hay meadow picos


See also


Butterflies and Moths


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 locals' use of traditional methods of land management - tractors and combine harvesters being useless on the small, sloping parcels of land.


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


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).







A little later Giant and Lizard orchids bloom, Himantoglossum robertianum and Himantoglossum hircinum.

giant and lizard orchids

trumpet gentians



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


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


bee orchid










black vanilla orchid

pasque flowers




Left, Black vanilla orchid, Nigritella gabasiana

Right, Pasque flowers, Pulsatilla rubra spp. hispanica




burnt tip large flowered tongue orchids

Burnt tip, Orchis ustulata, and Large-flowered tongue, Serapia cordigera, orchids

martagon lily early purple orchid

Martagon lily, Lilium martagon, and Early purple orchid, Orchis mascula



Casa Gustavo - Aliezo 39584 - Cillorigo de Liebana - Cantabria - Spain Tel:0034 942732010