Italy Flora and Vegetation Part 2

By | February 8, 2022

But in the coastal strip there are also extensive evergreen woodland formations, where the scrub enters as undergrowth, with a predominance now of  Quercus ilex  (holm oaks) ,  now of  Q. suber  (cork oak), with various mixing, especially where the soil is deep and fresh; and on the land side, deciduous trees such as oak, turkey oak, hornbeam, hornbeam, hornbeam, hazelnut, chestnut and, as undergrowth, here and there the same  Calluna vulgaris  which becomes more abundant in the following area. Large areas are also occupied by coniferous forests formed by the maritime pine ( P.  pinaster ) still abundant on the coastal slopes of Liguria and Tuscany, by the Aleppo pine (P. _ halepensis ) more common in the south and more linked to the proximity of the sea and also frequent in the Adriatic side up to the Gargano, from the pine nut ( P.  pinea ) , which spontaneously frames the low slopes of the Peloritani around Messina, while the extensive pine forests of the Tuscany and Lazio, which after all are of different essences, and the classic ones of the Ravenna coast seem to be due to an ancient introduction of man. The small nucleus that forms the Nordio wood near Cavanella d’Adige which hosts the last stations of the holm oak, the phillyrea and the  Etruscan Lonicera  repeats this origin.which, together with other thermophilic types, reappear inland on the sunny slopes of the Euganean Hills and along the sea in the extensive  pineda  del Friuli to the right and even more to the left of the Tagliamento formed, however, by the black pine ( Pinus nigra  var.  austriaca ) an Illyrian element -balcanico that pushes its offshoots also on the Carnic and Treviso Alps.

Typically coastal formations are those of the arenas and dunes and those of salty and humid soils which acquire the largest extent in the lagoon territories. Characteristic of the moving dunes is the Ammophila arenaria , a grass with a powerful root system capable of fixing them, associated with the Agropyrum iunceum  which often precedes it: the brackish soils and often marshy or floodable at high tide, as in the lagoons, feed many Halophilic-hygrophilous salsolaceae ( Salicornia ,  Salsola ,  Suaeda ,  Arthrocnemum ), some  Statice , Aster tripolium , Inula crithmoides which also spread on the coastal cliffs sprinkled by marine dust. Pioneer of this vegetation in the Veneto-Istrian coast is the Graminaeea  Spartina stricta , of the Euro-American Atlantic type.

According to mysteryaround, the Mediterranean area, so widely represented in Italy, is a sector of the Mediterranean region, whose almost central position, the remote definitive period of emergence of some of its edges, the previous relationships of continuity with the finite sectors, have contributed to populating elements and it has itself provided and favored the diffusion of those that arose in its bosom, so that it is very difficult to characterize it. Thus the current distribution of  Chamaerops humilis , which is mainly Iberian and African-Atlantic, and in our country exclusively Tyrrhenian and Sardinian-Sicilian, reveals the relationships with the ancient western-Atlantic flora, of which there are exponents, for example, in the western Ligurian sector:  Carex Mairii ,  Aphyllanthes monspeliensis,  Leucojum hiemale ,  Genista hispanica , which are Provençal or Iberian types. Conversely, the colonies of  Apocynum venetum  scattered in the marine sands of the Veneto-Po estuary from Trieste to Ravenna are the extreme outposts of a species that Béguinot was able to follow from the  loess  region in China, through the steppe zone of Asia, where it has its eongeneri, to then spread along the coasts (possibly aided in its expansion by the coastal currents) while other steppe types, through the Danube valley and tributaries, pushed right into the heart of Europe and penetrated the same domain as the Alps. in Puglia of two rare Balkan oaks, the  Quercus aegilops  and the Q. _ trojan  (=  Q. macedonica )  and that of numerous herbaceous and fruticose plants circumscribed on the Adriatic side, from the Gargano downwards, suggests an irradiation from the opposite shore, perhaps favored by a cavity in the southern Adriatic (the so-called  Adria ). More abundant is the magnificent  Quercus farnetto  Ten .  Which is also found on the Tyrrhenian side up to southern Lazio and is almost one with the  Q. conferta  which forms extensive forests in the Balkans. There are tropical elements such as  Woodwardia radicans ,  Pteris longifolia  and  cretica, three ferns that are sporadic here and there and in some valleys of the Amalfi coast distinguished by high rainfall, the  Cyperus polystachyus  from the fumaroles of Ischia, the  Calymperes Sommieri  mosses from Pantelleria and  Barbella strongyloides  from Stromboli; of Capense origin is, among others, the genus  Romulea which, with some of its species in the upper Chilimanjaro and Cameroon areas, has spread to the circummediterranean countries where it has also formed several endemic species in Italy, proof of the remote advent of this Paleo-African stock. Many other interesting facts and many dark sides reveal to us, illuminating them, precisely the endemisms; these, according to Buscalioni, would be 52 out of 2418 exodemic species and out of a total of 202 found throughout Italy, but the number appears well below the real one, as is clear from a recent memoir by Béguinot and Landi although limited only to endemic entities of the smaller islands and those that they have in common with the larger ones and the Peninsula. In importance, the first place is occupied by paleoendemisms that are recognized for the very isolated and circumscribed area, i.e. disjoint, for the obscure or remote affinities, for the frequent monotypism. We remember theHelicodiceros muscivorus  Engl., Monotype that Sardinia and Corsica have in common with the Balearics, the  Pancratium illyricum  L., the only European representative of the section. Halmyra  which grows in the named islands and in Capraia, the Helxine Soleirolii  Req. Corsican-Sardinian monotype,  Kochia saxicola  Guss. of Ischia, Capri and Strombolicchio (Aeolian) similar  to  K. pubescens  Moq. of C. di B. Speranza; Morisia monantha  Asch., Strange geocarpa and monotype Crucifera confined in Sardinia and Corsica but also in the mountainous area; Bupleurum dianthifolium  Guss. and  Scabiosa limonifolia Vahl of the Egadi with Ibero-Balkan affinities; Mentha Requienii  Benth. of Sardinia and Corsica, of Caprera and Montecristo similar, according to Briquet,  to  M. Cunninghami  of New Zealand; Nananthea perpusilla  DC. exclusive monotype of some islets surrounding Corsica and Sardinia; Melitella pusilla  Somm. which is found in Malta and Gozo, which for its dress recalls the Abyssinian  Dianthoseris , while remote affinities connect it with the Mediterranean  Zacyntha ,  Centaurea horrida  Bad. exclusive of the small Sardinian islands of Asinara and Tavolara and there only in the north-east side where the granite emerges, similar to  Cspinosa  L. from Greece and the Aegean Archipelago, etc. But no less interesting are several microendemisms descending from a progenitor with a large distribution area in the circum-Mediterranean territories which has fragmented into local breeds, some perhaps of mutative origin, and which the isolation has maintained, such as the  Brassica belonging  to  Br . oleracea :  the centauree belonging to the cycle of  C. cineraria  L. and related species and I mention among the latter  :  C. Friderici  Vis. limited to the Pelagosa Piccola and which has its next relatives in endemics of the Pomo rock near Lissa,  the  C. aeolian Guss. ex DC. that the Aeolian Islands have in common with the island of Ventotene (Ponziane) and Ischia,  the  C. gymnocarpa  Mor. et Dntrs. di Capraia,  the  C. Veneris  (Somm.) Bég. of the small Palmaria, etc. These facts show the interference of the most diverse strains, multiple and often remote affinities that make the Mediterranean a concentration of living fossils of the most disparate prosapias but, as will be seen, there is no lack of accessions, even relatively recent ones.

Italy Flora 2