Biological interlude from the Canaries

Here are some pictures taken during my recent trip to the Canaries. This time it is not about rocks. Let’s say it is a special Christmas edition.

Merry Christmas to all of you!

Poinsettia seems to be a common plant in the Canaries although it is not a native species there. It is often used in floral displays during Christmas and in my native language its name means ‘Christmas star’. Bright red leaves are indeed leaves, not flower petals.

Geese are often eaten during Christmas. I hope that she is still doing well. I don’t know whether she is really she (there is no difference in plumage color between male and female geese) but I remember from my childhood some confrontations with male geese. They are often quite aggressive birds. This one was much calmer.

These pine trees are very abundant in the Canaries and they are indeed native plants there. These pines are known as Canary Island pines (Pinus canariensis).

Banana plants are very common especially on La Palma. Large part of the island is covered with banana plantations.

This tree is also very common there and it is native as well. It is Canary Island date palm (Phoenix canariensis). It is a relative of better known date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) which is grown for its sweet fruits.

Canary Island date palm also has edible fruits but they are smaller and edible part is thinner. This tree is a natural symbol of the Canaries together with the Canary bird.

Cacti are from Americas just like poinsettia but they seem to feel good in the Canaries and some species are very widespread. This picture is taken in a cactus park.

There were not only cacti in the park. I also saw trees with very peculiar trunks that look like bottles. This plant (Moringa hildebrandtii) is a native of Madagascar but unfortunately it is not growing there in the wild anymore. Local people there do not understand that the unique nature of Madagascar is their greatest treasure. They prefer to burn their rainforests to make room for crop fields. It is stupidity in its most genuine form but this is topic for another day and post.

I could swear I saw a road sign that invited me to a cactus and camel park. However, I saw there only one animal and it is definitely no camel. But I would also hesitate to call it a horse.

Is she donkey? Well, I don’t know. I am no expert in this but for me donkey has longer ears and this one really is too horse-like. So I thought that perhaps she is a mule.

4 comments to Biological interlude from the Canaries

  • Hollis

    Very nice to find a biological interlude at Sandatlas :)

  • Howard

    Merry Christmas to you and yours, Siim. And thanks for another year of entertaining and educational blog posts!

  • Hollis, while I was writing it I thought that this is like your blog — a mixture of biology and geology. Such an approach could lead to interesting and unique posts because very few people are nowadays able to write about both. Unfortunately, I am not among them. I know too little about biology. But my wife is a biologist, so this world is not completely alien to me.

  • Howard, thanks for reading. I know I have only a handful of interested readers and I have learned that they are the most important ones because without these followers my motivation to write could easily wane.