Wild Flowers of Mallorca

Mallorca Wild Flowers from Mallorca HikingToday at Mallorca Hiking we’re going to celebrate some of the wonderful wild flowers we see while out walking on this lovely island. A few days ago we gave you an abbreviated history of Mallorca and now our brief “botanical overview” takes a lighter tone and features lots of information on some of the wild flowers we find on Mallorca at this time of year.

We are currently enjoying some of the best spring weather for many years, and the flowers in bloom throughout Mallorca are looking quite stunning in the warmth and vibrant sunshine. In the residential and resort areas, beautifully manicured gardens and communal areas have burst into a colourful array of blooming spring flowers – but away from the city centres, there is an equally colourful and very delightful display of Wild flowers of Mallorca.

There are literally hundreds of varieties of wild flowers in the Mediterranean region – many native to the area and lots also introduced by the many visitors to the islands. Today we’re going to show you six of our favourite wild flowers that we see in the countryside of Mallorca in April. Look out for them and see if you can find any on your next walk or hike…

Asphodel wild flowers with Mallorca Hiking

The first of our wild flowers today is the Asphodel a common name for hardy  herbaceous perennials with numerous species in the Mediterranean region. They are hardy with narrow leaves and an elongated stem bearing a handsome spike of white, pink, or yellow flowers growing from 45 to 60 cm in height. They are prolific here and often form stunning displays on dry and otherwise scrubby land.

common mallow wild flower Mallorca Hiking

Next up is the Common Mallow (- Malva sylvestris). This is a species of the Mallow genus Malva in the family of Malvaceae. Known as common mallow to English speaking Europeans, it acquired the common names of cheeses, high mallow and tall mallow as it migrated from its native home in Western Europe, North Africa and Asia through the English speaking world. A vigorously healthy and very handsome plant, it has showy flowers of bright mauve-purple, with dark veins. It often stands 1 m high and grows freely and rampantly in meadows and hedgerows.

Narrow-leaved cistus with Mallorca HikingOur next wild bloom today is the Narrow-leaved Cistus of the Rockrose or Cistaceae family. There are many different types of Cistus growing on Mallorca and this one is a dense shrub of about one meter high, which grows ventrally. All the old branches are completely bare and dark red or brown, while the new ones have rough and dense hair. Its leaves are simple, lanceolate in shape and stalk-less. The flowers have five petals and groups of three to 10 flowers form dense, wavy clusters. All the species that belong to the  Cistus family are aromatic and excrete oils or resin, which have a long history of use in herbal medicine and as a perfume ingredient.

White Mignonette wild flowers with Mallorca HikingOur next beauty is another aromatic delight – the White Mignonette is a genus of fragrant herbaceous plants native to the Mediterranean region. The species include annuals, biannials and perennials, and grow to between 40-130 cm tall. The leaves form a basal rosette at ground level, and then spirally arranged up the stem, they can be entire, toothed or pinnate, and range from 1-15 cm long. The flowers are produced in a slender spike, each one being small (4-6 mm diameter), white, yellow, orange, or green, with four to six petals. They are very showy and we often find them in hedgerows and meadows.

Wild Gladioli Wild Flowers with Mallorca HikingOur fifth contestant today is wild by name and wild by nature – the Wild Gladioli is one of our absolute favourites and we usually find it growing in low scrub and in very dry stony conditions – its preferred habitat. This is a continental European version of the very rare plant which grows amongst bracken and scrub in the much damper New Forest in the U.K. The small bulbs produce a grey green grass-like foliage that can be overlooked but, from April to July we get a stunning fuschia-pink flowering stem up to 70 cm high appears with between 3 and 8 flowers per stem. Look out for them – they’re a real treat!

Wild Orchid with Mallorca Hiking

Our last native bloom is Mallorca’s uncultivated beauty – the Wild Orchid. On the Balearic Islands alone, there are 60 different orchid species growing wild! They are bright pink-coloured, white, violet, blue-violet, reddish-brown or yellowish brown…. Sometimes they’re all one colour, and others are multicoloured or marbled, and all of them are legally protected. These fabulous delicate plants deserve special attention but you need to look out for them – they are easily overlooked, as some have tiny flower heads, which hide amongst the grasses. It is absolutely forbidden to pick them or dig them up. However, photographs are allowed and we’d love to see some samples of orchids that you find along the way.

Here at Mallorca Hiking we have some very knowledgable contacts who are  familiar with the flora and fauna of the island – so anything you can’t identify, please send us a photo and we’ll do our very best to help….

Remember – don’t pick – just click – and send us your photos!!

Easter in Mallorca

Happy Easter Mallorca HikingEaster is a busy time in Mallorca and officially marks the beginning of the holiday and tourist season. This year Easter (Semana Santa) is running late with Palm Sunday falling on the 17th of April, which is when the festivities start. There will then be a full week of religious processions, fiestas, markets, entertainment and events for locals and tourists alike. The celebrations culminate on the 24th, Easter Sunday, with jubilant processions and celebrations.

The week starts with Palm Sunday celebrations throughout Mallorca. Thousands of people visit their local semana santa easter mallorca hikingchurches and take part in processions carrying beautifully woven palm leafs. These are then blessed in church and symbolize the welcoming of Jesus into Jerusalem. In Palma huge statues of Christ and the Virgin Mary are carried through the streets of the Old Town and city centre, followed by the local cofradias or fraternities. There are about 50 fraternities on the island, each of which wear different coloured tunics. The privacy of each individual’s penance and prayer is preserved by a pointed capuchin hood, which covers their face.

Processions are held every day from Monday to Friday during Easter week, the biggest being the Crist de la Sang (on Maundy Thursday) and Sant Enterrament (on Good Friday), which are usually celebrated in all Mallorcan villages.

For those of you who are amazed by the incredible costumes that adorn the hundreds of procession goers there is an exhibition of the robes and symbols used by the local brotherhoods in the church of Sant Antoniet.

La Seu Pascua Mallorca HikingThe events during the week include concerts in various churches, the most prestigious of which is held in the stunning La Seu Cathedral in Palma on Easter Tuesday, in aid of the Baleares Homes project. Mozart’s Requiem directed by Salvador Broton and supported by the Choir of the University of the Baleares will be performing. Tickets are in big demand so book early if you want to go along.

The Maundy Thursday procession attracts huge crowds to Palma for and starts the build up to Good Friday and then the more jubilant culmination of celebrations on Easter Sunday with the Procession of Reunion.

The most spectacular Good Friday event is “The Lowering” or Davallament which is held at dusk on the Calvari Steps in Pollensa. The figure of Christ is carried down the 365 Calvari Steps (if you climb the 365 steps you are seeking forgiveness – one step for each day of the year). Another impressive event on Good Friday is the enactment of the crucifixion on the stairs to Palma’s cathedral at around midday.Pascua Mallorca Hiking

Holy Week finishes on Easter Sunday, with the Encontre (the Meeting) procession, which represents the meeting of the newly risen Jesus with his mother, the Virgin Mary. Large platforms with statues of Jesus and the Virgin Mary are carried through the streets of Palma symbolizing Jesus reunited with his mother. Activities during the following week include the traditional Pancaritats and Romeries, which are processions to various rural sanctuaries and hermitages.

Good Friday and Ebellver castle easter mallorca hikingaster Monday are both Bank Holidays in Mallorca and many villages have local fiestas on Easter Monday. The Sunday after Easter is also significant for family outings to the countryside and the many sanctuaries around Mallorca. In Palma you’ll see yet another procession on this so-called Domingo del Angel “Angel Sunday”. This fiesta is centered around Bellver castle and involves a procession of “giants” arriving at the castle from the city centre.  There are blessings followed by a Food Fair, dancing, entertainment and an enjoyable day out for all the family.

The religious celebrations are the main events throughout Mallorca but you will also find many other local events to help mark the end of the winter and the beginning of spring and the tourist season. Local traders and associations make the most of the many spectators and provide different cultural and entertaining shows. Don’t forget this is also an opportunity to enjoy the fabulous outdoors of Mallorca, so why not combine some Easter sightseeing and celebrations with one of our great Hikes

Also check out some of our tasty Easter treats in our last post…. Recipes for some of Mallorca’s favoutite traditional Easter specialities – get the baking trays out and to the ready…

Easter treats with Mallorca Hiking