You are spending your holidays in the Domaine des Oréades with the purpose to relax and take care of yourself. After hiking in Le Tech ornithological park   and around the lake of Sanguinet, why don’t you go today to discover the Landes of Gascogne!  Gallery forest, forest of origin, dry heath, heath mesophilic (intermediate area between dry heath and wet heath), wet heath, swamps and lagoons. All the forests are in the Landes of Gascogne!

The  gallery forest

At the border of the Landes and Lot-et-Garonne, this forest grows on the banks of the Ciron and its tributaries. It owes its name to the branches of the trees, by joining above the river, forming a kind of tunnel. The gallery forest is composed primarily of alders, oaks, beeches, charms, willows, black locusts, hazel trees and hawthorns. On the banks, there is a typical fern wetland: the royal fern, the yellow iris, the hart’s-tongue fern, the hepatica and the orchids.

Le bassin du Ciron est classé Natura 2000 .


The original forest or the oak forest

In general, the pedunculate oak is present throughout the landes of Gascogne where it has been replaced by pine seedlings. The oak forest is still along the rivers, dotted with holly and common junipers or also form thickets in the wastelands.  The pedunculate oak and the Pyrenean oak remain on the edge of the pine plots, on the drainage ditch (called “crasta” in Gascon) with undergrowth of butcher’s groom to delimit the old plots and space of the barnyard (called “aerial”). Note also the presence of numerous wood of black locust, a species native to North America and introduced in France in the 17th century and groves of elms which tend to disappear because of their disease, the Dutch elm disease (DED).

The dry heath or heather moorland

Paradoxically, it is near the rivers that we can find the dry heath. Heaths predominate: common heather, bell heather. There are also common rockroses, the common gorse and the common broom. Not to mention, on the roadside, the beautiful yellow flowers of the evening primrose.



The wet heath or moor Molinia

The wet heath was mainly drained for pine seedlings but also for the cultivation of corn and vegetable crops. The most characteristic plant of the wet heath is the wet Molinia (aougà in Gascon, also called aouguiche or aouguithieu in dialect) which invades the pines seedlings and prevails over the pine forests. There are also dwarf gorse, heath, shrubs such as buckthorns or Cornelian cherry trees (locally called “sanguine”), heather and also typical trees of wetlands such as the birch, finally the pedunculate oak.


The mesophilic heath or the fern moor.

The bracken can be found nearer the ocean, on the mesophilic heath, where the soils are neither totally dry nor totally wet. But as it is an intermediate area it is not surprising to find , in more or less important quantity,  the flora of the wet heaths such as the dwarf gorses, the buckhorn, the heath and the flora of the dry moor such as the common heather, the bell heather, the common gorse and the common broom.


Lagoons, marshes and carnivorous plants

In the north of the Landes of Gascogne, at the border of the Gironde, lagoons and marshes occupy slight depressions of land more or less invaded by water from the ground water. There are carnivorous plants such as the sundews or the bladderworts which are able to trap and digest small invertebrates and the false-watercress of Thore, the sedge and all the flora of the wet heath.

Lagunes et marécages occupent les légères dépressions de terrain plus ou moins envahies par l’eau de la nappe phréatique.

On y trouve des plantes carnivores comme le droséra (rotundifolia et intermedia) ou l’ utriculaire (Utricularia intermedia), capables de piéger et de digérer de petits invertébrés, mais également la littorelle et le faux cresson de Thore (espèces protégées), le carex , ainsi que toute la flore de la lande humide.

For more information go on the Internet site of  parc naturel des landes de Gascogne.

Additional articles :

  • Why are the Landes called the Landes ?
  • Why is Sanguinet called Sanguinet?

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