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After the early autumn rains, Gozo’s countryside is truly alive. If you’re out walking or hiking, have you come across any of these wildflowers?
- Amongst the favourite and most familiar is the French Daffodil (Narċis) that grows on the rock plateaus, in the valleys and clayey countryside areas. Thriving in bunches, the sweet-smelling flowers fill the air with their typical fragrance. The French Daffodil is an indigenous plant native to the Mediterranean region which bears long, slender, ribbon-shaped leaves and tall stems producing flowers with six white petals and a yellow cup, more or less like a miniature of the cultivated daffodils.
- One can easily come across the blue star-shaped flower of the Borage plant (Fidloqqom), especially behind the rubble walls of Gozitan fields or abandoned fields. The plant is covered with what looks like prickly bristles, which serve as a protection against some herbivores. The medicinal properties of this plant have been recorded since the times of the Greeks and locally this plant was considered to be effective as a cough remedy.
- The Field Gladiolus (Ħabb il-Qamħ) is easily recognised from its vivid deep-pink flower that looks like a miniature gladiolus flower arranged on a long flowering stalk. It usually flowers around Easter time and thrives in the open countryside close to or even in cultivated fields.
- Less known but exquisite in many ways is the Large Star of Bethlehem (Ħalib it-Tajr Kbir). This white flower in the shape of a star is a member of the Asparagus family. It can be found blooming in various places but you’re bound to stumble upon it on rocky garigue and valley sides present in many natural sites around Gozo.
- And finally, one that few can name – The Maltese Pyramid Orchid (Orkideja Piramidali ta’ Malta) is a rather scarce and difficult plant to spot when not in its flowering season. When in bloom from February to April, it is then easy to recognise from its distinct pyramid or cone-shaped spike of small, baby pink flowers each with their typical orchid shape. This plant is endemic to the Maltese islands and is protected by law.
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