Gran Canaria Forests

October 20, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Of the approximately 600 identified Canaries’ plant species, 32 correspond to trees. Their botanical importance stems from their condition as authentic living fossils, constituting all that is left of the great forest that mantled the Mediterranean basin during the Tertiary period. Probably nowhere else on Earth is there a forest-covering like that of the Canaries, which so faithfully represents the flora of 20 million years ago.

It is still possible to find examples of the seven typical Canary forest-types: tamarisks, palm groves, stands of juniper, broom and heather thicket, laurel forest and pinewoods. Of the ancient laurel forest that once covered the whole northern part of the island, only small protected areas remain, such as the Los Tiles de Moya ravine.

Llanos de la Pez forest

Llanos de la Pez forest

The pinewoods are by far the most widespread of all the island forest varieties. Their distribution coincides with the largest protected areas on Gran Canaria, all of which are officially designated “Nature Parks”. The principal park areas are: Pilancones, Inagua, Ojeda and Pajonales, in the south-west; Llanos de la Pez, in the peaks; and Tamadaba, the most verdant, in the north-west. Any of these is perfect for hiking purposes.

The Canary Island pine, a tree indigenous to these islands, can grow to a height of more than 60 metres. Its singularity lies in its large needle clusters, grouped in threes, and in its ability, acquired over thousands of years of volcanic activity, to bloom anew after being burnt. Curiously, its only living relative grows in the Himalayas. photo:Pepelopex

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