The Dragon Tree Viewpoint

There’s a rather nice viewpoint in Puntagorda, on the main road at km 78. Its most obvious attraction is the dragon tree, leaning much further over than the tower at Pisa. > But when I was last there, I was charmed by a tame red-billed chough, Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax barbarus. They’re relatives of rooks and crows, but this particular sub-species only lives on La Palma where they’re called grajas. They’re something…

August 10, 2011
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Dragon trees

One of the most exotic looking plants on La Palma are the dragon trees. The latin name is Dracaena draco Although they grow anything up to 12 metres tall, botanically, dragon trees aren’t trees. They don’t have annual rings, for one thing. Actually, they’re classified in the same order (Asparagales) as garlic and asparagus, although they look nothing like each other. In fact, dragon trees look mostly like broccoli on…

October 30, 2009
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Wild Peas

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. And a big thank you to everyone who took the time to answer the blog poll. I have a new one now. Are you coming to La Palma? As always, if you don’t fit…

May 9, 2009
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Burr Marigolds

My father was a botanist, so he really looked forward to his first trip to La Palma. One of the plants he most hoped to find were burr marigolds – Bidens alba. But he later said he was trying not to hope too much in case he was disappointed. That made me laugh, because they’re an extremely common roadside weed. In fact they’re a right nuisance for exactly the same…

June 11, 2008
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Poppies

We have five different poppies on La Palma. Papaver rhoeas The red poppy. The Corn Poppy, Field Poppy, Flanders Poppy, or Red Poppy is easily the commonest. This is the poppy that mostly grows wild in fields. Eschscholzia Californica , the California Poppy. The next commonest comes from California, which has a similar climate. Papaver somniferum, the opium poppy. And then there’s the opium poppies, which are presumably garden escapes….

May 17, 2008
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Going up in the World

Viola palmensis, the palmeran violet
May 14, 2008

The Palmeran violet, Viola palmensis Today the whole family wound up at 2,400 m. My husband works up there, at the Galileo telescope. My son had a school trip, helping to plant out native flora, like the violet above. The island government’s been doing this for a while, and the results are really starting to show. And I was tour guiding. I showed two groups round the Isaac Newton Telescope….

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