Delicate, colourful and very beautiful
At the beginning of spring, delicate wild orchids in bloom are admired by nature watchers in the Algarve.
They are a fragile and irreplaceable treasure, whose existence depends on a delicate and complex ecological balance, and many cannot survive being picked.
As a precious plant, wild orchids should be admired within the landscape, but they have to remain untouched if they are to flower the following year and, indeed, to continue to survive.
One of the most beautiful places to see different orchid species is the Sítio das Fontes in Estombar, near Lagoa. The Flor do Enforcado or Man Orchid, one of the prettiest Algarvian species, is easy to find, as is another which resembles an insect, thus attracting many real insects to pollinate it.
The entrance to Paderne Castle (Castelo de Paderne) in Albufeira, next to the mill sluice, is one of the best places to see them.
Orchids also grow within the Wetlands protected by the Natura network on the edge of the Malvana Stream, among the ash trees and cane fields, on the road to Sítio de Benémola, near Loulé.
Another refuge for orchids is the Sítio da Rocha da Pena which is a little less wild, but equally isolated, with an unrivalled landscape.