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blog by: El Paraje
Berchules, Granada, Spain

30 May 2010

Cerastium gibraltaricum var. lanuginosum or cerastium boissieri

Next to the irrigation channel, almost at the highest part of the finca, we saw a number of plants with white flowers that we think to be the cerastium gibraltaricum var. lanuginosum. On the website of the Flora Iberica there is a whole list of synonyms of this plant, cerastium boissieri probably being the most widely used one. This species of mouse-ear chickweed is a member of the carnation family (caryophyllaceae). It forms part of the Ibero-African flora as it can be found in the mountainous regions of the southern part of the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa. The Swiss botanist Edmond Boissier (1810-1885) is regarded as the authority of the botanical name ´cerastium gibraltaricum´.
Today a guest showed her photos of the walk of the ´Acequias de Bérchules´, and it turned out that this species of mouse-ear chickweed can also be seen somewhere along this route.

related key words: bloemen, cerastio de granada, fregones, hoornbloem, hornkraut, pink family, familia cariofiláceas, anjerfamilie, nelkengewächse Alpujarras, Sierra Nevada, wandelen, wandelingen, trektocht, standplaats vakantie, hiking, trekking, Berchules, B&B, hotel, wanderungen

27 May 2010

Digitalis obscura or Spanish foxglove

The first time we saw the digitalis obscura was near the Junta de los Ríos en Bérchules, a couple of years ago. This year we saw many on both sides of the road between Bérchules and Cádiar, the first ones flowering three weeks ago. Yesterday we were luckily suprised to see one in full bloom on our own terrain in the shade of a holm oak. In Spanish this digitalis obscura has many synonyms (see list of related key words), the most common being the ´crujia´, ´corregia´, ´digital negra´ and ´dedalera negra´. In Bérchules we heard somebody call it a ´cohetecillo´ as if it were a small rocket let off during the local San Pantaleon fiesta.
The digitalis obscura is a member of the scrophulariaceae (figwort family) and is said to be a notorious element of the Ibero-African flora. On the distribution map of the Anthos Proyect, we can see that it has been observed at the French side of the Pyrenees as well. As it also grows in northern Africa, the English name ´Spanish foxglove´ and the German name ´Spanisher Fingerhut´ are in that sense not really correct. In the publication Flores Silvestres de Andalucía of Gabriel García Guardia we can read that the Latin name ´digitalis obscura´ was already used by botanists in the late Middle Ages and that it was clearly designated in the works of the German botanist Leonhart Fuchs (1501 – 1566) and the Swiss botanist Gaspard Bauhin (1560 – 1624). Nevertheless, it is the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus (1707 – 1778) who is regarded as the official authority of its name.

Related key words: spanish shrub foxglove, spanish rusty foxglove, black snapdragon, brugia, brugía, brujas, brujía, brujías, clavelina de monte, clavelinas, clavellina de monte, corogia,  corrigia, corrigía, corrijia, corrogia, corrugia, crugia, crugía, crugía fina, crugida, crujia fina, crujija fina, dedal de niña, dedalera, dedalera azafranada, digital, escorrecia, escurrugía, estepilla, gangrenosa, hierba crujiera, hierba de las muelas, hierba de las úlceras, hierba gangrenosa, mansiuleta, quebrantahuesos, yerba crujida, yerba de las herias, yerba de las úlceras, vingerhoedskruid, spaanse vingerhoed, spaanse obscura, helmkruidfamilie, weegbreefamlie, braunwurzgewächse, rachenblütler, scrophulariaceae,  escrofulariáceas, plantaginaceae, plantagináceas

25 May 2010

Muscari comusum or Tassel Hyacinth

The Tassel Hyacinth is a plant of the lily family. Six weeks ago we saw this tufted grape hyacinth in flower in the valley of the Guadalfeo at an altitude of about 900 metres. At the highest point of our finca they are still flowering at the moment. Yesterday we saw hundreds of them on and near our old threshing circle at almost 1,500 metres. In a few southern regions (Basilicata and Puglia) of Italy, this lampascione (Italian name) is cultivated for its edible bulb. These bulbs, which are reportedly tasty and bittersweet when fully cooked, are used to prepare omelettes or vegetable soups. When grown to eat, they are harvested when a few thin leaves appear, and are not permitted to bloom. For the Greek and Italian market they are cooked and canned by small commercial specialists, packed in oil and vinegar, to be used as a relish. As you can see from the related key words, this plant has many synonyms in Spanish. A number of Spanish names, like ´cebollón´ for example, also refer to its edible bulb. The author of its botanical name ´muscari comusum´ is the Scottish botanist Philip Miller (1691 – 1771).

Related key words: hairy muscari, edible muscari, feather hyacinth,  agüelicos, ajete, ajete de cigüeña, ajipuerco, ajo, ajo de cigüeña, ajo de culebra, ajo de perro, ajo perro, ajopuerro, ajos de cigüeña, cebolla de lagarto, cebollita de milano, cebollón, guitarrillo, guitarrillos, hiacinto, hierba del querer, hierbas de los amores, implo, jacinto, jacinto comoso, jacinto de penacho, jacinto mayor comoso, jacinto penachudo, jacintos silvestres, lilas, matacandil, mayos, ojo de ajo, penitentes, kuifhyacint, schopfige traubenhyazinthe, ackerhyacinthe, schopmusk, queue-de-poireau, muscari chevelu, ail à toupet, poireau roux, muscaro selvatico, lampasciuni, lamponi, pampascioni, liliaceae, leliefamilie, liliácea, lilienartig

18 May 2010

Rutas temáticas del Patrimonio Histórico en la Alpujarra Alta

A new publication of the ethnologist Agustín Sánchez Hita is a fact. This book Rutas Temáticas del Patrimonio Histórico – La Arquitectura Tradicional en la Alpujarra Alta was commissioned by the ADR Alpujarra-Sierra Nevada and presented in Pitres on Wednesday the third of May. This well documented guide gives suggestions for routes to get to know the natural and cultural heritage of a part of the high Alpujarra. Bérchules forms part of the high Alpujarra as well, but this guide comprises information on thirteen better known villages: Pampaneira, Bubión, Capileira, Pitres, Capilerilla, Mecina Fondales, Mecinilla, Fondales, Ferreirola, Atalbéitar, Pórtugos, Busquístar and Trevélez. In these villages there are new panels with information on the most interesting historic buildings or elements with a map to find them. Unfortunately there are no English translations of the texts for the visitors that can´t read Spanish. There are a limited number of copies available of Rutas Temáticas del Patrimonio Histórico that will be distributed amongst local libraries and town halls. We have this publication with thematic routes in the library of ´El Paraje´ and can make copies of parts of the book for the guests that would be interested.
Agustín Sánchez Hita is one of the speakers of the Jornadas sobre Paisaje y Patrimonio de la Alpujarra that are going to be held in Pitres the 11th and 12th of June. On Friday the 11th of June at 19.00 hours he will make up a critical balance of the present situation regarding the historical heritage of the Alpujarra.

Related articles:
El Patrimonio Histórico de la Alpujarra y Río Nacimiento

Related links:
- Article from the Ideal by Rafael Vílchez: La arquitectura y patrimonio histórico de la Alpujarra Alta son recopilados en una guía
- Blog de la Taha: nuevos paneles informativos

17 May 2010

Jornadas sobre Paisaje y Patrimonio de La Alpujarra

The Asociación Cultural Abuxarra and the Club Unesco Alpujarra Granadina have organized two days with an interesting programme on the landscape and heritage of the Alpujarra. These Jornadas sobre Paisaje y Patrominio de La Alpujarra will be held on Friday the 11 th and Saturday the 12th of June in the Salón de Actos del Ayuntamiento de La Tahá in Pitres.


17:30 • Inauguración oficial a cargo de D. Pedro Benzal Molero, delegado provincial de la Consejería de Cultura de la Junta de Andalucía; Dña. María del Rosario Fernández Quirantes, alcaldesa del Ayuntamiento de La Taha; D. Ángel Bañuelos Arroyo, presidente del Club UNESCO Alpujarra- Granada, y D. Adolfo García de Viana Cárdenas, presidente de la Asociación Cultural Abuxarra.

18:00 • Dña. Yolanda Jiménez Olivencia, directora del Instituto de Desarrollo Regional de la Universidad de Granada, profesora de la Universidad de Granada, Departamento de Análisis Regional, directora del grupo de investigación “Paisaje, Planificación Territorial y Desarrollo Local”. “El paisaje como recurso de desarrollo”.

19:00 • D. Agustín Sánchez Hita, etnólogo. “El patrimonio histórico de La Alpujarra. Balance crítico”.

20:00 • Copa de vino.


10:30 • D. José Luis Rosúa Campos, coordinador de la Licenciatura en Ciencias Ambientales de la Universidad de Granada, responsable de la Cátedra UNESCO de Desarrollo Sostenible y Medio Ambiente de la Universidad de Granada. “Biodiversidad agraria y paisaje”.

11:30 • Café.

12:00 • D. José Castillo Ruiz, profesor de Historia del Arte de la Universidad de Granada, director del Observatorio del Patrimonio Histórico Español. “Patrimonio Histórico y sociedad: la importancia de las personas”.

13:00 • D. Juan Carlos García de los Reyes, arquitecto y urbanista GR-Arquitectos, redactor de los PGOU (en tramitación) de La Taha, Juviles, Lanjarón, Órgiva, Pórtugos, Bérchules, Lobras y Almegíjar. “Estrategias para la protección, ordenación y gestión del paisaje en La Alpujarra”.

17:00 • D. José López Gallardo, diputado de Turismo de la Diputación de Granada. “Paisaje y paisanaje en el turismo de la Alpujarra”.

18:00 • D. Juan Manuel Becerra, arquitecto jefe del Servicio de Protección de la Dirección General de Bienes Culturales de la Consejería de Cultura. “La protección del paisaje en el marco de la Ley 14/2007 del Patrimonio Histórico de Andalucía”.

19:00 • Mesa redonda.

20:00 • Acto de clausura.

13 May 2010

Orchis olbiensis or Southern Early Purple

Close to the finca of ´El Paraje´, there are at the moment large number of small pink and purple orchids in flower. You can see these wild orchids going up the ´pista alta´ from the Cruz de Juviles. Having a look in different flora books and on the internet we think that it is an Orchis mascula subs. olbiensis, sometimes called Orchis olbiensis. This Southern Early Purple is said to be one of the most common and best-known Mediterranean orchids. To see this olbia orchis we recommend our Barranquillo de Agua walk. There are large clusters of purple and pink orchids near the cortijo de Barranquillo de Agua (between waypoints 11 and 12 and the map of our walk), a magnificent sight. For our Dutch readers we like to mention that this is the Kleine mannetjesorchis.
PS On the 24th of May we saw one Southern Early Purple near the threshing circle at the highest part of our terrain, from where you can see the cortijo Barranquillo de Agua in the distance.

Related articles:
- Ophrys lutea or yellow ophrys

related key words: orchis olivetorum, orchis mascula var. olbiensis, orchis mascula ssp. olbiensis, androrchis olbiensis, satirión manchado, orquídea macho,  hyères-knabenkraut, orchis d' hyères, orchidaceae, orchideeënfamilie, orquidáceas, orchid family, orchideen, orchidacées, orchidées,Alpujarras, Sierra Nevada, wandelen, wandelingen, trektocht, standplaats vakantie, hiking, trekking, Berchules, B&B, hotel, wanderungen

8 May 2010

Mercado de las Artes in Orgiva

This morning a Mercado de las Artes will be inaugarated in Órgiva. Twenty-five art and handicrafts exhibitors are expected on this first art market. From today onwards it will be held on the first Saturday of each month from 10.00 to 14.00 hours on the main square the Plaza de la Alpujarra.
P.S. From April 2011 it will be held on every first Thursday of the month from 10.00 to 15.00 hours. (see article on on

Related articles:
Alpujarras market days schedule

Related links:
Article from the Ideal by Rafael Vílchez: ´Órgiva crea un espacio para que artistas y artesanos puedan vender sus obras´
Atricle from the Ideal by Rafael Vílchez: ´Artesanos y artistas de la Alpujarra muestran sus trabajos en Órgiva´

5 May 2010

Tragopogon porrifolius or Purple Salsify

A wildflower that we have been enjoying on our own finca every year so far, is the Purple Salsify. Never before did we see as many as this year however. This pretty flower is a member of the asteraceae and it has been known for its herbal properties since classical times. It is mentioned by Dioscorides in his Materia Medica (´Regarding Medical Matters´ in English) and by Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia. This goatsbeard is claimed to have beneficial effects on the liver and gall bladder. The root, and sometimes the young shoots, of this common salsify are used as a vegetable, and historically the plant was cultivated for that purpose. The root is noted for tasting of oysters, from which the plant derives its alternative name of oyster plant. Cultivation in Europe began in the 16th century in France and Italy. In Great Britain it was initially grown for its flower and later became a mildly popular vegetable in the 18th century but then declined in popularity. Presently the root is cultivated and eaten most frequently in France, Italy and Russia. In the Netherlands the ´Paarse morgenster´ is on the list of ´vergeten groentes´ (forgotten vegetables). In modern times the purple salsify has tended to be replaced by the Spanish Salsify (Scorzonera hispanica) as a cultivated crop. The Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus (1707 – 1778) gave this purple salsify its official name Tragopogon Porrifolius.

Related key words: vegetable oyster, jerusalem star, goatsbeard, barba cabruna, barba de cabra, barba de cabrón, barbaja, barbón, hierba del costado, rosetón de villaviciosa, salsifí, salsifí blanca, salsifí blanco, teta de vaca, tetas de vaca, tetilla de vaca, paarse morgenster, blauwe morgenster, haverwortel, armeluis´asperges, witte schorseneren, oesterplant, boksbaard, keukenmeidenverdriet, haferwurzel, habermark, purpur-bocksbart, austernpflanze, sunflower family, composietenfamilie, familie der korbblütler

4 May 2010

21 días en la Valle de las Sensaciones

La Valle de las Sensaciones is an ecovillage near Yátor. It is a project of creative community life in harmony with nature. The ´Valley of the Sensations´ is set in a spectacular landscape with unsual erosive formations, with a stream running though it and an enormous degree of biodiversity. The initiators of this ´ecoaldea´ aspire to be a place of inspiration and co-operation for artists, craftsmen and technicians. A fertile ground for new programs that combine art, ecology and technology. They organize events such as full moon parties, and offer courses such as percussion workshops, making musical instruments, clay building, construction of geodesic domes, making furniture, etc. The aim of the project ´Valle de Sensaciones´ is to create a space rich in nature, which design, installations and sustainable infrastructure are allowing people to experiment a wide variety of projects that revive the senses, including the conscience, and help to recreate a profound contact with the spirit of nature, the basis of our life. The Valle de Sensaciones received an award for investigation in renewable energies of the Caja España in 2002.

Samanta Villar is a Spanish journalist who has made programmes about things she expierenced profoundly by spending three weeks with the people she interviewed for her program ´21 días´. Her latest experience - this will at the same time be her last programme - is the most mystical, as she spent three weeks in the Valle de las Sensaciones. In the Alpujarras she will try to get to know herself better through different rituals of shamanism. Her experiences of community life taking part in all sorts of activities, like the celebration of a gaia-iniciation, will be broadcasted on Sunday the 9th of May on Cuatro 21 días Buscando a Samanta from 21.30 till 00.00 hours.