Mediterranean Garden Society

Trip to the Canary Islands February 2019

The photograph at the top of this page shows magnificent stands of Echium acanthocarpum seen on the island of Gomera (Photo Alisdair Aird)

Başak Gardner of ViraNatura Tours, with her sister the botanical artist Işık Güner, led a group of 15 MGS members on a memorable tour of the islands of Tenerife and Gomera. We visited three interesting and unusual botanic gardens, but the main emphasis was on the islands' native plants, including many endemics, in their natural habitats - often, landscapes of great and remarkably varied beauty. There were lush forests, steep crags, plunging valleys, arid volcano slopes and coastal lava fields, each with their own special plants. Among many highlights were magnificent stands of Echium acanthocarpum (as shown at the top of this page), several lovely Aeonium species including the jade-like A. aureum and A. tabuliforme with its extraordinarily intricate rosettes;

Aeonium aureum – Gomera

Aeonium tabuliforme – Tenerife

the charming little endemic Orchis patens subsp. canariensis; golden carpets of Lotus campylocladus in upland pine forests;

Orchis patens subsp. canariensis - El Roque, La Gomera

Lotus campylocladus - Tenerife

handsome bushes of Euphorbia atropurpurea; other-worldly thickets of E. canarensis in a rugged coastal lava moonscape;

Euphorbia atropurpurea – Tenerife

and above all Phoenix canariensis running wild in its proper steep native surroundings rather than regimented into manicured palm-tree avenues.

Phoenix canariense - La Gomera

Text and photos by Alisdair Aird.

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