Ensuring the survival of endangered
plants in the Mediterranean

Corsica - Island characteristics overview

Aquilegia bernardii Gren. & Godron (Restonica, Corte)
(Photo: G. Bacchetta)

Astragalus greuteri Bacch. & Brullo (Col di Bavella, Zonza)
(Photo: G. Bacchetta)

Castroviejoa frigida (Monte Cinto, Ascò)
(Photo: G. Bacchetta)

Cerastium soleirolii Duby (Lago di Capitello, Corte)
(Photo: G. Bacchetta)

Corsica is one of the largest Mediterranean islands (8.750km2) and is composed mainly of siliceous rocks. It reaches 2,710 m a.s.l. at Monte Cinto.

Located in the western part of the Mediterranean basin, the mountainous island of Corsica harbours, due to its insularity and landscape diversity, a particular rich flora, made of nearly 3,000 taxa of vascular plants, including 11% endemic taxa and 6% taxa restricted to the island itself. In particular,  there are approximately 280 endemic plant species in Corsica, of which 140 occur only in Corsica and 80  present in both, Corsica and the neighbouring Sardinia.

The flora of Corsica is well-known. As part of the phytogeographic originality, the flora of Corsica includes five monospecific genera (Castroviejoa, Morisia, Nananthea, Naufraga, Soleirolia) and many endemic plants of Tertiary origin (so called 'paleoendemics').

Corsica has a plant heritage of great value at global level and represents an important area for the persistence of species and ancient lineages. It is also an area where evolutionary processes of speciation are particularly important ('neoendemic' plant species).

The main threats to this unique flora are urban development and planning on coastal zones, a decrease of extensive grazing activities and a higher frequency of wild fires. Against the background of expected climatic shifts, Corsica is a central area in terms of conservation of terrestrial plant diversity.