Altimontane Shrublands

Dwarf shrublands dominated by dense, cushion-shaped, spinous shrubs is one of the most widespread and characteristic vegetation types in the mountains of North Africa. In Morocco it represents the climatic climax from the tree line up to about 3900 m, and is well represented on the summits of the Middle Atlas and the Great Atlas, but in the Anti-Atlas it is only found on the massif of Siroua, and it is absent from the Rif, which is too low. In Algeria it is less common but can be seen on the summit of Aurès and the Djurdjura. The dominant species in Morocco are Alyssum spinosum, Amelanchier ovalis, Arenaria dyris, Berberis hispanica, Bupleurum spinosum, Cytisus balansae, Erinacea anthyllis, Juniperus communis, Lonicera pyrenaica, Rhamnus alpinus, Ribes alpinum and Vella mairei. There are also numerous endemic plants.

Wetlands of the Oukaimeden Plateau

The Oukaimeden Plateau is approximately 75 km south of Marrakech in the Moroccan High Atlas Mountains. Here at altitudes ranging from about 2500-3000 m are a series of unique, grass-dominated wetlands supporting many endemic species. They can be broadly divided into highly wet grasslands and pozzine, wet grasslands, moderately wet grasslands and moderately dry grasslands. Pozzine are damp alpine and sub alpine meadows usually established on peat bogs and often have a brilliant green color. The name was probably first used to describe the excellent examples of this vegetation type found on Corsica. In the Atlas Mountains these diverse communities support an estimated 198 species divided into 122 genera and 38 families. However, it is habitats at the wet end of the spectrum that have the greatest floristic diversity with about 60% of the total species richness and a level of endemism that exceeds 25%. The grasses found in these wet communities include Anthoxanthum odoratum, Arrhenatherum elatius var bulbosum, Avenula bromoides, Brizia media, Bromus hordeaceus, B. squarrosus, B. tectorum, Dactylis glomeratum ssp. hispanica, Deschampsia caespitosa, Festuca mairei, Festuca rubra var. yvesiana, Haynaldia ordacea, Holcus lanatus, Koeleria crassipes, Lolium multiflorum, Nardus strictus, Phleum pratense, Poa bulbosa var. vivipara, P. pratensis, P. trivialis, Trisetum flavescens and the Moroccan endemics Agrostis atlantica, Festuca atlantica ssp. oxyphylla, Festuca marrocana ssp. pozzicola, Poa alpina ssp. atlantica and Vulpia geniculata ssp. pauana (Poaceae). Moroccan endemic plant taxa found here include Bunium alpinum ssp. atlanticum, Eryngium variifolium, Heracleum sphondylium var. embergeri (Apiaceae), Bellis caerulescens, Cirsium chrysacanthum, Lactuca atlanticus, Tolpis barbata ssp. liouvillei (Asteraceae), Myosotis atlantica (Boraginaceae), Lepidium hirtum ssp. atlanticum (Brassicaceae), Sedum surculosus (Crassulaceae), Gentiana atlantica (Gentianaceae), Mentha suaveolens ssp. timija, Nepeta stachyoides, Stachys arenaria ssp, divaricatidens, Thymus atlanticus (Lamiaceae), Trifolium humile (Fabaceae), Rumex atlanticus (Polygonaceae), Ranunculus dyris (Ranunculaceae), Alchemilla atlantica (Rosaceae), Linaria multicaulis ssp. gigantea (Scrophulariaceae), Juncus bufonius ssp. mogadorensis (Juncaceae). The dryer grasslands are largely dominated by Arrhenatherum elatius ssp. bulbosum and Festuca mairei, and the few endemic taxa found here include Lactuca virosa ssp. cornigera (Asteraceae), Cynoglossum watieri (Boraginaceae) and Silene heterodonta (Caryophyllaceae).


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