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Teide National Park (El Parque Nacional del Teide) 

Last Sunday, Andy took me and some friends to the National Park here in Tenerife on the hunt for the famous Tajinastes that are endemic to our beautiful island.

Andy had selected yet another trail that I had never done which started at Boca Tauce along a good path with dramatic mountain cliffs to our left and stunning views over to the lava fields and magnificent Mount Teide to our right.

As we progressed, we walked a short while over the lava fields; the dark charcoal-like stones crunching beneath our feet like gravel. A little further on, huge spectacular Tajinastes echium wildpretii came into sight, their strange red conical shapes thrusting their heads up to 3m high into the air. Also known as the tower of jewels and tajinaste rojo by the locals, this bizarre but beautiful plant is mainly found in the subalpine zone of Las Cañades de Teide. These beautiful flowers were adorned by many bees eagerly searching for nectar. These strange plants only grow in altitudes of more than 2,000m and only flower every 2 years.

Having done a different Tajinaste trail with Andy last year, it was obvious that this year is a poor year for flowers as the grey skeletons of last year’s blooms were in profusion, but plants in flower were not so prolific. This was not too bad a disappointment as many other flowers were in abundance including several species of lavender and bright yellow sticky broom adeno-carpus viscosus which grow in large clumps and adorn the National Park like brightly coloured pin cushions.

Needless to say, photo opportunities were plenty, not only for the Tajinastes and other flowers that we found, but for the sheer drama and wonder of the lava flows, strange rock formations and awe inspiring cliffs that surrounded us.

By Lynne Scaife