Over the years, the indigenous flora of this island underwent several modifications, due to the introduction of animal species (rabbits, goats and rats) and to the cultivation of Ice Plants Mesembryanthemum crystallinum and Egyptian Fig-Marigold Mesembryanthemum nodiflorum for industrial purposes, to extract soda for the manufacture of soap. Thus, the indigenous vegetation adapted itself to the rocky cliffs, where we find an endemism exclusive to this island, the Monanthes lowei.
Macaronesian endemisms such as Sea-Heath Frankenia laevis, the Shrubby Sea-Blite Suaeda vera and the Thick-Leaved Groundsel Senecio incrassatus are more abundant.
The flora of this island is of inestimable worth, because it has never suffered from any outside influence. It still retains its original characteristics, which is rare in the Atlantic islands.
In the sandy formations of this island we find several endemisms that are exclusive to this sub-archipelago. Examples include the Sea-Lavender Limonium papillatum var. callibotryum and the Lobularia canariensis ssp. succulenta. In this habitat we can also find a gramineous species Elytigia juncliforme, which may grow to a height of 80 cm.
On the slopes of the highest point of Selvagem Pequena, Pico do Veado (49 m), there are two rare endemic shrubs that have adapted to the dry and arid conditions, the Chrysanthemum Argyranthemum thalassophilum and the Sharp-Leaved Asparagus Asparagus nesiotes ssp. nesiotes.
Also characteristic is a variety melliodora of the Madeira Squill Scilla maderensis, which has developed some features that distinguish it from its congener in Madeira.
ILHÉU DE FORA
Despite its small size, the Ilhéu de Fora has an exclusive endemism Euphorbia obtusifolia var. desfoliata, a species of Spurge that has thick and fleshy stems. This has its own endemic beetle, which lives exclusively on this plant.
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