May Flowers: The Colors of the Countryside

By Jose Luis Gallego, environmental communicator

April showers and May sunshine have inspired nature to reveal her colors, turning the vineyards and fields into an open-air display of art. The rockroses and sage-leaf rockroses are particularly beautiful: white or purple, big or small, they comprise the Mediterranean scrubland par excellence, a herbaceous expanse that transforms into a springtime floral mosaic.  

 

They are joined by sun spurges and dandelions that not only blanket the areas around the vineyards and fields in yellow, but often pop up amid the vines and crops as well. The wild roses are also in bloom, as are hawthorn, heather, lavender and thyme, filling the air with their unmistakable balsamic fragrance.  

 

 

Dandelions in bloom at the El Lloar (DOQ Priorat) vineyard, a Familia Torres property

 

 

After a dry fall and winter, April saw plenty of rain, coaxing the wild orchids to open their bell-shaped blossoms and let the insects in. These stars of the Iberian flora are far more abundant and ubiquitous than we might imagine, thriving in all sorts of soils, from high mountains to beaches and salt marshes.  

 

The delicate petals of field bindweed and wild gladiolus dance on the May breeze. Mallows turn the ground shades of violet. And in the meadows, half hidden in the shade of cork and holm oaks, grows one of the most beautiful wild flowers in the world: the wild peony, a magnificent burst of fuchsia.  

 

Wild gladiolus at the Fransola (DO Penedès) vineyard, a Familia Torres property

 

 

 

On steep slopes and along paths, the plant life might be more modest, less eye-catching, but it also composes a rich floral tapestry that, although more mundane, is equally fascinating. Here one finds lovely violet blue thistles and snow white wild carrots. The latter is among the most common flowers found in our fields. In the spring, this tall, loose, splayed out weed displays a broad bouquet of tiny blossoms, which form a flat, horizontal, saucer-like flower, usually with an insect perched at its center.

 

But if we're talking about grabbing the attention of passersby, poppies are by far the most eye-catching. They draw streaks of deep crimson across the fields, a living stoplight that reminds us that spring is here.

 

 

 

Poppies at Milmanda vineyard (DO Conca de Barberà), a Familia Torres property

 

 

We could fill pages and pages describing how wild flowers express the colors of spring. In closing, I would like to give a special mention to the golden yellow hue of broom: one of the most commonly found shrubs on hillsides, along paths and the edges of vineyards, this delicate flower not only brightens our view, but scents the air with one of the most elegant fragrances of the Mediterranean countryside.  

 

 

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