|Wild Sea lavender in the Bahía de Cádiz.|
BahÍa de Cadiz Natural Park - Flora
Centuries ago the shore line was densely wooded with pine forests, until it was largely destroyed in fires started in the Napoleonic Wars. Today, patches of this remain, like the well preserved 140ha Pinar de la Algaida near Puerto Real, which is made up mainly of umbrella pines. The most extensive wooded area in the park, it is inhabited by a wealth of different bird species and the rare chameleon See our section on walks for details of a route through the Algaida pine forest. There is a much smaller pine forest in Sancti Petri.
Park vegetation is dominated by the salt marshes, which are colonised by halophytic plants, like saltwort (sarcocornia perennis, salicornia ramosisima), cordgrass (spartina maritima, s.densiflora). In the higher areas that are only covered by water at high tide are glaucous glasswort (arthrocnemum macrostachyum), limoniastrum monopetalum, halimione portulacoides, sea lavender (limonium sp.) or the rare cynomorium coccineum.
In the intertidal mudflats are the fields of the phanerogams cymodocea nodosa, zostera marina and zostera noltii.
On the dunes, like those on the Punta del Boquerón, are marram grass (ammophila arenaria), spiny rushes (juncus acutus), Russian thistles (salsola kali), sea rocket (cakile maritimus), sea holly (eryngium maritumum) and clumps of sea daffodils (pancratium maritimum). on the most established dunes there is retama (retama monosperma), the yellow-flowered crucianella maritima which is typical of sandy habitats and the endangered species of mullein, verbascum pseudocreticum.
The five freshwater lakes in the park - the Charca de San Jaime, Laguna del Pinar de la Algaida, the Encharcamiento Pinar Algaida, the Encharcamiento de Torregorda and the Laguna de Camposto - are fringed by the endemic armeria gaditana, reeds and rushes, with the submerged vegetation providing an important source of food for fauna like the ducks, coots, frogs and toads that inhabit the lakes.