28 Apr 2011

April 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.

King of the hill: Cistus
Botanics afficionados and fans of our monthly column alike won't be disappointed as here in Northern Corsica, April was an action-packed month on the floral front, with a plethora of colours, shapes, scents and effects fostered by the mild - even warm - weather and ambient humidity caused by seaside proximity.

In the second half of the month however, while Northern Europe enjoyed a near heatwave, Southern Europe, in a strange twist of fate, suffered a wet spell, with uninterrupted tropical-like misty showers and low heavy skies trapping down the air moisture. The month's sunny spells interspersed with rainy episodes provided the right conditions for speedy plant growth, including Grasses, Ferns and the less covetable Brambles, Bindweed and Nettles...

The florist's darling: Cyclamen
In the first half of April, the Asphodel and its tall single statement stalk stole the limelight, while the following fortnight was highlighted by the Cistus, a simple dogrose-like bloom coming into its own. Three varieties of cistus are observed in Corsica: two white blossom ones (one with downy sage-like leaves and one with long narrow sticky dark green leaves), and the pink cistus.

Beyond the remarkable asphodel and cistus, a multitude of other flowers deserve a mention, some of them instantly recognisable, like the Papaver (red poppy), others thriving in the shade of the undergrowth away from preying eyes (the Cyclamen), others gracing clearings in the maquis (the Orchis), and the intriguely-shaped yet easily identifiable Borage playing hide-and-seek with Carex grasses.

Flowers are blue: Borage'
Other familiar faces include the Ranunculus (Buttercup), the Trifolium pratense (Red Clover), and the Vicia (sometimes mistaken for Sweet-Pea). The commonly-named Daisy has made the low grasslands its playground and you can't get a more romantic floral display and symbolic representation of Spring than with a spread of daisies!

Meanwhile the invasive Oxalis, the Vinca minor (Periwinkle) and to a lesser extent the Anemone, Winter's usual suspects, are still being observed right now. These guys are pillars of the local flora community!

As you can appreciate, April was indeed fabulously floral and visually delightful. By experience and by the look of things to come, we promise you that May and June will be equally delightful! And you know what? We can't wait to show you around!

Loves me, loves me not? Daisy
Discreet underfoot: Arisarum vulgare
No less than an orchid: the (aptly-named) Orchis papilionacea
One of a kind: Silena

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