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Habitats of the Maltese islands (5)

Terrestrial habitats - Maquis

Maquis (Maltese: Makkja) is the stage following garrigue in the ecological succession process, and consists mostly of an evergreen shrub community, where shrubs reach a height ranging from one to three metres. Frequently, this is the climax stage.

Local maquis is characterised by small trees and large shrubs such as the carob (Scientific: Ceratonia siliqua; Maltese: Ħarruba), the olive (Scientific: Olea europaea; Maltese: Żebbuġa), the lentisk (Scientific: Pistacia lentiscus; Maltese: Deru), the wild fig (Scientific: Ficus carica; Maltese: Siġra tat-tin), the wild almond (Scientific: Amygdalus communis; Maltese: Siġra tal-lewż), as well as the bay laurel (Scientific: Laurus nobilis; Maltese: Randa) [picture]. In order to be able to support such trees, there must be enough water and soil depth.

This habitat type is also rich in other types of plants, namely climbers including the ivy (Scientific: Hedera helix; Maltese: Liedna), as well as large herbaceous species like the bear's breeches (Scientific: Acanthus mollis; Maltese: Ħannewija).

Maquis occurs in a semi-natural state at the sides of steep valleys and rdum, which are inaccessible to man. Various subtypes of maquis occur, some of which, such as those based upon the myrtle (Scientific: Myrtus communis; Maltese: Riħan), and the national tree of Malta, the sandarac gum tree (Scientific: Tetraclinis articulata; Maltese: Siġra ta' l-Għargħar), are very rare and threatened.

Should you require more information, please contact nature.

[email protected].

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