Activities in the natural environment->Mountain range Orihuela->Flora and fauna
Flora and fauna

The Sierra de Orihuela has very interesting plant communities. The typical semi-arid Mediterranean scrub formations with palm hearts and black hawthorn, the rupicolous vegetation and the Aleppo pine forests stand out. On sunny slopes we can find a great diversity of species, including aromatic species such as thyme and rosemary, or Ibero-Africanisms such as cornical.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Sierra de Orihuela was devoid of trees. In order to control erosive processes, a large part of the slopes and foothills were reforested with a species resistant to drought and relatively fast growing: Aleppo pine or Pinus Halepensis.

These pine forests present undoubted benefits to the ecosystem but also drawbacks, such as the proliferation of pests, the risk of fires and competition with some native species, since most of our endemic species thrive in open and well-lit areas.

In 2014 and 2015 with the plague of the borer beetle, Tomicus, the forest area has been reduced exclusively to favorable areas.

On the other hand, the introduction of exotic species, such as the Arizona Cactus, has also been negative. This has proliferated in the mountains, displacing native species and making large areas impassable, forcing its control.

Other species of trees or shrubs of great size frequent in the mountains are the wild olive or wild olive, carob, aladierno, black juniper and bayon.

The rupicolous vegetation is formed by plants that live anchored to the rocky substrate taking advantage of the existing cracks in the walls. The extreme conditions that occur in the rocky walls and the isolation of the populations due to the distance to other similar areas, have favored the existence of numerous endemic species, of very limited distribution and that constitute the main botanical value of the mountain range. On the reddish walls of the Rincón de Bonanza, also called Los Bancos de Coral, a flora micro-reserve has been declared for the protection of these species. Below are three of the species of greatest interest.

Sideritis glauca Cav. (Cat's tail). Local endemism that appears only in the mountains of Callosa, Orihuela and Cantón (Murcia). Described for science by Cavanilles in 1797, it is an abundant species in fissures of more or less vertical walls, both sunny and shady and constitutes, together with Centaurea saxicola, the most unique plant association of these mountains.

Centaurea saxicola Lag. (Yellow rock thistle). Thistle somewhat woody at the base, common in the more or less vertical rock and scree fissures of the mountains. It is a Murcian-Almeria endemism, very rare in the Valencian Community. It is cited in the "Red Book of threatened plant species", and was described for science in the Sierra de Orihuela by Mariano Lagasca in 1811.

Lafuentea rotundifolia L. Herbaceous and perennial Ibero-Levantine endemism, with a pleasant smell, velvety appearance and numerous flowers in spikes. Between 20 and 40 cm high, it grows in cracks in limestone walls of any orientation and is common in caves or limestone cliffs protected from sunlight. In the mountains of Callosa and Orihuela it reaches one of the northernmost points of its distribution.

The Barranco de la Higuera, also known as El Valle, is located on the north face and is one of the most curious and botanical places of interest in the mountains. The contribution of humidity from the ravine and the shade produced by its steep walls has allowed ferns and plants such as butcher's broom, sarsaparilla, walnut or turpentine to develop, typical of more humid areas. In this area, a flora micro-reserve has also been declared.

The fauna community associated with the Sierra de Orihuela has been estimated at a total of 115 species of vertebrate fauna (except fish), of which 3 are amphibians, 12 are reptiles, 21 are mammals and 79 are birds.

In the mountains we can find amphibians such as the common and corridor toad. Among the reptiles, several species of snakes, lizards, geckos and the ocellated lizard.

Of the birds, the presence of raptors such as the golden eagle, Bonelli's eagle, the eagle owl and the common kestrel, due to its abundance, stands out. Of the rest of the birds, the presence of red-billed chough colonies in the upper part of the most inaccessible walls is striking.

Among the mammals it has been possible to verify, thanks to phototrapping studies, the presence of carnivores such as the marten, the genet, the fox and the badger. They are also frequent herbivores such as the rabbit, the squirrel, the field mouse or the dormouse.

Finally, mention the group of invertebrates, generally forgotten but no less interesting both for their role in the functioning of ecosystems, as well as for the existence of numerous endemisms and the striking nature of many species. In the following image we can see the mimicry used by a crab spider, of the Thomisus genus, to stalk its prey from the Lavatera flower.


The “La Sierra” hunting reserve is managed by the Orihuela Hunters Club and the hunting periods may vary slightly from one season to another, although in general it presents the following calendar:

Open mid-season: Sundays and holidays from mid-August to the first week of September.

Closed opening: Sundays and holidays from dawn to night, from October 12 to the end of December.

With special authorizations, wild boar hunts are carried out at night.


Do not leave the main trails, try to be visible at all times, wear conspicuous clothing and do not go near the areas that we know they are hunting.

If you have a pet, try to keep it under control and especially in spring, as it is the nesting time for partridges and other species that nest on the ground. The dogs when they go loose sniff in the bushes and can break the eggs or cause the abandonment of the nest.

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Alcalde Vicente Escudero, 2
03300 Orihuela
Contact Numbers
Palacio del Agua: 966 076 100 Extensiones 3400-3401
Oficinas Clequali Orihuela: 687 666 665
CDM Playas de Orihuela: 603 749 826

Concejalía de Deportes:
Deporte Escolar:
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