Flora of Italy

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Sicilian Fir, a critically endangered species endemic to Sicily

The flora of Italy is the richest in Europe. Traditionally it was estimated to comprise about 5,500 vascular plant species. However, as of 2004, 6,759 species are recorded in the Data bank of Italian vascular flora.[1] About 700 of them are endemic to the country. Geobotanically, the Italian flora is shared between the Circumboreal Region and Mediterranean Region. According to the index compiled by the Italian Ministry for the Environment in 2001, 274 vascular plant species are protected. Because of the differences in the climate between the mainland and the peninsular regions, there is a different vegetation within the country. The altitude plays a big role in the diversuty of the flora: the more it gets higher, the more the climate and the ground are unfavourable to the development of plants. In fact in Italy there are three different types of vegetation:

1.evergreen vegetation: it is the mediterranean type of vegetation, with plants and bushes that always have leaves on. This flora is typical of the dry mediterranean climate, especially along the coast and in the islands. The most common plants are olives, maritime pines, oaks, myrtles, junipers.

2.broad-leaved vegetation ( oaks, beeches, chestnuts): it is typical of the mountain region with a humid climate ( Apennines and Prealps).

3.coniferous vegetation ( larches, pines, firs): it is an evergreen vegetation typical of the alpine area.

As soon as it gets higher than 1400 meters, the vegetation is sparser and there is more mountain grasslands and various shrubs and coloured flowers. Humans have been transforming the land in order to farm it and get products, such as potatoes, cereals and a lot of grapes up until 800 metres above sea level. In fact over 800 meters the vegetation is mostly made of beeches and chestnuts and over 1200 we found only coniferous vegetation up until about 2000 metres. [2]

Notable floras[edit]

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