Included here is the Island of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean.

Eastern Madagascan Ericoid Thicket

At high altitude above about 1800 m the montane sclerophyllous forest gives way to a thickets dominated by ericaceous species, which has only recently been explored biologically. They have a single, often impenetrable, stratum of woody plants growing to no more than about 6 m tall, and virtually all of the species are evergreen, ericoid types. In fact, the genus Erica (heather) has undergone massive speciation here. The chief components include mainly endemic species of Ericaceae (principally Philippa and Vaccinium), Asteraceae (principally Helichrysum, Psiadia, Senecio, Stenocline, Stoebe, Vernonia) and Rubiaceae. Somewhat less common are various endemic species of the Gentianaceae, Lamiaceae and Melastomataceae, but all have the ericoid habit. Scattered throughout the thicket are a few bushy trees emerging slightly above the general canopy including endemic trees such as Dodonaea madagascariensis (Sapindaceae) and Tambourissa gracilis (Monimiaceae), while on the massif of Manongariva the endemic palm Chrysalidocarpus acuminum (Arecaceae) occurs.  Lianas and vascular epiphytes are absent except for a few small orchids, but epiphytic bryophytes and lichens are plentiful. The ground layer is also poorly developed, but includes a few endemic species of Impatiens (Balsaminaceae), and of the families Cyperaceae and Poaceae. Other endemic species occur in damp, peat filled depressions, while on the dryer outcrops draught tolerant endemics of Aloe, Kalanchoe and Helichrysum occur. One endemic species of particular interest is Sedum madagascariense (Crassulaceae) since this is the only Malagasy representative of this largely northern latitude genus. 


Dorr, L. J. & Oliver, E. G. H. 1999. New taxa, names, and combinations in Erica (Ericaceae-Ericoideae) from Madagascar and the Comora Islands. Adansonia, ser. 3. 21: 75-91.

Goodman, S. M. & Benstead, J. P. (eds). 2003. The Natural History of Madagascar. The University of Chicago Press.

Jolly, A., Oberle, P. & Albignac, R. 1984. Key Environments Madagascar. Pergamon Press.

Rauh, W. 1979. Problems of biological conservation in Madagasgar. In: Plants and Islands. Ed. D. Bramwell. Academic Press.

Schatz, G. E. 2001. Generic Tree Flora of Madagascar. Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and Missouri Botanical Gardens.