The yellow carpets of Menorca’s landscape in winter

What a beautiful colour the countryside is at this time of year! This is a comment often heard when walking through Menorca’s interior with its extensive yellow  mantle. This effect is produced by a plant known as “vinagrella”.  It is an invasive species commonly known as Bermuda Buttercup (Oxalis pes-caprae) originating from South Africa and colonizing the Mediterranean during the 18th and 19th centuries and therefore the fields of Menorca.

Yellow flower

It’s name “vinagrella” refers to its bitter taste and although it may seem harmless its toxicity affects the intestinal systems of cows and sheep if they eat it.

 It grows mainly in fields of crops, ploughed fields and damp soil up to 800 metres above sea level.  It’s also grown in gardens which is possibly why it became so invasive.  Because of its extensive growth, in 2013 it was listed in the Spanish Catalogue of Invasive Exotic Species thus prohibiting its introduction into Spain.

Every winter we see it flower in all its splendour producing a contrast of spectacular colours that never cease to amaze us.

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