Almeria landscape generally, and mainly Cabo de Gata National Park… are highly linked to botany; dwarf fan palm tree, fig tree, pome granate, almonds and olive trees, sparto grass, prickly pear or agave plant are common shrubs and trees found everywhere in this nice south-iberian region.
The agave plant, also known as Century plant in North America or pita and pitaco in Spain, is really not originary from Europe, although it is so present in our arid landscape that it would be very different without them. Century plant´s name is given to the Blue agave (Agave americana) because it spends a lot of time before finally blossoming (after blooming, the plant dies). It is just the time that the plant needs to store all the required energy nutrients for when favorable weather allows it to develop the long sticks that will bring up with blooming.
For this Agave plant a dry and hot hot hot summer as this one we are suffering in 2015 is the greatest moment for blooming. It is just time for doing that: agave blossom time.
In Almeria lands there can be mainly found three species of Agave plants: Agave furcroydes and agave sisalana, planted in past times for taking the so-called sisal fiber, and Agave americana that is a bigger shrub than others and has been used for different purposes, as building corrals or ladders with its sticks, fences with the plants by themselves or agave sirope with blossoms´ honey.
The problem with sisal was that at the same time that first entrepeneurs begun to manage big plantations for obteining the fiber, just then plastic fiber was discovered and comercialized under a cheaper price; so the pita growths (pitares) were abandoned just at the beggining, before they could show if were profitable or not.
From these abandoned plantations come the actual agave landscape that can be found in the area of Nijar and Cabo de Gata National Park. It is something that must be mentioned that this plant, after blooming, develop small plants on the top of the sticks, that afterwards are blown by the wind, generating new plants. So Almeria province is actually a wild agave forest, deared by many people and not so much by others, that see in the agave-plant an invasive species in competition with local vegetation.
In any case the agave plant or century plant is highly linked to Almeria´s landscape; so much that we can say that agave bloom is a part of Almeria´s cultural and human landscape so as part of its natural history, although it is happening in the area only since few centuries ago.
When it is hot hot hot in Almeria it is time to look for the agave bloom; ideal moments for photographers so as naturalists and for every person in love with natural mediterranean landscape. Almeria, come and see.
Do you want to visit the agave bloom??…