Linaria glacialis Boiss.

This is an annual to perennial herb that can only be found in the high summits of Sierra Nevada, Spain, in rocks and screes above 2700 m. It is glaucous, with glandular-pubescent inflorescences. Its stems are leafless in the lower end, but densely leafy above up to inflorescence. Leaves are elliptical to linear-lanceolate, generally in whorls. The inflorescences, dense, bear from 2 to 10 flowers. Corollae are dull violet, and sometimes whitish, with violet veins and yellow palate.

These photos were taken near the Veleta, in Sierra Nevada (Granada), the second highest peak in the iberian peninsula, in August 14, 2017.

Teucrium rotundifolium Schreb.

This small villous herb is usually found in calcareous rock crevices, screes and mountain walls of southern Spain and Morocco, between 500 and 2300 m. Its stems have patent hairs and the leaves are crenate and petiolate. Flowers are grouped in terminal heads, with purple or white corollae.

The photo was taken near Monachil, Granada in August 12, 2017.


Carpocoris mediterraneus Tamanini, 1958

Carpocoris mediterraneus is a species of shield bug in the Pentatomidae family, living throughout the Mediterranean region. This species is characterised by its brown pronotum with two black “beaks”, one at each side. The abdomen usually shows  black/orange patches, while some black spots are also found in the scutellum. This is a polyphagous vegetarian species which is usually found on several flowering plants, specially on Apiaceae

The photo was taken in Mount Calamorro, Benalmádena (Málaga) in July 08, 2017.

Carpocoris mediterraneus

El Borreguil del San Juan (Sierra Nevada)

The Sierra Nevada mountain range in Andalusia is a section of the Betic Cordillera that runs parallel to the Mediterranean Sea for around 100 kilometres, in the provinces of Granada and Almería. Declared a National Park in 1998 and encompassing an area of 86,208 hectares, it holds an exceptional variety of animal and plant life due to the combination of altitude and latitude. The park’s lowest edge begins at 400 metres above sea level with the highest peaks situated to the western part of the sierras. They are Mulhacén (3,482m), Veleta (3,392m) and Alcazaba (3,366m); three peaks that are grouped together in a cluster.
In the Sierra Nevada summits (above 2,000 meters), there are damp pastures which are covered in snow for a great part of the year. They represent one of the most fragile and exclusive ecosystems of the massif known in Spanish as “borreguiles”. They contain a great vegetal biodiversity: a 35% of the species that can be found here are endemics. These “borreguiles” are usually associated to water courses and so, different plant species can be found  depending on the water gradient in the soil. On the one hand, species such as Saxifraga stellaris, Veronica turbicola and Festuca rivularis are usually found close to the water course while, on the other hand, Armeria splendens, Agrostis nevadensis and Plantago nivalis grow in the margins of the “borreguil”. Between both extremes, other species can be found: Ranunculus demissus, Campanula herminii, Leontodon microcephalus

The “Borreguil de San Juan” is located just 2 km from the parking “Hoya de la Mora” in Sierra Nevada. It is really easy to get there; it takes just a  45-minutes walk from the parking.

Captura de pantalla 2017-07-01 a las 23.17.58

The “San Juan” is a tributary of the “Genil”. In this photo the green area surrounding the “San Juan” (the stream in the low left side) is the “borreguil de San Juan”. On the top right we can see the Veleta, the second highest peak in the Iberian Peninsula.


In this beautiful place we can enjoy fresh water courses…


… or the blooming of dozens of species. In this photo we can see a group of Gentiana sierrae


In this one, again the Gentiana sierrae, and the Saxifraga stellaris that is usually found next to the water courses.


Campanula herminii


and one of the most iconic plants in the sierra, the Pinguicola nevadensis


Other species described in this blog can also be found in the “borreguil de San Juan” and its surroundings such as Gentiana boryi Boiss, Teucrium aureum Schreb. subsp angustifolium (Willk.) S. Puech., Thymus serpylloides Bory. subsp. serpylloidesViola crassiuscula Boryi… And this is just a small sample of what you can find during the summer in the high areas of  Sierra Nevada! I can only recommend to visit this “piece of heaven on earth” to everyone interested in nature or botany. I do it every summer!


Cistus albidus L.

Cistus albidusCistus albidus is a species of shrub in the Cistaceae known, in spanish, by the common name of “Jara Blanca”. It is most commonly found in thickets, mainly in quercus rotundifolia forests, along the western mediterranean region.

It is an erect and tomentose shrub of up to 1 m. tall. Leaves are oblong to elliptical, densely white tomentose. Flowers are grouped in cymes, which bear from 3 to 8 flowers. Calyx is formed by 5 densely villous sepals and the corolla has 5 purplish-red petals.
Cistus albidus is one of the most typical plants in the andalusian flora which usually blooms from February to April.

The photo was taken in the “Arroyo Pedroche” near the city of Córdoba in April 9, 2016.



Gentiana boryi Boiss.

Endemic to the mountains of the Iberian peninsula, this is a perennial and caespitose plant that usually lives in damp mountain pastures, between 1000 and 3000 m.a.s.l. The stems are prostrate with erect or ascending branches. Leaves are ovate to suborbicular, obtuse and rather thick and coriaceous. The corolla, infundibuliform, is pale blue on the upper side of the lobes or, sometimes, almost white. Blooming occurs from July to October.

This photo was taken in Sierra Nevada (Granada) in July 24, 2016


Gentiana sierrae Briq.

This is an endemic perennial herb from the mountains of  south Spain (S. Nevada and S. de Baza). Acaulescent, with a rosette of basal leaves (which are rhombic to suborbicular), the flowers are really striking, with a  long  green calyx and deep blue hypocrateriform corolla. Gentiana sierrae can usually be found in siliceous and humid pastures, at high altitudes.

This photo was taken in Sierra Nevada (Granada) in june 20, 2016.

Gentiana sierrae


Origanum vulgare subsp. virens (Hoffmanns. & Link) Bonnier & Layens

This is a woody, rhizomatous and perennial plant that can be found in Iberian Peninsula, Macaronesia, and NW of Africa. Stems can reach up to 130 cm and are hirsute or pubescent and branched above. Leaves are ovate, entire,  glandular punctate, and peciolate. Inflorescences, in the form of a thyrse, are lax and somewhat sphaerical. Bracts are green or somewhat purple and flowers are white or cream.

Take a look at this site to learn a bit more of the properties of Origanum vulgare

THis species usually flowers between May and November. This photo was taken in “Trasierra” (Córdoba) in June 17, 2017.



Echium albicans Lag. & Rodr.

This is a more or less softly hairy and perennial herb with 1 to several flowering stems. The leaves and stems have a dense short whitish layer of hairs and setae. Leaves are linear-oblong to lanceolate. Calyces have long white hairs and corollas are infundibuliform, pinkish-red to bluish purple with exerted stamens. E. albicans is an endemism to the mountains of S. Spain.

The photo was taken in the “Monte Calamorro”, Benalmádena (Málaga) in April 16, 2017.

Echium albicans