Easter buttonhole

DAY 16 (21 APR) – Carnations (dianthus caryophyllus) (Vejer, Spain)

Mocita dame el clavel / Dame el clavel de tu boca / (Young girl, give me the carnation / Give me the carnation of your mouth) /… the opening lines of Spain’s best known song Clavelitos.

Lazy Easter Sunday… I barely had to lean out from my sofa to take these.

Am so envious of the flung-together look of these carnation and geranium-laden balconies. The creation of our neighbour opposite, a local lady with years of experience.

The national flower of Spain, it symbolises love, fascination and distinction.

Asian delicacies

DAY 15 (20 APR) – Orchid tree (Chiclana, Spain)

These delicate orchid trees (bauhinia variegata) caught my eye, arranged around a tiny square here in Cadiz province.

They’re native to South and South East Asia, and Spain is the only European country to plant them. In the Neotropics, they are used to attract hummingbirds. Lovely thought.

Tropical and deadly

DAY 14 (19 APR) – Castor bean plant (Vejer de la Frontera, Spain)

Found this exotic plant growing on wasteland by a car park. It’s all over the hillsides here.

It’s a castor bean – indigenous to East Africa, but has spread along the Mediterranean. Love the star-shaped leaves and wine-red stems.

The clue’s in the Latin name ricinus communis. The seeds, which burst out of these spiky red pods, contain ricin: thousands of times more poisonous than a rattlesnake bite.

Uninvited guest

DAY 13 (18 APR) – Moorish gecko (Vejer de la Frontera, Spain)

This little guy appeared on our wall this afternoon and helpfully froze in situ while I fetched my phone.

He turns out to be a tarentola mauritanica or Moorish gecko – also known as a crocodile gecko because of his tail.

They are common in Spain, Italy and North Africa. But advice is they are nervous so should not be handled. I wasn’t tempted… but cute feet.

Ethereal lanterns

DAY 12 (17 APR) – Common morning glory (Vejer de la Frontera, Spain)

I’m hopelessly in love with a weed. It’s all over the town – I found this ipomoea purpurea (common morning glory)clinging to a lamp post.

Apparently the seeds can produce an effect similar to LSD. But who needs LSD when you look inside and see these stamens glowing?

Jasmine, palm tree, church wall

DAY 11 (16 APR) – Jasmine (Vejer de la Frontera, Spain)

It’s a warm evening on Tuesday of Holy Week. As the devout leave mass at the Divino Salvador church they’re greeted by this jasmine grandiflorum absolute (or Becky’s Bath Salts). I haven’t been able to find a Spanish translation…

It’s fading fast, but still seductive.