Linaria-platycalyx

The Grazalema Natural Park – Flowering plants in April

Colour is spreading into every corner as now, according to the calendars, spring is official. Our surroundings become a painter’s paradise as lush plants vie for attention, their soft edges contrasting with the sharp mountain landscape. Botanising amongst the orchids is sheer pleasure as more species are appearing in bloom and photographers beware – extra memory cards and batteries are advised!

Grazalema Toadflax (Linaria platycalyx)
Although this plant is small, the flowers are quite noticeable. They are bright yellow with a darker colour at the mouth and are often held in clusters. The long, slightly curved, tubular spur at the base has fine pale brown stripes. The leaves begin as a whorl of three clasping the stem but higher up can be paired or singular. It often forms a flowery mat in rock crevices. Distribution: endemic to Grazalema and Ronda.

Centaurea clementei
The flowers of this thistle-like plant are a very pale creamy-yellow, surrounded by spiny bracts. They stand tall above deeply cut and decorative silvery leaves. It can be seen growing out of crevices in sheer cliff faces of limestone rock, especially around the village of Grazalema where it also grows in some of the manmade support walls. Distribution: endemic to south west Spain.

Elder-leaved Figwort (Scrophularia sambucifolia)
The two-lipped flowers can vary in colour from lemon combined with orange through to red. They are grouped in rings spaced out along a tall, squared flowering stem. The large cut leaves form a dense base, with much smaller leaf bracts adjoining some of the flowers. The flowering stems can be up to 150cm in the right conditions and may vary from single to numerous. They can be seen at roadsides, borders to cultivated land and in damp areas. Distribution: South west Iberia.

Viola demetria
A single, delicate flower head is only around 1cm, so is easily missed when residing at not much above ground level. However a group of these tiny yellow flowers with their violet lines are quite striking. Found in high limestone rocky areas. Distribution: South of Iberia, N. Africa.

Mirror orchid (Ophrys speculum)
A ‘Bee’ orchid, this one has a very showy metallic blue centre, with a dark brown fluffy trim. The blue ‘mirror’ often has a bright green/yellow outer edge. This plant will often be seen in the same areas as the Yellow bee orchid. It can be found in open scrub, olive groves, and grassy habitats. Distribution: Mediterranean area.

Italian Orchid (Orchis italica)
The densely packed flowers on this orchid create a conical, occasionally globular head. The lower flowers open first, in shades of white through to pale pink, each one looking like a male figure with arms, legs and genitalia. If you look closely, sometimes they have a big clown type grin! This orchid has noticeably wavy edges to the leaves. They can be found in scrubland, grassy places, rocky slopes and open woodland. Distribution: Southern Europe, North Africa and southwest Asia.

Some of the local plants in flower during April:

Orchids

Yellow bee orchid (Ophrys lutea)
Sawfly orchid (Ophrys tenthredinifera)
Woodcock orchid (Ophrys scolopax)
Bumblebee orchid (Ophrys bombyliflora)
Dull bee orchid (Ophrys fusca)
Ophrys dyris
Champagne’s orchid (Orchis champagneuxii)
Lang’s orchid (Orchis langei)
Conical orchid (Orchis conica)
Southern early purple orchid (Orchis olbiensis)
Pyramid orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis)
Man orchid (Aceras anthropophorum)
Tongue orchid (Serapias lingua)
Small-flowered Serapias (Serapias parviflora)
Giant orchid (Himantoglossum robertianum)
Sword-leaved Helleborine (Cephalanthera longifolia)
Dense orchid (Neotinea maculata)
Broad-leaved Helleborine (Epipactis tremolsii)
Violet Limodore (Limodorum abortivum)

Pink, Blue, Purple

Mallow-leaved Bindweed (Convolvulus althaeoides)
Rosy Garlic (Allium roseum)
Barbary Nut Iris (Gynandriris sisyrinchium)
Tassel Hyacinth (Muscari comosum)
Honeywort (Cerinthe major)
Field Madder (Sherardia arvensis)
Winter Speedwell (Veronica persica)
Fedia (Fedia cornucopiae)
Andaluz stork’s-bill (Erodium primulaceum)
Long-spurred Valerian (Centranthus macrosiphon)
Melancholy Toadflax (Linaria tristis)
Spanish Lavender (Lavandula stoechas)
Borage (Borago officinalis)
Intermediate Periwinkle (Vinca difformis)
Narrow-leafed Lupin (Lupinus angustifolius)
Grape Hyacinth (Muscari neglectum)
Tassel Hyacinth (Muscari comosum)
Hedgehog Broom (Erinacea anthylis)
Purple Sage (Phlomis purpurea)
Spring Rockcress (Arabis verna)
Grey-leaved Cistus (Cistus albidus)
Persian Speedwell (Veronica persica)
Spanish Bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanica)
Sand Crocus (Romulea bulbocodium)
Southern Knapweed (Centaurea pullata)
Dovesfoot Geranium (Geranium molle)
Portuguese squill (Scilla peruviana)
Cut-leaved Dame’sViolet  (Hesperis laciniata)
Pink Catchfly (Silene colorata)
Violet Cabbage (Moricandia moricandioides)
Ivy-leaved toadflax (Cymbalaria muralis)

White

Ornithogalum reverchonii
Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum orthophyllum subsp. Baeticum)
Bladder Campion (Silene vulgaris)
Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)
Three-cornered Leek (Allium triquetrum)
Sage-leaved Cistus (Cistus salvifolius)
White Asphodel (Asphodelus albus)
Spanish Toadflax (Linaria amethystea)
Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)
Mouse-ear Chickweed (Cerastium gibraltaricum)
Silver Nailroot (Paronychia argentea)
Wild Olive (Olea europaea sylvestris)
Meadow Saxifrage (Saxifraga granulata)
Cymbalaria-leaved Speedwell (Veronica cymbalaria)
Candytuft (Iberis pectinata)
Saxifraga bourgeana
Marsh Chamomile (Chamaemelum fuscatum)
False Candytuft (Jonospidium prolongoi)

Red, Orange

Common Poppy (Papaver rhoeas)
Long-headed Poppy (Papaver dubium)
Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis)
Lentisc (Mastic Tree) (Pistacia lentiscus)

Green, Brown

Green-flowered Birthwort (Aristolochia paucinervis)
Snakes-head Fritillary (Fritillaria hispanica)
Alexanders (Smyrnium olusatrum)
Stinking Hellebore (Helleborus foetidus)
Stinking Iris (Iris foetidissima)
Large Mediterranean Spurge (Euphorbia characias)
Mediterranean Buckthorn (Rhamnus alaternus)
Giant Fennel (Ferula communis)

Yellow

Yellow Anemone (Anemone palmata)
Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria)
Hairy-thorny bBoom (Calicotome villosa)
Small-flowered Gorse (Ulex parviflorus)
Narcissus baeticus
Narcissus cuatrecasasii
Bermuda Buttercup (Oxalis pes-caprae)
Silver Broom (Adenocarpus decorticans)
Osyris (Osyris alba)
Villous Deadly Carrot (Thapsia villosa)
Alyssum simplex
Tree Honeysuckle (Lonicera arborea)
Pale Stonecrop (Sedum sediforme)
Bupleurum fruticescens ssp spinosum
Perennial Hyoseris (Hyoseris radiate)

At Wildside Holidays – Grazalema we work only with local people who know every inch of this area and can offer you an authentic ‘Grazalema’ experience.  We offer airport transfers, accommodation, knowledgeable local guides, the best Spanish cuisine and all the information you need to really explore and enjoy this amazing natural park in western Andalusia.