Sunday, 30 August 2015

Capsella bursa~pastoris

Capsella bursa~pastoris Shepherd's purse

Bolsa de pastor

This very common plant can flower most of the year and is native to the whole of Europe and Asia. It grows between 10~40cms tall and the seed heads look like small purses. It is cultivated for it's seeds as a supplement for animal feed, used in cosmetics and stir fried in Japan! It is also used for medicinal purposes in Austria for a number of ailments. Fumeric acid is one chemical that has been found in this plant.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Cardamine hirsuta

Cardamine hirsuta Hairy Bittercress

Mastuerzo menor

This pretty little plant has become such a pest in it's native Europe and Asia. It is now present in north America too. It is an annual and is edible as a bitter herb, though I have never tried it. It is usually small and never grows any bigger than 30cms, 12 inches. It flowers from January to May and is often found in bought plants from Garden Centres or Nurseries. As soon as you touch the tall slender seed pod it will burst, scattering 100's of seeds.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Osyris alba

Osyris alba Osyris

Retama loca

This plant is a semiparasitic broom like shrub and can grow to an height of 2 metres. The leaves are sometimes deciduous. The flowers are very tiny yellow waxy blooms and it flowers from March to June and they are hermaphrodites. They tap into roots of other plants to extract their sap. In this case, possibly the Opuntia. The drupes ripen from August. it is native to the Mediterranean basin, North Africa and SW Asia.

Rhamnus lycioides ssp. oleoides

Rhamnus lycioides ssp. oleoides Mediterranean buckthorn

Espino negro

This buckthorn is native to the Mediterranean, North Africa and Turkey. It can reach an height of 3 metres, as this plant was. It flowers March to May and produces the fruit from July to September. It is very resistant to drought and thrives in dry forests though this plant was growing out of a limestone cliff. The fruit is eaten by birds and ants, but can cause death in some mammals.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Carlina corymbosa ssp hispanica

Carlina corymbosa ssp hispanica

Cardo cuco

This lovely perennial thistle flowers from July to September and is a native to southern Europe, North Africa and SW Asia. It grows from 20~60cms tall and is extremely prickly. It can grow up to an altitude of 1,600m. Sinonym: Carlina hispanica

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Senecio jacobaea

Senecio jacobaea Ragwort

Hierba de Santiago

Ragwort was originally native to the whole of Eurasia but has now spread to several continents. It flowers from June to October and can grow to a height of 80cms. It can be biennial or perennial. In the UK it is a food source for 77 species of insects, plus another 22 species that use it as part of their diet. Another 117 species use it as a nectar source whilst they are travelling.
Ragwort also contains many different alkaloids which make it poisonous to horses, goats and pigs. Horses tend to avoid it when it is fresh as it is too bitter for their taste. It is a danger when it is included in hay and can cause irreversible cirrhosis of the liver. Goats and pigs can suffer the same but at a much slower rate than horses.
Humans with sensitive skin can react to it with dermatitis. An excellent plant for insects, but not so good for larger animals unfortunately.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Bombicilaena discolor

Bombicilaena discolor

This unusual plant grows from 5~15cms tall and is native to southern Europe, North Africa and SW Asia. It likes loamy soils and prefers a high altitude. It is an Hermaphrodite and flowers from April to June. As far as I can find out, these are the actual flowers.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Carlina racemosa

Carlina racemosa

Cardo lechero

This annual prickly thistle is native to the Iberian peninsula and brightens up the dry grass in from June to November. It is small usually, but can grow from 5 to 50cms tall. Photo taken in August.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Bupleurum gibraltaricum

Bupleurum gibraltarium


This unusual plant flowers from May to September, but was at it's best in August at Grazalema. It is found at sea level and up to 1,500m of altitude. It grows from 60cms to 2 metres tall and is native to the Iberian peninsula and North Africa. Several studies have been done on this plant and it is used for its essentials oils. It has a high content of delta 3~carene which is highly effective against inflammation.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Euphorbia nicaeensis

Euphorbia nicaeensis  Euphorbia

This Euphorbia had finished flowering when I found it. It is a herbaceous perennial with lemon coloured flowers and grows from 30~80cms tall. It is native to the Iberian peninsula, Italy, Croatia, Turkey and Algeria.

Epilobium hirsutum

Epilobium hirsutum  Great willowherb

Adelfilla pelosa

This Willowherb is native to most of Europe, North Africa and parts of Asia. It can grow to an height of 2 metres and is always found near water, streams or ponds. The leaves are very hairy, and it flowers from May to August. It is visited by many different insects.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Chamaerops humilis

Chamaerops humilis Mediterranean dwarf palm