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Flower Power :: Lanzarote Spring Blooms

Monday March 16, 2009

Flower Power :: Lanzarote Spring Blooms

Whilst Lanzarote is well known for offering year round sunshine – which keeps many non-native plants and shrubs in permanent bloom – the island still has very perceptible seasons.

Which means that just around this time of year - and with the help of a bit of rain in February – native wild flowers get the chance to show their colours. And whilst Lanzarote is never going to rival say, Madeira, on the floral front there's still plenty of reason to get out and about and enjoy the display.

So what indigenous flowering plants can visitors expect to see over the coming weeks? And where should you head for if you want to enjoy the sight of a field of, say, wild poppies in full bloom?

As a general rule of thumb native wild flowers and flowering shrubs such as the various types of euphorbia that are common to the Canaries – tend to benefit from a bit of altitude. So its generally best to head for the hills.

Native Wild Flowers

Here, the most common springtime sight is the native daisy – Argyranthemum Gracile or (Cornpositae) Margaritas - which is very similar to its British cousin in appearance. Save for the fact that they tend to grow taller and have a distinctive needle shaped leaf. Along with yellow coloured daisies such as rough hawkbit and catsear.

You are also likely to encounter a large amount of lilac hued and heavily scented Canarian stock (matthiola bolleana), which has a silvery stem. Plus purple flowering eichium or bugloss and plenty of yellow and white flowered cress (cruciferae).

There are a number of varieties of ground spreading flowering plants, such as aulaga, speedwell and vetch to observe - the latter displaying pinky-maroon coloured flowers and long tendrils.

But arguably the real stars of the show are the red and pale pink poppies (papaver orientalis) as they make an incredible visual impact when growing together in profusion.

Where To See Them

One of the best places to see a carpet of these flowers is on the side of Mount Guanapay - in between Teguise, the island's ancient capital and Teseguite.

The easiest way to access the hillside here is to drive up to the Castillo de Santa Barbara and then walk a short way back down the road and then out onto the plain below.

Alternatively, if you fancy more of a walk, head into Teseguite and take the first possible right by the church into Calle San Leandro. Drive until the road runs out and then follow the track up the hillside.

The most impressive fields of poppies can then be found by forking left just before both the hill and the pathway plateaus out. Walk for another few hundred metres and you should then find fields of poppies to your left.

The greener, northern end of the island around Maguez and Haria is also an excellent spot for combining a bit of walking and flower spotting.

Turn of the main road for the Guinate Tropical Park and roughly 50 metres from the turning follow a driven dirt track heading left. Park at the bottom of this track and then walk up and over the brow where you will be greeted by a fantastic view of the whole area covered in flowers.

Follow the dirt track until you come to a small white block house on your right, a trail now going downhill drops you down into the Guinate valley and when reaching the tarmac road turn right and this will take you back to your car. Providing a picturesque and easy paced one-hour walk.

Alternatively, head for Haria, and when facing the main doors to the Ayuntamiento (local council) building turn right and basically walk straight out of the village. Soon you should be on a driven dirt track and this steadily continues uphill, bringing you to a great Mirador overlooking the beaches of Famara.

If you continue around this track you will find a profusion of wild flowers and plants. If you continue to the end of the driven track just before it reaches the main road look to your left and a very distinctive barranco can be seen heading downhill and working its way back to Haria. The initial 20 metres can be a little slippery but if you go carefully its relatively easy to negotiate.

Again as you walk down through the barranco a great mass of wild flowers and plant life greets you. At the end of the dirt road you will join a road and continuing straight this will take you back to your start point.

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