Picos de Europa Wildflower Report

David Charlton

October 12, 2015

2015 was the second year in which we have offered guests flower walks in the Picos. We have now located, documented and photographed a splendid range of meadow, woodland, high pasture and mountain locations. We can show guests all aspects of the glorious flora of these beautiful mountains.

With thanks to David Charlton – Flower Walks Host

Spring snow in 2014 meant that the high mountain flowers were late, but the lower meadows and the diverse array of orchids were magnificent. In 2015 the spring was very dry. The lower meadows, though still lovely, varied and very floriferous, were surpassed by the high mountain flowers on the screes, pastures and limestone pavements above Fuente De.

I have never seen such a wonderful display of high mountain flowers, encouraged into their full glory by long days of vivid sunshine. By early June the whole area was a magnificent natural rock garden with gentians, saxifrages, daffodils, pasque flowers and many other species providing superb opportunities for photographers and artists. It was interesting to find plants that normally only grow in woodland – dog’s tooth violet, hepatica and hellebores – unexpected survivors perhaps of a time when there was a layer of shrubs on these high rugged rocks.

As always, guests enjoyed the great variety of orchids on display. No fewer than 33 species were seen, some in huge numbers, and several excellent new locations were explored. A beautiful meadow, pink with hundreds of pyramidal orchids, was particularly memorable.

The joy of the Picos is that flowers familiar in northern Europe blend with those normally expected in much warmer climes towards the Mediterranean. Ancient olive and fig trees grow in the mild sheltered gorges while snowmelt flowers open in the snow capped mountains visible high above them. This unique blend of climates and habitats guarantees a fascinating experience for those in search of wildflowers in magnificent surroundings.

Click Wildflower Walking Holidays in the Picos de Europa for more information.

Thanks to David Charlton, one of our wildflower hosts from the Picos team, for these superb photos and blog piece! Also thanks to Jane Stirland for the extra photos of the walks and flowers.