10 Types of Spanish plants

What Are the Native Plants of Spain?

Spain is the second-largest country in southwestern Europe and is home to much stunning native flora and fauna that go as far as to attract tourists. The country experiences different climates, with the southern parts receiving warmer summers than the cooler regions in the north.

It also has varying landscapes. These differences in climate are the reasons behind the different native plants in the country. Many of these plants start growing in spring. 

Here are some of the unique native plants in Spain:

  • Lesser butterfly orchid (Platanthera bifolia)
  • Bee orchid (Ophrys apifera)
  • Oak tree (Quercus)
  • Silver broom (Adenocarpus decorticans)
  • Sandwort of Majorca (Arenaria grandiflora subsp. bolosii.)
  • The Balearic milkvetch (Astragalus balearicus)
  • Balearic boxwood (Buxus balearica)
  • Cornicabra o Terebinto (Pistacia terebinthus)
  • Jade plant (Crassula ovata)
  • Pine tree (Pinus)
  • Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus)

What Is a Famous Plant in Spain?

The red carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus) is a popular plant in Spain and also the country’s national flower. It is a part of popular Spanish traditions. They call it Clavel and it signifies love and affection between lovers. It also holds a vital religious meaning, especially in the passion of Christ. 

It is a flowering perennial that grows best in Southern Spain under the following conditions. 

  • It thrives best in well-drained soil with an alkaline pH of 7-8
  • It requires full sun for maximum blooming, but it can survive in partial shade
  • Under the right conditions, it attains a height of 12 to 18 inches and blooms in late spring, but it reblooms with care

How Many Plant Species Are in Spain?

It is hard to estimate how many plant species Spain has exactly, but it has extremely diverse flora, including a large variety of conifers, shrubs and herbs. Spain also stands out among the countries with the highest number of single-nation endemics. In addition, Spain has the highest number of vascular plants among the European and Mediterranean countries, flaunting about 8000 to 9000 species of such plants.

The country is also one of the only 25 biodiversity hotspots globally due to its high endemism level. The mountainous regions host species like coniferous woodlands and beech trees, while you will find some species of beech trees and oak trees in the wet areas of the country. 

Each region in Spain is home to a specific type of plant

  • Lowland areas- chestnuts, ash trees, linden, hazelnuts, Marple trees
  • Mediterranean regions- myrtle, lavender, and laurel plants
  • Cooler and wet regions-beech and oak trees

Other species like the broom, fern, and heather are widespread. 

Types of Spanish Plants

If you love nature and the outdoors, especially exploring plants, Spain has a lot to offer you. The country boasts various unique types of plants, some of which you cannot find in other parts of the world. The varying climates and landscapes across the country allow a wide range of plant species to flourish.

The following are some types of Spanish plants.

1.    Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea glabra)

Spanish plant species

It is an evergreen climbing shrub that produces small white flowers surrounded by prominent pink bracts. The bracts come out orange but turn bold pink with a hint of purple as they mature, which gives it a bicolor appearance. The stems have sharp clad that bear the flowers and small sharp-pointed leaves. 

The following are care tips and facts about Bougainvillea glabra.

  • It thrives in moist, well-drained acidic or neutral loam or sand and appreciates full sun exposure
  • It requires low maintenance and low watering 
  • It is ideal for wall borders, ground cover in banks, and rocky gardens. It can also grow in containers and large baskets with special care
  • It is showy, tolerant to deer, drought, and salty conditions but attracts birds and hummingbirds
  • It blossoms all year round from spring, summer, winter, and fall.

2.    Bumble-Bee Ophrys (Ophyrs Bombyliflora)

Spanish flower species
Bumble-bee Ophrys

It is a short grasslands herbaceous and stocky plant with rosette leaves near the ground. The flower has many wide-spaced petals. The sepals are furry and wing-like, and it has brown lip-like petals with yellow markings to make them resemble a bee. The flower goes to emitting a female bee scent to attract bees. 

Here are the growing and care requirements

  • For best results, plant it in spring or autumn in warmer climates 
  • It grows in well-drained alkaline soil but requires moisture to bloom
  • It prefers full sun but can survive partial to full shade in its natural habitat
  • It needs moderate watering
  • It is not easy to grow it outside 
  • If you manage to grow it successfully, please prune the dead leaves to allow for new ones to grow
  • It blooms in spring and summer, but in hot climates, its season is spring and winter

3.    Carnation

Spanish plant varieties
Red Carnation, the national flower of Spain

Carnations generally symbolize distinction, love, and fascination. Red carnation, Clavel in Spanish, is the national flower in Spain, and it signifies affection and love between lovers. It is also an important symbol in Spanish traditions. They use it as a religious symbol, like the passion of Christ. They are sometimes thought to be short-lived perennials, but you can enjoy their vibrant beauty and fragrance for several years if you take proper care of them. 

Carnations are easy to grow and maintain. The following are its growing conditions.

  • It requires excellently drained alkaline soil. You can add some lime to your soil if it is acidic to give your plant an energetic start
  • It flourishes in full sun or partial shade
  • It is drought-resistant and only needs more water in spring during the flowering period
  • It grows best in warm conditions, but too much heat will cause their wilting
  • It blooms in the late spring but has chances of reblooming

4.    Jasmine

Types of Spanish plants

It is an evergreen vine with broad leaves, and some species grow as shrubs in warm climates. It produces reddish-pink buds in winter that later open into start blossoms. They are also popular climbers in outdoor gardens. When growing jasmine as a houseplant, the ease of growing them varies with species. 

Growing and caring for jasmines to bloom is not hard.

  • Jasmines grow well in direct sunlight in summer and moisture throughout the year
  • It thrives in well-drained peat potting mix; always ensure that the mix is slightly moist but avoid waterlogging
  • It needs weak liquid fertilizer throughout its growing season

5.    Mandrake

What types of flowers live in spain?
Mandrake flowers in bloom

Mandrake has large wrinkled leaves that resemble tobacco leaves and a mature height of 2 to 6 inches. Flowers, which later form berries, appear at the center of the plant, which grows flat on the ground. You can also identify a mandrake from its roots which can grow up to 1 meter long and resemble a human finger. 

  • It grows well in USDA zones 6 to 8     
  • It thrives in rich, well-drained soil. Waterlogged or clay soil causes root rot
  • It can thrive and bloom in full sun or partial shade
  • Please avoid planting mandrake anywhere near kids or edible plants because it is toxic

6.    Pink Butterfly Orchid (Orchis papilionacea)

Types of Spanish plants
Pink Butterfly Orchid (Orchis papilionacea) in natural habitat

 It is a tubular plant of the Mediterranean region that grows to a mature height of 20 to 40 cm, including flowering branches. It has long leaves with dark purple dots. It is famous for its nutritious, medicinal, and ornamental values. 

  • It performs best in full sun or partial shade
  • It can survive in all soil types but prefers most calcareous ones
  • It requires regular watering, up to 5 times a week in summer
  • You have to prune dry leaves and dead flowers to give room for others to grow
  • They are tolerant to weak frost

7.    Pyramid Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis)

Types of Spanish flowers
Pyramid Orchid

It is a perennial plant that grows up to 1 foot tall in hardiness zones 5 to 9. It is found chiefly in grasslands with chalk, limestone, or calcareous dunes. Most people grow it for its edibility and medicinal value. 

8.    Sempervivum vicentei

Spanish succulent plants
Sempervivum succulent plant

It is a succulent native to Spain in Europe and Africa and has beautiful pointed leaves in a rosette arrangement. It is succulent and evergreen. 

  • It performs best in well-drained, slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil and appreciates full sun exposure.
  • It attains a mature height of 6 to 12 inches and 6 to 18 inches wide.
  • It blooms in summer.

9.    Stipa Gigantean

It is an ornamental grass commonly known as Spanish oats, giant oats, or giant needle grass. It grows up to 18 inches tall before starting to produce spikes of flowers. The plant requires minimal maintenance and watering. 

  • It flourishes in well-drained alkaline, acidic, or neutral soil and full sun
  • It is resistant to deer and drought
  • It blossoms in summer, fall, and winter and attracts birds

10. Stipa tenacissima

Endemic spanish plants
Stipa, also known as feather grass

It is a gorgeous and graceful ornamental grass with long silvery-green thread-like leaves. The green leaves turn brown towards fall. 

  • It grows best in moderately fertile, well-drained alkaline, acidic, or neutral soil and prefers full sun 
  • It has a mature size of 30 to 60cm in height and width
  • Caring for Stipa tenacissima is easy as it is a pest and diseases free
  • Its season of interest is from spring to fall

Spanish Native Plants Summary

Common name Botanical name Blooming
BougainvilleaBougainvillea glabraIt blooms from November to May 
Carnations Dianthus caryophyllusIt blossoms in spring 
Mandrake Mandragora officinarumMandrake flowers in spring
Hens and Chicks Sempervivum vicenteiIt is a short bloomer that displays flowers from mid to late summer
Jasmine JasminumIt displays blossoms in spring and summer 

Infographic: Types of Spanish Plants

10 Types of Spanish plants
Types of Spanish Plants

Other resources related to Spanish plants:

Native Plants of Spain – Garden Guides

Plants of spain. Spanish plants and fauna … – Idealspain

10 Beautiful Flowers of Spain You Can Grow Locally – Garden

Animals & Plants in Spain – Sciencing

Clarisse Walters
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