Back from the brink

June 26, 2015

In 1988 the National Parks service performed a census of native species on La Palma and many of the results were horrifying. This plant, a type of Viper’s Bugloss, was down to just 50 specimens. So they started planting them inside rabbit and goat-proof fences. It worked, and there’s lots of them in bloom all around the observatory now. Lunch time for bees, bumblebees and butterflies!

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Wild Peas

Purple pea flowers
May 22, 2015

These are wild peas, Pisum sativum. They grow all over the island, and very pretty they are too. The flowers are edible, but I don’t know if the peas themselves are. Certainly sweet peas are poisonous.

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Growing Bananas on La Palma

When I first came to La Palma in 1990, around 40% of the population depended on the banana trade: growing bananas, packing them, or driving them. But even with the EU subsidy, it’s hard to make a living from bananas. If you’re unlucky with the weather, you can work hard all year and still make a loss. So the economy is diversifying, and a good thing too. But bananas are…

July 26, 2013
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Los Tilos Forest

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 in the world. The other…

August 20, 2012
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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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Growing Bananas on La Palma

When I first came to La Palma in 1990, around 40% of the population depended on the banana trade: growing bananas, packing them, or driving them. But even with the EU subsidy, it’s hard to make a living from bananas. If you’re unlucky with the weather, you can work hard all year and still make a loss. So the economy is diversifying, and a good thing too. But bananas are…

July 31, 2011
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