The Cardoule, emblem of causse

	overhanging the Gorges of the Tarn, like a virtual sun, She illuminates their spectacular cliffs, circuses and escarpments.
    Guiding the tourist or the holiday maker in the search of a lodging to look further deep into their Gorges of the Tarn and region visit, this protected species from large causses also plays the barometers.
	Cardoule Tradition
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Cardoule Hivernal
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The Web of Causses and Gorges of Tarn

The Country
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On the Méjean causse, in full heart of the National Park of the Cevennes
Gîte La Cardabelle, in the heart of Saint Rome de Dolan
Living Museum
Gorges of Tarn

      Flora of Causses

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The vegetation developing on Causse is adapted to the dryness. Even if the rain falls there with as much abundance than in other areas, here, it streams, then disappear, vanish and die in the infinity of cracks crossing the calcareous plate. The summer, with the heat, the rains which become rare and the winds which sweep the plateaus, the surface of Causse is often dry.

In order to adapt to the dryness, each plant has its method. There are those which, in the search of a wet layer, push their roots very deeply, like :

The Boxwood ( buxus ...)
Shrub, sometimes small, but being able to rise until three-four meters in favorable grounds. Its oval leaves are glazed and persistent, their colour can go from the green to the orange yellow.
The discrete flowers avoid being pointed out in order to surprise us better with strange fruits in form of three footed soup pot.

The Juniper tree ( juniperus ...)
Shrub of a recognizable bluish green to its sharp small leaves, like thick short needles, delicately prickly and attached on the stem three by three. It is the « cade » ( juniperus oxycedrus) which essentially populates our areas, amongst about sixty species.
The fruits are little berries, small round black'n bluish berries. When they are ripe, they are used to scent game and to raise sauerkraut taste. And obviously it is with these fruits that one prepares liquor of juniper berries, whereas somewhere else other people distil them with grain, according to various processes, to obtain geneva or gin...

The juniper bush of the Causses

Other plants, to defend itself all at the same time against both the tooth of the sheep and the dryness, transform some of their leaves or even of their stems into spines or prickles like :

The Blue Thistle
This thistle, or pastoral 'panicaut', is a plant with bluish thorny leaves not exceeding the fifty centimetres.
Blue thistles
The blackthorn ( prunus spinosa)
This bush, also named sloe as the fruit, constitutes sometimes true hedges along the ways.
With the springtime, the blackthorn overlaps with a cover of white flowers.
The fruits, which gave the ancient french name prunellier, are large blue-dark black balls, of a rough acrid taste. It is necessary to await the first frosts so that the fruit becomes edible.

The Large Carline Thistle ( Carlina Acanthifolia)
This flat thistle, most commonly called « cardabelle » or « cardoule » in our areas, proudly spread over the ground, large stemless flower of stemless thistle, surrounded by an aureole of prickly leaves. Amongst the protected species, 'she' look very well as our flag, proudly flying on the world wide wind !
A local poet described 'her' with elegance and humour.
      Let us listen to him !

The Great Carline
Click for zoom 277 Ko

Here some other plants very well from the causses :

The Feather Grass ( stipa pennata)
This gramineae ( or Poaceae) is found on the dry moors where its silky aspect can offer to the stare the iridescent swaying of a scintillating surging sea.
We like to name it « hair of angel »...
The Feather Grass ( stipa pennata)
The shadbush ( Amelanchier ...)
It is a shrub whose stems are slender enough, without spines, with little provided foliage. The young leaves are cottony beneath. The white flowers have narrow petals which do not overlap.