Horst Mehlhorn

Quick Flora Mallorca

Your small wildflower guide for your holidays



Introduction on how to use this book

Suggestions for walks in the field

Usage of the identification table


Table 1 (1-20)

Leaves entire / leaves opposite

Table 2 (21-40)

Leaves entire / leaves not opposite

Table 3 (41-60)

Table 4 (61-80)

Table 5 (81-100)

Leaves not entire / leaves opposite

Table 6 (101-120)

Table 7 (121-140)

Leaves not entire / leaves not opposite

Table 8 (141-160)

Table 9 (161-180)

Table 10 (181-200)




Mallorca and the other Balearic Islands rank among the most popular holiday destinations within Europe. While most travel guides mention the beauty of the vegetation on the islands, they are of little help when it comes to wanting to know the names of the plants. While such literature exists, these books are either out of print, only available in Spanish or Catalan, too time-consuming to use in the field, or simply too big and heavy to take along when going on holiday. This provided the motivation to begin to write this book. Unlike other plant identification books available today, it should

• be small and low in weight for easy transport,

• use no more that ten steps to identify most plants,

• contain more than 1,400 species that can be found on the islands,

• include photographs of many of the plants found on the islands,

• use colloquial terms wherever possible to allow users without specialist knowledge to use the book.

For this purpose, I have developed a novel, multidimensional key. This is based on 4 characteristics with 256 theoretically possible combinations. It enables users to identify the page within the book where an unknown wildflower species can be identified without even opening the book! On that page, the plants can then be determined with only a few additional steps. When using the book on a smartphone, tablet or PC, hyperlinks allow users to jump directly to the quoted page number without tedious scrolling, as in conventional nature guides.

The selection of the species has been based on the works by Beckett (1988, 1993) and Gil and Llorens (1993). While many trees and shrubs could be included, grasses and ferns had to be omitted for space reasons.

I hope you will enjoy using this book and I will be grateful for any suggestions and corrections that will help me improve the content of this book.

Essen, March 28, 2021

Horst Mehlhorn

Introduction on how to use this book

Throughout this book, four main criteria are used to group all plants: the (1) colour and (2) shape of the flowers, the (3) position of leaves on the stem, and the (4) type of leaf margin. Except for a few exceptions, usage of only these four criteria permits the identification of most species on one double page in less than 10 steps.


In this book the plants are distinguished according to the following colours: white, pink, red, blue, yellow, green, multicoloured and other. Many species have been assigned several times. This was necessary as colours often have transitions that are difficult to grasp, and as the perception of colours differs from person to person.

Flower type

Flowers differ not only in colour but also in shape and they were grouped in the following way: (1) flowers that are too small to see flower details without a magnifying glass, (2) flowers with 2-4 radially symmetrical petals, (3) flowers with 5 radially symmetrical petals, (4) flowers with more than 5 radially symmetric petals, (5) flowers with umbelliferous inflorescences, (6) flowers with a non-radial symmetry axis, (7) daisy- and dandelion-like inflorescences and flowers which do not fit into any of the preceding criteria.


In addition to flowers, plants also differ in their leaves. These can be opposite (8) or not opposite (9).

The criteria not opposite (9) also include plants without leaves as well as plants where leaves are either all basal or in whorls.

Leaf edge

Apart from the leaf position, leaves also differ in their leaf margin. The leaf margin can be entire (10) or not (11). Similar to the position of leaves, plants without leaves are grouped with those plants that do not have entire margins.

Other criteria

Apart from these four main criteria, other important distinguishing features for the identifcation of plants include the shape of the leaves,

the presence (23) or absence (24) of leaf stalks,

The presence (25) or absence (26) of stipules,

and various flower parts (27):

Families of plants with special characteristics for identifying plants
In some plant families, other characteristics are also of importance during the identification process. Thus, the colour and size of the petals are important for the identification of Fabaceae (28) species,

Typical flower shape of Fabaceae species (28)

the number of rows of bracts are important when identifying Compositae (29),

Composite flower with multiple rows of bracts (29)

umbellifers (Apiaceae) differ with regard to the presence or absence of bracts and bracteoles,

while the shape of the fruit is important when identifying species of the Cruciferae family,

By contrast, the presence, shape, and size of the lower and upper lip (35) is important for the identifcation of Labiates (Lamiaceae) and other plant families.

Flower with a lower and upper lip (35)

Suggestions for walks in the field

Mallorca can be explored best on foot. Nonetheless, it is important to know where you can leave your car and which paths return to the origin of the walk if you do not want to return the same way you came. In many instances, these walks can be combined with the sights of the island, too. Examples for such areas include:

the Castle of Bellver

the cloistre of La Trapa

the city of Soller

the Castel of Alaro

the cloistre Lluc

the cloistre Randa

the beach Es Trenc

the castle of Capdepera

the Coves d’Arta

The parks of S'Albufera and Mondrago are also worth a visit. They do not only offer small visitor centres, they also offer opportunities to get to know different types of vegetation on the island on a single walk. Other worthwhile destinations for plant lovers include the botanical garden in Soller, the gardens Jardins d'Alfabia and Raixa near Bunyola, and the garden Botanicactus between Ses Salines and Santanyi in the southeast of the island. Especially during spring time it can be quite a challenge to visit all these destinations when you are on the island.

Usage of the identification table

The tables on the cover and on the opposite page indicate the page in the book on which a plant species with the corresponding characteristics can be found and identified. For this purpose, the tables are structured as follows:

• Column 1 indicates the type of flower shape.

• Columns two to five refer to pages with plants with entire leaf margins.

• Columns six to nine refer to pages with plants whose leaf margins are not entire.

• Columns 2, 3, 6 and 7 refer to pages with plants whose leaves are opposite.

• Columns 4, 5, 8 and 9 refer to pages with plants whose leaves are not opposite (alternate).

• Each coloured cell refers to flowers that are white, pink, red, blue, yellow, green, multi-coloured or other. Olive cells represent the colour multi-coloured while the orange block represents other colours, e.g. orange or brown.


A) A plant with blue flowers, 5 petals, opposite leaves and entire leaf margin can be identified on page 35.

B) A plant with multi-coloured flowers, irregular flower symmetry, basal leaves and a toothed leaf margin can be identified on page 268.

C) A plant with violet, irregular flower shape, entire leaf margin, and leaves that are not opposite may be identified on page 154.

In the ebook, navigation is also supported by hyperlinks integrated within the table. Similarly, quick navigation within the ebook using hyperlinks is also possible

• in the table of contents,

• by clicking on the header (jump back to the table on page 13),

• by clicking on the page number (jump to the index on page 293),

• by clicking on species underlined in the key or text, and

• by clicking on the picture captions.


Alternate (9):

arranged in two rows but not opposite


part of the stamen that contains the pollen

Basal (22):

arising from the base of the stem

Bracteole (32):

small and often scale-like leaf just beneath a compound flowerhead

Bracts (29):

small and often scale-like leaf just beneath a flower


small bulb arising in the axis of an inflorescence or leaf

Calyx (27):

the group of sepals as a whole


spike-like inflorescence


heart-shaped at the base


calyx-like structure outside but close to the calyx


ripe seeds and structure surrounding them

Involucre (29):

bracts forming a calyx-like structure below an inflorescence of Compositae


compact cluster of flowers

Keel (28):

lower part of a legume flower


milky juice


small scale on the surface of a leaf/flower

Lip (35):

the lower or upper lobe of an irregular flower


with a short narrow extension at the tip


a point on the stem where one or more leaves arise


the other way up from normal


a flat shape, middle part more or less parallel-sided

Opposite (23):

leaves arising at the same level on opposite sides of the stem


more or less egg-shaped


female reproductive organ


inverted egg-shaped (broadest above the middle)


small nipple-like projections


plant which derives its food from other living plants to which it is attached


plant living for more than two years


colourful part of the flower

Pinnate (20):

a leaf composed of more than 3 leaflets


leaves with multiple lobes where the lobes are still connected to each other


flower as a whole including both sepals and petals


stalk of leaves


a plant lying close to the surface on the ground


unbranched inflorescence in which the flowers are born on stalks

Sepal (27):

outer part of a flower, often green and leaf-like


without a stalk

Siliqua (33):

narrow cylindrical pod with a ratio of length to width greater than 3: 1

Silicula (34):

pod with a ratio of length to width smaller than 3: 1

Spike (1):

inflorescence with sessile flowers

Stamen (27):

male reproductive organ within a flower

Standard (28):

upper part of a legume flower

Stigma (27):

receptive surface of the flower to which the pollen adhere

Stipule (25):

scale-like or leaf-like appendage on the leaf stalk

Style (27):

part of the flower that connects the ovary with the stigma


densely covered in soft hairs

Umbel (30-32):

inflorescence in which the flower stalks all arise from the top of the main stem

Whorled (21):

more than two leaves arising from the same level

Wing (28):

lateral part of a legume flower


membraneous extension of a stem or stalk