Included here is the Mascarene Archipelago in the Indian Ocean. The main islands are Mauritius, Reunion and Rodrigues.

Mauritian Philippia Upland Heath (Mauritius)

This community, dominated by the endemic tree heather Philippia abietina (Ericaceae), is one of the most striking communities of the uplands, and closely resembles the Philippia heaths of Madagascar and East Africa. It is now confined to a small area of the southwestern part of the upland plateau, where humidity levels remain high throughout the year. In many places soil is virtually absent and for plants to gain anchorage their roots often have to penetrate the joints between frozen lava streams. The shrub layer is dominated by the endemic Helichrysum yuccaefolium (Asteraceae) and Phylica mauritiana (Rhamnaceae), while other endemic but less common shrubs include Olea lancea (Oleaceae), Psiadia trinervia (Asteraceae) and Siderxylon puberulum (Sapotaceae). The ground between shrubs is frequently devoid of vegetation consisting of lava fragments and scoria, but in other places the lichens Cladonia rangiferina and C. rangiformis form large grey cushions up to 30 cm across. Another important pioneer of bare lava is the endemic moss Campylopus introflexus var. mauritius. The epiphytic flora mainly consists of mosses, including the endemic Schotheimia fornicata, and lichens, while other less common epiphytes include the endemic orchid Bulbophyllum nutan (Orchidaceae) and the curious fern Polypodium serrulatum with its very small linear fronds. 

Mauritian Sideroxylon Upland Thicket

Thicket in which the endemic Sideroxylon bojerianum (Sapotaceae) dominates is regarded as a sub climax to high forest. It has a highly complex floristic composition and the vertical structure includes three distinct strata. In addition to Sideroxylon bojerianum the canopy, which ranges from 8-10m, also commonly includes the endemic Sideroxylon puberulum. Beneath this is a dense closed species-rich stratum, which ranges in height from 2-6m, and includes several endemics such as Antidesma longifolium (Euphorbiaceae), Doratoxylon mauritianum (Sapindaceae), Memecylon trinerva (Melastomataceae), Erythroxylon laurifolium (Linaceae), Ixora parviflora and Rutidea coriacea (Rubiaceae).  The final layer is a sparsely populated stratum of small shrubs, including the endemic Acalypha colorata (Euphorbiaceae), and a few herbaceous species like Carex brunnea, Oplismenus histellus and Selaginella deliquescens. In contrast the epiphytic flora is comparatively rich comprising several small endemic orchids such as Angraecum multiflorum, A. parvulum and A. ramosum (Orchidaceae). In fact, Angraecum parvulum is virtually found on every tree. Other than the ubiquitous Hymenophyllum and Trichomanes epiphytic ferns are uncommon but may include Blechnum attenuatum, Polypodium phymatodes and Stenochlaena pollicinia.


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