Friday, October 18, 2013

Storm approaching

Barbary Fig

The plants flower in three distinct colors: white, yellow and red. The flowers first appear in early May through the early summer in the Northern Hemisphere, and the fruit ripen from August through October. The fruit are typically eaten, minus the thick outer skin, after chilling in a refrigerator for a few hours. They have a taste similar to a juicy, extra sweet watermelon. The bright red/purple or white/yellowish flesh contains many tiny hard seeds that are usually swallowed, but should be avoided by those who have problems digesting seeds.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Dittrichia viscosa. Estancia d'es Prat.

My initial idea of photographing  flowering Spiranthes Spiralis, which is one of the few orchids that bloom in autumn in Menorca, was ruined when I realized the dryness of the grounds.

Anyway, a stroll through the north of Es Mercadal finds always some small reward.

Dittrichia viscosa, also known as False Yellowhead, Sticky Fleabane, Woody Fleabane and Yellow Fleabane, is a flowering plant in the daisy family.

This perennial plant is common throughout the Mediterranean Basin. Originally it was found mainly in dry riverbeds and abandoned fields up to a height of 1.500 m. Nowadays it is quite common in roadsides and ruderal habitats, even in urban areas. It is considered an invasive species in Australia. The False Yellowhead is a tough plant, very resistant to adverse conditions and degraded environments. It is important as food for the caterpillars of certain butterflies and moths, like Ioana iolas.

Despite the fresh-looking green color of its leaves and its attractive inflorescence,  this plant is sticky and has a certain smell that most people find unpleasant. It contains an essential oil and has been used in traditional medicine since ancient times, especially in the Levant, as an astringent.

It is an important plant in Catalan tradition, often mentioned in adages and proverbs. One adage says that: "els raïms són madurs quan floreixen les olivardes.", the grapes are ripe when the Yellow Fleabane blooms.

 Estancia d'es Prat.

Monday, October 7, 2013


Cap de Favàritx stands 47 metres above sea level with a height of 21 metres. Its light has a range of 16 nautical miles and the light flashes every 15 seconds in a pattern of 2+1.

The development of this lighthouse was a milestone in the history of the island’s coastline along with the other two northern lighthouses of Punta Nati and Cap de Cavalleria.

Numerous shipwrecks particularly in the early 1900s due to the rocky northerly coast and the punishing Tramuntana  winds lead to the development of the lighthouse to prevent such occurances in the future.

The shipwrecks of the “Isaac Pereyre” in 1906 and the “General Chanzy” in 1910 were particularly notorious. The first was a steam packet covering the route between Marseille and Algiers and was wrecked in the same spot where the “Ville de Rome” also owned by the French Compagnie Generale Transatlantique, had foundered in March 1898.

It was designed by Mauro Serret but modified by Miguel Massanet. Work began in July in 1917 but the lack of funding and the protests of the owner of the site for not having received compensation paralysed the works and the lighthouse was not completed until 1922, entering service on the 22nd September.. The light used a catadioptric lens manufactured by BBT with two 85mm Chance lamps producing a light pattern of 2+1 every 10 seconds. This lens is now on display at the Portopi museum in Mallorca. The tower, with a height of 33m was the first to be built completely of concrete in the Balearic Islands. The lantern, which had a diameter of 3m was manufactured by La Maquinista Valenciana.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The melancholic poetry of abandoned places

The progressive decline in agricultural commodity prices led to the abandonment of farms.

It happened everywhere and in Menorca too.

A threshing floor close to Sant Climent.

Rural cemetery in the center of the island. Decades ago it was sealed.