The last few weeks in England have been rather wet and miserable, and so yesterday afternoon I decided I would cheer myself up with some of my Algarvian photographs. Not only did that work but the weather people must have noticed as the sun has come out today in the south of England, here’s hoping it will stay! Just in case it doesn’t though I thought I’d share some of the photographs I was looking at yesterday.
It seems ages since I last shared a post entirely about Algarvian flora, so I thought it might be helpful to share with you a list of the books and websites I use to help identify everything. I have referred to all of these before but this is the first time I have brought the complete list together. I hope you find it useful.
- My favourite is a 2014 printed publication – Wild Flowers of the Algarve by Chris Thorgood and Simon Hiscock. They have since brought one out that cover the whole of the western Mediterranean which is now on my Christmas wish list!
- A cheaper and much lighter guide for the rucksack is First Nature’s very good Wildflowers in the Algarve.
- Online I always turn to Valter Jacinto’s photo pages first. His flower photography is excellent and his website very easy to browse.
- I still do use the First Nature website as at times it has proved very helpful, but it is no longer my first port of call because I don’t find the search function that helpful. However don’t let me put you off as it is a very informative site.
- And finally the website I frequently use to confirm identifications is Virtual Herbarium. It is a Spanish site which has excellent photographs and descriptions, and mostly importantly a very helpful search function.
- UPDATE 17th November 2017 – a new one for the list is Flora On – an excellent Portuguese site which has a clever search facility
Wildflowers are found throughout the Algarve, but if you only have limited time then the general advice is to focus on the Barrocal – the narrow strip between the Serra (high hills) and the coastal plains. If you have more time or are specifically visiting for the flora then head to the most westerly part of the Algarve around and north of Sagres. As it is in this area where you will find most of the native flora. There again simply stopping at the side of the road can be awe-inspiring; Algarvian flora can flourish even on the most stony of waste ground.
If you are wondering where I took all of these, they were all photographed on a fabulous walk we did in April. It is unlikely there will be much in flower this month as it has been incredibly hot in Portugal, and there have also been a number of fires in the hills. I would also advise against attempting this walk on a hot day, but as the weather cools and the rains return this will be perfect for discovering flora in the many fields and meadows of the Algarvian hills.