Spring and summer in the Mediterranean is hot and dry, while the fall and winter is cool and wet. The vegetation around the Mediterranean area is full of evergreen plants. These evergreens keep growing during the winters and tolerate dry conditions. Evergreens develop deep tap roots to seek out underground pockets of water during dry times. The wild areas around the Mediterranean stay green year round.
Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis) grows to a massive 30 to 60 feet spreading 20 to 40 feet wide. It produces short needles with round 3-inch long cones. One characteristic of this pine tree is its enormous trunk. This is not a tree to grow in small spaces.
Common gorse (Ulex europaeus) produces stiff, sharp leaves that are thorn-like. These evergreen needles are 1/8 to 1/2 inch long. Among these dark green leaves nestle yellow blossoms that look like pea-flowers. Common gorse grows 10 feet tall and creates an impenetrable hedge.
Holly oak (Quercus ilex) is an evergreen tree with smooth gray bark that grows to 65 feet tall. The leathery leaves are glossy, dark green on the top and whitish below. This dense tree thrives in full sun or light shade. The holly oak tolerates salt so it makes it an excellent for seaside landscapes.
Italian cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) is covered with an abundant amount of tiny leaves. This cypress grows 40 to 60 feet tall and 3 to 6 feet wide. This narrow tree produces globe-like cones that are only the size of an olive.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a 2 to 4 foot evergreen that sprawls 3 to 4 feet. It naturally grows in rounded shape with arching branches. The flat, needle-like leaves are gray-green to dark green. Rosemary is a drought and salt resistant herb with a strong aromatic scent.
Stone pine (Pinus pinea) is also known as the umbrella pine. This pine tree has a broad, flattened canopy that can reach 80 to 100 feet in height. Bright green needles form stiff bundles on the ends of the branches. The 5 to 6 inch pine cones remain tightly closed while staying on the tree for 3 years. The stone pine is one source of pine nuts.
Sweet Bay Laurel
Sweet bay laurel (Laurus nobilis) is an evergreen tree with a cone shape that grows up to 40 feet tall. The leathery leaves are glossy, dark green. Yellow, star-shaped flowers appear in the late spring to early summer. In the fall, small dark purple berries follow the flowers. The leaves of the sweet bay laurel are used in cooking.
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