Alpine Garden Society

Ulster Group

Plant of the Month, July 2011
Ramonda myconi - by Liam McCaughey
In May this year, we went to a friend's wedding reception in Northern Spain - just a couple of hours from the crowds down on the Costa Brava, but a different world. Here we found Ramonda myconi growing just 3 minutes walk from our hotel. Just a little further away, the plants shown here were on the wall of an old castle, dominating the valley of the town of Oliana - and of the view in the picture below ! - the Pyrenees of Andorra are just visible through the gap in the hills to the north.
The Ramonda are growing on the northern aspect, too.
Ramonda myconi (R. pyrenaica), is named in honour of Louis François Élisabeth Ramond, baron de Carbonnières (1755 - 1827), a French politician, geologist and botanist,  regarded as one of the first explorers of the high mountains of the Pyrenees, and who his countrymen would describe as a 'pyrénéiste'.
R. myconi is a relict - a remnant of the tertiary flora of Europe. It is found only in the Pyrenees, while two other species in the genus Ramonda, R. nathaliae and R. serbica, are both found in the Balkans.
In our crevice garden, we have placed a plant in a north-facing vertical crevice - (not the plat shown on left, which is in Spain) - it seems to be fairly happy there, though we have possibly underestimated its appetite for watering - our recent experience would suggest that the rain in Spain does not fall mainly in the Plain !!