Treasure by the Roadside

Italian Wildflowers by the Side of the Road

A simple drive down an Italian country lane in early spring can reveal a whole host of natural surprises! Wild flowers that contain healing properties, glorious spring tulips, wild daffodils and onions await the intrepid, but lazy, plant hunter in Italy.

We snapped up these shots of some remarkable Italian wild flowers and herbs on a short drive at the beginning of spring in the Italian countryside.

We (my photographer friend and I) found masses of wild Tuscan tulips growing in a corn field, along with miniature yet wild Narcissus (daffodils), some wild onions and wild garlic growing by the side of the road. We had set out to take pictures of the plant "treasures by the side of the roadside" but we hadn't planned on bumping into such glorious biodiversity!

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In just a few miles we were confronted with splendid wild anemones that sprawled from the surrounding woodland on to the roadside verges. Wild onions were forcing themselves from the still wintry earth all over this wonderful countryside and wild garlic displayed it's glorious white flowers almost everywhere we looked.

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Masses of Calendula officinalis, the skin-toning plant, were just bursting into their blazing yellow blooms in the ancient olive groves.

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Borago officinalis created the perfect backdrop for other flowers, with it's metallic-grey leaves and hues of mauve in it's flowers. Borago can be eaten or made into tea, which is drunk in Iran as a calmative. The diversity of the flora here in Italy, even just by the roadside, is breathtaking and in turn supports equally unique local medicines and indigenous ecosystems.

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In fact, it is still quite common to see elderly Italian ladies out foraging for fresh salad leaves for both eating and for making natural medicines.

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With all this exposure to Italian flora who wouldn't have the words "Now THIS is Italy" run through their mind?

By Jonathan Radford and

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