Today at Villa Gran Canaria’s blog, we are talking about one of the best and the purest things that people should appreciate in our island — the flora of Gran Canaria. If you are a lover of nature, beauty and peace, or simply a fanatic of plants and flowers, you have to read this post compulsory!
What is so special about flora in Gran Canaria?
For centuries, the flora of Gran Canaria — one of the seven islands of the Canary Islands — has captured the interest of plant specialists from all over the world. Why? The flora of Gran Canaria is one in a million, literally.
It is unique in the world as these plant species became already extinct during the ice age in the rest of the areas where they used to grow.
Although there are approximately five hundred plant species on Gran Canariathat we can find on the other islands too, there are more than a hundred of plant species that grow only on Gran Canaria.
In consequence, this island has become a point of reference for the study of the global flora, which explains why experts declare that Gran Canaria is to botany what the Galapagos Islands are to zoology.
Here, you can see some pictures of several Gran Canaria plant species which belong to the flora of the Canary Islands.
What is the situation of the flora of Gran Canaria?
The flora of Gran Canaria is composed on the one hand of 1,281 species and 82 subspecies of which 1,003 species are native or autochthonous — this means that they grow spontaneously on the island but they are not endemic. On the other hand, there are 278 different endemic species — 95 of them are Gran Canaria endemisms, another 137 species are Canarian endemisms and the 46 left are Macaronesian endemisms. (García Gallo et al., 2003)
This situation — together with the fragility of the island's ecosystems and their high vulnerability to the disturbances caused by human activities — have made necessary to adopt an adequate regulatory framework. This regulatory framework contributes to their effective preservation and promotes a more sustainable development in our territory.
Gran Canaria Plants and Flowers
Hereafter, you will find a list with some of the most exotic plants and flowers that take part in the flora of Gran Canaria.
The Hibiscus is considered the national flower of Haiti, but it is one of the flowers that you can easily find here in Gran Canaria. The colour of these flowers varies from white to pink, red, orange, peach and purple. They say that dried Hibiscus is tasty, and it is considered a delicacy in Mexico.
Nevertheless, we don’t eat Hibiscus, although we consider them extremely beautiful!
Flame Vine is a very common plant, so it is easy to find in the parks and gardens of the island. Nevertheless, it is native to Central-South America. Its real Latin name is Pyrostegia venusta. Flame vine produces bright orange flowers that cover the whole plant. It is fast growing and can spread even faster. This plant is perfect for covering fences!
Bougainvilleas are popular ornamental plants many warm climate areas, so you will probably find it in almost every hotel in the island. Its flower is small and white, and the coloured petals are just leaves that surround the flower.
It is native to South America, but its name varies depending on the country — in Spain, it is known as Buganvilla, but in Mexico and Philippines it is known as Bugambilia, as Santa Rita in Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, or as Napoleon in Honduras.
Although these plants are known as “Angel’s Trumpet”, the real name of this beautiful plant is Brugmansia. Their fragrant and large flowers give it its common name.
This plant is grown as ornamental worldwide and it is native to some tropical regions of South America.
Some South American cultures have used this plant as a treatment for disobedient children. However, we strongly recommend you not to do that, because all parts of this ornamental plant can be toxic if you eat them.
Bird of Paradise
This flower is native to South Africa, besides it is the floral emblem of the City of Los Angeles. This flower, which real name is “Strelitzia”, was named after the Duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, birthplace of Queen Charlotte of the United Kingdom. Here in Gran Canaria it is called the “bird of paradise” due to the resemblance of its flowers to birds-of-paradise. Although you don’t believe it, it is a real species of birds!
Leisure activities related with the flora in Gran Canaria
Down below you can find a top 3 list with our favourite leisure activities related with the flora in Gran Canaria.
1. Cactualdea Park, La Aldea de San Nicolas, Gran Canaria
Cactualdea Park is the largest cactus theme park in all Europe, and it is located in a very pleasant natural environment. Cactualdea shows the public a wide variety of cactus. At least, 1,200 different species — some of them brought from faraway places like Madagascar, Bolivia, Mexico and Guatemala. In the park these species are established between dragon trees and a great variety of palm trees and aloes, which are typical of Gran Canaria climate.
2. Botanical Garden of Maspalomas, Gran Canaria
Here, you will have the chance to see thousands of species both autochthonous and endemic. If you love plants, you have to visit it!
3. Viera y Clavijo Botanical Gardens, Las Pamas de Gran Canaria
This is another botanical park where you will find many different plant species from Gran Canaria and some other places of the world. Great to spend a day surrounded by plants!
We hope that you have enjoyed our post and that you have learned a bit about the flora of Gran Canaria. Hopefully, we have helped you deciding to come to visit the beautiful landscapes, flora and fauna of Gran Canaria. In that case, you can visit our webpage and take a look at our country cottages, or our luxury villas, it is up to you! There are several options depending on your preferences. Don’t hesitate to contact us — we will be waiting for you!