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Apart from eruptions, Mount Etna is a whole universe to discover. Every season is magical on this volcano, from the days of snow to those of sun and flowers. Among endemic plants and foreign plants, which have found a home here, Etna is very rich in wild vegetation and beautiful colors. The flowers that fill the volcano with perfumes in spring are not to be underestimated. They are a show within the show.

Spring time is just around the corner, it invites you to look around more carefully so to find out how many wonders can blossom. You will see them at every corner of your journey to discover the volcano. Here are some of the splendid blooms you can admire while walking along the paths of Etna, in the warm sunny days of spring.

Acacia Dealbata, orange blossoms, orchards flowers

Starting from the lowest altitudes, those inhabited by man, it is obviously the crops that give the first panorama of spring colours. The white flowers of pear and apple trees, the pink ones of peach trees, the brighter ones of the nectarine peach plants open the landscape. They are mixed with the Mimosa (Acacia Dealbata), the first one to bloom together with almond flowers. You will love its yellow colour that paints almost all the villages in the foothills. Of course there is no lack of the wonderful flowers of citrus plants, those orange blossoms that fill the air with unmistakable aromas.

mt etna flowers
yellow gorses

The gorse, master of the volcano

Another yellow colour fills the eyes, along the path that climbs to the summit. These are the gorse bush’s flowers, the famous and very fragrant shrubs that grow rapidly on the lava soil. The richness of Mount Etna soil allows these plants – in some particularly favourable areas – to grow to the size of real trees. The gorse woods of Piano dei Grilli, in Bronte, are an example of this. The record plant of this species, however, is located on the opposite side of Piano dei Grilli: to the east, in Milo. It is a tree located in a private garden that reaches 12 meters in height with a trunk circumference of almost 2 meters!

Daisies and pistachios … but not saffron

As you go up, you can still meet shady areas such as chestnut or birch woods. Under these woods grow small flowers of great beauty, which however are also used in the cooking. The daisies from which chamomile is obtained are almost everywhere. Pistachios, especially on the western side, fill the branches that will bear fruit tomorrow with pink blossoms. Etna is also the habitat of a beautiful purple flower, saffron, which however blooms in October . Therefore it can only be admired during the chestnut season.

Pink flowers in the lava

Speaking of particular flowers … you have to be lucky enough to be at a high altitude, in the midst of the great lava deserts close to the craters, when the Saponaria Officinalis blooms. Plant with cushions of delicate – but only in appearance – little flowers. They withstand the harshest conditions and the roots were used, in ancient times, to make soap – hence the latin name.

Very similar but even more wild is the Astracantha, with its powerful thorns that rarely give themselves moments of beauty. Its spectacular blooms, however, which occur between May and August, offer a unique view of the otherwise desolate top of the volcano. The pink Astracantha of Etna grows only here, on this mountain, and nowhere else in the world. (photos by G.Musumeci)

Autore: Grazia Musumeci

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