117. Mediterranean Overview

Here in the Mediterranean room you can explore the plants, cultures, and foods of the world's Mediterranean climate regions.


These regions are not all near the Mediterranean Sea. Parts of Chile, South Africa, Australia, and California also have Mediterranean climates. All lie on the western sides of continents near large bodies of water about the same distance north or south of the equator. 


Regions with Mediterranean climates represent less than 5% of the Earth’s land mass, but contain nearly 20% of all known plant species, including many rare and unique plants. 


In Mediterranean climates, summers are hot and dry, and winters are mild and wet. These conditions support a great diversity of food crops vital to feeding the growing world population. 


Plants such as wheat, wine grapes, and olives are just a few of the dozens of agricultural crops that originated in the Mediterranean Sea region