Flora and Fauna

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Tenerife South Playa San Juan
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The flora of Tenerife

  • The islands have because of their convenient location amid the cool Canary current and the extreme altitude of the mountains, a diverse vegetation (up to 10 different climate zones), many plant species are indigenous to the islands, some unique to Tenerife (endemic). The Canary Island pine (Pinus canariensis) forms large forests. In the arid south of the island succulent spurge (Euphorbia canariensis) and prickly pears are located. Another characteristic plant is the Canary Dragon tree (Dracaena draco) - a 1000 year old and impressive specimen at Icod de los Vinos is found.
  • The Laurel forests are of particular interest because these were made extinct in the Mediterranean during the last ice age and today are considered "Vegetable relics". They once covered large areas of southern Europe. (See Plant Guide to the Canary Islands by Thomas K. Mueller) Almost all plant species are now under strict protection.
  • The Teide Snake Heads (Echium wildpreti), the Canary Bellflower (Canarina Canarensis) stand out among the many endemic species. The botanist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt Was particularly impressed by the flora of Tenerife when he visited the island in 1799.
  • In addition to the native plants, many plants from around the world dominate the island. Wild cacti come from America, as well as the huge bushes of the poinsettia, a plant that is sold in Central Europe in pots for Christmas. The distinctive flower of the South African Strelitzia is a popular souvenir for tourists. Eucalyptos, African Mimose, al type of Palmtrees, tropical plants are cultivated as Mango, Avocados, Passionfruit, Bananas , Papaya ecc.

The fauna of Tenerife

  • The Canary islands have few mammals other than wild cats, muflon, wild goats . Many wild rabbits populate the whole island. There are no poisonous snakes but many species of medium to large endemic lizards (Galliotia).
  • The animal kingdom is connected mostly to the the bird world - some are typical to Tenerife such as the Teide finch or the wild form of the canary, tower-hawks and Great Grey Shrike, Barbary partridge, crow, fish eagles and yellow-billed diver.
  • The are several species of butterfly endemic to the Canary Islands such as the Canarian white (Pieris cheiranthi), the Canary Red Admiral (Vanessa vulcania) and the Canary Speckled Wood (Pararge xiphioides).
  • Marine animals: A special feature is the pilot whale, which are in large numbers found in the 1500m deep strait between Tenerife and La Gomera. There are few cities in the world where so many whales and dolphins make their home.This means that protection of this area is well enforced. When diving, one often encounters the sea turtle (Caretta caretta), small species of sharks, rays, barracuda, parrot fish, many tropical fishes etc