Teide National Park is one of the most wonderfully bizarre locations on the planet at the best of times. Come May and June, a brief visitor adds vibrant colour and even more surrealism to a Tenerife landscape that already looks as though it was created by a wildly imaginative mind.
The tajinaste rojo is a strange and hypnotically beautiful plant that elegantly graces the volcanic terrain for too short a time.
But this isn’t about the tajinaste rojo in Teide National Park. It’s about an unexpected early visitor that took us completely by surprise when we were exploring Tenerife’s southern slopes in February.
As we strolled in warm sunshine enjoying the charms of Tenerife’s highest town, Vilaflor, we spotted something that just shouldn’t have been there – a tajinaste rojo partly in bloom.
It’s not uncommon to stumble across the odd early tajinaste in Vilaflor. The image of the one in our Island Drives guidebook (in the exact same spot as it happens) was in bloom long before its Teide relatives. But when I say early, I mean April. Finding a tajinaste rojo in early February was unheard of; it is a late spring, early summer visitor.
What makes it even more incredible is that it hasn’t been the sunniest winter across the Canary Islands. Even the most arid of the Canary Islands have experienced more rainfall than they’re used to.
And yet, standing proud in the sunshine, defying convention, was this glorious specimen.
Incredible in more ways than one.
Jack is co-owner, writer and photographer for Walking Tenerife and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a contributor to lots of other places. Follow Jack on Google+