Nature Notes - Mallorca 2005
Ferns to Poppies
I didn't find any new ferns or fern-allies this time. I remarked last time that though Mallorca has few ferns, one of them, Southern Polypody, is abundant on dry walls exposed to the baking Mediterranean sun. Well, the LH pic above shows what happens to it by the end of April, though not all had reached this stage. The RH pic shows the only example I found of Joint-pine, which belongs to a small group of species intermediate between conifers and flowering plants. It does produce flowers and fruits but unfortunately this one was not doing so.
Prickly Juniper, or Cade, is the only Juniper found away from the sea in Mallorca. In the first picture it's the bush leaning over the rock and extending upwards above it. The second picture shows fresh young shoots and also the two pale lines on the mature leaves which distinguish it from our own Common Juniper (J communis) which has only one line. The Balearics are one of the few areas in Europe where the Common Juniper does not grow ("Plants of the Balearic Islands", A Bonner)
The Phoenician Juniper is very different, as its mature leaves are scale-like. It forms thickets on the coast. The RH pic shows Rock Pellitory, a small annual relative of the Wall Pellitory that is common on walls in both Mallorca and England. It's growing here on natural rock with Navelwort.
Last time the only plants I found from the Buttercup family were two Clematis species. The following 3 were this year's additions...
Nigella damascena, grown in UK gardens as Love-in-a-mist, is a native annual of bare ground in Mallorca. The long green things are bracts, the blue "petals" are sepals, the white bits on blue stalks are nectaries, variously regarded as modified petals or modified stamens, then come the numerous dark green true stamens and finally in the very centre the paler green styles, which will unfurl as the fruit develops.
Small-flowered Buttercup (Ranunculus parviflorus) is a ground-hugging annual that I found in a forest clearing in the hills. I had never seen it before though it does occur in Britain. The petals tend to be small, distorted or missing.
Hairy Buttercup (Ranunculus sardous) was also seen only in one place, the s'Albufera bird reserve. Mallorca has several other buttercup species but, unlike in the UK, one rarely comes across them.
The Yellow Horned Poppy (Glaucium flavum) from a sandy shore. First pic is in shade; second in bright sun showing the intensely glaucous buds and leaves.
Apr 2004 Ferns Apr 2004 other fams on this page
All photos and other content copyright © Carl Farmer