Wheat field poppies causseWheat field and flowers on the Causse Méjean.
©Wheat field and flowers on the Causse Méjean.|© B. Colomb Lozère Sauvage pour Pact Gdt

Flowers of the Grands Causses

Discover the remarkable flowers of the Grands Causses.

A special landscape

Flowers of the Grands Causses

A particular flora has adapted to the dryness of the high plateaux. Discreet, it wakes up in spring and amazes us with its fields of poppies, meadow sage and other field flowers.



Latin name: Carlina acanthifolia

Flowering: July to September

Cardabella, whose real name is Carline à feuille d’Acanthes, is a wild plant found in the south of France, around the Mediterranean. This pretty plant of the thistle family has the particularity of capturing sunlight by opening up and protecting itself from humidity by closing up. Thus, it was used as a barometer by the farmers of the Causses. It is also said to bring good luck, and it was common to find it dried, hanging on the doors of houses, barns and stables. Its heart, which has a taste similar to that of the artichoke, was also eaten, while its root was considered a remedy for many ailments. Today, picking is out of the question: this plant is protected, so don’t take it with you when you come across it along the way.


Pulsatilla anemone

Latin name: Pulsatilla vulgaris

Flowering: March to June

This flower is easily recognized by its dark purple petals and golden-yellow center. The outer surface of the petals, as well as the leaves, stem and buds, are hairy. Before blooming, the bud is also very hairy, gray-green in color, with small touches of violet at the tip. It thrives on high altitude limestone soils, and can be found in large numbers on the Grand Causses. Like the cardabella, it opens in the sun and closes when the weather turns rainy, but unlike the cardabella, it is highly toxic. However, its dried petals are sometimes used for their calming and analgesic qualities, in certain scrupulously controlled doses.



Several varieties of orchid can be identified in the Grands Causses region

Buffoon orchid

Latin name: Anacamptis morio

Flowering: March to June

The Orchis Bouffon is a small wild orchid whose sepals form a purple “helmet”. Its Latin name comes from the Spanish “Morion”, which referred to the helmet worn by Renaissance infantrymen.

What better place than the Grands Causses to welcome a variety of orchid that thrives in fallow land and calcareous meadows? This orchid remains uncommon, despite its viable environment and large group development.

Military Orchid

Latin name: Orchis militaris

Flowering: April to July

Another soldier orchid! The Military orchid (or Warrior orchid) owes its name to the shape of the upper part of its flower, which resembles an army helmet. We can also imagine a buttoned-up jacket and loose-fitting sleeves and breeches like those worn by the Zouaves.

This Orchis, with pink and purple lobes around the edges, and a light pink center punctuated with purple dots, can be found on the edges of pine forests on the edge of limestone plateaus.

Ophrys Abeille

Latin name: Ophrys apifera

Flowering: April to July

Ophrys Abeille flowers have 3 pink petals and 3 green sepals, including a modified labellum. The variety’s name thus refers to the bee-like silhouette imitated by the orchid’s labellum. Why this mimicry? The labellum of the orchid takes on the shape of a bee and gives off identical pheromones to attract the male of the species and ensure fertilization of the flower.

Aymonin’s Ophrys

Latin name: Ophrys aymoninii

Flowering: May and June

An endemic orchid of the Grands Causses, Ophrys d’Aymonin is considered uncommon in the departments of Lozère and Aveyron, and rare in the departments of Hérault and Gard. This species is distinguished by its brown labellum edged in yellow.


Aster des Causses

Latin name: Aster alpinus subsp. cebennensis

Flowering: May

Considered endemic to the Grands Causses because it is genetically isolated from its Alpine twin, Aster grows in karstic and dolomitic territories. The Aster des Causses and that of the Alps are visually similar: a mauve, star-shaped flower head 25 to 45 mm in diameter and golden tubular central flowers.

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