This is the earliest we have been here in the Autumn, and so it is the first time we have seen the Autumn colours in the Algarve. Not as intense or as diverse as the American or even an English fall, but still very beautiful on Tuesday’s wonderful 12km hike in the Guadiana valley.
It wasn’t just the leaves which were capturing my attention, there were unexpected floral delights too. Such as the Autumn Crocus, narciso-de-outono in Portuguese. I know many of us have these in our gardens in England, but this was the first time I have seen so many in the wild.
They were not everywhere and you could easily miss them, but where they did appear the ground looked pink. So very beautiful. Thanks to my collection of wildflower identification resources I am pretty confident (despite the yellow stamen anthers) that these are Colchium lusitanicum rather than Colchicum autumnale (Meadow Saffron). However as always I am happy to be corrected!
As well as the Autumn Crocus there were Autumn snowflakes (a challenge to photograph given their precarious location) and also Autumn squills. Who knew so many spring perennials had autumn cousins.
The final flower in the gallery above is, I believe, Daphne gnidium (flax-leaved daphne), normally in fruit rather than flowering at this time of year however the excellent ‘Flora On‘ indicates that it can flower as late as November. Given how close I got to daphne when I was photographing, I was somewhat horrified to discover when preparing this post that like the Caster Oil plant this is a highly poisonous plant. Death is probable within 6hours if you are foolish enough to sample any part of this plant, and it can cause dermatitis should you touch it. So be warned! More photographs below to help you avoid it.
It wasn’t just beautiful and dangerous flora we discovered on our hike, there was also an abundance of bird life including a venue of vultures. That’s another story for another day though, as it is time for me to have lunch now!