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Visit Native Flora of the Canary Islands is a book I recommend

Updated on June 24, 2013

Identification of plants of the Canary Islands

If like me you are fascinated by the wealth of plant species both native and exotic that can be found growing in Tenerife and the Canary Islands then you will want a good way of identifying the ones you find. When I first came to the island I was amazed at all the flowers, bushes and trees I saw, as well as the cacti and succulents.

Now I know a lot about botany and have been fascinated by plants since I was a little boy but whilst I could often spot what family a plant was in I didn't know what species it was. Fortunately I came upon two top quality guide books to plant identification in the form of Visit Native Flora of the Canary Islands by Miguel Angel Cabrera Pérez and Visit Exotic Flora of the Canary Islands by Juan Alberto Rodriguez Pérez, both published by Editorial Everest S. A.

Native Flora of the Canary Islands

Cover of Visit Native Flora of the Canary Islands
Cover of Visit Native Flora of the Canary Islands

Native Flora of the Canary Islands

Visit Native Flora of the Canary Islands, which is published in English, Spanish and German, was just what I was looking for. Whilst its 192 pages cannot describe all the thousand of wild plants found on Tenerife and the other islands it nevertheless sets out many of the main ones you will find on your travels.

The book is small enough to fit in a jacket pocket or in a bag so can easily be carried with you when you are out and about. This makes it ideal as a reference guide because you can stop and see if you can find some plant you have just come upon and see if it is covered within your copy.

Visit Native Flora of the Canary Islands is divided into sections that cover the different types of habitat and micro-climate encountered on the islands. There are sections for the Coastal Halophilic Vegetation, the Basal-layer Communities, the Thermosclerophyllous Communities, the Monteverde Woodlands, Pinewoods, High Mountain Communities and Rock Communities.  For people who don't understand botanical terms there is a detaled glossary in the back of the book.

Canary Island Candle Shrub

Kleinia neriifolia
Kleinia neriifolia

Native Flora of the Canary Islands described

In the book each species is illustrated with a colour photo and a description is given of what sort of locations it grows in, what time of year it flowers, a physical description of the parts of each plant, and how common or rare it is.

In addition to these details, any particular useful properties a plant has or historical uses will be noted too. For example, in the section about the widely distributed Tree Heath or Heather (Erica arborea ), the book explains that this small tree was used in the production of charcoal and as "a source of sticks and forks."

We are also told that Tree Heather has anti-inflammatory properties. So you find out a bit about traditional uses of the plants as well as fining out what they look like and how common or scare their distribution is.

An example of a very rare plant covered in this book is the tree spurge species Euphorbia mellifera which is in danger of extinction because only a few specimens now occur in the wild. It is pointed out that this plant is in the National Catalogue of Endangered Species and is protected under regional legislation.

Many common plants like the Canary Island St John's Wort (Hypericum canariense) and the Canary Candle Shrub or Verode (Kleinia neriifolia) are also described.

If you are a newcomer to Tenerife or any of the other Canary Islands and want to find out about the plant species you will find growing will find growing wild Visit Native Flora of the Canary Islands is a highly recommended place to start.

Copyright © 2011 Steve Andrews. All Rights Reserved.


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    • Tenerife Islander profile image

      Steve Andrews 6 years ago from Tenerife

      I hope you succeed in getting here, JamaGenee! Thanks for posting!

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 6 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Steve, this hub just reaffirms that I *MUST* visit Tenerife before I die!