The southern most province of mainland Portugal may be surrounded on two sides by the Atlantic Ocean but its climate and flora is decidedly Mediterranean. The spring flowers begin appearing the Algarve around late January, with the peak spring flowering season usually happening from mid March to late April. The hills and cliff tops are a blaze of colour at this time of year, but today I’m focusing on just one colour. It’s the colour of happiness, joy and friendship – perfect for Valentines.
This post is specially written for Jude of Travel Words who has fallen in love with yellow this month, and is encouraging us all to look for this colour in February. I think I may have found an abundance! So much so in fact it is difficult to quite know where to begin, but how about with a mustard shade of yellow which is a favourite of the bees in December and January. Often it is the sound of the bees which draws my attention to the fact that the cork oaks are in flower.
We love hiking in the Algarvian hills there is so much flora and fauna to discover and on some routes it is rare to see another human in sight let alone close enough to talk to! The meadows are stunning in the late spring, and so very yellow.
To really appreciate the Algarve’s incredibly rich and diverse wild flowers though you need to get up and close and personal. And when I am not distracted by a bird that is something I happily do on our walks. It probably explains why we can take hours to explore just a few miles sometimes. The joy of slow travel!
I have labelled every photograph so click on the galleries if you want to know what anything is, or at least the family or genera. If anyone is looking for a yellow flower in the Algarve which is not pictured here then do check out this floral post which provide some great flower identification links as well as some flowers of a different colour!
Not all of the flowers in this post are native to the Iberian Peninsular. The Australian mimosas, Hottentot fig and Bermuda Buttercup have all been introduced. These may look as pretty but they are all considered invasive species as they will take a hold of an area, smothering and suffocating native plants. Some have arrived by accident, but many of them have been introduced deliberately.
Some introductions fortunately are less invasive, and I cannot really imagine the Algarve without its oranges. In late spring the scent of the orange fields is quite wonderful, almost as fabulous as the scent of almond trees in blossom. The first citrus fruits arrived in Europe in the 9th century, but apparently it was not until the 15th century that sweet oranges were planted.
There are so many shades of yellow once you start looking and it seems that every genera has at least one yellow member. It is such a great colour, even the butterflies agree!
I probably could keep going with my yellow collection for a few more galleries, if not pages. However you are probably feeling a bit overwhelmed now by all this glorious yellow. So I am going to finish with something artistic, and return to searching in my archives for those promised levada walks. I have only found one so far!