In some areas of Tenerife spring tiptoes in quietly without much of a hoo-ha; in fact not looking a lot different from winter. Temperatures go up but apart from that, the landscape looks much the same.
Head north or into the hills and it’s a very different canvas; there spring has erupted (not always a good word to use given the volcanic nature of these islands) in an explosion of colours courtesy of an army of flamboyant wild flowers.
Anonymous fields have turned from ugly ducklings into stunning swans. Apart from being pretty on the eye, the kaleidoscope of colours scream ‘here comes the warm weather’. In truth, the warm weather didn’t actually leave Tenerife and the other Canary Islands but when you live here you notice the change.
It’s a scene that adds an extra jauntiness to the step and makes those vertical goat trails all the more manageable.
Last year, a worrying drought meant that spring’s arrival wasn’t accompanied by the sort of displays of wild flowers that make walking on Tenerife at this time of year such a soul pleaser. The return of the November rains and the handful of showers since has resulted in a spring display that has come back with a vengeance. We don’t remember seeing such a profusion of wild flowers in recent years.
All of the images below came from one walk in the Teno Mountains. We’re not experts in flora, and research materials relating to flora on Tenerife can be a bit hit and miss, so apologies if I’ve misidentified any and feel free to correct; it would be appreciated.
Corn poppies (papever rhoeas). Possibly my favourite wild flower. You don’t have to head into the hills to find poppies. A bus journey from Los Gigantes to Icod de los Vinos will expose you yo plenty of these wonderful wild ones.
I’ve struggled to pin down the long, gangly yellow flowers in this shot. The closest I’ve managed to come up with is charlock, a type of wild mustard, but I’m not convinced, so any alternative suggestions would be welcome. Adding to the contrast are cirsiums and viper’s bugloss which is out in spectacular force at the moment.
These alien looking flowers have a great name – bladder campion (silene vulgaris).
This lovely, lilac cirsium lends a slightly Scottish vibe to the Tenerife hills. Add the Tenerife flag and it really might get confusing.
A nice combination of white and orange from the elegant asphodel (asphodelus tenuifolius).
There were gangs of Canary Island bellflowers (Canarina canariensis) tumbling down stone walls along our route. They looked particularly impressive when the sunshine lit them up like a lamp.
St John’s wort is used as a herbal treatment for depression; seeing the Canary Islands’ version (hypericum canariense) against a sky like that does tend to chase away the blues.
The wild fennel in these parts gives the local cheese an exquisite flavour. But I’m not sure if the goats actually munch on these giant fennel (ferula communis).
Another sign of spring in the west, red tabaiba or spurge (euphorbia).
Simply a glorious sight; fields of viper’s bugloss (echium plantaginum) and eruca sativa.
There were lots more flowers in bloom but to include them all would have made this blog similar to the scenery we enjoyed during our walk – epic.
Jack is co-owner, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a contributor to lots of other places. Follow Jack on Google+