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Native Plants of Spain

Spain, the second-largest country in southwestern Europe, is just north of Morocco and Algeria across the Mediterranean Sea. Spain’s natural landscape and native plants vary with the country’s different climates--southern Spain having warmer summers than the cooler regions of northern Spain. Spain’s forest areas are found near the country’s mountain ranges. Springtime marks the beginning of the growth season for many native plants of Spain.


Also known as healing wolfsbane and yellow monkshood, anthora (Aconitum anthora) is a member of the Ranunculaceae family, native to Spain, Europe and northern Asia. The plant grows to 3 feet in height and thrives in partial shade to full-sun conditions and moderately moist soil. A poisonous evergreen plant, anthora produces yellow or bluish flowers.

Ornamental Onion

A member of the Alliaceae family, ornamental onion (Allium senescens) is native to Spain, Portugal and France, and it grows throughout Europe. The Ornamental onion grows to 2 feet in height and thrives in partial shade to full-sun conditions. Its violet to pink flowers bloom as bold, single cluster balls atop a single stem from mid-summer into the earlier parts of fall. Ornamental onion self-propagates through seeds, and it is a drought-tolerant plant that thrives well in moderately moist soil.

Lacy Self-Heal

Belonging to the Lamiaceae family, self-heal (Prunella laciniata) is a perennial herbaceous plant native to Spain and Western Europe. Also known as cut leaf self-heal, the plant grows up to 1 ½ feet in height and forms pink or white flower clusters at its center from spring to mid-summer.

Lesser Butterfly Orchid

One of the many orchid species native to Spain’s grassland, woodland and hillside areas, lesser butterfly orchid (Platanthera bifolia) grows less than 22 inches in height. A member of the Orchidaceae family, this orchid blooms from mid-spring into mid-summer, forming floral clusters at the terminal ends of its stems. Lesser butterfly orchid grows in moist soil and in full sun.

Bee Orchid

Bee orchid (Ophrys apifera) is a versatile perennial orchid that grows in a variety of landscapes in Spain and the Mediterranean area. A member of the Orchidaceae family, the bee orchid’s blossoms resemble the form of a bee, and the plant blooms in mid-summer. Bee orchids grow less than 1 foot in height, thriving in well-drained to damp soils and full sun.

Grey-Leaved Cistus

Grey-leaved cistus (Cistus albidus) is a member of the Cistaceae family native to Spain and the Mediterranean area. It continuously produces one-day pink, lilac or purple flowers that have yellow centers. This flowering evergreen plant grows up to 3 feet in height, and thrives in full sun and moderately moist soil. Its other common names include sun rose and rock rose.

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