Calanques landzone: remarkable biodiversity
Of the more than 900 plant species that have been catalogued within the national park boundary, 38 are protected and 43 recognised as noteworthy.
This wild variety have different explanations. One of them is the diversity of biome we can find in the Calanques : cliffs, screes, limestones, lapiaz, seashore, forests, scrubs, wind exposed areas, no shade areas,…
More generally, the Mediterranean scrub may be divided into tall scrub, with well-developed trees that can provide shade and humidity to the undergrowth, and short scrub, made up of impassable shrubs and bushes, called garrigue.
This biome contains evergreen broad-leaved and aciform trees, including: holm oaks, arbutuses, olive trees, laurels, carob trees, pine trees, junipers, cypresses and others.
It also includes shrubby plants, for instance rock roses, mastic trees, myrtle and rosemary.
We can add to this landscape, the shoreline is home to many halotolerant plants, species that can withstand the saltiness of the seaspray.
Survivance and reproduction
The most typical plants are those that can stay in a dormant, resting, state during the hot summer, to sprout and grow in colder autumn temperatures.
Autumn germination can take place only after a mild wet season, during which the seed becomes “acclimatised”.
Later on, the seed will bloom and bear fruit in the warmth of springtime.
A different strategy is implemented by geophytic or bulb plants: these perennial plants resist the summer heat through their underground bulbs and tubers, as many liliaceous plants do.
Shrubs may be evergreen or shed their leaves during the driest seasons. Many plants contain scented aromatic substances which deter animals who feed on them and, in some instances (for instance the Californian artemisia) these substances prevent competing plants from sprouting and growing.
Differences between Maquis and Garigue
Both Garrigue and Maquis are associated with the Mediterranean climate within the Mediterranean region.
The main difference is that Maquis is associated with siliceous soils (acid) while Garrigue usually refer to calcareous soils (alkaline).
So, the flora the Calanques and most of the Provence landscape can be called Grarigue.
Garrigue is discontinuous with widely spaced bush associations with open spaces, and is often extensive. It is associated with limestone and base rich soils, and calcium associated plants.
Maquis vegetation is denser than Garrigue one. Calcifuges plants as Erica or Calluna aren’t present in garigue
The singular word garrigue is borrowed from the Provençal dialect of Occitan garriga, equivalent to old French jarrie. These words refer to a same stem related to “rock”.