Monday, March 28, 2016


The genus Tamarix (tamarisk, salt cedar) is composed of about 50–60 species of flowering plants in the family Tamaricaceae, native to drier areas of Europe, Asia and Africa. The generic name originated in Latin  and may have referred to the Tamaris River in the former Hispania Tarraconensis, province of the Roman Empire.

Seven species of tamarisk normally grow in Menorca, mostly near watercourses or on the coastline as they tolerate saline soils.

These trees  are used to help to prevent soil erosion because of their deep root systems. They also have slender branches with numerous small, gray-green, scalelike leaves. Clusters of small pink flowers, hanging at the ends of branches or from the trunks, give the plants a feathery appearance during their blooming season.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Abdellah and the blooming of Wild Orchids

Miguel Hernandez was one of the most important intellectuals who lived in Spain in the first half of the twentieth century. Poet and playwright committed to the republic, was tried and sentenced to death by the government of General Franco, although he commuted his death sentence by thirty years of prison which he did not had to suffer because he died of tuberculosis in prison in 1942.
His work often revolves around the drama of death and misfortune and his poem Elegy, dedicated to a great friend, has been set to music by Joan Manuel Serrat in an example of heartfelt sorrow for the lack of a friend.

Abdellah died Tuesday of last week after having worked at the Hotel Almirante for almost forty years. We will miss him so much ...

As a posthumous tribute, Menorca's wild orchids are blooming everywhere in these recent days.
 Ophrys tenthredinifera
  Ophrys lutea
Himantoglossum robertianum
Neotinea conica
 Barlia robertiana

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Vinagrellas. Oxalis Pes-caprae.

Year after year in early spring fields in Menorca are stained in a deep yellow color.

The reason for this metamorphoses is the Vinagrella (Oxalis pes-caprae), a fully invasive plant, originally from South Africa, that first arrived on the island between the 1700's, probably introduced by British colonists as ornamental flowering plant, or livestock feed although some believe that it arrived to the island accidentally in citrus trade between Menorca and the continent. 

Today it has become an uncontrollable plant that can be found almost anywhere. It has a reputation for being very difficult to eliminate once it has spread over an area of land.

The plant has been used in various ways as a source of oxalic acid, as food, and in folk medicine. The raw bulbs have been used to deal with tapeworm and possibly other worms. The plant has also been used as a diuretic, possibly hazardously, in the light of observations in the following section. The lateral underground runners, which tend to be fleshy, have been eaten raw or boiled and served with milk. The golden petals can be used to produce a yellow dye.