The Algarve

Wild flowers in the Algarve: a true botanical bonanza!

The Algarve is one of the best places to see wildflowers in the spring in Europe. Botanist Professor Simon Hiscock and I started documenting the flora a decade ago whilst teaching field botany there every spring. We compiled our work in a field guide, available from Kew’s online bookstore and other retailers:

Flora Algarve BookThe Algarve has one of the richest floras in western Europe. Here where the Atlantic meets the Mediterranean, exposed cliff tops are drenched in sun in the summer months, and blasted by violent storms in the winter; the more sheltered southern coast is famous for its glittering blue seas, whilst the western seabelt is notable for its rolling white sand dunes. And as well as being an attractive holiday destination, it is a haven for botanists and nature lovers. Hillsides shimmer with white rock rose flowers in April, and clifftops are a riot of pinks, yellows and blues when the spring flowers jostle for space. Shale cliffs along the Costa Vicentina’s coast are home to rarities found no where else such as the poorly known Silene rothmaleri, believed to be extinct but rediscovered on excursions I was lucky enough to have co-led a few years ago.

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