Alpine Garden Society

Ulster Group

Plant of the Month,  September 2008
Sarcocapnos baetica - by Joan McCaughey
On a short visit to Spain early in April Liam and I visited the Parador in the Sierra de Cazorla with plans to climb high to see the endemic flowers. We arrived in a sleet storm and next morning the ground was covered with a light dusting of snow so we decided to explore the surrounding villages instead as it seemed we were too early for the high flora.

Segura is one of the most attractive sites and on the outskirts we noticed this very pretty little flower growing in the crevices on the surrounding limestone cliffs. Unable to identify it, we took photos and then later, on walking through the village, we discovered it growing on many of the village walls.

It was really very common and I wished this lovely little 'weed' would grow on my walls.

It was only when we came home we identified it as Sarcocapnos baetica, a rather choice little alpine, endemic to calcareous crevices in Southern Spain and a member of the fumariaceae, If I find it on a seed list I would love to try and grow it.

The weather improved that day and we were pleased to find many other photogenic species in bloom, many that I covet - an area well worth further exploration.