Monday, 29 April 2013

Flora

Around the countryside which surrounds Santa Ponsa, there were plenty of opportunities to discover some of the flora of the area.  Many of these were new 'ticks' for me and my life list has increased somewhat because of it.  The first picture today is of a flower which I had ticked off before, but one which deserves a mention because of it's bright colour.  The Astericus maritimus.  Very common around the Med', this is a delightful little flower and forms large mats of bright yellow daisy-like flowers.
Moving on from a familiar plant, to one which was new to me.  Sometimes called Mediterranean Lineseed, the Bellardia (Bellardia trixago) is a member of the Broomrape family and native to the whole Mediterranean area.  with finely toothed leaves and an inflorescence consisting of pale, pink-and-white flowers held in a conical spike.  Like other Broomrapes, this plant is parasitic and takes some of it's nutrients from surrounding plants.
From the Bellardia, we moved on to a lower growing plant and another new one for me.  This one was small, mat-forming and covered with bright purple flowers.  Coris (Coris monspeliensis) is a member of the Primula family and another native of Spain, although this one is spreading around the Med' too.
The next new plant to me was a member of the Citrus family - although you would never know it just to look at it.  Small, yellow and rather ragged-looking flowers topped this grey-leaved plant and it goes by the name of Fringed Rue (Ruta chalepensis).  Used as a remedy for a number of inflammatory diseases, it contains a substance which can cause blistering of the skin in bright sunlight.
Yet another new 'tick' for my list was an attractive, lily-like flower with white petals and a distinctive black ovary in the centre.  It is commonly known as Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum arabicum) and these beautiful little flowers stood about a foot tall with the cupped flowers opening up to the sky.  It is actually a member of the asparagus family, but again, you would never know it.
Lastly for today another familiar plant to me as we have seen it growing around the Med' many times.  The Common Asphodel (Asphodelus aestivus) is an attractive flower with a reddish-brown stripe running the length of each of it's petals.
All for today, more to follow...!
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