Garigue

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garigue

[gə′rēg]
(ecology)
A low, open scrubland restricted to limestone sites in the Mediterranean area; characterized by small evergreen shrubs and low trees.

Garigue

 

a form of vegetation in the Mediterranean region in which low evergreen bushes or dwarf palms (palmetto) predominate. Most of the vegetation is lower than in the maquis, and usually garigue and maquis are not found in the same place. Garigue can be natural, or it can arise as a result of overuse of pasture. The main plants in the garigue are semishrubs, bulbs, and other perennial grasses. The broadest expanses are covered by two formations. The first is the kermes oak (Quercus coccifera), which reaches a height of 0.5 m; it covers extensive regions in southern France and the Pyrenees, the Apennines, and the Balkan Peninsula. The second formation is the palmetto garigue, which is dominated by the native European palm Chamaerops humilis, whose trunk forms a hummock only a few centimeters in height (rarely reaching 2 m). Asphodels, myrtles, pistachios, spurges, and asparagus grow among the palmettos. The palmetto garigue is found in southern Spain, the Balearic Islands, Algeria, and Morocco; to the east it reaches as far as western Sicily. If the garigue is subjected to intensive exploitation as pasture, it can acquire features similar to those of the frigana.

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