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Notable species of Tenerife

Whilst the overall number of orchid species on the island is limited, this in no way detracts from the sheer individuality and uniqueness of the taxons that find a home on this rugged and often inhospitable lump of volcanic rock.

Much of this interest arises from the islands long standing and complete isolation from any continental landmass. This separation has led to the existence of plant species that, from fossil records were known to exist in the Mediterranean as long as 20 million years ago.

The five main orchid species on Tenerife are :-

Gennaria diphylla
Habenaria trydactylites
Himantoglossum  metlesicsianum
Neotinea maculata
Orchis canariensis

                   Himantoglossum metlesicsianum     
                                 Orchis canariensis
                          Habenaria tridactylites

Areas of interest

* Santiago del Tiede.

This is a town that lies near the west coast of Tenerife, among the lava fields in the shadow of Mount Tiede and is at the heart of the very limited distribution of the Tenerife Giant Orchid. Himantoglossum metesicsianum lives only in such areas, preferring semi eroded channels in the lava where there has been an accumulation of mildly acidic soil and rubble. To the east of the town a road leads to the cemetery and this is a useful place from which to explore. Himatoglossum metlesicsianum

Mirador de La Cruz de Hilda.

From the town of Masca take the TF-436 westwards towards Los Carrizales and after some 2 kms you reach the Mirador de La Cruz de Hilda. From this viewpoint as far as the junction with the road to Los carrizales you pass through countryside that supports colonies of Habenaria tridactylites., particularly west facing hillsides.
Habenaria tridactylites.                  

* La Caldero recreation area.

This large park is situated south of the town of Aguamansa on the TF-21. It is home to large numbers of Neotinea maculata and small numbers of Orchis canariensis. It is also a very good location to see the beautiful Blue Chaffinch.  Orchis canariensis, Neotinea maculata.

* Mirador Cruz del carmen Platforma

This popular viewing point and tourist information area is located in the far north east of the island on the TF-12, some 2kms outside the town of Las Mercedes. The surrounding woodland is noted for its colonies of the curious orchid species, Gennaria Diphylla which can be locally common along bank sides, particularly under laurel.  Gennaria Diphylla.