Thursday, June 18, 2009

El Teide in the Spring

Of the 36 plants endemic to Tenerife, there are 16 which are endemic to the specific area of El Teide National Park. The plant species here are fully adapted to the tough living conditions of high altitude, intense sunlight, extreme temperature variations and lack of moisture. The flowers bloom in May and June, and we have been wanting to get back up the mountain to see one plant in particular.

With June slipping by, we finally made it to the park late Monday afternoon to catch a glimpse of the Echium wildpretii. More commonly called tower of jewels, red bugloss, Tenerife bugloss or Mount Teide bugloss, it is a herbaceous biennial plant that grows in the subalpine zone of the ravines of Mount Teide and can reach up to 3m in height (the Spanish name is tajinaste).

As we finally passed above the clouds, and the sky and sun poked through, we saw the first display:

We drove along looking for more. There were some here and there, and carcasses of ones that had already made their seasonal appearance, but there weren't as many as we expected to see. Still, we got what we came for, and decided to take the boys for a little "hike."

As usual, the boys enjoyed exploring... stopping to examine one thing or another, or to collect a rock or stick, or to climb on something, or to just kick up some dirt.

Along the path, Jaime spotted a spartocytisus supranubius (supra = above; nubius = the cloud) in bloom. It's a white flowering plant also native to the Canaries. The common name is Retama del Teide. Jaime left the path to snap a couple of pictures, and the boys and I followed. Well, the boys followed Jaime, and I followed the boys...

There was a bonus to our little "off road" excursion... we found another Tenerife Bugloss!! Of course we couldn't resist taking more pictures, and the boys enjoyed watching the bees collect nectar from the flowers.

It was starting to get late, so we headed back toward the car. We reminded the boys of the bunny we saw the last time we visited El Teide and they were suddenly excited to find another.

Good thing Jaime did spot one on our walk back and the boys watched intently as the bunny explored the area and munched on plants. It was just too cute!!!

Another great adventure!! I'm so glad we made it to the park before all the blooms were gone, because I wasn't prepared to wait until next year to see them. Of course, no trip to the teide would be complete without a picture of the mountain and the sea of clouds surrounding it.

1 comment:

Erin said...

Those flowers are so neat! I love the boys calling for BUNNY too.
You take some really great pictures.