How Teide’s flora adapts to the climate

One of a hiker’s greatest pleasures is getting a chance to spend time surrounded by the flora and fauna of the natural surroundings. When you follow a trail you come in contact with the plants and animals, you interact with them and become one with nature. The exuberant landscapes of Teide National Park possess a flora that any hiking enthusiast would love to get to know.

Biologists say that the central area of Tenerife is an island within an island. By this they mean that it has certain conditions that isolate it from the rest of the island, such as its climate or high altitude. The plants that you find in Teide National Park are perfectly adapted to the harsh climate of the area: extreme temperatures, high insolation and very low precipitation.

In general, you can observe that most of the plants in the area have rounded dome shapes. This shape provides protection from the low temperatures and creates in their interiors a small nano-climate. Teide broom, known locally as Retama del Teide (Spartocytisus supranubius), is a good example of this configuration.

Another of the characteristics of high mountain plants is that they flower very heavily. In spring you can see how the landscape changes, overflowing with flowering pants. This exuberance is due to the fact that the harsh conditions force the plants to generate as many flowers as they possible, a survival method that guarantees reproduction. More flowers means a greater chance of passing along their genes

Another adaptation that we see in species is that are covered with tiny hairs that allow them to better conserve moisture and withstand the high insolation. With the same goal, the plants have reduced the size of their leaves in order to avoid the evaporation of water, which is very scarce in the area.

Examples of these biological adaptations are found in species such as the Teide violet (Viola cheiranthifolia), the Teide bugloss (Echium wildpretii), or the Canary Islands Cedar (Juniperus cedrus).

The next time that you use the large trail network of the national park, don’t forget to keep these adaptations in mind, another reason to preserve the flora.

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