The Corsican flora

A rich and specific Corsican flora, 2500 wild and endemic plants.

From point 0 of the sea to the summit of Monte Cinto at 2706 m, several layers of vegetation follow one another, making Corsica an exception in the Mediterranean. The insularity, heterogeneity and diversity of habitats over short distances has resulted in a rich and contrasting Corsican flora.

History too. The massive export of wood in antiquity destroyed most of the forest, which has now been replaced by scrub. The vine, the olive tree and the fig tree were introduced into Corsica by the Greeks, the chestnut tree by the Genoese; as for the clementine, it appeared during the 20th century.

22500 plant species are present on the island, including 140 endemic to Corsica and 80 endemic to Corsica and Sardinia. Isolation has created some original characteristics over more common species found elsewhere.

The flora of the Corsican coast

On the warm slopes of the coastline grows a Mediterranean flora, where exotic plants (prickly pear, tamarisk, American agave, aloe, eucalyptus...) cohabit. ) and scrubland and scrubland plants (Phoenician juniper, wild olive, juniper, mastic, pine, thyme, rosemary, rockrose, lavender, oak, clematis, tree heather, myrtle, asphodel, fennel, immortal...).

On the dune, you will find specific plants adapted to the sea spray, wind and high temperatures: maritime diotis, sea criste, sand daisy, sea rocket, cytis, panicaut, sporobole, trefoil, sea alfalfa, horned poppy, cinerary ragwort, royal mallow, maritime antemi...

The Corsican maquis (‘scrubland’)

Less high than a forest and always green, the maquis covers 40% of the territory. It grows up to about 1000 m. Dense, fragrant, invasive, bushy and thorny, it colonises abandoned soils. It is mainly composed of strawberry tree, heather, rockrose, calycotome, immortal, myrtle, thyme, rosemary, mastic, asphodel, cyclamen, clematis, sarsaparilla, honeysuckle, bramble and holm oak. Lost in the scrubland, you can find cork oaks or olive trees, remnants of ancient cultures.

The scrubland is the habitat of wild animals but also of mushrooms in the autumn, more than 500 species to be discovered in the undergrowth: agarics, bolets, chanterelles, mushrooms, amanites, sheep's feet, morels, sarcodons, coulemelles, oyster mushrooms, russulas, death trumpets, chanterelles, and the famous tanned boletus with its dense and fragrant flesh.

Mountain flora

Isolated or in forests, numerous species populate the mountain: endemic laricio pine, holm oak, sessile and pubescent, yew, maritime pine, beech, fragrant alder, fir, cedar, crocus, hellebore, foxglove, small lily of the valley...

From 2000 m, the flora contracts to give way to dwarf fruit trees (dwarf juniper, vinette thorn) and natural lawns studded with springs, called "pozzine", where a specific flora develops: nardus stricta, sedge, rush, buttercup, English cinquefoil, snow daisy...

Some endemic flowers to discover

You can meet many wild flowers while walking in Corsica. They line the paths, bloom in the dunes, brighten up the meadows or grow in the undergrowth sheltered from the light. Certain species of flowers have developed in a way specific to the island, creating endemic varieties that cannot be found anywhere else: crocus (crocus corsicus, the Corsican saffron), orchid (Conrad's ophrys, Nurra's orchid). ), colchicum, violet, romula, wolfsbane, wolfsbane, garlic, columbine, daisy, carnation, foxglove, immortal, St. John's wort, daisy, forget-me-not, mint, nepeta, buttercup, ... and Corsican butterwort (pinguicula corsica), a small endemic carnivorous plant with pretty purple flowers found in the pozzines (Fresh water retention in mountain pastures).