Its situation on the mediterranean coast, between de african continent and Sierra Nevada, which contains the highest peaks in the Peninsule, protect Salobreña – in the heart of the Costa Tropical – against de northerm winds, creating a subtropical microclimate. The impressive 320 days of sunshine per year and an average temperature of aproximately 20º C offer the ideal conditions for the cultivation of a wide range of tropical fruits in the areas fertile floodplains, which can be explored thanks to the wide network of rural roads and footpaths enclosing the plantations and groves.
Easy strolls through the valley (sea bound, through the lower floodplain, a stroll through time)
When talking about the flora in Salobreña, we must talk about extraordinary botanical contrasts. The first thing that attracts our attention when we come near it is how many different habitats can coexist in a relatively small terrain. The craggy walls of the south side, with vegetation that lives on the rocks, are only a few metres apart from the populated and fertile lowlands. This alluvial plain, created by the Guadalfeo River, stretches down on both sides of the rocky hill. The sugar cane plantations take up a very high percentage of the farming land, alternating with little market gardens and increasingly more extensive terrains of fruit trees.
Towards the west, the slopes become more rugged as we approach the coastline. The steepness of the cliffs, where the vegetation must endure very hard conditions (strong winds, unstable terrain, the lashing of the waves) only allows the most adapted plants like the golden dollar or the sea orach) to complete its cycle. On these masses of rock, a completely different kind of vegetation develops;
undulated forms follow each other towards the inlands, giving birth to the flora known as Mediterranean shrub or mount. It is a habitat dominated by woody bushes (rosemary, lavender, gorse, bolina) and a great amount of gramineae, dotted with big-sized carobs, and containing two jewels of the Mediterranean flora: the dwarf fan palm and the confetti tree.
If we carry on towards the north, we’ll see how the Mediterranean forest starts losing its purity, getting mixed with big extensions of fruit trees, which have been progressively replacing the almond tree plantations of ancient during the last years. The century plants and Indian figs, native to Central America but naturalized in the peninsula since several centuries, colonize the sides of the roads. The conifers are also represented by three species of pine tree: the Aleppo pine, the stone pine and the canary pine, which provide a vertical element to the landscape and sustenance for a numerous fauna. The urban environment in Salobreña incorporates a rich variety of plants from different places of origin in perfect harmony.
The people of Salobreña adopt the Canary Islands’ date palm and the date palm, the oleander, the yucca, and the pink leaves of the paper flower covering the white facades as elements of their own. As expected, the special climate enjoyed by Salobreña has conditioned the appearance of a determinate flora, and since long has allowed the introduction of many cultivations native to subtropical climates. These cultivations, like the custard apple, the avocado or the sugar cane, are now deeply rooted in the area. The absence of a true winter, an average annual temperature over 59º F, together with the amount of rain, the humidity degree, etc., not only favours the development of these plant species, but also alters the cycle of the indigenous plants regarding other geographic areas. This can be detected clearly by observing the flowering stages of some woody species, which are much longer than it would under normal conditions.
This way, we can enjoy all the year the flowering of species like the rosemary, the tree tobacco or the paper flower, to cite but three, each one belonging to a different type. Also, a great amount of plants from other parts of the world used in gardening, as the common lantana, the ocean blue morning-glory and even some palm trees, have acclimatized perfectly to the area and can be seen sprouting spontaneously thanks to the action of the different pollinators.