Teide Bursts into Flower

Mon, June 13th, 2011 - By Linda

Twice a year there seems to be a mass exodus of locals from the more heavily populated coastal areas upwards. Once is when snow clothes the peak of Mt Teide. Traffic comes to a standstill on the mountain roads and Santa Cruz, Puerto de la Cruz, La Laguna and the smaller towns empty as everyone leaves to see the sight.

The second time is set to happen this weekend, as I write. It’s June, and all week the television and newspapers have been reporting that the tajinaste are in full bloom and more magnificent than ever. Although there is a four to six week window to see these extraordinary plants, compared to the four to six days to see the novelty of snow, the roads will still be busy on Sunday, no doubt about it.

Tajinaste grow in the wild nowhere else except in the Canary Islands, and one variety only on this island of Tenerife. Along with Roque Cinchado they are among the most famous iconic images of the island you will find. Although you may have seen them on photos and postcards, you won’t find them on the coast. They don’t grow below about 2,000 meters, so if you want to see them you do need to take a drive or an excursion.

Spurred by the images on television the other morning I decided to see for myself if all the fuss was true before the roads became clogged on Sunday. Had the flowers been disappointing the drive itself would have made up for it, seeing the islands of La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro seemingly suspended over the Atlantic like mirages, and breathing the mountain air perfumed by broom might have been enough for an enjoyable drive. The tajinaste, however, did not disappoint. There they were, as we entered the caldera, marching over the rocks and up to the peaks closest to us, brilliant red against the blue sky contrasting vividly with yellow broom. Just before the village of Vilaflor we had spotted a group surround by California poppies, another harbinger of summer in the mountains.

As well as the famous red variety, blue tajinaste grow in the Teide National Park but are rare in comparison. You can however find samples in the El Portillo Visitors’ Center where they are cultivating them to try to restore them in the wild.

This flowering doesn’t last long. You need to be here at the very end of May through June, the first couple of weeks of June usually being the best. There is no telling how good the display will be from year to year. If you are coming up from Playa de las Americas, Los Cristianos, Costa del Silencio or Golf del Sur then following the main road through Arona and Vilaflor is easiest and will yield fine displays. From Costa Adeje, Callao Salvaje, Los Gigantes and the west coast, the easiest route is via Chio, but you won’t find tajinastes until you reach Las Cañadas del Teide, so it might be worth detouring via Arona.

The Teide National Park is always spectacular. In 20 years of living here I still find new things there, and this year might have been best of all.

Posted : Monday, June 13th, 2011 at 8:54 am
Category : days out
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One Response to “Teide Bursts into Flower”

  1. […] Teide National Park, Masca is the second most visited place on Tenerife and yet, the town of Buenavista del Norte which […]

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