July flowers in the Sierra de Grazalema

There will be a marked difference between the first and second parts of this month as plants succumb to the heat and set their seeds. Areas that have held high moisture levels during the winter and spring will now come into their own with ribbons of bright pink Oleanders mapping the watercourses with Penny Royal and Apple Mint accompanying them. Climbing higher, aromatic herbs tucked into rock crevices in the mountains will be attracting bees and butterflies with their nectar rich blooms.

Wooly Lavender (Lavandula lanata)
A shrubby lavender species found high in the limestone mountains. The pale woolly hairs on its leaves protect it from weather extremes with frosts and possible snow in winter and harsh summer droughts. The deep violet flowers are borne on spikes which grow well above the leafy part of the plant. Distribution: Southern Spain, and cultivated for garden use elsewhere.

Wild Carrot (Daucus carota)
This is a tall, decorative plant often seen at roadsides and on rough ground. It culminates in a spreading umbel of tiny white flowers and always has a dark red centre. It might reach1.5 m but is very variable in height as well as flower size. This is a wild version of carrot from which our modern cultivars were derived. The root is edible when young. The umbel closes as the plant goes to seed, creating a natural cage. Distribution: Europe and SW Asia and naturalised elsewhere.

Yellow Flax (Linum tenue)
This is a delicate plant which can grow to around 80cm in height if amongst other plants. The stems are extremely fine and often branched. The small bright yellow flowers of 5 petals are held at the tips. They may be widespread at roadsides, in pastures or on mountainsides, although never very noticeable due to their size. Distribution: Iberia and North Africa

Cynara baetica
This is an attractive thistle which is silvery white in all parts (to 80 cm tall). It can be branched at the top, having several broad white flower heads with showy, strong and slightly curved spikes beneath. The basal leaves and those on the stem are all finely cut. Found in pastures, roadsides and woodland clearings. Distribution: Endemic to Southern Spain

Eryngium aquifolium
A low growing plant of the “sea holly” family which can reach around 40cm in height, though often less. It can create a decorative ground cover with its silvery green leaves and pale blue flowers – which attract butterflies. The leaves are slightly similar to holly in their dentate and prickly edges. The long bracts beneath each flower head are covered in spines, these and the branched flowering stems are often the same blue shade as the flowers. Found on dry, sunny slopes. Distribution: Southern Spain and N Africa.

Globe Thistle (Echinops ritro)
An upright, branched thistle to 60 cm, with fine silvery foliage and an almost white flowering stem. The flower head is composed of many blue florets and is easily identified by its spherical shape. Grows at roadsides and in pastures, sometimes covering large areas. Distribution: Southern central and south-eastern Europe, western Asia

YELLOW
Spanish Oyster Thistle (Scolymus hispanicus)
Shrubby Hare’s Ears (Bupleurum fruticosum)
Golden Stoechas (Helichrysum stoechas)
Pale Stonecrop (Sedum sediforme)
Common Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
Yellow Flax (Linum tenue)
Santolina (Santolina chamaecyparissus)
Sweet Yarrow (Achillea ageratum)

BLUE/PINK/PURPLE
Large Blue Thistle
Conehead Thyme (Coridothymus capitatus)
Oleander (Nerium oleander)
Sedum brevifolium
Throatwort (Trachelium caearulum )
Eryngium aquifolium
Putoria (Putoria calabrica)
Blue Lettuce (Lactuca tenerrima)
Wooly Lavender (Lavandula lanata)
Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)
Verbena (Verbena officinalis)
Dianthus broteri
Dianthus lusitanus
Delphinium gracile
Delphinium pentagynum
Hairy Willowherb (Epilobium hirsutum)
Purple Starthistle (Centaurea calcitrapa)

WHITE
Cirsum baetica
Fragrant Clematis (Clematis flammula)
Travelers’ Joy (Clematis vitalba)
Sedum album
Toothpickweed (Ammi visnaga)
Wild Carrot (Daucus carota)
Origanum (Origanum virens)
Thymus baetica
Apple Mint (Mentha suaveolens)
European Heliotrope (Heliotropium europaeum)