The lady of the Pyrenees
We have a very special flowers in the Pyrenees. The most certain one is Edelweiss, also known as the flower of the snow, but other species are equally beautiful and special, either for their beauty and scarcity, such as Lady’s Slipper Orchid, or for the height at which they live, like the Common Cottongrass. Today however, I wanted to show you a very special one: the Martagon lily and the Pyrenaic lily.
This elegant flower bends its six turban shaped petals during the summer months. There are two kinds of martagon; the Pyrenees martagon (Lilium pyrenaicum) and red martagon (Lilium martagon). Both are very similar, with the clear difference in the color of its petals and its leaf shape (while Pyrenees martagon ones are linear lanceolate, those of the red one are oval-lanceolate). Also in terms of location; while Pyrenees martagon is endemic Pyrenean and located between 1,500 and 2,200 meters above sea level, the red one can be found mainly in montane and subalpine in the northern part of the Iberian Peninsula and most of Europe.
This plant is also commonly known as “Fleur-de-lis” and it has inspired from alchemists ( for them it symbolized the tree of life), monks (as a symbol of the Virgin Mary) and even the nobility ( used in heraldry to distinguish them) and later was adopted by the Scout movement as an emblem.
Personally I have much appreciation for this plant, which is the symbol of the Vall de Nuria, where I worked for a time as a horse-riding guide while I began to get interested in photography. Also it was when I just got my first digital SLR, when I found myself with a few specimens of martagon in the French Alps. I haven’t seen any of them for a lot of time, but this summer I have been fortunate to enjoy both martagon. A plant with great beauty and majesty!