Coastal Plants in the Sun, Salt and Scorching Dryness.
With few exceptions, such as the cliffs between Varigotti, Cape Noli and Caprazoppa Headland, the coastal strip of Finale has become hugely anthropized, where man has intervened and modified the open natural landscape.
Made up of layered San Pietro dei Monti dolostone, dolomitic limestone and quartzite, the coastline features steep craggy walls created by the strong action of the sea waves at the foot of the cliffs.
MORE INFORMATION – Sea-Front Flora
Coastal flora is therefore exposed to salt, sun and scorching dryness. Sea cliffs and detritic slopes are home to halophytic vegetation, such as Rock Samphire (Crithmum maritimum) and Sea lavender (Limonium cordatum) all of which grow, and even thrive, in saline environments thanks to mucilage-rich cells allowing for efficient water-retention and salt-tolerance.
A combination of bright sunshine and wind makes for dry soil, requiring coastal flora to develop xerophytic (i.e. dry- or drought-loving) adaptations, such as small, hairy leaves that limit transpiration and water loss through evaporation. Among such species are Silver Ragwort (Jacobea maritima), Tyrrhenian Cornflower (Centaurea aplolepa), Red Hoary Stock (Matthiola incana) with its red, violet or white flowers, wild Cabbage (Brassica oleracea subsp. robertiana, an ancestor of the cultivated variety), Anthyllis Barba-Jovis and Tree Spurge (Euphorbia dendroides), which goes dormant and sheds its leaves during the summer. Finally, two further endemic species worth mentioning are wild Mallow (Lavatera maritima) and ground blue rock bindweed of Cape Noli (Convolvulus sabatius).