GARIGUE, or garrigue in French is one of three types of the remains of old forest cover found in the Mediterranean, being the intermediate stage of degeneration between maquis and steppe. Vedel describes the garigue as resulting from when grazing, cutting and felling of the maquis intensifies, reducing it to a community of low shrubs, between half a metre to a metre high, in an expanse of bare earth, stones and rocky outcrops. Garigue is found in the driest and hottest areas. Intense over-grazing leaves many of the shrubs stunted, and only the most spiny tend to survive. Small annuals and bulbous plants survive by growing underneath the bushes, where they are protected from grazing. Bulbous and tuberous plants such as Iris, Crocus and Tulip turn the garigue into a mass of flowers in spring, but the flowering is soon over and the garigue becomes parched and dusty.

Vedel says maquis and garigue are not much different, being stages of degeneration, and that many of the same plants occur in both communities, especially Kermes or Holly Oak and the strongly scented small shrubs.


Trees and shrubs of the Mediterranean by Helge Vedel, translated from the Danish by Aubrey Rush (Penguin Guides, 1978), p13-14.