Mediterranean Strawflower (Helichrysum stoechas), Coastal Path. Coastal Path
Mediterranean strawflower or curry plant is a small plant with relatively hairy stems. Its leaves are from 10 to 25 mm and covered in a whitish woolly layer. The bunches of flowers are dense with individual flowers or groups of five and more. They are from 1.5 to 3/6 cm in diameter. The flowers are small and yellow like daisies but without white petals. The fruit is dark brown with fibred plumose spikelets, which help them spread by the wind.
DISTRIBUTION AND HABITAT
These plants usually live on clearings, dry sunny areas, such as sandy soils along the coast or scrubland, which means that they do not only live on the coastline. However, they are very common on dunes, including grey stable dunes or semi-stable ones. As for the light, they need a lot of direct sunlight so they could grow normally.
HOW THEY LIVE
This species is used to the lack of water. Actually, its presence in some areas indicates that it does not rain much there. It thrives in high temperatures very well. In winter, these plants can seem dry and rad but they completely recover in spring.
WHERE THEY CAN BE SEEN IN MÁLAGA
On Málaga’s coastline, they live in areas with stable dunes, like in Marbella (Artola dunes) and the surroundings (Calahonda), although some specimens or small groups can occur on the western coast.
These shrubs smell like curry, so someone might confuse them with it and they is also called ‘curry plants’.
There are different species from this genus that this plant can be confused with, such as Helichrysumitalicum or Helichrysumpicardii, from the Atlantic coast. They are rather difficult to tell apart at first sight.