Flora in the Genal Valley
The relatively low intensity of farming and grazing, combined with a low human impact, has meant that the Genal Valley has retained many of its historical natural values. Vegetation is less controlled than in other areas, resulting in a wide biodiversity of trees, plants and flowers, including several species of wild orchid.
Flora in the Genal Valley is linked to the type of soil, in turn influenced by the three most typical types of rock: silicate, sedimentary or peridotite. The latter is fairly toxic for most species; therefore some of those trees and plants that do thrive are endemic, such as the wild strawberry bush, rock rose, heather, Kermes Oak and the mountain pine.
Flora in the sedimentary rock is that most affected by man, since it is where most trees have been felled and most grazing has taken place. Generally speaking, the most common types plant are bushes such as common lavender, rosemary, Mediterranean dwarf palm, gorse, plus some examples of Aleppo pine.
Most of the surface of the Genal Valley however is silicate rock. The northern end is home to a Mediterranean forest with a preponderance of holm oaks, Spanish broom, cistus and butcher’s broom.
Special mention must be made of two trees, one for its scientific value and the other for its economic importance: the Sierra Bermeja, on the south eastern edge of the Genal Valley is one of the few places in the world where the protected Spanish fir grows. It has survived from prehistoric times, a hardy tree that survives on the cooler, more humid northern slopes.
The chestnut occupies some 4,000 hectares, and is one of the mainstays of the local economy and the symbol of the Genal Valley: its deciduous leaves transform vast areas from spring through to autumn, the fruit being harvested at the time when a large part of the valley is covered in a blanket of golden leaves.