Wildflowers of Andalucia

Wildflowers of Andalucia

A few years ago I went on a riding vacation in Andalucia, Spain. Although I had no intention of taking flower pictures at the time, the sheer number of wildflowers everywhere was too great a temptation to pass up! So here are the wonderful wildflowers that grow by the roadsides and in the meadows of southern Spain in May.

Commonly known as the Menorca daisy in Spain and the crown daisy elsewhere it is native to southern Europe, brightening up the landscape with its cheery white and yellow or all yellow blossoms. The flowers close up at night only to reopen when the sun shines on them once again.

Commonly known as alkanet or Italian bugloss, these brilliant blue flowers belonging to the borage family provide a bounty of nectar for insect pollinators. There are several garden cultivars, one being “Loddon royalist”.

Another member of the borage family is the vipers bugloss, native to all of Europe and the Middle East. This family is distinguished by its blue flowers and hairy stems.

Moving on to shades of lavender, one of my favourite garden flowers is Centaurea or basket flower, so named because the part the petals rise from looks like a woven basket. The beloved blue cornflower belongs in this family and all grow easily from seed.

Next the pinks are represented by the mallows, in this case the common and rose mallow, and by wild pink morning glories.

Mother Nature is not faint of heart and brings in the fiery reds with the beloved field poppy scattered in the fields and roadsides.

Flower meadow

What a glorious site, wildflower meadows with a haze of lavender in the distance.

Architectural statements are made by the spiky purple blossoms of milk thistle and a surprising find, the rather fancifully named Bear’s breeches. I wonder if it was a garden escapee? Acanthus leaves are often found in the classical architectural carvings done by the Romans and Greeks. Whoever saw a bear in breeches though 🙂

Two more surprises in the middle of the field were a large fan palm and a yucca in full bloom. Perhaps a farm house stood here once…

Never underestimate the tenacity of wildflowers. I found these growing on a rooftop and…

This church in Carmona sporting a rather hairy crown!

Spring is a wonderful time to visit Andalucia. The weather is great, sunny and mild, and whether you visit the spectacular gardens in Granada and Cordoba or wander through the wildflower meadows, you will leave with a sense of wonder and lots of photos! Next blog: some of the gardens I managed to see while riding!

Happy gardening 🙂

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