Tag Archives: Botanic gardens in Spain

Botanical Garden Detunda (Nerja Cave)

The Botanical Garden of Detunda (Nerja Cave) can be found next to the Cueva de Nerja, in Maro, a small village close to the town of Nerja.

Located right on the edge of the Sierras de Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama Natural Park, which includes the mountains of the southwestern area of ​​Granada and the eastern area of ​​Malaga.

This is a natural space of great beauty with an intermediate location between the mountains and the coast. The area holds a great geological variety that together with the unique climatic characteristics provides a large variety of habitats. This allows the presence of a varied flora including some endemic species.

The garden aims to represent the flora and plant landscape of the mountains of Tejeda, Almijara, Alhama, Huétor, Arana, mountains of Malaga, the limestone-dolomitic border of Sierra Nevada (Trevenque peak) and coastal areas between Malaga and Motril.

It contains a great diversity of species and ecologies, but if one must be highlighted above the others, it may be the abundance of exclusive plants of dolomitic sands (dolomithophilic species), almost all of them rare and many exclusive to these mountains.

A visit to the Botanical Garden Detunda (Nerja Cave)

From the start point there are fantastic views down to the coast and of the surrounding scenery. The garden is organized into different areas such as traditional crops, vegetation linked to the climate and vegetation linked to special soils, ecosystems, habitat (rock formations), taxonomic (taxonomic families) and singularity (rare and threatened), etc.

Following the entrance path you cross the area of ​​traditional crops such as almond and olive tree and also other more modern ones that have adapted to the subtropical climate of the area (custard apples, avocados and mangoes.) Included in this area are the typical muscat grape vines of the region and other crops such as sugar cane.

Once past the crops, the path descends towards the “sea”. The natural ecosystems have been represented starting with the most mountainous and, as one descends, ending in the coastal and sandy beaches.

My favorite part of the garden is at the lowest point by the lagoon and the “sands of the beach” area where you can find the starry sea daisy (Asteriscus maritimus), the sea lily (Pancratium maritimus) or the exclusive saladilla endemic to Malaga province (Limonium malacitanum).

A visit to the Botanical Garden Detunda (Nerja Cave)
The laguna area on a visit to the Botanical Garden Detunda (Nerja Cave)

Continuing you will come to the garden area dedicated to the plant communities that depend on certain soil and microclimatic characteristics This area represents beach sand, salt marshes, gypsum areas, rock communities, ponds and banks. An extensive representation of those species typical of dolomitic substrates, and other ecosystems typical of soils free of lime (calcium carbonate) such as cork oaks, holm oaks and oak forests.

The route through the garden is circular so you will arrive back at the cultivation area. Continue in the direction of the classroom-workshop to find the collection of endemic and threatened species of the area such as Maytenus senegalensis or the olive Cneorum tricoccon

Opening times

Tuesdays to Sundays 9am to 3pm

Closed on Mondays and the 24th, 25th and 31st of December

Iberia Nature Forum

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El Aljibe Botanic Gardens in Alcalá de los Gazules

Part of a network of Botanic Gardens in Andalusia and aimed at preserving the local endemic flora, El Aljibe Botanic Gardens in Alcalá de los Gazules specialises in the plant-life within the Los Alcornocales Natural Park.

This is a small but very informative botanic garden covering about one hectare on the western edge of the Los Alcornocales oak forest easily accessed from the newly upgraded A381 dual carriageway. The gardens, which were begun in 2003 and inaugurated in July 2008, are well labelled with information not just about the plants but also the rock structures and terrain/habitat that support them.

These gardens are characterised by the sandstone terrain of their namesake, El Aljibe, which is the highest peak in the Los Alcornocales parkland. The vegetation is verdant due to the rainfall and fog created by its proximity to the Mediterranean sea and Atlantic ocean and by the mild winter temperatures.

Aljilbe botanic garden in Alcala de los Gazules
Informative maps in the Aljilbe botanic garden in Alcala de los Gazules

The layout of the gardens makes good use of a small area by curving the paths which are screened from each other by the trees. A water way dissects this to represent the steep v shaped ‘Canutos’ that these oak forests are famed for. The pathways of stone or wood are well laid and only gently sloped, allowing for an easy amble that demonstrates the different zones of the area.

Map boards explain the overall layout, with smaller signs giving more detailed information on particular vegetation types. (In Spanish)

Signs are very informative with scientific names allowing you to identify a plant then look it up later on Google :)
The yellow spot means that the plant is not endangered.

Most of the plants have signs which give scientific species name, inc sub-species, family, common Spanish name, its distribution and also if it is in endanger of extinction. The latter is shown in the form of a coloured spot, Red Yellow or Green.

The gardens collect plants or seeds from the local habitat concentrating on the emblematic and those most endangered to aid in their preservation.

The botanic gardens network aims to raise awareness in youngsters by holding educational fun days and also ‘introduction to botany’ days for adults.

El Aljibe’ contains around 185 trees and shrubs protected by law, some of which are included in the “Lista Roja de la Flora vascular de Andalucía”, Red list of endangered vascular plants of Andalusia. There are 300 different species of perennials and the range will continue to expand. Some of the plant species that are most noteworthy within this area are Cork Oak (Quercus suber), Pyrenean Oak (Quercus pyrenaica), Portuguese Oak (Quercus lusitanica), Canary Island Oak (Quercus canariensis), Alder buckthorn (Frangula alnus subsp baetica), Gorse species Stauracanthus boivinii, Whisk Fern (Psilotum nudum), a European Tree Fern Culcita macrocarpa and Diplazium caudatum.

Signs are very informative with scientific names allowing you to identify a plant then look it up later on Google :)
Signs are very informative with scientific names allowing you to identify a plant then look it up later on Google 🙂

The botanic gardens are fronted by the ‘Los Alcornocales visitors centre’ containing shop, restaurant and study rooms. Access is through the quadrangle behind the main building. (On my last visit the information centre, café etc were closed but I was still able to access the gardens)

Entrance Free is free

Getting to El Aljibe Botanic Gardens in Alcalá de los Gazules

Take the exit at kilometre 42 on the A-381 dual-carriageway (Jerez to Los Barrios) sign posted as Alcalá de los Gazules / Benalup-Casas Viejas.

El Aljibe Botanic Gardens inAlcalá de los Gazules is behind the natural Park information centre
El Aljibe Botanic Gardens inAlcalá de los Gazules is behind the natural Park information centre

Drive towards Benalup for 1km and the gardens are behind the “Centro de visitantes del Parque Natural de los Alcornocales” The visitors centre for the Los Alcornocales Natural Park.

The Grazalema Guide

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The Grazalema Guide – Tourist Information Portal for the Sierra de Grazalema, Wildside Holidays, The town of Ronda and the Caminito del Rey.