Amsterdam Island - Flora


Original flora | Present flora | Phylica



The existing flora presents a clearly marked type of vegetation-levels according to the altitude.

- The short-grown meadow makes a belt round the island, only broken off by the high cliffs of Entrecasteaux in the South-West. It streches out from the coast up to about 250 metres high except in the South south-eastern part where it stops at about 100 m high.
The vegetation there mainly consists of slow-growing autochtonous plants -the bulrush (Scirpus aucklandicus) - as well as introduced plants such as the holcus (Holcus lanatus - velvet soft meadow grass) and the taraxacum (Leontodon taraxacoides - dandelion) which both put up with the trampling and grazing of cattle. Recently introduced, the cirsium (Cirsium vulgare - thistle) has greatly extended since the 1974 fire.

- The transitional zone streches above the short-grown meadow up to about 350 m above sea level. It is mainly composed of rushes (Juncus effusus) and of club-rushes (Scirpus nodosus) along with bulrushes (Scirpus aucklandicus) and little ferns Blechnum penna-marina. The residual area of phylica trees (Phylica nitida) streches out on the eastern slope between the "Grand Bois" (large forest) and the "Chaudron" (the cauldron).

- The cryptogamic vegetation is located on the upper level and up to 500 m high. The steep slopes are mainly planted with ferns Gleichenia polypodioides (polypods). The gentler slopes are planted with ferns Etaphoglossum succaessifolium , Blechnum penna-marina and varied moss.

- The slopy peat-bog streches up to about 700 m high and is called " Plateau des Tourbieres " (peat-bog plateau). The peaty soil favours the development of moss, sphagums and a few graminaceae such as Poa fuegiania.

- The swampy peat-bog is located inside La Dives calderia and in a few zones of the " Plateau des Tourbieres ". It is nearly exclusively composed of moss, sphaga and hepaticae.


Leontodon taraxacoides


Gleichenia polypodioides


Poa fuegiania

Typical vegetation at 250 m high

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