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It is one of the hallmarks of the Canary Islands.
The flora of the Canary islands has around one thousand nine hundred species, distributed in two groups, endemic (exclusive to the Canary Islands) and non-endemic. More than 20% of the Canary's flora is endemic, making our islands one of the oceanic areas with more endemic species in the world.
It originated from the European subtropical flora. The climate of the islands favours the ever growing vegetation areas; places where flora reproduces at Nature's whim.
We have selected some of the most important species, those that are directly identified with the Canary Islands. Some of them are endemic, and although others are not, they are also identified with the Canary island's flora.
(Opuntia ficus-indica / Cactacease)
Opuntia ficus-indica known in English as Indian fig opuntia, barbary fig or prickly pear, is a species of cactus of Mexican origin and which has widely spread all around the Canary Islands.
For centuries its fruits and leaves have been harvested. Its spatulate stems ramify producing flowers and fruits.
What makes this species native to the islands is that there are up to six different species.
(Musa acuminata / Musaceae)
Bananas are the most popular fruits directly related to the Canary Islands. It is known worldwide for its uniqueness and characteristics. Banana is the most important crop of the Canary Islands. Similarly, the Canarian banana tree, is a unique species of the archipelago (although it originally came from Asia). Its roots are fleshy, thick and branched. The Canarian banana is characterized by its small size, a thick pseudostem at the base and it is highly productive.
(Phoenix canariensis / Palmae)
It is one of the most important endemic species of the Canary Islands. It is considered a natural symbol of the Canary Islands.
It is large, its trunk is thick and its height can reach up to twenty-five metres. Its fruits1 are dense orange edible clusters.
In the case of the Verol, each one of the islands in the archipelago has its unique endemism. They are perennial, robust and woody, and its fleshy leaves are rosette-shaped. It may grow on diverse types of surfaces at different heights above sea level and in varying weather conditions.
(Limonium sinautum / Plumbaginaceae)
Limonium sinuatum, it is commonly known as statice, sea lavender, notch leaf marsh rosemary, sea pink, wavyleaf sea lavender, is a perennial herbaceous plant of short branches and papery flowers. It can be about 40 cm tall. It is widespread on the islands.
This species, in particular, has a wide geographical distribution both in the Mediterranean and in Africa. That is why it is not considered endemic to the Canary Islands.
Within this non-endemic species, there are two other subspecies which are considered endemic, and are protected by their vulnerability.
Illustrations: Elena Ardanaz
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