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Endemic and Native Flora Garden

The Azores archipelago was home to several species, which were at the base of the current flora's evolution. It was a primitive forest of tree and shrub species, such as the laurel and the Azores juniper, progressively replaced by new exotic species, such as cryptomeria and hydrangeas.

Endemic and Native Flora Garden

The unique beauty of a fortunate flora

The flora of the archipelago originates from the extinct forests of the Tertiary and previous periods. As part of the Macaronesia region, the Azores, along with Madeira, the Canaries, Cape Verde, and the coastal strip of Northwest Africa, constitute a fortunate cluster of islands.

The flora of Macaronesia was a relic of the Laurissilva forests, characterized by a wide variety of species and endemics. These forests vanished during the glaciations of the Tertiary period.

The impact of Man and time

As the Azores were settled and time passed, the native forest underwent a dramatic decline. It was gradually replaced by agricultural land and pastures, and the introduction of exotic and invasive species further altered its composition.

Throughout this period, endemic species found diverse uses. Grapes were harvested for jams, while the berries of the Azorean laurel were processed into medicinal oils. Heather branches became materials for crafting brooms, and Festuca petraea was employed for making whitening brushes. Additionally, wood served traditional culinary and household heating purposes.

The impact of Man and time

Coming from the air and the sea, the land sprouted

Numerous species arrived in the Azores by hitching a ride on birds or carried by the ocean's currents.


Migratory birds played a significant role in introducing and spreading new species, as they ingested and later regurgitated seeds and transported plant fragments that took root and established themselves.

The sea brought the colonization of species such as Lotus azoricus. Seeds were carried by ocean currents, drifting and eventually reaching the archipelago, where they germinated and were predominantly established in coastal areas.

Coming from the air and the sea, the land sprouted

The Endemic Flora Collection in numbers

  • Families



  • Genera



  • Species



  • Subspecies



  • Varieties



  • Cultivars



The Endemic Flora Garden at Terra Nostra Garden

Entering our garden, there is a small, flat area covered by black pumice, which represents the hottest coastal zones, where they inhabit endemic species such as Azorina vidalii, Euphoribia azorica, or Limonium vulgare - a native species.

In another area, with different terrain, the medium and high altitude zones are simulated, where we often find pastures, small hills, and valleys with denser and moisture-loving flora, including an array of herbaceous and shrub species

A collection that enchants all year and has its peak between June and October.

The preservation of species in our garden

In this garden of Terra Nostra, many of the endemic and native species and subspecies of the Azores are protected by the Bern Convention and the Habitats Directive, such as Euphorbia Stygiana Subsp. Stygiana, Juniperus Brevifolia, or Azorica Frangula.

  • Did you know...

    The need for coal was a major cause behind the deforestation of the Laurissilva forest?

    Throughout the settlement of the Azores, wood species such as Myrica faya, Erica azorica, and Laurus azorica faced extensive exploitation. The Azores juniper (Juniperus brevifolia), valued for its high-quality wood, served various purposes beyond charcoal production, including the creation of furniture, galoshes, and sacred art, among others.

    The Azores were a refuge for plants in the Pleistocene glaciations?

    Frangula azorica and Myrica faya, originating in temperate forests in Southern Europe, colonized the Azores during the Pleistocene glaciations, between about 2.58 Myr and 11,700 years.

    That Azorina vidalii is a unique botanical genus endemic to the Azores? 
    Azorina vidalii is the only species of the Azorina genus endemic to the Azores. It is a coastal plant that is very resistant to ocean storms and has a high mortality rate, offset by its rapid growth in the early development phase.

On the map of Parque Terra Nostra

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