The Torre de Vinagre Botanical Gardens (Jardin Botánico Torre del Vinagre) is located on the Tranco reservoir road (A – 319) at km. 48, Coto Ríos (Santiago-Pontones) and is opposite the main visitor centre for the Sierra de Cazorla, Seguras y las Villas natural park.
The Sierra de Cazorla, Seguras y las Villas natural park is a botanists dream destination boasting more than 2000 different plant species, of which 34 are unique in the world such as Viola cazorlensis. This territory holds an impressive 5th of the variety of plant species to be found within the Iberian peninsular.
The garden contains an important collection of most of the woody plant species of the area including many endemics and representing over 300 species which are grouped into different plant classifications. Well laid out with various paths and excellent labelling in Spanish and scientific identification, it is well worth a visit for both general nature lovers and also dedicated botanists.
The Hoya de Pedraza and La Cortijuela botanic gardens in the Sierra Nevada National Park and both are well worth a visit. Between them they contain a large amount of endemic plants and also hold collections of many of the endangered and rarer plantlife of the Sierra Nevada, Sierra de los Filabres, Sierra de Gádor and Sierra de Lújar – La Contraviesa.
Jardín botánico Hoya de Pedraza
The 16 hectare Hoya de Pedraza botanical garden is located about 30 minutes from Granada about four kilometres before the Pradollano ski resort.
At almost 2000 metres this botanic garden represents the flora and vegetation of the peaks of Sierra Nevada and the Alpujarra foothills and is home to some of the endemic species such as Royal chamomile (Artemisa granatensis), Sierra Nevada willow (Salix hastata subsp sierrae – nevadae) and Senecio elodes.
The whole area has undergone a re forestation scheme with over 5000 specimens of local plantlife making up the backbone habitat for the more rarer species. The gardens are well cared for and split into various habitat sections accessed by signposted footpaths.
Endangered species garden
Directions and opening times
Opening times are 9:30 am to 2:30 pm Tuesday to Sunday. Closed Mondays
Entry and parking is free.
Address: Ctra. Sierra Nevada Km. 27 18193 (Monachil, Granada). about 30 minutes from Granada about four kilometres before the Pradollano ski resort.
Jardín botánico de la Cortijuela
La Cortijuela botanical garden is located in an area of extreme ecological value within the Sierra Nevada National Park. In the foothills of Cerro del Trevenque. Access is from the Cumbres Verdes Urbanization (La Zubia) or from the Los Llanos Recreational Area (Monachil). Head for the picnic area ofFuente del Hervidero and from there you may have to walk to the gardens (depending on the state of the track).
Once at the gardens there is a circular route that takes you through many examples of the resident plant community. From herbaceous species dotted with orchids, passing through the typical vegetation of the riparian forest to thorny plants such as hawthorn and aromatic plants such as sage. All of them live surrounded by a mixed forest of holm oaks and wild pines. The route is completed with a viewpoint that offers an excellent panoramic view of the Sierra Nevada.
The botanical garden, with an area of 12 hectares, contains over 200 species of native plantlife within a backdrop of Pinus sylvestris subsp. nevadensis, Quercus rotundifolia holm oaks and introduced Pinus sylvestris and Pinus nigra
There is an undergrowth of a great variety of companion species such as peony (Paeonia coriacea), sage (Salvia lavandulifolia), Jerusalem sage (Phlomis crinita), broom (Erinacea anthyllis), stinking helebore (Helleborus foetidus), bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi).
Cooler areas are occupied with Granada acer (Acer opalus subsp. Granatense), whitebeam (Sorbus aria and Sorbus torminalis), snowy mespilus (Amelanchier ovalis), Granada cotoneaster (Cotoneaster granatense) and yew (Taxus baccata). Also abundant are wild rose (Rosa canina), hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), Berberis (Berberis hispanica), blackberry (Rubus ulmifolius), blackthorn (Prunus ramburii), rhamnus (Rhamnus myrtifolius), juniper (Juniperus oxycedrus), and various species of orchids.
The interior of the garden is crossed by two streams where species such as elms (Ulmus minor), willows and wickers (Salix alba , Salix x rubens), rushes (Juncus inflexus), peppermint (Mentha longifolia) and birch (Betula pendula subsp. fontqueri)
In the botanic garden nursery, plants of both those that are in danger of extinction and those considered vulnerable are grown for repopulation purposes. Endangered and rare species such as Acer opalus subsp. granatense, Erodium boissieri, Rothmaleria granatensis, Salix hastata subsp. sierrae-nevadae, Senecio elodes, Narcissus nevadensis, Artemisa granatensis, Amelanchier ovalis, Celtis australis, Ilex aquifolium,Quercus pyrenaica, Santolina elegans and Sorbus aria
Access is from the Cumbres Verdes Urbanization (La Zubia) or from the Los Llanos Recreational Area (Monachil). Head for the picnic area ofFuente del Hervidero and from there you may have to walk to the gardens (depending on the state of the track).
You can find more information about places like the Hoya de Pedraza and La Cortijuela botanic gardens on the main Andalucia page here under the heading botanic gardens.
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).
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
Tuesdays to Sundays 9am to 3pm
Closed on Mondays and the 24th, 25th and 31st of December
Iberia Nature Forum
Struggling with identifying those bugs and beasties? Why not check out the Iberia nature Forum!
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.