The real heat of Summer has finally begun to hit this last week..and with it the spectacle of broom in flower across the mountains. Broom (piorno, escoba, retama) is a generic name which covers a series of closely related shrub type plants native to the Mediterranean zone and often found growing extensively in poor soils at altitudes over 1000m. The multiplicity of popular denominations in both Spanish and English is paralleled in science where plants from different genera including Cytisus and Genista are commonly known as broom. And broom is also closely related to plants of the genus Ulex, commonly known in English as gorse or furze and found in highland areas in the British Isles.. which throws me back to my childhood in Ireland and my father talking of the furze in bloom and that same yellow blaze in the hills.
This year the flowering of los piornos has been particularly magnificent in Guadarrama, for example above El Escorial on the Southern flanks of Abantos where a vast and brilliant extension of yellow is visible from more than ten kilometers away. But wherever you go in the Sierra you can see broom in bloom..in the following image, my beloved Fuenfría valley..
PS: the word “broom” is also equivalent to escoba in the sense of the household utensil used for sweeping and cleaning, etymology obvious.