The Natural World of the Island of Korčula
Korčula is one of the most forested islands in the Adriatic, it is an island of contrasts. Around 65% of the islands surface is covered in rich and diverse Mediterranean vegetation.
It was given its old Greek name Korkyra Melaina (Black Corfu) for its dark and densely wooded appearance which even today natural erosion nor the human touch have managed to thin out. Also found growing on the island is jasmine, which has for centuries been used in Korčula’s wooden shipbuilding. Besides jasmine (Quercus ilex) the following are prominent: Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis), clustered pine (Pinus pinastes), black pine (Pinus nigra Dalmatica), pine nut and cypress. The wild olive (Olea oleaster fiori) completes the Mediterranean landscape, while the cultivation of olive groves and wine-yards represents a traditional source of life on Korčula, it is still today an important part of its culture.
Macchia (dense evergreen underbrush) is characteristic of Korčula. It is a thick almost impenetrable bush. Medicinal and aromatic plants grow on the island, namely: sage, rosemary, lavender, mint, marjoram, basil and thyme. The local inhabitants are aware of the medicinal properties of these plants and are thus used for the treatment of many illnesses, and are also a delicious ingredient to food.
Adequate climatic conditions cause oranges, lemons and tangerines to prosper. Already in January the almond-tree is in bloom. Certain plants and trees from the tropics can be found on Korčula, many types of palm trees, eucalyptus and oleander.
The animal world on Korčula is very diverse. The game hunted is usually rabbit, pheasants, wild geese and boar which invaded the island some ten years ago from the peninsula of Pelješac. Many birds can be found on the island due to the mild climate and dense forests.
The sea surrounding the island of Korčula is a magnificent aquamarine colour that attracts thousands of tourists each year. In the waters of Korčula one might find rare types of dolphins and fish colonies.