Linaria algarviana - Algarve Toadflax

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Equisetopsida - Order: Lamiales - Family: Plantaginaceae

Linaria algarviana

Above: Linaria algarviana flowers at Cape St. Vincent. Picture by kind permission of Ron Porley

This little flower is is one of the rare endemic plants to be found in Cape St. Vincent Natural Park (Parque Nacional de Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina) in the Algarve region of Portugal. It is becoming increasingly rare due to habitat destruction, and is now listed in the Red Data List of endangered plant species. It is one of the toadflaxes which are now included of the Plantain (Plantaginaceae) family - a hugely diverse grouping of plants which now incorporates many of the species originally included in the Scrophulariacea family.

Cape St. Vincent is famous for its biodiversity and boasts a number of endangered and/or endemic species of plants. Despite its designation as a 'natural park' the site is under great pressure from tourist footfall and also, shockingly, from building projects - in recent years villas have been built in the midst of the most fragile of the habitats. The site is also threatened by the dumping of litter and rubble, particularly by builders.

Linaria algarviana is easily confused with Linaria amethystea, which is common throughout the Algarve and found in open coastal fields and meadows.

Linaria algarviana appears to flower later than L. amethystea, but this may be due to the cold, windy and generally inhospitable conditions which often affect Cape St. Vincent well into springtime.

The specimen shown on this page was photographed in mid April.


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