Another look at the flora and fauna

Bougainvillea in Tavira
Bougainvillea in Tavira

Unlike in England where there are decidedly grey months and little colour, the Algarvian greyness seems to be limited to a few days and there is always colour. We have visited at various times throughout the year, and whilst definitely damper in the winter months there is still plenty of stunning flora and sunny days. It is one of the reasons we are spending more time in this gorgeous region.

Arbutus unedo - Strawberry Tree
Arbutus unedo – Strawberry Tree

My first photo of course is of the Bougainvillea. I know these are cultivated but they are so lovely and I cannot resist them especially when they are on such pretty streets as this one on the climb to the castle in Tavira.

This is, I think, my sixth dedicated post on the flora and fauna and as before I intend to focus on some of the non-cultivated flora. My next photo is of the Arbutus unedo, which grows in the wild, but is sought out by the farmers in the hills. If you’ve visited the Algarve you will almost have sampled what the farmers make with it – Aguardente de Medronhos. This fruit brandy is a rather fiery liqueur made from the fruit of the Medronho, the Strawberry Tree. The fruit I am told is rather bitter and leaves an unpleasant aftertaste, and I have to say the brandy doesn’t do much for me either! It is though a rather pretty shrub/tree, and hardier enough to be grown in England.

Anchusa calcarea
Anchusa calcarea

I was unable to find an English name for this next flower – Anchusa calcarea – although it will look familiar as it is a member of the Boraginacea family. This particular flower according to some articles I’ve read is endemic to the Iberian Peninsula. This isn’t mentioned in the superb Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of the Algarve, and so it is likely this is no longer true.  We saw it everywhere and after a rain shower it looked particularly delightful because of the water drops captured in its hairs.

Next to appear from my photo album is something I’ve yet to identify. I know it is a fungus but my knowledge of fungi is almost non-existent. They were enormous, larger than dinner plates and the colours on them quite beautiful. My photographs unfortunately don’t really do them justice. I think they might be Turkey Tails, but need to undertake far more research to be confident this is correct. If you know then please do let me know by leaving a comment below.

One of the flowers which you find everywhere in the late Autumn is the Bermuda Buttercup. It transforms the footpaths around Olhão, they don’t last long but for a few weeks it feels as though spring is just round the corner. Its latin name is Oxalis pes-caprae, and it has many common names from Bermuda sorrel to goat’s foot. Whilst it might have a positive effect on my mood when walking through it, it is an invasive weed that has spread from its native South Africa across Europe, California and Australia. Apparently though it is edible and is used in stews in South Africa.

If you have explored this blog you will have spotted a friendly face on my ‘about’ page, well here is another one watching me, watching her!

And finally the last flower I am going to share today. They belonged to a rather large tree in Tavira just below the castle walls. I’m pretty sure it is another Bougainvillea, am I right?

All of these photographs (with the exception of the oranges which was taken in Faro in January) were taken last November. Now I know there in winter in England we can find colour in stems and berries, but even so I don’t think we see this amount of colour here at this time of year. Can’t wait to return to colour in the Algarve next week.

Even on a very cold, wet and grey winter day there is colour
Even on a very cold, wet and grey winter day there is colour

Author: BeckyB

It had been a good life walking, cooking, photographing, volunteering, blogging, and best of all spending time with MrB, family, & friends. Sadly it no longer is. Suddenly and unexpectedly I have become a widow.

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