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 a tower — it’s anything up to 3 m tall! It’s also known as red bugloss, Tenerife bugloss or Mount Teide bugloss. The Spanish name is tajinaste grande or tajinaste rojo, although the ones on La Palma can be blue or mauve.
And they flower on the peaks of La Palma in late May or early June. As you can see, they’re gorgeous.
The picture above is the next most impressive species, Echium simplex. As you can see, this has huge tower of white flowers. I found this one growing at Monte de las Breñas, in Breña Baja, and it’s the first one I’ve seen in almost 20 years on the island.
On the other hand, you see a lot of Echium webbi. These are usually a sizeable bush, with lots of smaller flower spikes. Again, they’re a lovely blue, and they always seem to attract lots of bees.