This website illustrates the work carried out by the Global Diversity Foundation (GDF) and the Moroccan Biodiversity and Livelihoods Association (MBLA) along with several partners in Morocco. Several aspects of biodiversity, conservation and sustainable livelihoods have been tackled through research and development projects carried out at national, regional and local scales.


Morocco constitutes an important centre of plant diversity and speciation in the Mediterranean Basin, hosting a great floristic diversity. This high plant diversity is explained by the geographical location of Morocco, as well as its varied topography, geology, ecoregion and climate. Morocco has been a dispersal pathway for flora and fauna, spreading to and from the Macaronesian Islands, particularly the Canary Islands. More importantly, Morocco formed once a land bridge between Europe and Africa, forming a corridor for the dispersal of biodiversity.

Morocco is situated at the floristic crossroads between the coastlines of Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. This has resulted in a high diversity of habitats and ecoregions related to Mediterranean-type climates occurring along the coast; the moist oceanic climate of the north contrasts with the desert Saharan environments in the south. In addition, it boasts great shifts in elevation, from coastal lowlands to montane climates in the high mountain summits of the Middle Atlas, High Atlas, Anti Atlas and Rif, where several peaks exceed 2000-4000 masl, including the highest peak of North Africa, Jbel Toubkal (4167m).

Moroccan Ecoregions

Plant Taxonomic Richness

The flora of Morocco contains about 3,913 taxa including 1,298 subspecies in 981 genera and 155 families (REF). Of these, eight families contain over 100 species, representing almost 50% of the country's flora. In order of importance, these families are: Asteraceae, Fabaceae, Poaceae, Caryophyllaceae, Lamiaceae, Brassicaceae, Apiaceae and Liliaceae. Other important families that contain less than 100 species are: Scrophulariaceae, Plantaginaceae, Orobanchaceae, Amaranthaceae, Boraginaceae, Cistaceae, Cyperaceae and Ranunculaceae. Some families contain less than five species (e.g. Oxalidaceae) while a few are only represented by a single species in Morocco (e.g. Berberidaceae, Coriariaceae and Droseraceae).

The genus Silene is by far the most species-rich in the Moroccan flora, with about 70 species, followed by the genera Centaurea, Ononis, Teucrium, Euphorbia, Trifolium and Linaria where the number of species varies from approximately 40 to 50. The genera Orobanche, Juncus, Helianthemum, Erodium, Ranunculus, Lotus, Vicia and Carex each contain about 30 to 35 species.

Dactylorhiza elata (Poir.) Soó


Endemic vascular plant species represent 22 % of the flora. There are 879 endemic taxa of which 607 are species and 272 are subspecies (REF). This excludes the species for which there remain doubts regarding their possible endemic or taxonomic status. Accroding to REF, the endemic flora is contained in 55 families and 287 genera, yet only two families contain more than 100 taxa: Asteraceae (166) and Fabaceae (108) and three families contain 50-100 taxa: Lamiaceae (99), Brassicaceae (61) and Caryophyllaceae (59). Another 11 families contain 10-50 taxa: Poaceae (40), Apiaceae (39), Plantaginaceae (35), Papaveraceae (22), Scrophulariaceae (19), Boraginaceae (18), Amaryllidaceae (17), Crassulaceae (16), Plumbaginaceae (13), Campanulaceae (12), Rosaceae (10). Most of the families contain less than 10 endemic taxa (e.g. Amaranthaceae, Apocynaceae, Asparagaceae, Caprifoliaceae, Cistaceae, Convolvulaceae, Cyperaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Gentianaceae, Geraniaceae, Hypericaceae, Iridaceae, Juncaceae, Linaceae, Polygonaceae, Orobanchaceae, Malvaceae, Orchidaceae, Polygalaceae, Ranunculaceae, Resedaceae, Rubiaceae, Saxifragaceae, Thymelaeaceae Violaceae, Zygophyllaceae) and some of the families are only represented by a single endemic species in Morocco (e.g. Frankeniaceae, Oleaceae, Onagraceae, Phyllanthaceae, Pinaceae, Portulacaceae, Primulaceae, Rhamnaceae, Rutaceae, Salicaceae, Solanaceae, Xanthorrhoeaceae).

The genera Silene and Teucrium are the richest in number of endemics, with 27 and 31 taxa respectively, followed by the genus Ononis with 22 endemic species. The genera Centaurea, Fumaria, Rhodanthemum, Linaria, Thymus, Astragalus, Bupleurum and Limonium each contain between 10 and 20 endemic taxa. Thirteen genera are endemic to Morocco, ten of them containing a single species only: Argyrocytisus (Fabaceae), Crambella (Brassicaceae), Feeria (Campanulaceae), Fezia (Brassicaceae), Hannonia (Asparagaceae), Hesperolaburnum (Fabaceae), Nivellea (Asteraceae), Sclerosciadium (Apiaceae), Roripella (Brassicaceae), Rytidocarpus (Brassicaceae) and Traganopsis (Amaranthaceae). The endemic genus Aliella (Asteraceae) is represented by four taxa, Trachystoma (Brassicaceae) is represented by three taxa and Raffenaldia (Brassicaceae) is represented by two taxa.

Anacyclus pyrethrum (L.) Link


Local inhabitants of Morocco have made use of this diverse flora since prehistoric times. Plants are used traditionally as food, fodder, medicines for people and livestock, dyes, building materials and fuel. Taking only medicinal uses into account, around 570 species, distributed over 98 families and 486 genera, representing about 15% of the total Moroccan flora have been recorded (REF). Of these, in order of importance the most important families are: Asteraceae, Lamiaceae, Fabaceae, Poaceae, Apiaceae, Solanaceae and the Brassicaceae. The most represented genera in the Moroccan medicinal flora are: Euphorbia (20 species), Thymus (12 species), Eucalyptus (11 species), Astragalus (11 species), Salvia (11 species), Artemisia (8 species) Rumex (9 species), Citrus (9 species), Diplotaxis (7 species), Mentha (7 species), Ranunclus (5 species) and Calendula (5 species).

Leaves and seeds are the plant parts most used for medicinal purposes (22.7% and 16.5% respectively), followed by fruits (13.25%) and flowers (4.2%; REF). Economically, the trade of aromatic and medicinal plants represents an important commercial activity in Morocco, a major exporter of these products locally. Moreover, seasonal use of wild leafy edibles is still an important complement to the diets of rural inhabitants, contributing to the health improvement in these areas.

Euphorbia resinifera O. Berg