New Caledonia’s vegetation has more in common with Australia’s than it does with that of its closer tropical neighbor, Vanuatu. Seventy-five percent of the 3,250 botanic species are endemic. There are extensive areas of mangrove swamp and savanna grassland along the west coast. The only sizable forests are in the mountains. The territory’s most distinctive tree is a pine known as the Araucaria columnaris, which towers 30-45 meters high, with branches only two meters long.
The most characteristic tree of the savannas of the northern and western of Grande Terre is the niaouli, a relative of the eucalyptus.