What do we call garrigue ?
To find out what is called garrigue you had better not ask someone in Paris or a native in Calais if you arrive from Great Britain. They may not know what garrigue is, unless they have come to the Midi and traveled through countryside, especially the great outdoors : hills and mountain ranges.
Garrigue is a low-lying, shrubby and mostly evergreen vegetation on limestone soils. It is composed by a specific and diversified flora, whose most representative species are kermes oak, rosemary, thyme, rock roses such as Montpellier cistus and white-leaved cistus, mastic tree, cade juniper, turpentine tree, gorse and fine-leaved crown.
Garrigue is a Mediterranean-type ecosystem, called “matorral” by international botanists. In Provence, it grows at low altitude (less than 700 meters).
This sort of vegetation is a degradation stage of the evergreen holm oak forest and generally lasts a few decades before the Aleppo pine forest will replace it, and much later the initial one.
Different types of garrigues may be identified by botanists, depending on the dominant species : kermes oak, rosemary, white-leaved cistus, Phoenician juniper, cade juniper, …, and on the distinctive features of the environment : slope aspect, type of soil (depth, nature, …), slope gradient, wind influence, distance from the sea, latitude, altitude, …