Parc de Montjuic | Cactus Gardens
Barcelona Cactus Gardens.Mossèn Costa i Llobera Gardens. Els Jardins de Mossèn Costa i Llobera. The cactus garden on Montjuic is located on the steep side of Montjuic hill facing the sea and below the Miramar esplanade on an area called “el Morrot.” The gardens are named after Mallorcan poet and priest Miquel Costa i Llobera and has an impressive collections of cacti from all over the world considered as the most important in the succulent plant world. The cactus garden reopened in 2011 after 5 years of renovation. The gardens were created in 1970 in an old quarry filled with earth from old military fortifications. The park entrance is on Plaça de l’Armada at south end of Miramar esplanade and hotel.
The garden is home to an important collection of Cactaceae, palms, Euphorbiaceous and other families of succulents coming from warm and tropical climates.
Just at the starting of the route, you can see an African fig tree and a Mexican fan palm. At the foot of Montjuïc, at Carretera de Miramar, there is an important group of Mexican fan palms; that plantation, unique in Barcelona, goes back to the 1960s and was planned to be integrated into the arid landscape of the Eastern side of Montjuïc. Mexican fan palm such as the Agave salmiana var. ferox , the Indian fig, the golden torch and the Caracus wigandia are from American origin.
Further on, the path splits up into three. Along the central path you can see the tree aeonium, a small Crassulaceae bush, and the resin spurge, a big fleshy plant that, although it looks like a cactus, it is not. The word cactus is commonly used to refer to any plant with fleshy stem, especially if prickly, but it should be kept for species of the Cactaceae family. The route continues to Mirador de la Puntaire, which has its name because of the sculpture La puntaire (The lacemaker), by Josep Viladomat. From this point, you can enjoy an amazing sight over the harbour of Barcelona and the cliff El Morrot, on the Southern Western side of Montjuïc. El Morrot is a rough area with very steep slopes coming from old quarries (the stone exploitation was alive until mid 20th c.) and colonised by Mediterranean and foreign vegetation. This vegetation has a big biological value, because it is the habitat of several birds, among which the kestrels.
Most of the vegetation in this garden are exotic species making it one of its main appeals, but there are also Mediterranean trees (pomegranate) that coexist harmoniously with Australian trees (Australian flame tree) and American trees (queen palm and sandpaper sotol, that lives almost without irrigation). In spite of the different origins, one common characteristic to some of the plants in this part of the route is, precisely, their resistance to drought conditions and poor soils: the chilayo, cactus from semidesert areas; the carob, tough tanks to its deep roots; the littleleaf fig, also found in gullies; the dwarf fan palm, one of the two only European native palms; the false agave, characteristic from rocky arid calcareous terrains. Many of these plants, as the elephant’s ear, bear badly low temperatures and frosts.
Further on at the route, you can see a palm, the Bermuda palmetto, a giant yucca, a dragon tree (a tree considered holly by the ancient Guanches) and a Namibian grape, as well as a blue fan palm, very ornamental.
The central square of the garden, a very appealing spot, mesmerizes us to desert landscapes. There can be seen good sized succulent plants, with special colours and shapes and spectacular flowerings: Alluaudia ascendens, Cylindropuntia tunicata, silver torch, candelabra tree, orange apple cactus.
The route finishes on the top of the stairs, on the access gate located at the gardens of Miramar, beginning of the next route.