Some plants are wild, others are cultivated, some are endemic, others are imported, but they all give the island its unique beauty and essence.
Your holiday photos will not only show stunning white beaches or volcanic lunar landscapes. The tropical vegetation found in Réunion will also feature prominently, captured from every angle to reflect its impressive diversity and uniqueness.
It is true that many species cannot be found anywhere else. The endemic flora developed over millennia, with specimens brought to the island by winds and ocean currents. They gradually evolved and are now unique.
Exceptional plant heritage
The Réunion Botanical Garden, located above Saint-Leu, reveals the richness, diversity and vulnerability of the flora of Réunion. The Garden displays this exceptional plant heritage and endeavours to safeguard it, especially the 850 native species. They flourish alongside the 2,000 species introduced by man throughout the island's history. Plants endemic to Réunion and thus unique, worldwide collection of coffee trees, tropical fruits, palm trees, a wide array of cacti, orchids and ferns all thrive side-by-side...
At Saint-Gilles, the Jardin d'Eden illustrates interactions between man and plant life. It boasts 2.5 ha planted with 600 species of aquatic, sacred or aphrodisiac plants, spices, bamboo and so on. This tropical and ethno-botanical landscaped garden will take you on an unforgettable journey.
The Vallée Heureuse at Brûlé in the heights of Saint-Denis is an old Creole garden and a listed Historical Monument since January 2012. It is home to some rare tree species. Then there is Jardin l’Entre-Deux Songes, a Creole garden retracing agricultural traditions. It aims to attract family gardening enthusiasts and is ideal for anyone looking to learn about Creole gardening practices and plants grown for local cooking and pharmacopoeia. This garden is home to all the old fruit trees with reminders of numerous fruit and vegetables from the past.
The Domaine du Café Grillé at Saint-Pierre will also take you back in time ... to the time of the first plant that colonised the island. This 4 ha garden is a chance to discover some colourful exotic shrubs and fragrant plants.
Flavours and colours
If you want to visit a real coffee plantation, head for Maison du Laurina at Grand Coude. This site produces the rare and expensive Bourbon Pointu variety. Also highly prized is vanilla, a variety of orchid that is difficult to cultivate and which you will learn more about if you visit the Domaine du Grand Hazier and its vanilla plantation.
One of the island's emblems, "Indian saffron" (turmeric), much used in local cuisine, is showcased at the Maison du Curcuma, in Saint-Joseph. As for the Maison du Géranium, located at Le Guillaume, it is the ideal place to learn more about how this flower is turned into a highly prized essential oil and used by the big cosmetic brands. The Mélissa plantation at Saint-Benoît also features tropical flowers and some wonderful fruit trees. Not far from there, the Domaine de Cocos specialises in sugarcane. Finally, the "En Champ Thé" maze at Grand Coude is the place to go and have fun while you learn more about local tea cultivation, from the plant to the teacup.