It is often found at the edges of the forests, slowly encroaching upon the fringing grasslands.
From this edge habitat, it gradually takes over from the grasses forming low mats of impenetrable vegetation.
It is into this shrub like nursery that the acorns fall, protected from grazers and; latterly from the browsers as the oaks rapidly gain height in their first few years.
In time, the oaks themselves will create a closed canopy and this shrub will slowly die back and move to the fringes once more.
It is this plant that enables the forests to grow and to move in their own slow sylvan rhythm.
If it was possible to speed up this dance, one would see the ebb and flow of the great woods, moving amoeba like across the landscape. As even they, composed though they are of ancient trees, are not fixed within the ecology. Instead they move like you and I or the great herds of bison, only over their own long slow pulse.
It is this humble plant then, that is one of the great enablers of the movement of the forests here in the Mediterranean. Yet is often dismissed as a weed or contemptuously looked down upon as mere scrub.
Photos Pistachia lentiscus at Los Tornos. Courtesy of the author.