How to Identify Flowers of Portugal

How to Identify Flowers of Portugal
For wildflower enthusiasts, becoming familiar with the flowers of a region is an important way to gain a sense of place--just as others come to know a region through its people or customs. What's more, just as there are plants that thrive in a multitude of climates and a wide range of conditions, there also are plants that flourish only in subclimates specific to no more than a few square miles on the face of the Earth.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Field guide Magnifying glass Measuring tape Camera Knife or scissors Journal and pen Alcohol wipes
  • Field guide
  • Magnifying glass
  • Measuring tape
  • Camera
  • Knife or scissors
  • Journal and pen
  • Alcohol wipes
Step 1
Peruse your guidebook to get an idea of the variety of flowers that are native to the region you are exploring. The flora of the Azores is likely to be a bit different from the flora of the Algarve. Narcissus cyclamineus is native to northwestern Portugal, while narcissus jonquilla, or baby moon jonquils, are native to southern and eastern parts of the country.
Step 2
Note which native flowers are likely to be in bloom in Portugal during the season in which you are searching. For example, clematis campaniflora is likely to be abundant in August, but impossible to find in June. Narcissus cyclamineus will be in full bloom in March and April, but will have wilted by May.
Step 3
Begin your search focused on a checklist of what you hope to find. Use your journal to catalog your finds and take photos or specimens to confirm that you have correctly identified the species. Some, like the national flower, lavender, or the unmistakable bird of paradise will be easy to identify. Others, like some lesser-known varieties of orchids or water lilies, both generally native to Portugal, might require further study in order to zero in on a precise identification.
Step 4
Whenever identification cannot easily be made in the field, photograph the flower in its native surroundings. Often, the surrounding flora provide clues to identification. Before taking a cutting, make notes in your field journal of specific features of the plant including flower array, the number of flowers per stem, leaf edges, stem characteristics, petal and blossom size, and any other characteristics that might later allow you to confirm your identification of the flower.

Tips & Warnings

 
Remember that fragrances cannot be photographed. In your journal, make a point of describing the fragrance of the flowers you study in Portugal. Not only may this provide you with clues to identification, but it will also provide you with pleasurable sensory memories of your explorations.
 
Remember that fragrances cannot be photographed. In your journal, make a point of describing the fragrance of the flowers you study in Portugal. Not only may this provide you with clues to identification, but it will also provide you with pleasurable sensory memories of your explorations.
 
Whenever you handle unfamiliar plant materials, there is the possibility of skin irritation. Contact dermatitis is best avoided by careful cleansing, so carry packets of alcohol wipes or hand sanitizer on your field trips and use them whenever you have handled unfamiliar plants.
 
Whenever you handle unfamiliar plant materials, there is the possibility of skin irritation. Contact dermatitis is best avoided by careful cleansing, so carry packets of alcohol wipes or hand sanitizer on your field trips and use them whenever you have handled unfamiliar plants.

Article Written By Lois Lawrence

Lois Lawrence is an attorney and freelance writer living and working in Stonington, Conn. She has written on many subjects including travel, food, consumerism, relationships, insurance and law. Lawrence earned a Bachelor of Arts in economics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1976, and a Juris Doctor degree from Boston University School of Law in 1979.

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