Aestivating snails on dried-up vegetation wait for the next rain, Eira Pedrinha, September 2012
September is a month when nothing much happens. It hardly rains, so the countryside remains dry, and plants mostly neither grow nor flower. It is a little cooler, but the main change is that the days become much shorter, so the garden plants are less exposed to long hours of hot sunshine. The exotic pot plants (palms, cycads) continue to do well.
This composite, also known as Inula viscosa, is one of the rare plants that flowers at this season, indeed it is almost the only one to do so. It grows in untidy clumps along the edges of roads and paths, and produces abundant yellow groundsel-like flowers. The flowers and leaves are sticky to the touch and have a strong not very pleasant smell. Portuguese road verges are kept clear by mowing and herbicide treatment but this perennial with thick underground stems seems pretty resistant, and comes up vigorously everywhere. Or else itís just that the municipal workers are on holiday?
Some European Daphne spp. have brightly coloured, sweetly scented flowers and are used as garden plants. D. gnidium is a rather plain relative. Its glaucous shoots, with narrow leaves, grow in tufted clumps on rocky and waste ground, with a little the look of a Euphorbia. It seems to flower at any season, except at the very driest times. Its little white flowers and red berries are quite pretty, and attractive to insects.