The vascular flora of Madeira archipelago has around 1230 indigenous and naturalized species, from which about 10% are endemic (exclusive) to Madeira, and 6% are endemisms of Macaronesia region (Azores, Canary Islands and Cape Verde). Considering the subspecies of the native vascular plants, these values may change as more taxonomic studies are made. Five genus are endemic to Madeira: Chamaemeles, Melanoselinum, Monizia, Muschia and Sinapidendron. Regarding bryophytes, Madeira archipelago has 540 taxons from which 15 are endemic to Madeira and 16 to the Macaronesia archipelagos. Lichens are also very abundant in Madeira with 451 species (Capelo et al., 2007)

Traditionally, the highly original and endemic vegetation of these islands has been interpreted as being of relictual character from the subtropical Tertiary vegetation around the archaic basin of the Mediterranean Sea which got lost due to several violent, disruptive environmental events in the mid and late Tertiary period. (Capelo et al., 2005)

The most significant flora elements of the Atlantic islands are its woody endemics. As there were no rodents on the island, the plants just had to compete for the sun, instead of protecting themselves very close to the ground. So they grow higher than their continental ancestors (predominantly small herbaceous plants) with long, thin, woody stems with a single rosette of leaves at the top. This island woodiness pattern is observed in several genus as Echium, Isoplexis, Muschia, Tolpis, Sonchus, Sideritis, Plantago, Aeonium and Euphorbia.



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