The notion of Flora:
The flora is all the present botanical species in a geographical space or a definite ecosystem. The notion of Flora must not be confused with that of vegetation: the flora of a geographical zone is the list of plants or botanical species of this zone, we speak about flora of the Alps, flora of pyrénées, flora méditéranéennes.
The Flora of the French parks:
France possesses an exceptional natural heritage, and highly varied, with zones maritime, and zones mountainous. An important part of these sites are protected by the national or regional parks. The Flora which we meet in these Parks is extremely rich.
The mountain flora :
The National park of Cevennes contains a very rich flora: more than 2300 species were listed, of whom about twenty endemic.
The flora of Cevennes is subjected to a net Mediterranean influence.
The National park of Pyrenees is situated on the departments of Pyrenees-Atlantic and Hautes-Pyrénées, it was the third national park created in France in 1967. This park of more than 45.000 hectares contains a very rich flora, more than 4.500 botanical species among which approximately 160 endemic species among which the columbine of pyrénées and the blue thistle are the most known.
The alpine flora is very varied, and it is widely governed by the height, but also by the exposure, in every floor corresponds a particular ecosystem:
- Between 200 and 1000 meters in height have find the collinéen floor, we find there essentially the oak and the beech.
- From 1000 to 1700 meters in height we find the mountain floor, here it is the domain of the fir-tree, the fir tree and the beech. On the ground we find myrthilliers, martagon lily or orange-coloured lily.
- From 1700 to 2500 meters in height it is the subalpin floor, because of the cold which shortens the season of vegetation broad-leaved trees or deciduous trees do not remain at this height, we find essentially conifers. On the ground we find the rhododendron and the juniper.
- From 2500 to 3000 meters in height, we find the alpine floor, he marks the tree line, we find no more broad-leaved trees or of conifers. Only high mountain pastures remain at this height. We find at this height the acaule gentian and the blue thistle.
- Beyond 3000 meters in height, the vegetation makes rarer, it is the nival floor, it is the zone of rocks and glaciers. The vegetation consists mainly of mosses and lichens, but we can still meet some flowers, such as glacier buttercups.
In the park of Vanoise, over 2000 varieties of flowers have been identified; in the Parc of Ecrins over 1800 species recorded.
In the Southern Alps, the contrasts of the landscapes are very marked, due to its particular geographic location at the crossroads of influences alpine mediterranean and provencal.
The flora of plain :
The flora of the Camargue presents many more varieties. More than 1000 botanical species are listed there. This region is in situation of flood in winter and of drought in the Summer, what leads to the development of a very particular Flora. Indeed under the influence of the evaporation during the summer period, lands are sursalées, the salt goes raises on surface, the ground splits. On the most salty lands, the halophiles species as the Salicornia, the Soda, or the Saladelles, form one particular landscape, " the sansouire ", green in spring and red in autumn. The tree which we meet most fréquenment in the Camargue is the Tamaris, It is one of the rare trees to bear the salinity of the ground.
The wind violent that is the "Mistral", also shape the landscapes of the Camargue, the fallen trees and the dunes. We also find the sea lavender (saladelle), the yellow Iris of swamps, the margueritte and many others …
The pictures presented in the following galleries, are a very small sample of what little nature presented, and offer to our contemplation.