Tower of Flowers

May 20, 2015

  Because La Palma is an island, the plants here evolved in isolation, and many of them are unique to the island, or to the Canaries. One of my favourites is the Tower of Jewels — Tajinaste in Spanish and in Latin, the Echium genus. It’s related to borage, and most species have a big spike with hundreds of tiny flowers. The most spectacular is Echium wildpretii, which really is…

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Rabbit’s foot fern

This is the Rabbit’s Foot Fern Davallia canariensis, which likes to grow in the warmer and damper parts of the island. It particularly likes dry stone walls, barrel-tile roofs and cliffs. As you can see, the name comes from the root, which is very pretty. I believe that the Awara used to make gofio from it, and so did more modern Palmerans when there was nothing better available, although I’m…

November 29, 2013
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La Palma’s Violet

This is the lovely little Palmeran Violet, Viola palmensis. It only grows on La Palma, above 1,900 m. (There’s a similar violet on Tenerife, but it has smaller flowers). It used to be rare, but the island government has a program of replanting areas and it’s making a comeback. You can find them beside the road from Santa Cruz to the Roque de los Muchachos well above the tree line….

May 28, 2012
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Los Tilos: Ancient Forest

August 20, 2011

Laurel forest at Los Tilos One of my favourite bits of tourist feedback about La Palma island was the disgruntled Brit who described Los Tilos as: “Just a load of trees.” Well yes. And Beethoven’s Ninth is just a load of notes, and the Mona Lisa is just a load of paint. Los Tilos, in San Andres and Los Sauces, is home to one of the best surviving laurel forests…

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Parrot’s Beak flowers

La Palma has lots of rare plants which grow nowhere else, and many of them are threatened by grazing or habitat loss. This is one of two species called Parrot’s Beak or Fire Beak (Lotus pyranthus), both of them very rare in the wild and officially classified as “in danger of extinction”. But here it is growing beside the road to the Roque. Mind you, it’s not exactly wild –…

April 27, 2011
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