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!!

Wild Orchids of Mallorca

bumblebee orchid Mallorca Hiking There are no less than 60 species of Orchid growing wild in Mallorca and the Balearic islands. They grow in hedgerows, meadows, woodland and even wet-lands, as they prefer a damp atmosphere. These beautiful specimens are protected in Spain and it is totally forbidden to pick them. But the pleasure of “collecting” them pictorially is even more enjoyable as you can look back on your find forever, and the Orchid can continue to give pleasure to all who pass by.

The areas around the island where you’re likely to find wild Orchids are the Mondragó nature reserve near Santanyí, in the s‘Albufera near Alcúdia, Cabrera National Park and (the most prolific) in the Tramuntana mountain range.

Orchids are incredibly adept at attracting insects to pollinate them, and have many tricks to attract their flyingOrchid Pollination Mallorca Hiking germinators. The flower grows to imitate a female insect such as a bee or a wasp (see examples in our slide show below), thereby enticing the male to mate with it. The male may leave disappointed, but the Bee or Wasp Orchid knows this will ensure it’s pollen will be attached to him and passed on to the next Orchid.

Other pollination ploys include emitting scents of the female insect and producing a form of glue so the insect has to struggle to escape. The flower then bends sufficiently as the insect breaks free to ensure the pollen is in the right position for when the insect makes contact with the stigma of the next flower.

Self pollination is also possible with Orchids, meaning if all else fails, they can do the job themselves! The result of this is that all genetic mutations are passed to all offspring of the parent. This gives rise to many stable populations as we can now see throughout Mallorca.All these factors have helped create a growing and varied range of Orchid species for us to enjoy on the island.

Orchids can be found blooming from as early as February . The White Helleborine with its white to cream-yellow flowers and the Giant Orchid, which grows to a height of 60cm are two early bloomers. Other popular species are The Mirror Orchid and the Ophrys Balearica or Balearic Orchid (the only native orchid species in the entire Balearic islands). Below we have created a slideshow of many of the varieties of Orchids you can find around our beautiful island. See how many you can find, photograph and identify later. We would also appreciate it if you left us a comment with locations on the island where you have discovered wild Orchids.

For a sure sighting of one of these beautiful flowers why not come along on one of our Tailor Made Holidays – or if you are resident in Mallorca join our Resident’s Walking Club – we have regular monthly walks and will bring you closer to all things beautiful in Mallorca.

Click on one of the images to open a lightbox slideshow

Photographs all taken in Mallorca

Photographs courtesy of:

Orchi at Wikimedia Commons (www.commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Orchi)