Showing Doñana since 1990


urginea spike of flowers

Sea onion, a miracle of nature

By José Antonio Sánchez Iglesias

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Spikes of flowers of drimia maritima


The sea onion (drimia maritima) is the first flower that decorates our meadows just before the arrival of autumn; this survivor to extreme conditions dares everything and opens her precious spikes of white flowers defying the heat of September, breaking with her beauty the beastly austerity of summer landscapes. From among the dry meadows in the pine forest, there its green stems come out; in cattle grasslands, where nothing has escaped the voracity of livestock, there appears undamaged the drimia, defiant; along the edges of the roads that cross the dry marsh, where nothing has survived the scorching summer, up to there the territory of the squill spreads, a true miracle of nature.


Unlike the white asphodel, the sea onion blossom blooms in late summer (not spring) and its leaves come out in the autumn, once the fruits have opened and the seeds dispersed. Curious, isn´t it? It is distributed all along the Mediterranean area, down from Catalonia.


Leaves are not eaten by cattle, and bulbs are not eaten by moles, not even wild boars, because of their bad taste and the stinging action of their mucilages. Nevertheless rats eat it with pleasure and succumb to the toxic so this plant has been used as a rodenticide since ancient times.


It has been known the relationship between the syrphid merodon luteihumerus and the sea onion plant, until showing a total dependence of this species of syrphid. It is also used by hemiptera insects in their reproductive cycle to feed on it, mate and breed their offspring.

About José Antonio Sánchez Iglesias

José Antonio Sánchez se licenció en Biología por la Universidad de Sevilla en 1985. Más tarde, durante varios años, se dedicó a organizar y guiar rutas de senderismo y naturaleza ...