The flora of Elba

The vegetation of the island is the result of many factors that characterize it, as the mild climate, the insularity, the interconnections with both the Italian peninsula and the Sardinian-Corsican system, and the secular human activity. During the Ice Age, the closest islands were joined to the mainland by bridges of dry land. Elba and Giglio, next to the peninsula, have a flora that is similar to the continental one, while the islands of Capraia and Montecristo have close connections to Corsica and Sardinia.

The Mediterranean Maquis

The predominant vegetation in the Tuscan Archipelago, is the Mediterranean maquis. It is a vegetal association extremely variable in which you can find many different dominances. The forest maquis has a wide presence of erica arborea (tree heath) and corbezzolo (strawberry tree) which sometimes can reach more then 4 meters in height. Equally important is the low maquis,mostly dominated by plants like the rockrose, pink cistus, spiny broom and Euphorbia dendroides which has an urticant fluid. In the areas that have been manipulated by men and that have undergone erosion, the intricate maquis is degraded and got replaced by the garrigue: a small and sporadic vegetation sometimes characterized by stunted Mediterranean shrubs. Many typical species of this environment are aromatic herbs like rosemary (Teucrium Marum), helichrysum and myrtle.

The Forests of Elba Island

The Forests of Elba are characterized by large oak woods that once covered the whole Elba island and Tuscan Archipelago, but nowadays only a few survived. The oak woods have been deforested in time, to convert those areas into grazings and cultivated fields, as well as to provide raw material for boats, to construct and to heat the Etruscan furnaces melting iron ore. The remaining forests are still dominated by plants loving hot and dry climate. Elba island’s morphology, which includes relatively high mountain ranges, has favored the conservation of chestnut woods. On the mountains, especially on Mount Capanne (1019 m) there is a significant presence of Yew (Taxus baccata), Hornbeam (Ostrya carpinifolia), and a great presence of cork oak (Quercus Suber) and downy oak (Quercus pubescens). We remind you among the other plants on the island, the Aleppo pine (Pinus halepenis) with its beautiful pine woods, the stone pine (Pinus pinea) and the maritime pine (Pinus pinaster).

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