Tour Leader/Guide : Brenda Jones
Trip Report : Brenda Jones
A day trip looking at flowers starts at 10am as some flowers are not even blooming earlier and it’s not worth going out before then.
The barbary nut (Gynandriris sysirinchium)
is a prime example as it doesn’t flower until after 1pm when it opens out fully and walking amongst it can stain your clothes with blue ink (though it does wash out).
We started North West of Ronda, a beautiful mountain area of mostly limestone and rocks. Walking along the roadside looking at the rock we spotted the remnants of many orchids and fedia (Fedia cornucopiae)
still in full bloom. The tall Antirrhinum major
were leaning out of the rocks over the road, a magnificent sight with their pale pink and white blooms.
There were many different vetches, ferns, and two different Stars of Bethlehems (Ornithogalums) growing from the rock too and in the valley opposite there were hundreds of Tassel hyacinths (Muscari comosum) forming a blue sea of flowers mingling with the yellow corn marigolds (Chrysanthemum segetum).
We were lucky enough to find peony (Paeonia broteroi) just beginning to bloom in a sheltered spot away from prying eyes or the road. The locals have been known in the past to dig them up and plant them in their gardens where they were doomed to die.
Most of the orchids in the meadow area had gone over or had been strimmed by the roadside, but we did manage to find a yellow bee orchid (Ophrys lutea) and a beautiful specimen of the Mirror orchid (Ophrys speculum ssp speculum). Both of these species had been blooming since March.
Further along we saw two different phlomis (P. pupurea and P. lychnitis)
in full bloom, broomrapes (Orobanche)
growing on brooms and many small yellow rock roses and the Grey~leaved sunrose( Cistus albidus)
. In another spot close to Montejaque there were many French lavenders (Lavandula stoechas)
and hairy blue lupins (Lupinus micranthus)
After spending at least two hours there we went to Ronda La Vieja expecting to see many orchids, but disappointingly, most of the area had been grazed but we did find more peonies and a solitary Woodcock orchid (Ophrys scolopax)
in a beautiful white form. The Ronda cranes bill (Geranium malviflorum)
the oak woodland there and echiums.
Later we drove towards Benaojan and found Beer’s breeches (Acanthus mollis)
growing out of rocks and many gladioli (Gladiolus italicus)
, the Rosy garlic (Allium roseum)
and one of the Love~in~a~mists (Nigella ) that grow in our area.
There were many more flowers, too numerous to mention, that made our day. The list could go on forever, but I won’t.