Pitahayas

  The fruits of several different cactuses are called pitahayas. The yellow ones in the picture are Hylocereus megalanthus, and the pink ones are Hylocereus undatus. To be honest, I was rather disappointed by the (lack of) flavour of them both. Some time ago I had what I think was a Hylocereus costaricensis, which was deep red all the way through, and much tastier. I wish I had a bigger…

January 7, 2015
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Dragon Trees

The north of La Palma is one of the best places to see dragon trees. These exotic-looking plants grow throughout the Canary Islands, and also in Cape Verde, the Azores, Maderia, and western Morocco, but  on La Palma, they’re still reproducing naturally. The Canary Islands used to have a large, flightless bird, something like a Dodo. This bird ate dragon tree fruits, so the seeds evolved to have a hard protective…

October 2, 2014
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The Scenic route over the ridge

Los Llanos del Jable, with El Paso behind The main roads on La Palma form a rough figure 8, with the main east-west road being the LP2 from Santa Cruz to Los Llanos, through the tunnel. But whenever I’ve got time, I like to take the scenic route, the LP203. This winds up through the heather and bayberry forest, then pine forest, past the barbecue and picnic areas at Pared…

September 5, 2014
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A Grotto in Breña Alta

La Palma has a network of marked hiking trails. The LP 19, in Breña Alta runs up from San Pedro, past a series of springs, into the lower end of San Isidro, and back down to the main road. Like most of these paths, the scenery is beautiful and keeps changing. And this path included bonuses. Several of the springs feed laundry bowls. Since it’s easier to carry clothes than…

August 20, 2014
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Mulberries

Mulberries were originally introduced to the greener parts of La Palma to feed silkworms for silk production. The fruit is a delicious side-effect. Sadly, you rarely see it on sale, because it’s fragile and doesn’t keep. It’s also a strong, natural dye (and is used as such). If you pick your own, expect stained fingers and watch your clothes. In fact, if you’re staying near a mulberry tree in fruit, don’t…

July 30, 2014
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Flags Galore

You see a lot of flags on La Palma. Most English visitors will recognise the flags of Spain and the European Union. But the Canary Islands are an autonomous region within Spain, and they have their own flag too. You see it a lot, especially around May 30th, which is Canary Day. And then each island has its own flag. Here’s the flag of La Palma: And as if that…

June 11, 2014
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