Andalucia is home to a great variety of trees and wild flowers.
Ash tree / Fresno (Fraxinus)
Generally found near small brooks, springs and larger river valleys.
Chestnut Tree / Castaño (Castanea sativat)
Likes moist areas and silica soil at altitudes of between 400 and 1000m.
Spanish Fir / Pinsapo (Abies Pinsapo)
In 1837, during one of his exploratory visits to the south of the Iberian Peninsula, the Swiss Botanist Edmond Boisser discovered a new species of tree: Abies Pinsapo, popularly known as the pinsapo pine or Spanish fir. Pinus pinaster aiton is also one of the most common and is highly resistant to cold so can be found even at 1700m. The Pinus halepensis prefers the lower slopes and is found up to 1200m. The third pine found in the area is Pino piñonero but Its presence is entirely due to reforestation.
Carob Tree / Algarrobo (Ceratonia siliqua)
The Algarrobo, Ceratonia siliqua, is a species of flowering evergreen shrub or tree belonging to the pea family, Fabaceae, and is widely cultivated for its edible beans or as an ornamental tree in gardens. In Spain it is generally known as the Algarrobo Tree, elsewhere as the Carob Tree or even St John’s-bread.
The Algarrobo, Ceratonia siliqua, is native to the Mediterranean region, North Africa and the Middle East as far as Iran and can grow to a height of around ten metres. In Andalucia, you will see these trees growing wild in many areas. They are also popular as ornamental trees in parks and gardens and are good for providing shade.
It takes between 20 and 25 years for the Carob tree to become fully fruit bearing. The beans take a year to ripen, starting off green and then becoming hard and brown, usually becoming ripe in September or October each year.
In Spain, the Algarrobo pods were formerly used mainly as animal fodder, especially to feed donkeys. Horses love them too, makes a nice treat for them if you are out riding.
The pods were an important source of sugar before sugarcane and sugar beets became widely available. Nowadays, they are also used in various countries to make syrups, drinks, sweets, added to cakes and biscuits and even as a chocolate substitute.
If you chew on the pod itself, not the seeds, then you will find that it really does taste like chocolate. Although chocolate contains the chemical compound theobromine in levels that are toxic to some mammals, especially canines, the Carob contains none. It also has no caffeine and is sometimes used to make chocolate-like treats for dogs.
Spain, Italy, Portugal, Morocco and Greece are the main producers of Carob beans, with Portugal actually accounting for around 30% of world production.
Gall Oak / Quejigo (Quercus faqinea)
The common Quercus can be found all over the area.
Evergreen Oak / Encina (Quercus ilex)
Found all over the area.
Wild Olive / Acebuche (Olea europea)
The wild olive tree is one of the species best adapted to the Mediterranean climate.
The Cork Oak is found mainly in Cadiz Province around Mount Alcornoque. Acorns are the staple diet of the black pigs whose cured ham – pata negra – is the local delicacy.
Juniper (Juniperus phoenicea)
The juniper is fairly common in the region.
Enebro (Juniperus communis)
Polar / álamo, Willow / sauce, Maple / arce, Elm / olmo, Alder / aliso
Deciduous trees found along river valleys.
The following wild flowers can be found in the area:
Dwarf Convolulus, Pink Convolulus, Sea Lavender, Italian Sainfoin, Crown Daisy, Purple Vipers Bugloss, Prickly Pear, Barbary Fig, Star Thistle, Milk Thistle, Wild Gladioli, Broom, Spiny Broom, Honeysuckle, Sage, Bishops weed.