The beautiful Tajinaste

Spring is a good time to visit any place, but spring in Tenerife is the best time to admire a native plant of the island, the spectacular Tajinaste. The name, perhaps unfamiliar to many, means spire or tower in guanche, the language of the ancient inhabitants of the Canary Islands, but most people who visit Las Cañadas del Teide National Park will recognise the plant. It is found in large numbers on the slopes, in the ravines and along the roads leading to Mount Teide.

Photo by Jesus Domingo Perez Glez, winner of YAHOO PICTURE OF THE DAY (June 3, 2014)

Its scientific name, Echium wildpretii, was given by British botanists Henry Harold Welch Pearson and Joseph Dalton Hooker in honour of the Swiss horticulturist, Hermann Wildpret who lived in La Orotava during the nineteenth century

After a cold winter, Mother Nature captivates with an explosion of beauty. Come May it is like being in a different galaxy. The tajinaste sends up long spikes of spectacular red flowers that can grow to three metres. A truly unique display of intense colour as the flowers flood the scree and rocky debris where this species lives, to provide a stunning landscape that delights visitors to these Fortunate Islands. Its rich sweet pollen attracts honeybees making the plant a major source of Tenerife honey.

Teide National Park
Image Roselinde  Tenerife Parque Nacional de Teide

Animals that live in the park do not threaten the plants, but it is susceptible to other predators. Often people steal the tajinastes to plant in their gardens which is a waste of time as the plant is so delicate it will die within hours of being picked. Instead, we should perpetuate this wonder, and care for the environment so that we can enjoy this true indigenous species of Tenerife, next year.

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