HTML Document Terrestial flora

Release date 28/12/2007
Geographical coverage Morocco
Keywords Flora, Mushrooms, Lichens, Moss, Vascular plants, Ferns, Phanerogames

The global effective of national flora (except unicellular algae and the inferior mushrooms), are around 7000 species. This number is certainly inferior to the reality. The inventory is relatively well established only for the Pteridophytes and the Phanerogame, even while, even for these groups, other aspects (geographic repartition, ecology, species’ biology) are far from being sufficiently known.

In a general manner, plant diversity in the Mediterranean zone is no longer to be proven, and even less that of Morocco. At the heart of the Mediterraean Basin, rich in close to 30.000 vascular species, which occupies second place after Turkey, arranges a great variety of biotopes fashioned by long series of geological events and climactic complexs, of which the result of this rich story expresses itself by a diversity almost without equal in the Mediterranean bassin.

Even more than its diveristy, a remarkable characteristic of our flora is its rate of endemism that is exceptionally elevated; we estimate it at 930 (or around 25%) the number of ‘taxa’ endemic among the vascular plants. The principal centers of endemism are the highest mountain peaks. This characteristic find itself still on the scale of the Mediterranean Bassin which is also a place of high endemism, found notably in altitude, completely comparable to those that characterize equatorial mountains. Thus, notwithstanding its great advantages, the Mediterranean world (s.l.) does not see itself given the place it deserves, the messages carried by the media being centered on the tropical flora, particularly those of humid tropical forests.

Principals composing the national flora


We have the habit of dividing mushrooms into two large groups: the inferior (or microscopic) mushrooms, and the superior mushrooms (macromycetes). The first group has the interest of several fields, notably microbiology, pedology, and the biotechnologies rather than ‘la floristique'. Instead, the second group is very attached to this subject. The Malecon and Bertault catalogue remains the principal document for the knowledge of the national inventory of superior mushrooms even while, in the opinion of the authors, the compiled list is far from being complete and the information on ‘le taxa’, remain fragmented. In ordinary life, superior mushrooms are not used except by a small percent of the population for cooking, or for certain medicines.

For the inferior mushrooms, only the contributions of Werner permit us some information. The global list assembled for this report contains more than 820 species divided into 18 families.


This group icludes 760 species known in Morocco, of which the inventory is almost exclusively the work of Werner in the first decades of the century. The list must be completed and actualized, work that seems unfortunately random in the near future because of the lack of national lichenologues. 


Contrary to the precedent group, moss is much more noticeable is the plant landscape, their green herbaceous carpets that cover humid surfaces (rocks, soil, walls, trunks) unable to be passed unnoticed. Yet, even this group remains little studied in Moroco. The global list which contains 350 species of which ten are endemic is very old since it dates back to 1930.

Vascular plants (Ferns and Phanerogames)

The vascular flora of Morocco is relatively well studied compared to other groups, but remains nonetheless little known compared to other neighboring countries.

At the inventory level, we can consider that the quasi-totality of the species presented on our territory have already been listed, but the information is dispersed among hundreds of publications at the interior and exterior of the country. The lack of books that synthesize (Flora and Catalogues) is cruelly lacking in our libraries and harms our progress in research, not to speak of the handicap that such a situation represents for all those who are interested in Moroccan flora: teachers, students, foresters, agronomers, pharmacists, etc.

The total number of vascular plants is estimated at more than 4500 species divided over 930 genuses and 130 families. The richest families, counted at more than 100 species are at the number nine only, and regroup together more than 2200 species, nearly half the specific richness of the country. Instead, the poorest families (less than five species each) are numerous, on the order of sixty, of which half is represented by one single species: e.g. Sapotaceae, Droseraceae, Coriariaceae, Berberidaceae, Menispermaceae, and Adoxaceae. Concerning the genuses, Silene occupies first place with 69 species. Centaurea, Teucrium, Ononis, Euphorbia, Astragalus, Trifolium and Linria have each between 40 and 50 species. Then come Orobanche, Juncus, Helianthemum, Erodium, Ranunculus, Lotus, Vicia, and Carex, which count each between 30 and 35 species (to be noted that certain numbers presented in this work are well inferior to actual estimates).

The biogeographic analysis summary of Moroccan flora shows that this last is of autochtonic stump, essentially Mediterranean or mesogeenian, enriched by contributions more or less of great importance, coming from the north (holarctic elements), the south (tropical or Saharan elements), the east (irano-touranian elements) or the west (macaronesian elements).

The repartition of rare ‘taxa’ between different geographic divisions of Morocco shows that the greatest strength finds itself in the Rif, the High Atlas, the Medium Atlas, and the plains and Atlantic plateaus of setentrional Morocco (Fig. 3). More detailed studies should permit us to identify the homes richest in rare ‘taxa’ in these regions, as well as for the others in the country.

- Astragalus, Bituminaria, Lotus, Stipa, Eragrostis and Beta.

It must be noted that several of these species have been rarefied or even disappeared (example: certain species of the genuses Medicago, Lupinus, Cicer, etc...).

Among fruit trees, the genuses Olea, Pistacia, Ficus, Prunus and Amygdalus are well known for their diversity in our country.

The forerunners of ornemental plants such as Allium, Anemone, Centaurea, Cistus, Colchicum, Crocus, Cyclamen, Dianthus, Eranthis, Iris, Lilium, Myrtus, Narcissus, Nerium, Retama, Rosa and Silene find themselves at the spontaneous state in Morocco.  We find about 400 species of medicinal interest (Crucifers, Labies, Composes, Ombellifers, Ascelpiadacees...). Northern Morocco is the area of a great diversity of species (rye, spelt, millet, sorghum, veteh, ‘gesses’, and a great phenotype collection of hard wheat. The orchards enclose again certain genotype citrus fruits and local rosaceous plants; in the hills, the grafted oleaginous have given autochtoneous olive trees, the crossing between fig trees has created a great variety and richness.

In southern regions, barley that is well adapted to aridity continues to be the dominant species. In oases, the variety of palm trees, the traditional farmers of alfalfa (alfalfa of Tafilalet, of Dades...), of vegetables, of saffron and of tender wheat called “wheat of the pharoahs’ (Fartas, Charquia) are adapted since many centuries. Adapted varieties have been equally selected for olive trees, almond trees, vines, corn (introduced in the sixteenth century)...