Punta de Teno botanical walk in May

A large clump of Canary spurge (Euphorbia canariensis) with other xerophytic (dry-loving) shrubs

The flowers of the common shrub Cornical (Periploca laevigata)

The area around the Punta de Teno, also known as Teno Bajo, is a very special place botanically. It is also a bit difficult to get to as there are high cliffs on the north coast which blocked access to the low-lying land beyond, until tunnels were cut through the cliff. In July 2016 8 metres of the road in front of the cliffs collapsed suddenly into the sea, leaving 174 people, and their vehicles, trapped in Teno Bajo. The people were evacuated by helicopter, I’m not sure what happened to their cars! In January 2017 the repaired road was re-opened but with new rules. So now at weekends and holidays it is compulsory to take a bus to and from Teno Bajo. The buses run hourly from Buenavista del Norte and it costs just 1 Euro each way.

Espino de mar (Sea spine) (Lycium intricatum), a prickly shrub, has beautiful but tiny flowers

The advantage of a bus ride is that I can look out of the windows to see the plants on and at the base of the cliffs as we are driven past, and among those in flower in May when we went there was a rare knapweed relative endemic to Tenerife called in spanish Cabezón de El Fraile (the name of the cliff). Its latin name is Cheirolophus buchardii. The bus passed lots of them on the cliffs, but unfortunately I was unable to get a picture. On the cliffs also are dense clumps of the leafless spurge (Euphorbia aphylla), but again I’m sorry no picture.

Another prickly bush, Aulaga (Launeae arborescent) belongs to the lettuce family

We stayed on the bus right down to the beach near the lighthouse at the end of the road. We could have got off at an earlier bus stop if we had pressed the bell, but otherwise the bus does not stop. So we set off walking back towards the tunnel, wandering on the open scrubby coastal plain. There were plenty of flowers to be seen, some fairly common coastal species, such as the Cornical (Periploca laevigata), and Canary spurge (Euphorbia canariensis), and others less common such Dama (Parolinia intermedia) which is a Tenerife endemic which grows in abundance in relatively few areas.

Sea everlasting (Limonium pectinatum)

There was a lot of Sea Lettuce (Astydamia latifolia) in a wide area, but the flowers of most were over, I just found one in flower under a Duraznillo (Cebollosia fruticosa).

Sea Lettuce (Astydamia latifolia)

Of the everlasting flowers (Limonium spp.), the pectinatum was absolutely in the right place, but the imbricatum was right next to the road, nearing the area of most human alteration, where the tomato growing area is.  I rather think the imbricatum may have been planted.


Everlasting flower (Limonium imbricatum)

As we passed the tomato plantation area, the coastal plain gradually disappears and the cliffs get closer to the coast. The slopes are covered with different plants from the plain, and hanging from the cliffs is the rare Tenerife endemic Tenerife Samphire (Vieraea laevigata) with its yellow daisy flowers.

The cliffs closing in on the road towards the tunnel

We found we were at a bus stop, and decided we would return to Buenavista, so we hailed the bus.  It had only been a brief visit and only a short stroll but had been a delight and I must make another visit next year in April or May to get a closer look, and better photos, of other exciting plants.

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 July 28, 2017, in Botanical interest, Walks in Tenerife, West Tenerife, West Tenerife and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Hi Sally – I’ve never visited the Punta so Karin and I would be very happy to accompany you when you go next year 🙂 Hope all is well with the new flat. Best wishes, Jeff

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