Nature Notes - The Mallorca Pages


Hypericum perforatum
Visible part of plant c 10 cm high
  Lavatera cretica
Flower c 2.7 cm across at widest

Found young shoots of Perforate St John's Wort, Hypericum perforatum, (above left) in a wood.  The purple-veined flower is Small Tree Mallow, Lavatera cretica, which was seen a few times by the roadside.

Cistus salvifolius
Flower c 3.9 cm across
  Cistus albidus
Flower c 4 cm across

Both these Cistus species were very common everywhere.  The white one is Sage-leaved Cistus, Cistus salvifolius, and the purple one is Grey-leaved Cistus, Cistus albidus.

Cistus albidus
Flower c 6 cm across
  Cistus monspeliensis
Both flowers c 2.6 cm across

Some flowers just deserve to fill the frame so here is Cistus albidus again in all its glory.  The Narrow-leaved Cistus, Cistus monspeliensis, with white flowers, was more local and I only found it one area, near the sea.

Diplotaxis muralis maybe
Flower c 4.5 mm across at widest
  Eruca sativa

This is almost certainly Annual Wall-rocket, Diplotaxis muralis, although I can't rule out D viminea.  The flower is very small which favours D viminea, but it is an abnormal flower from low down on the plant; the main stems had finished flowering and were in fruit (though the fruit was also a bit short for D muralis).  D muralis is much the commoner of the two, and one of my pics seems to show 5 fertile stamens (implying 6 not 4 in total), which would clinch it, but I can't be absolutely sure.  On the right is a taller crucifer, Garden Rocket or Eruca sativa (= E vesicaria ssp sativa), a frequent weed of bare ground, with distinctively veined petals and a long purple calyx with a bulging base.

Capsella rubella or hybrid
Picture c 3.5 cm high
  Reseda alba

This garden weed is either Pink Shepherd's Purse, Capsella rubella, or its hybrid with ordinary Shepherd's Purse (C bursa-pastoris).  Reason for suspecting the hybrid is that in C rubella the petals should not or hardly exceed the sepals, whereas in this plant they were up to a third longer.  Other crucifers seen were Jumping Cress, Cardamine hirsuta, always in wild places, in contrast to Britain where it is usually in human environments, and what I took to be Charlock, Sinapis arvensis, on rough waste ground just as it is here.  Neither of these are depicted.  There were also one or two mystery crucifers which I could not identify.

On the right is White Mignonette, Reseda alba, only seen in one place, on bare gravelly ground beside the road.

Erica arborea   Erica multilfora

Mallorca has only 3 members of the Heather family, and I easily found them all.  Compare this to finding only 2 out of about 40 Labiates and the same proportion with Umbellifers.  I suppose it's partly because being woody and evergreen the heathers are identifiable regardless of season.  The white-flowered one is Tree Heath, Erica arborea, which was common among the pines at sea level, but not in the hilly area where I was staying.  It grew up to nearly 4 m high.  The one with dead flowers is Erica multiflora, which was common everywhere, but flowers in autumn.  The fresh flowers are pinkish-purple.  This species reached 2 m high.

Arbutus unedo flowers
Total width of inflorescence c 32 mm
  Arbutus unedo unripe fruits
RH fruit c 9 mm long ex stalk and style

The third member of the family, the Strawberry Tree, Arbutus unedo, is a common member of the woodland understory.  Both flowers and young green fruits were present; the fruits turn red later in the year.

Cyclamen balearicum
Flower c 22 mm vertically
  Anagallis arvensis s.s
Flower c 1.4 cm diameter

Finally two members of the Primula family.  The Balearic Cyclamen, Cyclamen balearicum, is common in woods in Mallorca, although it does not occur on the Spanish mainland.  The Scarlet Pimpernel, Anagallis arvensis, is common on roadside banks, and occurs in both blue and red forms just as it does in Britain.  In Britain I've only ever seen it red, and in Mallorca I only saw it blue.

Apr-May 2005 Dilleniiflorae