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Flowering plants of the Riviera

a descriptive account of 1800 of the more interesting species

Harold Stuart Thompson, F.L.S.  (1870-1940)

photography by the author

illustrated by Clarence Bicknell

introduction by Sir Arthur George Tansley, M.A.



xxviii and 249 pages

24 coloured plates (112 figures); 16 photographs of vegetation

index included

Longmans, green & Co., London • 1914

This book was reviewed in New Phytologist, v14, i1, January 1915

Wiley Online Library

The fascination which the shores of the Mediterranean exert on visitors from northern Europe is due to several factors. First and foremost and dominating all others is the Mediterranean climate. The mild sunny winter and spring, with their dry air, comparatively few overcast days and practically no fog or mist is a most welcome change from the damp, raw, sunless winters of north-western Europe. It is true that within the last decade or two the dry cold of alpine Switzerland with its winter sports has drawn away many of the lovers of strenuous open-air exercise from the milder charms of the Riviera. But to those who like to enjoy beautiful and varied scenery not cloaked beneath a thick layer of snow, the Mediterranean coast, particularly the stretch of it protected from the north by the great bulwark of the Maritime and Ligurian Alps, will always retain in winter and spring its pre-eminent charm. Here the natural outdoor life of the country itself, the life of the people and of the vegetation, not merely the artificial hotel life of invaders from the north, continues actively throughout the winter.

The effect of the characteristic Mediterranean climate is of course seen above all in Mediterranean vegetation. The rarity and slightness of frosts and the continuously sunny weather with moderate rainfall enable a great variety of plants to be cultivated which will not stand the northern winter. The olive, the orange, and the lemon are some of the most conspicuous among the useful species, while the great variety of palms and acacias (commonly called " mimosa ") that adorn the gardens of the Riviera, together with such trees as the " Californian Pepper " (Schinus molle), are the most conspicuous of the purely ornamental cultivated plants. Next to these come the fields of flowers violets, carnations, narcissus, roses which form an important industry especially in the neighbourhood of Hyères and of Grasse, cultivated both for export to the great northern markets and for the distillation of perfumes. The variety of trees and flowers from all parts of the world which can be and are cultivated in the Riviera gardens is immense, as may be realized most vividly by a visit to the famous garden founded by the late Sir Thomas Hanbury at La Mortola near Menton.

From the Introduction by A. G. Tansley, M.A.

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