Monday, 28 January 2013

Lanzarote Plants

As well as the amazing bird life, Lanzarote has a lot to give when it comes to plant life too.  Among the volcanic grit surrounding the airport, we found several small, rosette-shaped plants flowering in the arid conditions.  Rather hairy and fleshy, they turned out to be Aizoon canariense.
All around the resort the cultivated beds were filled with a much larger plant with far more 'showy' flowers. Aloes grow all over the island, usually they are the variety Aloe vera and are cultivated for their well-known medicinal and cosmetic qualities.  These more ornamental ones were Aloe arborescens, sometimes called the Candelabra Aloe.
Another succulent plant to found in large numbers were among the Euphorbia family.  This is a huge and most diverse family with members as different as Poinsettias, those small, bright-green garden weeds, the Sun Spurge and several types which resemble cacti.  This particular one was rather cactus-like, but without spines.  It grew as a large, almost tree-like plant known as Euphorbia ingens or the Candelabra Euphorbia (candelabras seem to be popular!)
Along the seafront, there were lots of prickly bushes with small, yellow flowers.  These were Launaea arborescens and although interesting in themselves, a couple of them were more interesting because of what was growing through them.  The parasitic plant sometimes called Dodder or Cuscuta (Cuscuta europaea).  Red-stemmed and pink-flowered, it was practically strangling the host plants.
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