OF THE FALKLAND ISLANDS
Falkland’s native habitats are exceptional. Coastal Tussac and Bluegrass form thick leafy canopies, while verdant cushion plants and wildflowers flourish atop cliffs. Spiky Shore Grass likes exposed coasts and lives up to its name! Inland Diddle-Dee heath dominates grazed areas, though grasses and fern beds also appear. Lafonia has vast white grass meadows with Cinnamon Grass, Pig Vine and Native Rush in damper valleys. Boxwood and fachine are our tallest native plants and sometimes form dense thickets while stoneruns can slither with Snakeplants. Together these wonderful habitats provide food and shelter for insects, birds and elephant seals and sea lions.
Tussac grows on windswept coasts and supports a plethora of native animals making it one of most valuable wildlife habitats.
Coastal Bluegrass grows in large clumps along sandy beaches and can form dunes and meadows behind the shore, where it is often interspersed with Sea Cabbage and Native Celery. Bluegrass was once very common across the islands but its distribution has been much reduced by grazing livestock.
Native Boxwood is our tallest native shrub and can reach over three meters high.
Large boxwoods must once have been common, and were even used to make furniture.
Native Boxwood is an evergreen and completely covers some small islands making them tricky to walk across, but a brilliant home for small birds.
It can also help to stabilise coastal areas as it can grow in dry, low-fertility soils.
Boxwood is eaten by sheep and cattle so nowadays it is most often found on cliff edges or garden hedges.
Cushion plants, including Balsam Bog, are found on very exposed coasts and mountain tops.
These plants grow slowly and can live for hundreds of years.
By cutting the wind and providing shade these tough plants help less hardy species to establish, increasing biodiversity in the harshest Falklands environments.