The blaze on every hill

Amazing Summer colour in the hills this year..

Blazing yellow blossoming..atop Hermana Menor.

Blazing yellow blossoming..atop Hermana Menor.

One of the earliest memories of my childhood in Ireland features my father talking of “the furze blooming yellow in the hills”..and this vague, and perhaps not entirely real, recollection of infancy often resonates within me in early Summer in the mountains of Spain. The tough bush-like plants that blossom in a blaze of yellow in the Iberian highlands are not usually furze (Ulex, or tojo in Spanish) but two kinds of broom, generally known as piorno locally. In some ways quite similar to furze but of a different genus (Cytisus), these piornos have a host of other popular names: retama negra/amarilla, escoba amarilla/negra/serrana, ginesta, (h)iniesta, xiniesta and more.

Heading back down towards Cotos, Siete Picos and Mujer Muerta in the distance.

Heading back down towards Cotos, Siete Picos and Mujer Muerta in the distance.

Large numbers of piorno bushes growing together are referred to as piornales..and this last week the upper reaches of Peñalara seemed like one immense piornal, radiating not only an intense yellow colour but also an intense aroma. That morning i could smell it from the train as we travelled over Valsaín.

Looking down towards Cotos and the valley of Valsaín.

Looking down towards Cotos and the valley of Valsaín.

It’s not unusual to see great spreads of yellow on the opposite side, looking to Cabezas and Valdemartín..but this year seems to be the turn of Peñalara and Dos Hermanas. Of course it’s not only yellow, there’s also a little white still to be seen on this side..

Dos Hermanas and Peñalara, the snow still surviving in mid June.

Dos Hermanas and Peñalara, the snow still surviving in mid June.

Indeed not only is the snow still holding out, but there are some quite extensive snowfields above 2200m, particularly one between the two Hermanas. This is quite normal for June..though much less than the extensions observed the last two years, years which were exceptional in snowfall.

Snowfield on the West face of Hermana Mayor.

Snowfield on the West face of Hermana Mayor.

I already blogged about beautiful broom a couple of years back: Summer comes in a blaze of broom.

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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..
This entry was posted in children in Nature, flora, language, Mountain, Nature, snow, the seasons and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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