Wild flowers of the Pyrenees

In Spring it’s wonderful to climb and ski in the Pyrenees, but it’s also cool just to go walking and see the flowers that appear everywhere as the snows of Winter melt and recede..giving way to high alpine meadows where flora abounds.

The receding snow gives way to green alpine meadows, here in the Lliterola Valley, Benasque.

The receding snow gives way to green alpine meadows, here in the Lliterola Valley, Benasque.

Of the myriad flowers that appear, one of my personal favourites is the Spring Gentian (Gentiana verna), a small blue flower commonly found above 2000m in late May, June and early July. It usually grows in groups and its often electric blue colour makes it stand out brilliantly.

Spring gentians in Valle de Lliteriola, May 2014.

Spring gentians in Valle de Lliterola, May 2014.

Another typical flower that shoots up everywhere as soon as the snow disappears is the Dog’s-tooth Lily (Erythronium dens-canis), a violet flower  found as early as late April and in May and June.

Dog's-tooth Lily, in the area of La Besurta, Benasque, May 2014.

Dog’s-tooth Lily, in the area of La Besurta, Benasque, May 2014.

In previous posts i’ve mentioned the small narcissus flowers of Guadarrama, but in Pyrenees this year i came upon – like the famous poet Wordsworth – the larger common daffodil..

Daffodils in Lliterola..maybe not a host of them but a good bunch nevertheless.

Daffodils in Lliterola..maybe not a host of them but a good bunch nevertheless.

 

Of course the snow hasn’t disappeared completely..on North and East facing slopes above 2000m the white stuff is still there and indeed will persist well into the Summer, though the snowline will gradually rise thru June and July towards 3000m. On my last day of ski in the Lliterola Valley i found some very curious surface snow formations..deep furrows caused by heavy rainfall running downslope and later refrozen into sharp ridges.

The furrows and ridges of Lliterola snow, late May 2014.

The furrows and ridges of Lliterola snow, late May 2014.

Anyway, as we roll into Summer and the snow rolls back and the ski season winds down, the high mountains transform into a wonderful wild garden..and particularly in the Pyrenees, the effusion, the explosion of wild flowers is something to amaze.

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About coldspringdays

Éireannach is ea mé, i mo chonaí insan Spáinn. Rugadh mé i lár na tuaithe, ar feadh blianta bhí mé ag teitheadh uaithi, i bhfad as an tuath, ach sa deireadh d'fhill mé, ar ais go dtí an tuath.. An Irishman am I, settled in Spain. Born was I in the middle of the country, for years I ran from it, far from the country, but in the end I returned, back to the country..
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