A scenic and botanically interesting circular walk from Tamaimo, Santiago del Teide

Almond trees in bloom beside the path from Tamaimo to Arguayo

Almond trees in bloom beside the path from Tamaimo to Arguayo

I did this walk yesterday, 11th February, on our first sunny day for a while, so it was a real treat. Not only is it a very scenic route, but also exciting botanically with lots of rarities, especially in the latter half. It was however, quite a long and strenuous walk, and in one place a bit vertiginous, though you could end sooner to cut that bit out.

The path down to the tunnel under the new road is almost overgrown with Argyranthemums

The path down to the tunnel under the new road is almost overgrown with Argyranthemums

We started from Tamaimo, parking on the main road (TF-82) towards Chio, and taking a steep street up from that road, called Calle la Rosa. Continue along that street till it ends, where a footpath starts. This is a broad footpath that is easy to follow but is steep. If you start early in the day you get a bit of shade on the way up, which you may be glad of! I have never before walked this route at almond blossom time, and it was a delight.

The north-facing slopes of La Hoya were covered in Atlantic Islands buttercups (Ranunculus cortusifolius)

The north-facing slopes of La Hoya were covered in Atlantic Islands buttercups (Ranunculus cortusifolius)

 

At the end of the first bit of the climb the path joins the end of a tarmac road. We walked along it about 30m and turned left onto another path, although it is a bit more overgrown. After a while the path is diverted to the left where it has been dissected by the new road. The new path made goes down some steps to a tunnel beneath the new road, but it is already overgrown by Marguerites (Argyranthemum sp) so it is difficult to see the steps. On the other side of the tunnel the path climbs up and eventually rejoins the old path to continue up to Arguayo, coming out on the bypass, which we crossed and went up to the road through the village where we turned left.

Marguerite (Argyranthemum foeniculaceum), a Tenerife endemic

Marguerite (Argyranthemum foeniculaceum), a Tenerife endemic

 

 

We passed the pottery museum on our left (worth a quick visit if you are interested) and shortly after turned left, past the statues of two potters, crossed back over the bypass to go up a concrete road opposite. Just a few yards up this we took a left fork to go onto a level footpath (at first!) around the mountain called La Hoya. The path overlooks the entrances to the tunnels for the new road which goes beneath this mountain, then it takes a sharp right turn to go around the north side of La Hoya. This stretch of path is delightful for its views of the Santiago Valley and across to the Teno mountains, and for the rich variety of flowers along it. At this time of year we saw lots of Atlantic island buttercups (Ranunculus cortusifolius) growing in drifts up the side of the mountain. There were also lots of the local species of Marguerites (Argyranthemum foeniculaceum), a Tenerife endemic, with filiform bluish leaves and large flower heads. In addition the Purple Spurge (Euphorbia atropurpurea), a Tenerife endemic, was in flower as was Yellow Carrot (Todaroa aurea) a carrot-like umbellifera which is a Canary endemic.

Canary sage (Salvia canariensis) surrounded by Canary Lavender (Lavandula canariensis) both Canary endemics

Canary sage (Salvia canariensis) surrounded by Canary Lavender (Lavandula canariensis) both Canary endemics

When we got down the slope of the mountain we were very near the new road, where a track crosses on a bridge, but we had to cross the track to continue beside the road until we reached a tunnel beneath it for the path. Shortly after emerging from the tunnel and climbing the ramp the other side, we reached a fork in the path where we turned left to El Molledo. We crossed the road went down into the village past the church and the square and straight on into a narrow street going downhill, then right with another street till we reached the streambed of the barranco which the path crosses. Coming out of the barranco we passed a turning left (a footpath going down the side of the valley), but when we reached the next junction, by a huge volcanic dyke (intrusion of molten magma into existing rock), we took the left fork.

Walking towards the old goat farm on the north side of the Santiago valley

Walking towards the old goat farm on the north side of the Santiago valley

Now we were walking along a contour on the north side of the Santiago valley in open country with fine views. We passed drifts of Canary Lavender (Lavandula canariensis) interspersed with Canary sage (Salvia canariensis), and then a gentle up slope took us to the top of the ridge, where the path followed a dyke forming the ridge. We were now looking down into the next valley, Barranco Mancha de la Diaz, on our right. On the top of the dyke on the left are tight clumps of Little Houseleek (Aeonium sedifolium), which later in spring will be covered in yellow flowers.

Yellow carrot (Todaroa aurea), a Canary endemic

Yellow carrot (Todaroa aurea), a Canary endemic

 

 

 

Arriving at a junction with a signpost we reached a decision point. Some of our group decided to descend the path to the left to return to Tamaimo, our starting point. In fact this had been my intention for all the group. However, we had made such good time, others thought the walk too short, and wanted to continue on the ridge, which we did. After a while on a very well defined path, we reached a fork and took the left path. This was a much smaller path, though still easy to follow. It did however, have some narrow points with drops on the right, and occasions where we had to climb up rocks, but all within our capability (we are not rock climbers!!).

A view of the path alongside Barranco Seco

A view of the path alongside Barranco Mancha de las Diaz

This path was very interesting as far as botany was concerned. On the cliffs we passed under there were Cineraria (Pericallis echinata), a Tenerife endemic, more Atlantic Islands Buttercups, Tenerife Sea-Kale (Crambe scaberrima), and Teno sow-thistle (Sonchus fauces-orci), both the latter being Tenerife endemics. That is just to mention the plants that were flowering. Later in the spring the Retama (Retama raetam) and the Tree bindweed (Convolvulus floridus) would be in flower, among other things.

 

Tenerife Sea-Kale (Crambe scaberrima), a Tenerife endemic

Tenerife Sea-Kale (Crambe scaberrima), a Tenerife endemic

 

After walking along roughly level, or going slightly downhill, with the ridge getting higher above us, we finally followed the path up a slope and found ourselves on the top, with lovely views to Los Gigantes. We then went left across the ridge, which was quite wide and flat, until we got to a T-junction with a yellow and white waymarked path on the far side of the ridge. There we went right and the path immediately began a long steep descent. However, there was botanical interest here too, with a mixture of Neochamaelea pulverulenta shrubs and smaller Parolinia intermedia shrubs, both in flower. Both are grey leaved, and Canary endemics, with the Parolinia confined to Tenerife. They do not have English names, so I am not going to invent them! Neither of these are threatened species, they tend to be locally abundant where they grow, but in relatively few sites, especially the latter, so I do not often see them.

Teno sow-thistle (Sonchus fauces-orci) on the cliff above the path in Barranco Seco

Teno sow-thistle (Sonchus fauces-orci) on the cliff above the path in Barranco Mancha de las Diaz

View to Roque Blanco from the path in Barranco Seco

View to Roque Blanco from the path in Barranco Seco

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also on the descent were lots of Kickxia scoparia in flower, with yellow flowers with spurs at their base. This too is a Canary endemic. Unfortunately they are hard to photograph with my little compact as they are so insubstantial. There were also plentiful Tenerife Lavender (Lavender buchii), a Tenerife endemic found mainly in Teno.  Another Canary endemic plant that was abundant in this area, but unfortunately not in flower, was Justicia hyssopifolia.

Parolinia intermedia, a Tenerife endemic

Parolinia intermedia, a Tenerife endemic

Neochamaelea pulverulenta, a Canary endemic

Neochamaelea pulverulenta, a Canary endemic

 

 

 

 

 

As we descended we had great views, particularly of the Santiago valley, which we eventually reached, and turned left uphill on the footpath back to Tamaimo.

Kickxia scoparia, another Canary endemic

Kickxia scoparia, another Canary endemic

Justicia hyssopifolia, another Canary endemic but not in flower

Justicia hyssopifolia, another Canary endemic but not in flower

 

 

 

 

The walk took 5 hours and 20 minutes, was 12.44 km long and involved 675m of climbing. A GPS track of the walk can be viewed and downloaded from the following link:

http://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=8885597

Tenerife Lavender (Lavandula buchii) with its grey leaves

Tenerife Lavender (Lavandula buchii) with its grey leaves

Views of the Santiago valley as we descended

Views of the Santiago valley as we descended

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About Sally Whymark

When I retired and moved out to Tenerife a few years ago, one of the things I really wanted to do was go walking in the mountains. The scenery is very dramatic, and varied. The views are amazing. The native birds and butterflies and other fauna are remarkable. But the flowers - they're just stunning. Little did I know how this would fire up my interest in plants. While living in England, I had always had an interest in flowers and plants, indeed I ran a plant nursery with my husband for many years, but had not spent a great deal of time pursuing botany. But when walking in Tenerife, I noticed all the unfamiliar shapes of the local flowers, and longed to find out more about them. There are literally hundreds of species endemic to just Tenerife (or even just one part of it), the Canary Islands, or Macronesia (the Atlantic Islands, including Madeira, Canaries and Azores). They are so exciting, and so many of them are really showy as well. So I have started this blog to share with you my excitement at all the great sights I see when walking in Tenerife. I hope you'll enjoy it - and want to come here and experience it for yourself.

Posted on February 13, 2015, in Botanical interest, Walks in Tenerife, West Tenerife and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I’ve just come across your blog and look forward to reading through the archives. I’d love to walk in other parts of Europe someday. In the meantime I walk mainly in the Lake District, which is local to me.

  2. I love that track on the side of La Hoya; it feels like I’m walking on a pathway up in the sky.

    Those are great photos for a “little compact” camera. Are the photos in your book also from the same camera?

  3. Yes, all the photos for the book were taken with a compact camera. I find my bigger digital SLR (which I did not have when writing the book) too big to take on walks with a group. It takes too long to get it out and use it!

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