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The plant landscape of the Aeolian islands

The formation of the  Aeolian Islands took place during the last 500,000 years (second the last datings made by volcanologists) and, unlike many Mediterranean islands, total autonomy in relation to land nearby, with which the archipelago seems not be ever came into contact area. The populations of plants and animals that are hosted in  Aeolian is the result of processes of colonization (active or passive) of the islands, during the past 7000 years.

The plant landscape of the Aeolian Islands is now quite diverse, depending on geographical features  of each islands. In cultivate abandoned grasslands have settled on grass, including significant extension as those of the western side of Lipari, during the spring season, these environments are brightened by the flowering of many species of wild orchids, such as small ofridi yellow (Ophrys lutea) or ofridi flower of wasp (Ophrys tenthredinifera), or the most common orchid italica (Ophrys italic). The most interesting aspects of this thermophilic vegetation is the  Cenchrus ciliaris, exist in Italy and Aeolian limited to a few stations in Sicily. 
The volcanic soil more acidic extend vast cistete to cistus flowers in pink (Cistus salvifolius), cistus with white flowers (Cistus creticus) and, more localized, cistus Montpellier (Cistus monspeliensis); examples of particular value of this vegetation can be observed in Vulcano (Valley Lentia), Panarea (Punta del Corvo), Lipari (San Salvatore), and a greater share in the presence of specific microclimatic conditions, cisteta tends to become denser and transformed into another spot where prevail the Corbezzolo (Arbutus unedo)  , heather (Erica arborea), the broom (Spartium junceum) and in some locations, holm oak (Quercus ilex) and chestnut (Castanea sativa), the latter probably introduced in roman times.

Orchidea italica (Ophrys italica)

Cisto a fiori bianchi (Cistus creticus)

Corbezzolo (Arbutus unedo)

This formations of  forest  was the main motivation of a Natural Reserve, one of the first protected areas fate in Sicily: this was followed in the establishment of additional reserves in all the major islands except Lipari, and two Natural Reserves Integral in the group of islands to the east of Panarea (Basiluzzo, Lisca Bianca, Bottaro, Dattilo) and Strombolicchio. 
The more inaccessible slopes and rocky of volcanoes Aeolians are highly selective for plant species, where only a few pioneers are able to settle: among these, the most widespread is the broom of Tirreno (Ginestra Thyrrena), a leguminosa endemic in the Aeolian islands and in Ponza that blooms between May and June, coloring with a lively yellow the summit of Stromboli and the Great Crater, and many of the coasts of the archipelago, where the species is quite common. 
The rocks exposed in the north and west host a unique flora, rich in endemics: the carnation velvety of Aeolian (Silene hicesiae), the carnation of cliffs (Dianthus rupicola ssp.aeolicus) and the Aeolian cornflower (Centaurea aeolica) are exclusive of the archipelago; the iberide florida (Iberis semperflorens), the finocchiella of Boccone (Seseli bocconei) and many others are endemic in Sicily or in the Tyrrenic area and they are also a part expressive biodiversity of these islands. The most interesting of this vegetation can be observed in the western cliffs of Panarea, in Stromboli, on the other hand, the cliffs of Schicciole host another interesting endemic Aeolian, the citiso of Aeolian (Cytisus aeolicus), a family tree of pulses. For whose conservation was launched a project called Life-Nature “Eolife99″, it was already known as forage in Greek age: its qualities were described by Theophrastus as a “colitia of the Eolian. 
The few sandy beaches host dune vegetation rather impoverished; in Cala of Zimmari (Panarea) at the beginning of spring bloom quite rare species in their area of distribution, such as the Malcomia ramosissima and the Wahlenbergia nutabunda.

il fiordaliso delle Eolie (Centaurea aeolica

l’erica (Erica arborea)

la granata rupicola (Bassia saxicola)

More widespread is the vegetation of the Aeolian coastal cliffs and bluffs  characterized by the presence of a Plumbaginacea endemic in the archipelago and nearby Capo Milazzo, the Limonium minutiflorum, and other more common plants, such as fennel marine (Crithmum maritimum) and wild carrot (Daucus gingidium). one of the most rare and endangered flora of the European Union.

 

 

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