sao marcos da serra, park

Showing category "nature" (Show all posts)

Medronho - Much More Than A Drink

Posted by Marianne Hoesen on Monday, November 11, 2013, In : nature 
                             

These are some Medronho berries. They grow on the Strawberry Tree - Arbutus Unedo - and are mainly used to create the famous Algarvean Aguardente de Mendronho.

The berries have an acquired taste. Maybe that is why it has "Unedo" in its Latin name, which means: eat only 1. The fruit and the pretty little flowers can be see all at the same time, between October and December. It takes a complete year for the berry to develop from flower to ripe fruit. First they are g...
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Esteva - Queen Of The Serra

Posted by Marianne Hoesen on Saturday, August 4, 2012, In : nature 
                            
 
The Esteva (Cistus ladanifer - or Gum Rock Rose) is a common wild flower in the hills of the Algarve. This evergreen shrub is so tough that it can survive extreme drought and its seeds even survive a fire. Although this shrub does not strike you as a pretty plant during the greatest part of the year, it changes into a real beauty when spring is in the air. The Esteva then produces ample delicate flowers that color the hills white. The flowers are crinkled like cra...

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Wintertime - Time for Tea

Posted by Marianne Hoesen on Tuesday, December 6, 2011, In : nature 

While the winter months arrive, many people love to drink a nice hot cup of tea to warm up. The people in the area of São
Marcos da Serra love their teas. And they don´t only taste good, but they are also great for your health. Here are 2 of their favorite ones:

                                   

Chá Bela Luisa or Lúcia Lima (Aloysia triphylla)
This plant is native in South America and. The leaves of this plant are used (preferably fresh from the garden) to brew a lovely calming tea. The Por...

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The Palm Tree Killer

Posted by Marianne Hoesen on Tuesday, November 22, 2011, In : nature 
             

                               

Since last year the Red Palm Weevil (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus), called Gorgulho Vermelho in Portugal, has appeared in São Marcos da Serra as well. Anybody loving his palm trees should watch out!


This pest originated in India in 1891 and spread through Egypt to Spain in 2004. Since 2007 this beetle has entered the Algarve. At first it was only active at the coast, but  it is spreading rapidly inland. It now has reached the border to the Alentejo. Th...
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Mushroom Season in the Serra

Posted by Marianne Hoesen on Friday, November 11, 2011, In : nature 
                             


After the first rains of the autumn visit the Algarve, the mushroom season starts. Of course you have to make sure that you know exactly what you are doing, otherwise leave them alone. Each year there are people dying because they made a mistake with mushrooms in the wild. So be careful!

This mushroom for instance is a Parasol (Macrolepiota procera), Roco in Portuguese. It is a very common mushroom here and many people go into the serra to look for them now. If you...

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Another creepy crawler

Posted by Marianne Hoesen on Thursday, September 15, 2011, In : nature 
                           

You really don´t want to bump into these innocent looking little guys!  They are pine processionary caterpillars (Thaumetopoea pityocapa) and live in pine trees.  
 
In the adult phase they are a simple and unremarkable, short lived moth which emerge in the summer and fly at night. A single female can then lay up to 300 tiny eggs which she attaches in a mass to a pine needle. Around one month later these eggs hatch into minute caterpillars. These very social caterpil...

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Watch Out For The Centipede !!

Posted by Marianne Hoesen on Tuesday, September 13, 2011, In : nature 
                                    

Living in the rural Algarve brings you into close contact with nature, which normally is wonderful.  But sometimes some weird creatures can cross your path, such as this little fellow: the Megarian banded centipede (Scolopendia cinglulata centipede), or in Portuguese: centopéia.

Centipede, means 100 feet, which is little overdone.  Most of these centipedes have about 40 legs, 2 per body segment. The Megarian banded centipede has alternating bands of black a...
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Save The Gecko - Salvem As Osgas !!

Posted by Marianne Hoesen on Monday, September 12, 2011, In : nature 


This is a gecko, or in Portuguese: a osga, a harmless and very useful type of lizard that lives in all kinds of warm areas in the world.  It is famous for its special toe pads, that enable it to walk on smooth and vertical surfaces and even to cross ceilings with ease.  A gecko is unique in its vocalizations, making chirping sounds in social interactions with other geckos.  They are extremely useful to people because they feed on insects and mosquitoes.

It is hard to understand why the people ...

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Gardening By The Moon

Posted by Marianne Hoesen on Saturday, July 23, 2011, In : nature 
                       

A lot of people in São Marcos da Serra deal with gardening based on folklore and superstition.  But some of this old wisdom now has been proven scientifically correct!  It is e.g. proven that seeds will absorb most water at full moon. According to many gardeners the phases of the moon are of the utmost importance.  If you consider that the moon is responsible for the low-tide and high-tide in the oceans of the world, and that plants consist for a majority of water, you...
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Barn Swallows and mosquitoes

Posted by Marianne on Tuesday, June 14, 2011, In : nature 


I just love the swallows!  They are such pretty little birds, announcing spring has come, true acrobats in the sky, happy singers and on top of all that all they keep the mosquito population around your house within limits. So there are a lot of pro´s to let them build a nest around your home.  
This year a pair of barn swallows (hirundo rustica) decided they really liked the top left corner of our entrance door.  After getting rid of the foundations countless times, we decided to give in, lo...
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