Mirador Natural del Pinsapo
Spanish fir (Genalguacil)
The Spanish fir (Abies pinsapo boiss), is a relic of the Tertiary period that has suffered many climate fluctuations all along its history. This fir as many other Mediterranean firs was isolated in the rough areas after the glacial periods.
The Spanish fir is an endemic species of this Andalusian mountains that have formed unconnected populations of different extension. The habitat of this fir is the grey limestone mountains of Ronda and Grazalema, existing high concentrations on the shady sides of the Nature Reserves of Sierra de las Nieves (Ronda) and Sierra del Pinar (Grazalema). It also grows in soils of peridotite (intrusive igneous rock formed deep in the Earth’s crust that paints the mountains red) in Los Reales of Sierra Bermeja. From here, Fêlix Haenseler, botanist native from Málaga, extracted the first samples for his herbarium. Then, in 1838, the Swiss botanist, Pierre Edmond Boissier, announced this species to the world.
The Spanish fir grows in rocky, shallow, sloppy soils, at altitudes of 1,000 to 1,800 m and punctually it can appear at the fresh bottom of a ravine of 350 m. This fir highly resists the dry summers, but similarly to other fir species, it needs an annual precipitation above the 1,000 mm. It has an elegant trunk with a deep crown that is narrowly conical in young trees but irregular in older trees. This fir can be around 20 m high and the main difference with other firs eradicates in the leaves. They are spirally arranged, spreading radially and perpendicular to the branchlet, which remains the form of a tube cleaning brush.
The male flowers of dark red colour are placed in the lower branches although the female ones, future pine cones, are on the upper part of the tree. This position makes the dispersion easier by the wind. It blooms between April and May and the pine cones mature about September or October.
This botanical peculiarity is an example of tenacity and resistance against all the elements: drought, fire forests, plagues and illnesses, the threat of the livestock, the use of its wood for building purposes and the men‘s neglect behaviour. Nowadays, big efforts are being performed to make that this species dresses our shady sides of the mountains of Serranîa de Ronda with its dark green, bluish, and silver clothes.