Mount Teide National Park
You follow a group of hikers heading straight along one of the Park's paths surrounded by that barren landscape, where the sight of any vegetation at all is simply amazing. Your surprise grows as you near the end of the trail and are welcomed by dozens of blooming buglosses. The bright colour of their flowers – some red, others blueish – contrasts with the dark land and mountainsides. What an awe-inspiring sight!
The wealth of flora living in these natural surroundings was a key factor in it being declared a National Park. Out of its 194 listed species, 31 are endemic to the Canary Islands and 32 grow exclusively in Tenerife – that adds up to almost one third being endemic plants.
After a first impression of this barren and chaotic landscape, visitors will begin to realise that every last corner with the tiniest chance for life has been populated by rich vegetation. The plant life here is made up of greyish-green bushes with minute leaves, proving its perfect adaptation to conditions of extreme drought, intense light, solar radiation and oscillating temperatures.
Broom bushes known as "retama" are the most abundant, although the vegetation also contains other species such as flixweed, laburnums, the Teide daisy, the Teide wallflower or the malpais flower. It is also common to find figworts, arnica, red buglosses, spicy buglosses and the silver thistle.
The red bugloss (Echium wildpretii) is one of the National Park's most spectacular plants. Its stems, which can grow up to 2 m (6.5 ft) high, are covered in a brightly coloured and striking pinky-purple blossom. This species, which was quite frankly rare up until just 30 years ago, is now part of the classic picture postcard of the area.
The spicy bugloss (Echium auberianum) is another endemic species in Tenerife that is similar to the red bugloss, only its flowers have a blue tone and are somewhat smaller. The Teide violet (Viola cheiranthifolia) is another important endemic species in the Park. They are so beautiful and unique that visitors have to be reminded that they are not allowed to cut or pick them, as is the case with all of the plants in the area.
Between April and June, the Park bursts into a display of life and colour: the bushes and shrubs bloom generously while the air is filled with their scent and buzzing with pollinating insects.
The most significant plant species that can be found in Teide National Park are:
- The malpais flower (Tolpis webii)
- The Teide wallflower (Erysimum scoparium)
- The Teide daisy (Argyranthemum teneriffae)
- Flixweed (Descuraina bourgaeana)
- Laburnums (Adenocarpus viscosus)
- Summit rosebushes (Pterocephalus lasiospermum)
- Figworts (Schrophularia glabrata)
- Teide catmint (Nepeta Teydea)
- Arnica (Andryala pinnatifida)
- Mountain mint (Bystropogon origanifolius)
- The spicy bugloss (Echium auberianum)
- The red bugloss (Echium wildpretii)
- The silver thistle ( Stemmacantha cynaroides)