 9002). It made her blood boil when she took note that the Virginia creeper’s roots on the north side of the building need to be cut due to construction work for the future Insectarium that will be joint to the IBMC. “I hope we will be able to replant it!”

The main reason for planting the Virginia creeper was Jean-Pierre Ebel’s anger, first director of the IBMC. “In 1973, the institute’s building was scarcely finished when it became a target to “Mao”-glorifying tags of the communist and revolutionist league”, remembers Guy Dirheimer, who was back then professor at the faculty of pharmacy. “I had a beautiful Virginia creeper at home covering an unlovely wall, so my wife suggested to plant one at the IBMC. I insinuated this idea to professor Ebel and the Virginia creeper was planted!”

Nowadays, this green carpet makes a whole small world of animals happy: not only the fruit attracts magpies, blackbirds and squirrels but also colonies of insects… which does not always make the cohabitation easy! “Some red mites that proliferate in spring have even managed to get into our solution bottles!” deplores Guillaume Bec who has been research engineer at the IBMC for more than 20 years. Not to mention the crane flies and bugs. “But ever since the installation of the air conditioning, it has improved. Anyways, this vine is so pretty that you forget all these troubles!”

Du vert au rouge, l’IBMC en voit de toutes les couleurs !


Logo du CNRS
Logo Établissement associé de l'Université de Strasbourg
Logo du réseau Epicur
Logo de EUCOR, Le Campus européen
Logo de l'Inserm Grand Est
Logo de l'Inria


Logo du label Bienvenue en France
Logo du programme HRS4R
Logo du programme France 2030
Logo de Service Public+


Logo de France Universités
Logo de la Ligue européenne des universités de recherche (LERU)
Logo du réseau Udice
Logo de l'Université franco-allemande