Canary Pine Trees

Today I visited Cumbrecita, and I fell in love with Canary pine trees all over again. So many of them look as though they’ve been carefully trained into artistic shapes, like gigantic bonsai trees. So here are a few of my favourites.

September 21, 2014
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New plants in the Caldera

La Palma is very popular with botanists, because there are hundreds of species of plants which grow wild only on La Palma. When three employees of the Caldera National Park went to do a survey on the north slope of Bejenado in the Caldera, the got four nice surprises. The first three are in the Rock Rose family. Helianthemum broussonetii is a bush with white flowers which grows around Los…

August 7, 2014
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Prehistoric Rock Carvings

The people who lived here before the Spanish invasion in 1493 were called Benauaritas. Since they didn’t have writing, not all that much is known about them, and what there is comes from the invaders. Not exactly an unbiased source! Their technology was pretty basic, maybe because the climate in La Palma is kind enough not to encourage things like weaving. They wore skins, lived mostly in caves, herded goats…

April 28, 2014
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Strange Caterpillars

Yponomenta gigas caterpillars and web. I’d never heard of caterpillars that make cobwebs before, but these do. Like many others caterpilars in the family of ermine moths, they form communal webs. I suppose it discourages birds from sticking their beaks in. My book on Canarian insects doesn’t mention them at all, but then they aren’t easy to find unless you know where to look. They live on the Canarian Willow,…

April 18, 2014
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Napeloen Bonepart in the Caldera de Taburiente

A couple of weeks ago, I promised more photos of the Caldera de Taburiente. At the top of the Caldera there’s a rock formation that from one angle looks distinctly like Napoleon Bonepart, or an indian. So it’s called Boniface or El Indio. This photo is taken from below the Roque de las Viñas, beside the vineyard. The best viewpoint has a lethal drop and no guard rail. It’s totally…

March 20, 2014
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Pillow lava

Pillow lava is formed underwater, on the sea-bed. When the lava comes out and hits the sea water, the outside cools and freezes pretty much immediately, while the inside keeps on flowing. That means that it forms tube, which lengthens and widens until the pressure at the inlet end breaks open the tube and starts a new one. So you get the tubes interlocking. This is how La Palma grew…

March 7, 2014
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