The flora of the
Azores is one of the most interesting in Europe. About sixty plants
are unique to the Azores such as:
Cedar, Scotch Heather, Heath, Wild Berry, "Pau
Branco", Laurel tree, "Tamujo". About 700
were introduced to enrich islands and for commercial purposes.
The Azores, rich in the number of species which nature
has provided, are also home to many variations of common species
which have changed and evolved into entirely different subspecies.
Please also check our nature section
About sixty different endemic
plants, shrubs and trees are found in the Azores. Nature has
provided for these plants only in the Azores. These include such
varieties as the Laurel tree, Heath, Scotch Heather and Cedar.
In addition, over 700 varieties of plants have been introduced
into the islands both for commercial purposes and for the beauty
and enrichment which nature provides. The mild climate means
that many of these plants which are difficult to maintain in other
climates grow and thrive in the environment which nature provides
in the Azores.
Many of the plants are used
in original ways unique to the Azores. Imagine the hydrangea
hedges and windbreaks as an example. Natural borders of Azalea
and Camellia add to the beauty of nature.
Juniper (actually cedar)
which is scrub brush in other parts of the world becomes commercial
grade timber in the Azores. Even in the more barren areas, plants
Macaronesia species add visual enhancement to the landscape.
These include the Brazilian Mahogany, the Dogwood and the Laurel
trees, among others.
The Japanese Cryptomeria,
introduced in the Azores about a century ago to give nature a
hand, and the Acacia have both gained importance as a timber product
Although there are no endemic
birds or beasts in the Azores, many species have been introduced
to the islands and have developed subspecies with different coloration
or size characteristics.
Since the Azores is a natural
stopover place between North America and Europe for migrating
birds, the Islands have been enriched by some of these feathered
creatures. Many nests in or near the marshes, lake shores and
waterways of the islands. The Priolo, also known as the Azores
Bullfinch is a bird long thought to be extinct, but it has been
found in a habitat of the Azores Island of São Miguel.
other examples of the bird family which appear in the Azores such
as the Milhafre Eagle, the Crow, the Canary-like Finch and the
The ferret, the wild rabbit
and the hedgehog are all found in nature in the Azores. The abundance
of the wild rabbit makes it an important animal in the sport of
review of fishes found in the rivers and streams of the Azores
includes Common Trout, Rainbow trout, Yellow Perch and Old World
Pike. These and other species of fish are important for food
fish and sports fishing as well.
Another example of a species
adapting well to the geography and isolation of the Azores is
the Cäo de Fila. This is a recognized breed of watchdog developed
in the Azores. The dogs are extremely intelligent, loyal and
hardworking animals by nature. Their main purpose is the guarding
of the semi-wild cattle found in the Islands. They are a breed
approved by the Portuguese Canine Club in 1984.
Please also check our diving section
The waterways around
the Azores are one of the richest fish grounds of the
Atlantic Ocean. Here you can find swordfish, sharks, bras,
tuna, bonito’s, eels, murray eels and mackerel. Often
you can find flying fish sailing over the sea surface,
trying to escape predators.
Sperm Whales are the largest and most numerous
in these waters. The other toothed Whales frequently sighted
are Northern Bottlenose Whales, Pilot Whales, Orcas and
Sowerby’s Beaked Whales.
The Dolphins sighted regularly
in these waters are Common, Atlantic Bottlenose, Risso,
Atlantic Spotted and Striped Dolphins.
When snorkelling, you can see gabel mackerels,
rainbow-, hedgehog-, scorpion- and zebra fishes. Sea urchins,
octopuses and sea stars are highly abundant in the area.
If you are lucky you will even find other ocean inhabitants
like, sea turtles, manta rays, moonfishes, hammerhead
sharks, maco sharks and Atlantic triggerfishes.