Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Flowers

We were expecting to see the island of Madeira, covered with flowers.  Indeed anyone you speak to seems to have the same opinion, that it is the 'garden of the Atlantic' and flowers abound.  But, although there were a lot of flowers to be seen, it was not the floral explosion we had been led to expect.  Having said that, the flowers we did see, were both exotic and impressive.  Here, a pink Bottle Brush plant was attracting a lot of attention from the bees.
In the many municipal parks around Funchal, a common plant was the Canna Lily (not a true lily), also called Indian Shot.  That name comes from the seeds being hard and round enough to have been used as rifle shot in the many Indian campaigns, when more conventional bullets were running out.
The genus of plants known as Erythrina is wide and varied.  Belonging to the Pea family, they encompass all sorts of different flower shapes.  From these large trees bearing 'fluffy' flowers, called Erythrina abyssinica, from Africa...
... To the, more Pea-shaped flowers of the Erythrina crista-galli, a smaller tree from South America.
and to the medium-sized tree with flowers like a red-hot Poker and leaves like a Poinsettia, called Erythina speciosa, from Brazil.
The streets too were lined with the fragrant Jacaranda trees, also from South America, which dropped their bright blue flowers all over the roads and paths.  Beautiful!
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