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Mediterranean Vegetation

 

This is an essay about vegetation typical of a
Mediterranean climate. In this essay you will find out
about how plants survive and multiply in a dry heat and the
different types that exist. I will also compare
Mediterranean vegetation with that of a colder climate.The
regions that we will be looking at are those that border
the Mediterranean sea. These are, Morocco, Algeria,
Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey,
Greece, Albania, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy,
Monaco, France, and Spain. Island states within the sea are
Malta and Cyprus. Other large islands, from west to east,
are the BALEARIC ISLANDS, CORSICA, SARDINIA, SICILY, and
CRETE.In the Mediterranean area, the natural vegetation is
xerophytic, or drought resistant, and consists of cypress,
cork oak, scrub evergreen, olive, and low bushes. A
vegetation of trees and scrub brush in this region is
called maquis. The soil is often reddish in colour,
indicating a high iron content. The low amounts of rain in
this region result in little leaching of the soil, and the
humus content is low from lack of leaf fall.Shrubs and
bushes have very good defences against the heat and lack of
water during the four summer months when rainfall is low.
Examples of the shrubs and bushes are :-French lavender, a
member of the mint family, is a shrub known for its fern
like leaves and purple flowers. Several varieties of
lavender are grown commercially for their fragrant flowers,
and are used in perfumes, toilet preparations, and
medicines.Licorice, a Mediterranean herb, is related to the
pea. Its root contains a substance that is 150 times
sweeter than table sugar. Licorice-root extracts are used
to flavour food, beverages, tobacco, and drugs such as
cough syrup.The evergreens make up the bulk of the
Mediterranean tree types. Their leaves often have a heavy
cuticle or waxy coating. Year round leaf retention may be
beneficial during winter or during periods of drought when
absorption of water is difficult and evaporation from the
leaves has to be reduced. Conifers constitute a major
grouping of evergreens but a typical Mediterranean drought
resistance tree would be the olive.The olive, a handsome,
long-lived, evergreen, subtropical tree, has been
cultivated for at least 40 centuries for its edible fruit
and its valuable oil. It is native to the eastern
Mediterranean region where its culture may have been begun
by Semitic people as long ago as 3500 BC. Wild olive trees
still exist in countries in southern Europe and northern
Africa bordering on the Mediterranean Sea.Citrus fruits and
grapes are also grown in the Mediterranean as are a variety
of vegetables and deciduous fruits, many of which find a
market in the densely populated areas of industrial
northern Europe. More than 90 percent of all cultivated
grapes are varieties of V. vinifera, the Old World or
European grape, which produces most of the world's wine.The
vegetation of a temperate climate such as exists in Great Britain differs from the Mediterranean in that there are
many more deciduous trees, no citrus trees which are
sensitive to low temperatures and grapes will only grow in
the warmer areas in the south of the country.The vegetation
of this country has to be able to withstand a greater range
of temperatures from below freezing to above 80 degrees
Fahrenheit. This excludes a large number of exotic fruits
and flowers which are cold sensitive. On the other hand
they do not need to be resistant to drought.
 



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