Nature Notes - The Mallorca Pages
Spurges (Euphorbia sp) are very difficult to identify. Mallorca has at least 23 species plus several other possibles, and I didn't have any scientific floras to look them up in, but had to rely on Beckett and Fitter plus, when I got home, any info in Stace and CTW for species that also occur in Britain. Oh, and the web of course. Any of the 6 spurges identified below may be wrong.
On the left is Tree Spurge, Euphorbia dendroides, the largest kind on the island. Only found it in one place, beside a pinewood track near the sea. The one on the right with the wavy-edged triangular bracts is Euphorbia serrata, a stunning plant found occasionally on roadsides.
Picture c 5.3 cm wide
The small annual spurge on the left turned out to be the Petty Spurge, Euphorbia peplus, which is common in Britain. On the right is Euphorbia segetalis (or possibly E medicaginea?) but the picture does not at all do it justice. As I jotted on my notepad at the time, "Infl is v beaut pale lemon yellow-green, v brilliant & pure & shining".
On the left a flower from a much-branched glaucous perennial which I took to
be Euphorbia pithyusa by a process of eliminating everything else. It was
on an abandoned cultivation terrace. On the right is the commonest and
most spectacular of the spurges that I met with, Mediterranean Spurge or
Top right flower c 6 mm across
Open flower c 6 mm vertically
Mediterranean Buckthorn, Rhamnus alaternus, was a frequent member of the woodland understory. The Rock Milkwort, Polygala rupestris, was a great pleasure to find, for someone only familiar with the confusing British milkworts. It was frequent on walls but in these pictures is on natural rock. I thought the flower worth showing from both side and front views.
Another frequent woodland shrub was the Mastic Tree, Pistachia lentiscus, whose resinous sap and oily fruits have a variety of uses. Finally, the Umbellifers, of which I only found 2 species. One was the Wild Carrot, well-known on Skye and not depicted here. The other was Alexanders, Smyrnium oluastrum, a tall greenish-flowered Umbellifer which sometimes formed large pure stands along the roadsides.
Apr-May 2005 Rosiflorae