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Orchids + Wildflowers in Andalucia

Naked Man Orchid. Photo Eva Bratek.

Naked Man Orchid. Photo Eva Bratek.

It is a difficult decision to make and decide which of the spectacular orchid and flower species to include on this page. Photo choices made here are more personal than dictated by how rare a certain plant is. Many people associate orchids with the cultivated species available in flower shops or with the large tropical flowers. The truth is orchids exist in almost every country on the planet, some of the flowers are tiny, some are impressively large, but all of them are utterly fascinating. There are over 2400 species of vascular plants in Grazalema Park alone; around 35 of them are wild orchids. Andalucía harbours about 70 species of orchids. The various forms of orchids make them look very different from other flowers. Their reproduction and life-cycle is also  complex. The Ophrys species resemble bees and bumble-bees to attract specific pollinators.

Mirror Orchid. Photo Eva Bratek.

Mirror Orchid. Photo Eva Bratek.

Giant Orchid. Photo Eva Bratek.

Giant Orchid. Photo Eva Bratek.

Orchis species have many small petals, sometimes piled up on the stalk like a cone or a pyramid. Then there are the many other shapes: tongue orchid, lizard orchid, spiral orchids. Each species has its likes and dislikes and they can be very localised and therefore hard to find. It is worth remembering that all orchids as well as other plants and animals are strictly protected in the Natural Parks, some species are additionally protected on national level and entered onto the Red List of Vascular Flora in Spain (Lista Roja de la Flora Vascular Española).

Broad-leaved Iris. Photo Eva Bratek.

Winter-flowering Broad-leaved Iris. Photo Eva Bratek.

Picking flowers seems nowadays like a complete anachronism and nature photography seems like a logical modern replacement which gives us pleasure of looking at the plants for much longer. Best months for orchids in our area would be April, May and early June, however if you know which species bloom at which times of the year, there are some orchids to be found, approximately from December to September. Similarly, wildflowers are probably at their best from April to early June but there is always something interesting blooming in the area even in winter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Click on any photo for a better view. See Our Photo Gallery for more flower images below.

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