Los Tilos Waterfall

June 13, 2019

Canarian waterfalls aren’t common. There are lots of temporary waterfalls after heavy rain, but they tend to be very short-lived. But La Palma has two, pretty much year round. This one is in the Los Tilos biosphere reserve. From the visitor centre, you follow either the ravine or the water channel upstream. (If you follow the ravine, be prepared for some scrambling. If you follow the channel, bring a torch…

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The observatory in bloom

June 2, 2019

16 The whole hillside at the Roque de Los Muchachos is in bloom. But where heather moors go purple, the peaks of La Palma go yellow with sticky broom (Adenocarpus viscosus, or codeso in Spanish) and French broom (Genista benehoavensis or retamón palmero in Spanish) Meanwhile the insects are buy enjoying the all-you-can-eat buffet.

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La Palma’s Violet

Viola palmensis, the palmeran violet
May 22, 2019

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….

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The Canary Bellflower

The Canary Bell flower, Canarina canariensis
February 3, 2019

This is the Canary bellflower which you can find it in laurel forests, and ocassionally on the edge of a field. The plant has a tuber which produces a scrambling vine each year up to 9 ft long, and it produces flowers all winter. The flowers are orange, about 2″ long, and have very pretty veins. I believe the black or purple fruit is edible, but I’ve never tried it….

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Pitahayas

The fruits of several different cactuses are called pitahayas. The yellow ones in the picture are Hylocereus megalanthus, and the pink ones are Hylocereus undatus. To be honest, I was rather disappointed by the (lack of) flavour of them both. Some time ago I had what I think was a Hylocereus costaricensis, which was deep red all the way through, and much tastier. I wish I had a bigger garden,…

January 20, 2019
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Rabbit’s foot fern

Close up of the root of Rabbit's foot fern, Davallia canariensis
November 16, 2018

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…

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