28 Mar 2011

March in Bloom

Welcome to La Baguette's latest feature: 'A Month in Bloom', which debuted in our February edition. At the end of each month, this blog will showcase a gallery of floral blossoms of the wild order encountered during that month on random walks around my current base in Northern Corsica.

Angelica Jolie!
March was damp and rainy here in Northern Corsica, with acres of grey skies and moggy/ foggy atmosphere, except for the back-end of the month, when temperatures have been exceeding 15°C and the sun has been casting the blessing of Spring upon us.

The heavy rain from earlier in the month has caused the mountain streams to swell up and generated floods in the valleys. Rainfall has encouraged extensive grass growth down the pastures and along road verges.

Mellow yellow: Yellow Sorrel (Oxalis megalorrhiza)
In terms of flora, all of the plant varieties featured in last month's issue are still observed in their high numbers four weeks on, including the Yellow Sorrel (pictured above), a false shamrock.

As regards the latest arrivals on the scene, we are delighted to note the Genista (not to be mistaken with the prickly sub-species Genista Corsica). Interestingly in this part of the island, the Genista specimens that have been observed are not as full-bodied and thrivingly healthy as they were this time last year.

Jewel in the maquis' crown: Asphodel
Another cause for delight is the much anticipated White Asphodel, a perennial floral stemmed staple statement associated with Corsican Spring. The bulk of the Asphodel stock is expected to be in full bloom within the next couple of weeks, weather permitting.

Meanwhile Wild Rosemary clumps found on mountain sides, on the edge of the maquis, are currently in full bloom and casting purple sprinkles across the local landscape.

Not quite Dandelions: Terres crépies
Heather, another basic component of the Corsican maquis, is still in bloom and the delicately sweet aroma of its pale clusters of tight flowers adds further interest.

Finally the Allium triquetrum bulbs (a.k.a. Three-cornered Garlic), with their unmistakable garlic smell and flowers reminiscent in looks of lily-of-the-valley are found here and there in the grassland, while the most adventurous specimens will be spotted on the most unusual places, like dry-stone walls!

A garden herb with panache: Allium triquetrum
But all of the above are only a flavour of wilder grander things to come, for April, May and June will be botanist heaven alright and we can hardly wait! See you next month...

No shrinking violet: Veronica

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