Ibiza’s varied flora includes close to a thousand species and is mostly integrated by Mediterranean elements. It was around five million years ago that the Pitiusas (the name given to Ibiza and Formentera islands by the Greeks, translating as “the pine-covered islands”) were separated from the mainland, and Ibiza’s own unique vegetation began to form.
A period of drastic changes between extremely dry and wet climates followed, which eroded the mountains and hills, and at the same time formed rivers and lakes. The Pitiusas are composed of sedimentary rocks, so the valleys became filled with these nutritive sediments.
The isolation of the island has meant that agriculture is still often carried out the same way as it has been for centuries, without the use of artificial pesticides and fertilisers.Even though Ibiza enjoys a warm and sunny climate, the island remains remarkably green all through the year, and this is mainly thanks to the dense pine-covered hills. But in addition to the pine forests, almond, olive and fig trees you will find hundreds of other plants and flowers.
From July until September, bougainvillea, oleander and hibiscus bushes decorate the island with startling splashes of purple, pink and red, and the warm temperatures between November and May see the almond trees in full bloom and the orange and lemon trees boast with succulent, ripe fruits.
Ibiza’s vegetation would be complete without mention of the hundreds of thousands of carob trees on the island. The pods from these trees traditionally provided one of the basic elements of food for farm animals, as well as revenue from the sale of carob seeds.
Farming has declined over the last two decades, but we still see families gathering together in the late summer and early autumn to pick carob on Ibiza. We find several products based on toasted carob syrup, which is rich in iron, potassium, and calcium. These products include a coffee substitute, a cola-type drink, various sorbets, ice-creams, puddings, cakes and sweets.
It is no wonder that many of the local restaurants in Ibiza use this versatile fruit in their kitchens to make delicious sauces and desserts!