Flora and Fauna of The Picos de Europa

Flora of the Picos de Europa

Butterflies and Moths of the Picos de Europa

Mammals of the Picos de Europa

Birds of the Picos de Europa






  Flora of the

Picos de Europa

  The Picos de Europa, Cordillera Cantábrica and valleys of Liébana are home to an amazingly rich and diverse range of plant species.
More than 45 species of orchid alone have been recorded in the Picos. Between the lower meadows and high alpine pastures the opportunity for botanising is endless, partly due to the local's use of traditional methods of land management - tractors and combine harvesters being useless on the small, sloping parcels of land.

     As the snows recede from the mountains three pretty little species of narcissus appear; Asturian daffodil (Narcissus asturiensis), Hoop-petticoat daffodil (Narcissus bulbocodium) and Angel's tears (Narcissus triandrus).


Narcissus asturiensis

Narcissus bulbocodium

Narcissus triandrus

Spectacular Giant orchids (Barlia robertiana) appear early on poor, scrubby ground.....

High pastures are the habitat of half a dozen species of gentians, including the Trumpet gentian (Gentiana acaulis) below...

Following are some more orchids and other flowers that you may be lucky enough to see on your visit to the Picos de Europa.

Pasque flower

(Pulsatilla rubra ssp. hispanica)

above and below


Burnt-tip orchid (Orchis ustulata)


Pyrenean lily (Lilium pyrenaicum)

Martagon lily (Lilium martagon)

Tassel hyacynth (Muscari comosum)


Water aven (Geum rivale)

Dog's tooth violet bud

(Erythronium dens-canis)














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             Hay meadow in Peñarrubia

Spring in the valleys of Liébana sees the first signs of orchid life, especially profusions of early purple and pink butterfly.....

Pink butterfly orchid (Orchis papilionacea)

Early purple orchid (Orchis mascula)

.....making way for the later Lizard orchids (Himantoglossum hircinum).


      Bee orchid (Ophrys apifera)

Globe flower (Trollius europaeus)


Black vanilla orchid (Nigritella gabasiana)


Small tongue orchid (Serapias parviflora)


Large tongue orchid (Serapias cordigera)


Fragrant orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea)


Peony (Paeonia mascula)


Iberian marbled white butterfly ( Melanargia lachesis) on a field scabius (Knautia arvensis)

Photo A.Whitfield

Large-flowered butterwort

(Pinguicula grandiflora ssp.grandiflora)

A Wild tulip flower (Tulipa sylvestris)





Flora & Fauna of the Picos de Europa
Over the past 20 years, Teresa Farino has compiled a 90-page report (A4) which includes an eight-page introduction to the wildlife of these mountains, followed by lists of all the mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, butterflies, dragonflies and vascular plants ever recorded the Picos de Europa, as well as brief summaries of these groups.  If you would like to purchase a copy, the price is £12, excluding postage and packaging.  Please contact Teresa for further details, or to place your order, at teresa@iberianwildlife.com




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