Monday, 30 April 2012

Exotica

As well as the native wild flowers in and around Benidorm, we also found many non-natives in full bloom.  The most numerous of which were as always, the Date Palms.  The flowers look feathery and soft but if you touch them, you find they are hard, waxy and feel like they're made of plastic.
On our walks over to La Cala, we passed a couple of ornamental trees with showy, purple flowers and large, dark-green leaves.  New to me, it turned out to be a Wigandia or Purple Nettle, with the wonderful scientific name of Wigandia caracasana.  Coming, as the name suggests, from Central and South America (around Caracas) it makes a fine ornamental.
Another non-native, was a tree planted along the main roads and in full bloom while we were there.  I thought they were Weeping Fig trees as the leaves were exactly like that small tree, but the flowers suggested otherwise and after some searching, they turned out to be Australian natives.  The Lacebark Karrajong (Brachychiton populneus).  Also known as Bottle Trees in the USA.
Lastly a more familiar flower and one which can now be found growing along the south coast of Britain.  The South African native, Hottentot Fig (Carpobrotus edulis).  Covering the lower cliffs of La Cala, they made quite a display in the sunshine.
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