Plant diversity on La Réunion

Christina/ October 15, 2023/ Culture

La Réunion, a French volcanic island in the Indian Ocean, is distinguished by its impressive plant diversity. With advancements in technology, especially plant identification apps like “Picture This,” visitors can expand their knowledge of plants and explore the island’s rich flora.

The plant life on La Réunion is diverse and remarkable. Familiar plants like the poinsettia, globe flower, and St. John’s wort are part of the nature, but there are also many unique species like the torch ginger, flame tree, and Bolivia fuchsia. The island has two seasons: winter (May to October) and summer (November to March). Even in winter, which is considered the dry season, the island remains “evergreen” and blooming due to sufficient rainfall.

The moist environment during the winter months turns the forest paths into a kind of jungle, although the island does not harbor wild or dangerous animals, making the hikes safe. There are no wild or dangerous animals in the thicket either, although it can sometimes feel a bit eerie.

Vanilla cultivation is a long-standing tradition on the island, and visitors can learn more about the history and cultivation of vanilla at the “Domaine du Grand Hazier.” A visit is especially worthwhile for French-speaking visitors, as much of the information is available in that language. There are also vanilla products available for purchase, sometimes with limited quantities and rather high prices.

During hikes on La Réunion, you often come across delicious fruits like peaches, mangoes, and gourds growing in gardens or along the roadside. These fruits taste particularly good due to their natural ripening. It’s fascinating to see pineapple fields as well, where juicy Victoria pineapples grow in prickly rosettes similar to lavender bushes covering the fields.

Hiking on La Réunion not only offers stunning natural scenery but also the opportunity to discover the island’s diverse plant life and taste the bounties of nature in the wild.

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