What follows is a brief introduction to the vegetation on the Giara which we hope will help you to appreciate this unique natural environment.
- Giara has a density of 9 different species of flora per square kilometer in comparison to the Sardinia average of 0,9.
- The flora consists of about 350 species which are divided into 203 subcategories and 67 families.
- More than 50% of the flora are Mediterranean in the origin while a large percentage are European-Asian in origin.
- 3,28% of the species are endemic.
Almost half of the surface area of the Giara is covered by woods. A cork wood (Quercus suber) covers a large part of the plateau. The thin top soil and the Mistral winds prevent the trees from attaining full height and form trunks and branches into strange twisted shapes.
Quercus ilex wood covers smaller areas on the sides of the plateau which are in the territory of Sini (OR), Assolo (OR) and near the little church of Santa Luisa in Tuili (CA).
Quercus Pubescens grows in the cooler areas along the canals situated in the area of Giara under the control of Tuili (CA), Setzu (CA) and Genoni (NU)
By Mediterranean Plants we mean the evergreen shrubs which are typical of the Mediterranean area.
Shrub variety depends on local environmental conditions but Mediterranean shrubs are found warm dry areas where the winters are mild and the summers are characterized by little or no rain. The Giara of Gesturi is home to the two main types of Mediterranean shrub.
- Tall shrub (from 2 to 4 meters) which grows in the cooler areas and consists of Phillirea Latifolia, maybush and arbutus. It is used as goat pasture and as a source of wood. In the drier areas mastic trees and wild olives predominate. While mastic trees and myrtle bushes are abundant near is paulis acquiring the characteristics of the garrigue. Garrigue is a shrub plant formation which is lower and more degraded than the normal Macchia Mediterranea even though it includes more species. Garrigue indicates that the environment is no longer “optimal” for Mediterranean shrubs.
- Low shrub (2 meter maximum) consists of different kinds of rock roses and hypo-rock roses and more rarely of cisto femmina and of wild aspics. These plants colonize the land after fires and on the Giara they have colonized the areas near the access roads and the areas around the pastures.
Meadows and grasslands
The most evident grassland consists of asphodel. It alternates with the water buttercup covered marshes. Both of them bloom in spring and produce a marvelous soft white blanket effect. The meadows however are small grassy expansions which grow in the shadow of the shrubs. They consist of daises and clover. At the height of summer, in the areas around the paulis, water evaporation interacts with the sun backed cracked clay and brignolo grows. The only part of Sardinia where brignolo grows is on the Giara. The meadows were created by human intervention. With the exception of the is paulis areas men have created and maintained the meadows by using fire and intensive grazing.
photos from the top:
– Poppies in bloom (M. Vacca)
– Strawberry tree (M. Vacca)
– Meadow (M. Vacca)