Wildflowers and Trees of Provence
Mediterranean and Alpine flora
Thumbnails by Color
Beyond's Provencal Wildflower Thumbnails have a separate page if images for the following color groups:
White groups our white and pale pink wildflowers.
Purple is the purple group, with some borderline blues or redish-blues.
Blue are mostly blue, but some a bit reddish.
Red is red, and the darker pinks.
Because the ice-age glaciers did not reach the Mediterranean area, many plants failed to spread northward with the retreating ice as occurred throughout the rest of Europe. This has resulted in leaving many species unique to specific locations within this region.
The Mediterranean heat in the South of France is also the source of the perfume industry (with the town of Grasse being the "perfume capital of the world". The indigenous plants concentrate their oils as a protection againt the heat, providing the highly-scented nectar that results in hundreds of perfumed products.
The trees are the most distinctive flora in this part of the world, and the umbrella pine is the most distinctive of all, with its outline so clearly resembling an open umbrella. The Aleppo pine, on limestone and the maritime pine, on acid soils, are both common along the coast and are typically Mediterranean.
A variety of oaks grow here, from the scrubby holm oak of the coast to the typical Pubescent oak of mid-altitudes and, so necessary for a wine-producing country, the cork oak. This last grows strictly on the cristaline formations such as the Esterel, Tanneron and the Massif des Maures.
The umbrella pine (photo above) might be the most distinctive tree, but the olive tree is the most typical for this Mediterranean country side. Olives have been growing here for around 2500 years, and when you wander the hills, you'll cross long-abandoned stone terraces built and repaired by hand over many hundreds of years ago.