Flora of Sierra Nevada, Andalucia

‘Variety’  is the best word for the flora of Andalucia, the abundance of plant life arising from the many different types of habitat due to geology, altitude and irrigation in the Sierra Nevada.  

The proximity of the North African coast has allowed for botanical migrants from another continent,  and there are many endemic species in the Alpujarra.  One client who worked for the RHS at Pershore claimed he had seen more new plants here than in Nepal !

The lower coastal mountains are limestone, with woods of Aleppo pine.  The rocky tracks are home to wild orchids (butterfly, bee, mirror etc), cystus, lavender, fan palms, wind lilies, iris and a miniature narcissi to name but a few.  The valleys here are sub-tropical and filled with exotic fruit.  Also at a low level, but further east, are sandstone hills covered in maquis plants with many types of aromatic herbs, lavenders, brooms  and Jerusalem sages.

Higher in the Alpujarra, on the slopes of the Sierra Nevada, are deciduous woods of chestnut and white oak while poplars, willows and alder trees colonise the water courses.  Higher still are pines and evergreen holm oaks.  The meadows in Spring are a mass of wildflowers with swathes of poppies, daisies and vetch, while the oak woods are carpeted with cystus.  More unusual plants are to be found near the tracks:- pink snapdragons, rusty foxgloves, wild orchids and many more.

Higher still are alpine plants.  Various saxifages, hedgehog brooms, fritillaries, allysum, gentians and tiny violas can all be found among the rocks.  In late June, above the tree-line a fascinating flora may be discovered.

"Loved seeing all the fruit trees and blossom" - Miranda

"Great walking, scenery, wildflowers, fruits" - Sarah Metcalfe