Sunday, 13 September 2015

Prunus spinosa

Prunus spinosa Blackthorn/Sloe


This deciduous shrub or small tree is native to Europe, Asia and NW Africa. It has now naturalised in New Zealand and eastern United States. It can grow to an height of 5 metres and has very thorny branches. It has creamy white flowers that appear in early spring before the Hawthorn, and produces drupes, or sloes in the autumn. They can be used to make Sloe Gin as it is called in the UK, or a liquor in other parts of the world. The bark of the shrub is very dark, hence its name, and makes good fire wood.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Tanacetum annuum

Tanacetum annuum Blue Tansy

This herb is native to the western Mediterranean and Morocco. It flowers from September to possibly February and can grow to an height of 60cms. It is extremely poisonous if ingested, but is used in Essential Oils for a number of medicinal purposes.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Rhamnus myrtifolius

Rhamnus myrtifolius


This small rock hugging shrub is native to France, Spain and NW Africa. It has adapted to extreme drought and thrives in limestone rocks and can reach a height of 30cms, but normally it is only about 10cms tall. It has a spread of 1 to 2 metres. It flowers from February to April, and the red berries appear in the summer.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Rubus ulmifolius

Rubus ulmifolius Wild Blackberry


This sweet wild Blackberry is native to Europe and North Africa, but has now naturalised on other continents. It can be a pest, growing in the wrong place, and will spread up to 6 metres in length as it scrambles. In southern Spain the berries remain very small and dry due to the lack of rainfall. It flowers from May to July and usually fruits in August. The berries contain vitamins, A, B, C and also iron. They also contain flavonoids which prevent cancer and reduce cholesterol. They make delicious blackberry and apple crumbles or pies.

Echinopsis pachanoi

Echinopsis pachanoi St. Peter cactus

San Pedro

This beautiful cactus is native to the Andes mountains and grows at 2,000~3,000 metres of altitude. I found this plant at a restaurant at approx. 1,000 metres above El Chorro and the Costa del Sol. Sometimes there are spines on the plant, but this one was spineless and it can grow up to 6 metres in height. Large white flowers open at night and these can be up to 25cms (10 inches) in length and 7 inches wide. The flower stems are covered in tiny black hairs. It has traditionally been used in medicine and contains many chemicals including psychedelic drugs. It's common name is St. Peter, who holds the key to heaven's gate, there is a belief that using the plant allows you to reach heaven without leaving earth! It is banned from many countries due to it's chemical contents, especially mescaline.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Parkinsonia Florida

Parkinsonia Florida

Palo Verde

This cultivated tree is native to SW of the United States and NW Mexico. I found it in El Chorro, Málaga province. It grows to an height of 12 metres tall and is drought tolerant. The trunk and leaves take on a blue~green colour, but the leaves do not appear until after rainfall. The flowers are bright yellow and pea like, which are followed by flat seed pods.
It rarely survives beyond 100 years of age.

Lythrum junceum

Lythrum junceum Creeping loosestrife


This perennial plant is native to SW Europe, and the Mediterranean. It grows from 20~60cms tall and flowers from Mat to September. It is found on moist meadows or close to streams and rivers.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Lythrum salicaria

Lythrum salicaria Purple loosestrife


This beautiful plant is in full bloom now and flowers generally from June to September. It is native to Europe, NW Africa, Asia and SE Australia. It has been introduced into north America by bee keepers for the nectar. It is usually found growing near streams and rivers and can grow to 2 metres tall in damp banks. It is an herbaceous perennial. The flowers are pollinated by bees and butterflies. It has been used as a herb to treat diarrhoea and dysentry.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Heliotropium europaeum

Heliotropium europaeum European Heliotrope


This common plant is native to Europe, Asia and North Africa, and has now naturalised in North America and Australia. It grows fro 10~40cms tall and flowers from June to November. The leaves are oval and hairy. The plant is poisonous as are several common weeds.