MAQUIS, one of three types of the remains of old forest cover found in the Mediterranean, being first stage in the degeneration of the evergreen forest – a process begun centuries ago – on its way to becoming garigue. A low scrub community consisting of small trees and bushes 2–4 metres high, tolerant of seasonal drought, the maquis derives its name from the Corsican word for a species of the Sun Rose (Cistus) – a striking component of the maquis community. Others are Tree Heather, Strawberry Tree, Lentisc and various brooms. Many, such as Rosemary, Rue, Mint, Thyme and Sage, are strongly scented, a factor which helps to protect them from grazing animals. Dominant plants are often stunted trees and bushes of Juniper or Kermes oak. The maquis is intensively used – as a source of fuel and leaf-fodder for animals, dye for clothing, tan for leather dressing, resin and rubber, briar root and a wide variety of materials for household use.


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