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The Natural Park of Sierra Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama

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Flora

The Natural Park of Sierra Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama is home to one of the most impressive ranges of plant species in Spain, many of which are rare or endemic. This is partly due to the contrasting orientation of the slopes: from northwest to southeast.

In terms of trees, there is a high density of boxwood, yew and acebuche, a variety of wild olive tree. At one point, the concentration of yew trees was such that it gave its name to one of the areas within the Natural Park (Tejeda). Yew was particularly prized for its wood (furniture and medicines purposes), but was eventually destroyed on a large scale due its toxicity towards grazing animals. Having said this, there is a small yew forest, the most southerly in the Iberian Peninsula, that can be seen one on of the multiple walking routes.

Other numerous woodlands are home to several families of pine: Corsican, Maritime, Mountain and Aleppo. These trees thrive due to their resistance to the generally acidic ground, and the lack of soil that favours their generally horizontal root spreads. On the higher slopes, the trees are more typically indigenous: cork, holm, Pyrenean and gall oaks, in addition to junipers.

The endemic flora in the Sierra de Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama Natural Park is limited to plants that have colonized the gravel and acidic sand covered areas: saxifrage erioblasta, toadflax, kidney vetch, fairy foxglove, purple columbine and milkwort, amongst others.

Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the local flora is the richness in aromatic plants, formerly used in the preparation of food (the picking of plants is now prohibited in any natural park): lavender, lemon thyme and other species of thyme, sage, oregano, and rosemary.     

 

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