‘Living Magnets’ in the Algarve

Crown Daisy

‘Living Magnets’ is David Bellamy’s description of the wild flowers in the Algarve, and he is absolutely right. Every time we visit I rejoice in flora we’ve seen before and then get very excited when I spot something new.

Lupinus luteus
Lupinus luteus

DSCN9991A recent new were Yellow Lupins, not new in identifying but new in terms of numbers.  The hills were covered, and I have since learnt they are cultivated for fodder so presume this is what is happening in the Algarve Serra, where I took these photographs.  They looked glorious, the other day when we were driving through the Serra.

DSCN9791In the towns and villages of the Algarve it has been the redbud tree  – Cercis siliquastrum – that has caught my eye.  Its pink flowers, in late March/early April, are borne in clusters amongst the previous year’s pods.  It is widely known as the Judas Tree.  The legend is that the redbud tree turned its flowers pink because it was so ashamed that Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, used its branches to kill himself.

Cercis siliquastrum
Cercis siliquastrum
Asphodelus ramosus
Asphodelus ramosus

This is my third post about Flora, and second on Fauna, and I’m sure it won’t be the last, especially now I have a copy of Chris Thorogood’s and Simon Hiscock’s wonderful “Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of the Algarve“.  Thanks to my wonderful mum, who bought me my copy I have already named most of the flowers I have photographs of and I’m working on the rest!

Small Tree Mallow (Lavatera cretica) - very common waste ground
Small Tree Mallow (Lavatera cretica) – very common waste ground

One that had been unnamed in my previous Flora post was the Small Tree Mallow.  Well I think it is the Small Tree Mallow – Lavatera cretica – rather than the Malva sylvestris which is very similar.  I’ll have to doublecheck the stalks and leaves next time I see it to be sure!

Tuberaria major
Tuberaria major – I think!

Another I am not certain about is this flower  It is definitely a Tuberaria, but I remain uncertain about which one.  I’m hoping it is a Tuberaria major, which is very rare but is found in the Ria Formosa around Olhão.  I’m waiting to spot it again, now I have the Field Guide, so I can look at the leaves again and be sure.

If anyone reading this is a botanist then do let me know what you think, as I would welcome thoughts.

Heart Flowered Orchid
Heart Flowered Orchid

We’ve yet to explore the remote westerly region which we’ve been told offers some of the best opportunities to experience ‘living magnets’, however as you see see from these photographs and my earlier posts there is also lots in the east to see and smell.  It was the smell that led me to the Jasmine below, cascading over a wall in an alleyway in the centre of Olhão and also the French Lavender in the Barrocal.

Jasmine flowering in early April
Jasmine flowering in early April
French Lavender and a gorse type shrub which I've yet to name
Spanish Lavender and a Genista

On Tuesday – a misty but lovely warm day – we finally took a stroll through one of the local meadows.  It turned out to be even better than we expected  – the meadow and the wood it adjoined were abundant with flowers wpid-dscn0995.jpg– Echium, Asphodelus, Thapsia villosa, Hyacinths, Corn Marigolds, Armeria, Cistus and Orchids.  I’ll be posting more about this soon, in the meanwhile here’s a taster of what we saw below.

Meadow on outskirts of Olhão
Meadow on outskirts of Olhão

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It's a good life walking, cooking, photographing, volunteering, reading, blogging, and best of all spending time with family, friends & the cat!

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