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Botanical exploration in the Barranco Añavingo during May

A view up the barranco before it narrows dramatically

The Barranco Añavingo is at the top of the Güimar valley directly above the town of Arafo.  It is not easy to get to, but once  there the path is easy to follow up and back down the barranco, though it is rough and the brambles are rampant! The accessible part ends abruptly with a cliff which would be a waterfall when raining.  So its a there and back walk, but worth the effort of reaching it.  It is carved out of a steep slope forming the head of the valley, where there is often cloud lingering, and because of its unique environment it houses some interesting plants.

Madama (Allagopappus dichotomus)

Due to the being on the edge of the cloud forest zone, there are a lot of trees of that zone, and there are also some endemics of the local area, including the delightful pink Scabious, (Pterocephalus dumetorum), which is common in the Güimar area.  The flower is similar to the scabious in the National Park, which is the same genus, but the leaves are a soft green instead of grey.

Rosalito salvaje, a pink Scabious (Pterocephalus dumetorum).

The trees present include Maytenus canariensis, which was sporting ample fruits when we visited, Canary holly (Ilex canariensis), Palo Blanco (Picconia excelsa), Madrono (Arbutus canariensis) and Canary Laurel (Laurus novocanariensis).  Unfortunately, because of the rampant bramble bushes, it is difficult to leave the path to get a closer look at all these plants.

Maytenus canariensis, with fruit. A relatively rare small tree typical of the transition zone from thermophile forest to cloud forest.

The plant we had made a special effort to see, the knapweed relative, Cheirolophus metlecsicsii, was well into the barranco.  It is very rare, and we only saw it in one place.  A very small group on a rocky ledge surrounded by the rampant brambles.  The only blessing being that they perhaps help to protect the rare plants from unscrupulous people, who might steal or destroy them.


The rare knapweed relative Cheirolophus metlecsicsii, a Tenerife endemic. Not a good picture due to the distance from which it was taken.

Half-way up the barranco the path improves and then leads up some steps to a ledge below an overhang.  This is apparently the site where a statue of a saint, I think it was Saint Anthony, stands.  It is the subject of a local pilgrimage up the barranco.  However, at the time we visited it had been removed for repair.

A view higher up the barranco, with Shrubby burnet near the path

We continued up the barranco until the ‘waterfall’, a shady cliff covered with  Tostonera (Adiantum reniforme), a fern with kidney-shaped leaves which loves damp shady banks and cliffs.

The walk we did reached the barranco by the shortest (and only) route that I know, though I am not sure if it is the easiest. It took us 3.5 hours and was approximately 6 km there and back, although the GPS may well have been inaccurate given the steep sides of the barranco.




Shrubby burnet (Bencomia caudata)

The time taken was lengthened by the need to trim back brambles, as well as by my dallying while looking at plants!

Pimpinella dendrotragium, a canary endemic of the umbellifera family