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Flora

 

Flora

This plain land of sandy soil that ocours in the portuguese western coast, is surrounded by a very peculiar, exclusive, and original flora, resulting in a typical and unique landscape dominated by the Seaside pine (Pinus pinaster). This is a transition zone between the characteristic Mediterranean flora and the truly North Atlantic flora. Presenting areas of distinct contrast where there are acid soils that allow the existence of heathers (Erica sp.), profound and fresh soil where oak-trees grow, alder, fern and sand-hills, with characteristic vegetation of the atlantic coast. Where the soil is dry and warm, (calcareous soil), aproximately 56 % of plants are mediterranean; in colder soil, (silicious soil), only 36% of species are mediterranean and, if we go further more to the mountainous interior that amount is even smaller. The plain land ocupied by pine-grove of Leiria is very similar to the french western coast, containing also some exclusive species of western Europe.

Frequently, under the pine-trees that surround "Casa de Paredes", there are well developed brushwoods of genista, heather, cistus, furze, lavander and gramineae. In the more developed brushwoods, we can still observe strawberry-trees (Arbutus unedo), viburnum (Viburnum tinus), and holm-oak (Quercus coccifera). Sometimes, entangled with brushwoods, there are creeping-plants like Rubia Peregrina and Smilax aspera. In the coasting areas in the north of Paredes da Vitória, in sand-hills partially consolidated, growing in the aeolic sands are the Otanthus maritimus, the (Ammophila arenaria), the (Euphorbia paralias) , the (Eryngium maritimum) and the (Crucianella marítimum). More to the interior, in the solid sands, between the (Amophila arenaria), there are bushes of maritimum crosswort, bushes of crowberry shrub (Corema album), the Silene litorea and the sand daffodil (Pancratium maritimum). In the top of the cliffs that surrounds the Praia de Paredes da Vitória it´s possible to observe the presence of species in the partialy compact dune.

Beyond the maritimum savine (Juniperus phoenicia), also the seaside pine (Pinus pinaster) looses the magnificense it has in fresh and fertile deep soils, characteristical of the inland, and aquires extraordinary shapes, twisting and crawling over the sand. In the XIII th century, during the kingdom of D. Dinis, more precisely between 1279 and 1325, began the planting of seaside pine in this area. At that time a great effort was made to conclude the seedinng because of the need to stabilize the dunes. The Pine-grove had a vital importance in the portugeese discoveries because of its wood and other sub-products. It was used to build the famous Caravels in the XV and XVI centuries. With the industrial expansion in XVIII and XIX, there was the need to produce coal to feed the steel and glass factories, and also to the population house heating. Today this wide forest area is still explored by the governement and actively used by the population as for combustible, hunting and undergrouth.

This singular vegetation area is repeated in the beautiful garden of Casa de Paredes structured and made by Manuel Mota and witch maintenence is regularly assured by Jardicentro. In the garden it is possible to admire interesting conjuncts of rock-roses (Cistus crispus), (Ammophila arenaria), Lavender (Lavandula stoechas), (Euphorbia paralias) , (Corema album) , (Helichrysum serotinum) and some examples of Strawbery-tree (Arbutus unedo). The selection of species and all the garden and swimming pool conception had the preocupation of not denying the landscape involving, but tried to recognize and inherit a litlle of its natural beauty that is the essence of of the magnificent landscape of Paredes da Vitória.  

 

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