Tuesday, 27 January 2015

More Ticks

More new 'ticks' on the list today, starting with another of those invasive species which seem to get everywhere. Close to our holiday complex and growing on the cliff-tops, was a highly aromatic shrub which comes from South Africa. New to me, it turned out to be a Cape Snow Bush or Eriocephalus africanus.
Rubbing the foliage between thumb and fingers, you release a wonderful scent, somewhat like that of Rosemary. The more fleshy foliage and the small, white flowers indicate that it is not rosemary, but belongs to the family asteraceae or Daisy family.
The second new tick today came from another shrubby plant, this time with the brightest yellow flowers. This plant belongs to the Cistus or Rock Rose family but, unlike the large, white-flowered Gum Cistus mentioned yesterday, the flowers of this one, were much smaller, but more numerous.
As well as the bright flowers, the unopened flower buds are also colourful, having a reddish colour which just adds to the attractiveness of the shrub. The flowers were so bright in the sunshine, that these photos have unfortunately turned out slightly over-exposed.
Almost overlooked as I was taking pictures of the various Cistus plants, was my next tick. With no visible stem these flowers were just poking out of the ground and looked somewhat like a crocus.
Growing from a corm just below the surface, they can be found in sandy soils all over the Mediterranean region with the colour altering between various shades of purple and with more or less yellow down the 'throat' of the flower.
Lastly, a tiny plant which which made up for it small stature by its huge numbers. Growing all over any bare piece of ground (especially beach car parks), this diminutive member of the cabbage family turned out to have a familiar name. Commonly called Sand Stock, its scientific name is Malcolmia triloba.
A gorgeous little flower, it shows all the characteristics of the Brassicaceae with its cruciform flower shape.
Not a new tick, but my own species of 'Malcolmia' was to be found enjoying the views even in a chilly wind.
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