Plants of the Upper Rock outing
This outing, which took place on Saturday the 30th March was originally planned to cover Mediterranean Steps but, due to gale force levanter wind, we decided to avoid the east side and concentrate on the more sheltered west side of the Rock.
The walk started up St Michael’s Path to its junction with Mediterranean Road. The effects of the low rainfall to date were very evident in the dryness of the path, the lack of annuals, and the sorry state of Bear’s Breech Acanthus mollis. In any case there were plenty of shrubs, trees and climbing plants to make the area interesting. At the top of Mediterranean Road we were able to see both species of lavender: Toothed Lavender Lavandula dentata and Cut-leaved Lavender Lavandula multifida, the latter being quite rare outside the Lower Slopes. We then continued along the footpath connecting this Road to St Michael’s Path. This path was cleared and opened to the public some four years ago. Here we saw a few plants of the very rare Shrubby Sideritis Sideritis arborescens, which is only found on the Rock on this path.
From here we walked up to O’Hara’s Road and onto Douglas Path. Here we saw the rare fern Lanceolate Spleenwort Asplenium billotii, which is generally found growing around the bases of the Dwarf Fan Palm. Apart from the stunning views that can be seen along this path, we were also treated to some beautiful specimens of Gibraltar Candytuft Iberis gibraltarica. We also found one plant of the orchid Two-leaved Gennaria Gennaria diphylla, and plentiful leaves of Perennial Delphinium Delphinium pentagynum, which flowers towards the end of spring. On the way down, we saw a couple of Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna, and many more Iberis plants by the roadside.
The weather wasn’t perfect, but all those attending enjoyed the walk.