MALAGA – One of the most beautiful orchid paradises in Europe can be found in the province of Málaga. If you want to see the flowers at their most beautiful, you should seize the opportunity now! Because the colourful wild orchids are still in bloom until June.
According to expert Manuel Bercerra, orchids thrive optimally in the Andalucian calcareous soil as exactly the right amount of rain falls. Furthermore, over a hundred orchid species grow in the Iberian Peninsula. More than half of which can be found in the province of Málaga. Thanks to the microclimate, very special varieties can be found here from both the European and the African continent.
According to biologist Estrella Robles, the orchid is a special plant with a number of rare properties. For example, different ways of reproduction can be distinguished. Some species mimic female insects to attract males and allow themselves to be pollinated, while others produce sweet nectar as bait. The evolution of the orchid is unprecedented and goes back 70 million years in time.
Most orchids in Malaga can be found in three areas:
the mountains of Antequera (el arco calizo central)
- the mountains of Alhaurín and Mijas
- Parque natural de las Sierras de Tejada, Almijara y Alhama in the comarca Axarquía.
Orchid connoisseur Alberto Escolano spent years scouring all walking routes in his municipality of Canillas de Aceituno. Along these routes, he registered the variety of orchid species. Now he organises excursions every spring to introduce people to these special flower types. A reservation for the excursion can be made at the Sedella Visitor Centre (email@example.com).
Another flower paradise lies a little further north along the Hoz de Marín. This is a mountain path carved out of the rock in the municipality of Archidona. Here is the province’s only indigenous pine forest. And along the local hiking trail you will find the fragrant and metallic Ophrys vernixia and the special Ophrys algarvensis. In this area, Manuel Becerra discovered the nine newest orchid varieties. Because these species easily interbreed, the number of newcomers continues to grow unabated.
However, those who do not like walking can admire orchids in a simpler way. To do this, you can visit the Orquidario of Estepona. With no fewer than 4,000 orchids of some 1,500 different species, this is the largest living plant park in Europe. Regardless of the time of year, at least 200 different orchid species are always in bloom here.