Natural vegetation in Italy consists of numerous conifer species, deciduous forests, sclerophyllous forests and plants such as orchids, juniper, olive, myrtle, bay leaf plants and oleander. Vegetation varies across Italy, ranging from evergreen-laden forests in the mountainous northern region to smaller shrubs and plants in the warmer Mediterranean climate of southern Italy. Mountains in the northern and central regions of Italy also serve as habitat to a variety of orchids, boasting the highest number of orchid species in the world.
Italy's deciduous forests feature a variety of trees: conifers and evergreens dominate the mountainous landscapes, but forests contain beech, oak and chestnut trees too. Many plants and trees in Italy appear in other parts of the world as well, including North America and Europe. However, Italian species demonstrate unique physical and biological features, making them suited for surviving in Italy's climates.
Evergreens and conifers grow broad, thick leaves. These leaves hold excess water, helping trees withstand hot, dry summers. While forests and large trees appear in Italy's mountains, the plains and flat lands consist of dense shrub growth and plants. Shrubs include juniper and rhododendron. Vegetation in these areas also includes wildflowers and grasses. Although not as prevalent, holly and yew plants live alongside trees in some forests.