Home to the fourth greatest variety of endemic flora in the world, the Canary Islands are known for their lush, green landscapes that are dominated by fragrant forests and vibrantly coloured flowers. In fact, out of the 1700 plant species thriving on the Canary Islands more than 500 are indigenous, plus the islands also boast 6000 species of invertebrates and 109 species of vertebrates – with Tenerife, the largest Canary Island, having the richest biodiversity of all.
This is due to Tenerife’s unique climate and geography, with numerous volcanic soil types varying across the island and the rugged terrain even causing micro-climates in some regions like the one near Paradise Park Hotel. As such, a holiday to Tenerife feels like a true adventure for nature lovers, so let’s take a look at some of the island’s most fascinating wildlife for you to discover.
The Canary Island’s Dragon Trees tell the story of the archipelago’s prehistoric past, as their remarkably robust characteristics have made them some of the longest-surviving trees on earth. On Tenerife you can witness for yourself the Drago Milenario, a Dragon Tree in Icod de los Vinos that is estimated to be between 1000 and 3000 years old.
Tenerife Wall Gecko
As its name suggests, the diminutive Tenerife Wall Gecko is frequently found in urban stone walls, though it also inhabits rocky landscapes, scrubland, and coastal cliffs at altitudes up to 2000m. This makes the Tenerife Wall Gecko a reptile to look out for when exploring the coastline of Los Cristianos, and other popular Tenerife resorts.
A daisy in itself may not be a particularly extraordinary find, but the pretty Purple Daisy is a native of Tenerife, found only in the most humid regions.
Canarian Pine Tree
Mount Teide, the volcano that is also the highest peak in Spain, is covered at its base by dense forests of Pinus Canariensis, or the Canarian Pine Tree. Although they normally grow to around 40m tall, it’s not unusual for them to sprout to lofty heights of 60m.
Tenerife Blue Chaffinch
The main resident of the Canarian Pine Tree forests is the Blue Chaffinch, the male of which is recognisable for its wonderful smoky blue-grey plumage and grey bill. Conversely, the female Blue Chaffinch is a dull brown in colour.
These curious-looking purple shrubs, found mainly in the Las Cañadas caldera are Tajinaste, and grow up to three metres tall. Although these plants favour arid conditions they are unusually resilient in icy conditions.