Wild Flowers in the Parma Appenines near Bardi

June 5, 2019

The Monkey Orchid: Orchis simia rare in the UK but more abundant in Italy

Two weeks ago I returned from tutoring a painting holiday at Casa Bezzia in the tiny hamlet of Pietracervara in the Parma Appenines.

In early May just across the road from the studio we found ourselves in an exquisite flower meadow with a backdrop of mountains.  From my previous visit in November I had no idea how colourful it would be in May.

Blue Gromwell: Lithospermum purpurocaeruleum

The bordering copses were spangled with bright blue Lithospermum purpurocaeruleum (Blue Gromwell) and wild strawberry flowers, and we found rocky crevices filled with cushions of pale magenta Saponaria ocymoides (Rock soapwort).

Rock Soapwort at Ponte Lecca

Rock Soapwort near Pietracervara

Rock Soapwort: Saponaria ocymoides

The following pictures show just some of the colourful plants we saw during our delightful stay. Do let me know if you find mistakes in the identification of the various species as my days as a Botany student are a little distant.

Sainfoin: Onobrychis viciifoliaoften cultivated for fodder

Lotus corniculatus and Trifolium dubium

Polygala amara near Pietracervara

Polygala amara

Believe this image and the one below are of the Lady Orchid: Orchis purpurea

All found in the meadow and grassland at Pietracervara

Trifolium pratense with it’s pearls of dew looking just as beautiful as the rarer plants!

Cerastium arvense

Salvia pratensis

So on the one rainy day we had wild flowers to paint!

Salvia verbanaca

A “clock” of Tragapogon pratensis larger than the Dandelion and known as Goat’s Beard


The goats beard is also called Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon as its flowers open early and close at midday.

Tragapogon pratensis fully open

More clocks in the meadow. or contact

Sylvia Bell at

Tel.  +39 052571370

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