The Barranco del Infierno, Adeje, in summer

'Sea Rosemary' - Romero marino (Campylanthus salsoloides) was still in flower in July - it flowers over a very long period

‘Sea Rosemary’ – Romero marino (Campylanthus salsoloides) was still in flower in July – it flowers over a very long period

The view to Adeje from the first part of the walk

The view to Adeje from the first part of the walk

I have not visited the Barranco del Infierno for several years because much of that time it has been closed to the public, but it is now open again. The paths have been considerably improved, although they are still rough in places and do need good suitable shoes or boots. Numbers are now limited to 300 people per day and this makes it much more comfortable to walk. This means you need to book your visit in advance, which is easy on the website. I was able to book in July the day before, but I suspect at busy times of year it will be necessary to book much further in advance. The website is: http://www.barrancodelinfierno.es/en/

Mignonette - a local endemic species of it - (Reseda scoria)

Mignonette – a local endemic species of it – (Reseda scoparia)

Maple-leaved Lavatera (Lavatera acerifolia)

Maple-leaved Lavatera (Lavatera acerifolia)

July is not the best time of year to visit the Barranco because much of the vegetation is shutting down for the summer, losing leaves, and so on. In fact I was not expecting to see many flowers at all, or to see much water in the waterfall and stream, but in both cases I was pleasantly surprised. So it was still an enjoyable and interesting experience. We did make a fairly early start, though, at 9.30 and finished our visit when Adeje’s church clock was striking 12.00. It was already getting quite hot in the sun in the barranco, so we were pleased to finish early.

 

Tolpis crassiscula - a very local endemic - was in flower up the cliffs in lots of places

Little Teno Lettuce – Lechugilla de Teno -(Tolpis crassiscula) – a very local endemic – was in flower up the cliffs in lots of places

Flowing stream and pool - a rare sight in south Tenerife

Flowing stream and pool – a rare sight in south Tenerife

The Barranco is an amazing landscape. It starts at the top of Calle Molinos, a very steep street right at the top edge of the old town of Adeje. There is an entrance office where you buy or show your tickets, and an area where a briefing is given about the rules of entry, and where helmets are provided for visitors to wear. After that you make your way into the Barranco along the well-defined path, which you are not allowed to leave. The path is both the way in and the return route, so as the day goes on returning visitors meet incoming visitors, and in places the path is so narrow, that one or other has to give way. The fact that entering visitors are in time batches, and the total numbers are limited, means this is not such a problem as it would be with uncontrolled numbers.

Part of the waterfall at the end of the walk - it is so high it's difficult to photograph all of it.

Part of the waterfall at the end of the walk – it is so high it’s difficult to photograph all of it.

A view on the way out of the narrow gorge part of the Barranco

A view on the way out of the narrow gorge part of the Barranco

At the start of the path the barranco is wide and there is view across it to the flat-topped Roque del Conde. As you walk further into the barranco it narrows, until it becomes a very narrow gorge, and finally ends with a 200m sheer cliff down which the water falls, down into a small pool which then flows out into a stream with various rock worn pools on the way. In the first, open, part of the barranco has an ecosystem dominated by Euphorbias, like most of the coastal areas. The middle part contains a thermophile ecosystem with a greater variety of plants, many of them requiring a moister atmosphere than the first part. In this part are examples of typical plants such as the Almaciga (Pistacia atlantica) ,Tree Bindweed – Guaydil (Convolvulus floridus), Maple-leaved Lavatera (Lavatera acerifolia) and Ceballosia (Ceballosia fruticosa). All of these, except a few Lavatera, had already flowered and so I was unable to get pictures. The other abundant plants that were in flower in this area were the Balo (Plocama pendula) and the Mataprieta (Justicia hyssopifolia) both of which are Canary endemics.

A fine specimen of the rare local endemic 'Cliff cabbage' - Col de risk - (Crambe scaberrima)

A fine specimen of the rare local endemic ‘Cliff cabbage’ – Col de risk – (Crambe scaberrima)

Returning through the wider part of the Barranco

Returning through the wider part of the Barranco

The remaining part, the gorge, contains little on the ground between the sheer walls apart from the stream, the path, various Canary Willow trees (Salix canariensis) and Sweet Chestnut trees (Castanea sativa), and brambles. The only really interesting plants were water plants and the local endemic plant, Lechugilla del Teno (where it also grows) (Tolpis crassiscula), which is listed in the Red Book as vulnerable. I was pleased to see a large number of these growing and flowering beside the path and up the cliffs.

Hyssop-leaved Justicia (Justicia hyssopifolia) flower

Hyssop-leaved Justicia (Justicia hyssopifolia) flower

Advertisements

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 August 6, 2016, in Botanical interest, South Tenerife, Walks in Tenerife, West Tenerife and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Hi! I’m loving your blog with all the details of the flora and walks on! Fabulous. I’ve been trying to identify a plant from Barranco del Infierno, but can’t see anything that looks quite like it – probably just because of different seasons. Is there any chance you know what this is? I’ve put a dropbox address as my website. If you get chance to look, great. If not, thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures anyway.

    • Your picture is of a dried up seed head of Agave Americana, known as Century plant in English and Pita in Spanish. The flower spikes are very impressive. It is a plant from the Americas imported to the islands for industrial uses for fibres.

      • Hi Sally. Thanks so much for that 🙂 Mystery solved. I’m hoping to go to Tenerife again in the next year or two and will be checking your blog for more on the flora. Thanks again.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: