The island continent Madagascar has no less than five spacious climate zones. Each climate zone contains specific vegetation types. With an abundance of approximately 13 000 species, the big island is simply an inexhaustible treasure trove of plant life. Every year new species are being discovered. In Germany, by contrast, there are only about 1,500 plant species. Among the 210 domiciled plant families, there are 5 families that are endemic in Madagascar. These are Asteropeiaceae, Barbeuiaceae, Pysenaceae, Sarcolaenaceae, Sphaerosepalaceae. The Didiereaceae family was still counted as an endemic plant family for Madagascar until a few years ago, when a representation of this group was discovered in South Africa. As to the biodiversity, the Madagascan flora is characterised by high endemism. Over 80% of the Madagascan plant species are endemic.
The orchid families with over 1,000 species, the coffee plants with roughly 400 species and the grasses with about 300 species are particularly diverse. Madagascar's world of succulents is also particularly interesting. The six endemic baobab species, the kalanchoe species, the thickened stem plants of the Pachypodium species, the Madagascan aloe species and the spurge family flourish in the dry areas of the highlands, in the South and in the dry part in the North of Madagascar.
The periwinkle of Madagascar
This genus of apocynaceae (Apocynaceae) comprises about five species. They are recognized by their flowering to five stamens, whose color varies from white to purple to pink. This is how it is used against diabetes and hypertension. In general, the Periwinkle Periwinkle has a great ability to adapt; this is why this species is very widespread. In dry areas, the species Catharantus roseus is cultivated and exported for the European pharmaceutical industry. Two alkaloids extracted from this plant, vinblastine and vincristine, are used in the treatment of cancer. In Europe, Madagascar’s periwinkle is now used as a decorative plant. It is, in fact, a poisonous plant; however, its toxicity is very reduced.
Besides the numerous species of floral plants, a large number of trees also grow in Madagascar. Some species, such as the flamboyant (Delonix regia), which blooms during the rainy season, are endemic. it is part of the melodastomacae (Melastomaceae). Trachelophorus aprodeush is also endemic to Madagascar. It is also called giraffe beetle because of its long neck which is actually an extension of the head. At the end of their flowering period, in October, the jacarandas cover Lake Anosy near Tananarive with a lilac carpet. Originally, this tree originated in South America;
The following species of trees strike with their colorful and sumptuous blooms: Megistostegius perrieri or «Southern rose» has a magnificent red flowering, Hildegardia ankarensis, which is found in the mountains of Ankarana, a brilliant orange flowering, Hildegardia erythrosiphon and Rhodocolea nobilis again in red-yellow.