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SP1986

Laurisilva Forests In The Uk

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Well not exactly but it seems garden escapees into woodlands are creating localised 'forests' of laurisilva woodlands. Laurisilva, for those that don't know, is a type of subtropical evergreen Laurel forest that once covered the entire Mediterranean basin from the Middle East, westwards to Canary Islands. In those times the Mediterranean coastal land was much more humid. Nowadays Laurisilva (or Atlantic Laurel forest) only occurs in the Canary Island, Madeira and the Azores, and isolated pockets along the NW Portugal coast, having died out throughout the rest of the Mediterranean due to a drier climate.

The plants commonly associated with the Laurisilva can surprisingly found in our gardens. Plants such as Rhododendron ponticum (shock horror), Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus), Common Holly (Ilex aquifolium), Prunus lusitanica (Portuguese Laurel), Quercus ilex (Holm Oak), Arbutus unedo (Strawberry tree)... notice a pattern - yep these can all colonise our woodland areas...

Anyhow there are few of these localised areas of escaped Laurel forests around here in Wirral comprising mainly of Holly (native), Prunus laurocerasus and of course Rhododendron ponticum.

Photos below (not great quality):

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