Both the Esteva (Gum Rock Rose) and French Lavender locally in the hills has been flowering for sometime, but the overnight rain has seemed to have given it a real kick start. This morning the hills are covered in white and purple carpets. You can imagine what the damp air smells like, it’s amazing!
I take a camera along on my Dog Walks to bring you some of the sightings that I see on my morning walks, these photos are rarely going to be great quality as its hard enough keeping an energetic Dog entertained and get close enough to anything. They also help me identify where species are so that I can plan to return.
I haven’t published any Dog Walk Blogs for a while and this is down to the fact that we now have 3 dogs, yes we have another rescued dog called Snowy (photos of him soon), which makes takin a camera a bit difficult, particulary as 2 of them are still being trained.
Anyway, this morning we stumbled across this line flower on one of the Esteva (Gum Rock Rose) plants. This is very strange as they normally flower in April. This is just a single flower but strange nonetheless. Maybe it’s down to lack of rain throughout the year and the sudden wetness has caused it to flower.
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I don’t normally photograph plants and flowers but the overcast and rainy day gave my favourite light for flowers as I think it adds a nice mood and really helps with the “highlights” not being too bright.
The hills are covered in flowering Esteva (known in English as Gum Rock Rose) and I love the way the rain drops sit on the petals. The Esteva plant smells amazing due to the resin in the plants, but of course this resin in flammable which doesn’t help with the summer fires. It used to be used in the production of perfume, but these days it’s mainly used for starting fires in the winter as it makes great kindling. I also use it to start my BBQ!
Last year someone told me that there are two different variants of the Esteva plant (Portuguese name, not to be confused with the Stevia plant), commonly known in English as the Gum Rockrose. It was mentioned that there is a version that has no spots. I had never seen one until this morning, I’m certainly no plant expert, but it’s great when you stumble across something new.
The scientific name for the Esteva is Cistus ladanifer and the two sub-species are ladanifer and sulcatus. The landanifer has the purple markings where the sulcatus does not, however, they appear to be identical plants.
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The recent cold spell is over and the daytime temperatures are back in the low 20s, the evenings can still be chilly though. This morning I was out walking the dog and noticed something I’d been missing, the smell of the Esteva, in English it’s called the Gum Rock Rose and its latin name is Cistus ladanifer.
This extremely tough evergreen shrub covers most of the Algarve Serra which is why the hills look green. The plant produces a resin and its this very sticky substance that gives off the amazing smell. As you can see in the photo, there is new growth on the top of this branch. The small leaves are extremely sticky hence the return of the smell. I mentioned “tough”, yes this shrub can withstand extreme drought and requires very little water.
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