Flowers of the Pyrenees – Flora Pyrenaica V, Purplish-Pinky-Violet..!

The ‘colour’ of a flower is sometimes not so easy to define, either because it combines two or more colours or because the colour varies across a certain spectrum or because our words to describe colour fall short. For example, in the Red post it would be feasible to argue that none of those flowers are truly red..at least not in the sense that ‘roses are red’..even the Rhododendron has a certain pinky hint to its redness. In the mountains we find very few flowers with that deep redness characteristic of red roses. Blue, yellow and white are more readily defined. But here are some more flowers that defy colour characterisation..

Lilium martagon, the Martagon (or Turk's Cap) Lily.

Lilium martagon, the Martagon (or Turk’s Cap) Lily.

We’ve already seen the Lily (or Iris) in blue, white and yellow..here it is in purplish pink. Lilium martagon, known in English as Martagon Lily or Turk’s Cap Lily and in Spanish as simply Martagón or Lirio Llorón, has petals with a background colour that goes from near white to pink/violet and with dark purple or deep red spots..and large stamens that are usually reddish but sometimes present a bright orange colour.

Another flower that combines two quite different colours is the Alpine Aster, Aster alpinus, in Spanish simply Aster. At least here the colours do not vary so much..the petals are usually violet-lavender, occasionally straying to purplish-blue, with the defined yellow center.

Aster alpinus, the Alpine Aster, growing at 2100m in Vallibierna.

Aster alpinus, the Alpine Aster, growing at 2100m in Vallibierna.

Here’s another shot where some difference in colour can be appreciated in two flowers growing barely a meter apart..tho it may be due to camera optics or the angle of light hitting the flowers, or to a difference in the age of the flowers.

Two Asters looking a little bit different in colour.

Two Asters looking a little bit different in colour.

A flower which might possibly be confused with Aster alpinus is the often very similar, tho smaller and much rarer, Erigeron uniflorus (subsp. aragonensis?)..one of those true high mountain flowers generally found above 2200m and often on rocky ridges or close to summits. Also presenting some variation in the colour of its petals.

Erigeron uniflorus, sharing a spot of fertile ground with Silene acaulis at 2900m, Pico de Clarabide.

Erigeron uniflorus, sharing a spot of fertile ground with Silene acaulis at 2900m, Pico de Clarabide.

No common name in Spanish that i know of, Vergerette à une fleur in French, reputedly ‘One-flower Fleabane’ in English. Notice that in the above photograph, where you would expect a reddish pink, Silene acaulis looks decidedly purplish violet..!

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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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