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This blog is dedicated to Malta - my island home. My aim is not to bore you with history but to share my thoughts and a few facts together with a photo or two. For a more in -depth background of the island please go here. The purpose of this blog is not to point out the short-comings of the island. There are plenty that do that already. My wish is to show you the beauty of an island at the cross roads of the Mediterranean, a melting pot of history; a place where fact and fiction are sometimes fused to create unique myths and legends; a country that has been conquered so many times that our culture is a mish mesh of the lands that surround us and of lands far away. I confess that my greatest desire is to make you fall in love with this tiny enchanting island.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Cape Sorrel: The Weed That Brightens Up Our Winters

Winter countryside (9)

From mid-December to mid-April our fields and country lanes come alive with a wild flower the colour of sunshine. During these months, Cape Sorrel grows free and unrestrained. But things were not always like this. This plant was introduced to the Mediterranean from South Africa by an English lady around 200 years ago. The story goes that a few plants were grown in the greenhouses at Argotti Botanical Gardens. Somehow some seeds managed to escape and found the perfect climate and terrain to proliferate. From Malta, this pretty wild flower spread throughout the region. I found a good article by Leslie Vella on Malta Inside Out which goes into  more detail about this – you can read it here.

View from our window (3)

Although this plant was not always indigenous to the Maltese islands, it has adapted so well and become so common-place that few people so much as give it a second glance. Indeed, it can be a bit of a nuisance when it takes over cultivated fields and gardens and has to be pulled out or it will suffocate any seedlings attempting to grow.

With that peculiar Maltese penchant of re-naming everything under the sun, this wild-flower is called ‘l-ingliza’ – which means the English one, or in this case, the English weed. Children also call it ‘qarsu’ (which means sour) because it is not uncommon to find kids chewing the flower stalks and they are indeed very sour. I am speaking from experience here.

Winter countryside (11)

Like so many things in nature, these pretty flowers come and go effortlessly. No fanfare greets their arrival. It is as if we wake up one morning and the set has been changed. Suddenly our eyes open up to the simple beauty surrounding us as, for a few month, our fields seem to reflect the sunbeams.

Winter countryside (25)

15 comments:

  1. We have similar yellow flowers, the Wood Sorrel, which is small and delicate, much like clover with its three heart-shaped leaflets. They just grow in small clusters here and aren't as bright and sunny as yours, but do come in pink and lavender too.

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  2. wow, it's amazing how this flower adapted and thrived. i think they're pretty.

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  3. How gorgeous Loree...I love seeing those amazing shots of a yellow haze everywhere...wow..gorgeousness! You are blessed to live in such beauty!!

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  4. Love the color and the textures, but that landscape image is stunning!! I see you're enjoying the warm front too. I was in short sleeves today (but for a brief hour only...)

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  5. It's amazing how such a pretty little flower creates such a pretty sight!

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  6. Amazing and beautiful how it spreads!

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  7. Wonderful post and photos, Loree... It is almost as if a change in the weather is heralded by these bursts of sunshine... Just lovely!

    Bises,
    Genie

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  8. Yellow fields of flowers - the bright of the south island - wonderful! Hugs from Luzia.

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  9. Always loved yellow flowers... :)

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  10. jumpling from kayni's blog.

    i pulled a ton of these from my backyard over the weekend. when the rain stops, i'd go back and pull some more from my frontyard.

    i heart malta/valletta.

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  11. Beautiful photos!!! I wish you'd come back to RedGage...
    ~Bill~

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  12. wonderful photos!

    http://design-elements-blog.com/

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  13. Nice flowers Loree

    Though its Malta, but it reminds me of India the great mustard fields of Punjab

    Please share more photos

    Its really bad to see that crop field are being cut to create properites, apartments

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  14. You portray our island as it is in truth,without the complications of human faults and without complications. Wonderful work

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