Thursday, April 20, 2017

Inagua, the empty one

Some of the remaining old pines. Apparently, they grow in a very very uniform conical shape up to a certain age; after which they start to spread into an umbrella at the top.

I have refused to drive in the mountains on Gran Canaria ever since I got stuck on the pass of Degollada de las Yeguas on our way from Fataga to Ingenio. Having learned to drive in East Anglia, I prefer my roads straight, wide and flat; here I prefer to be driven. However, local public transport, although overall excellent, quite logically doesn't go where there are no people to carry. So some of the areas to the west of the island remained unexplored by me till this year, including some of the protected areas, such as Pilancones and Inagua.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Las Palmas carnival

By now we've been living on Gran Canaria for long enough to get a reasonably good idea of how the carnivals go here, and of course to take a decent amount of pictures. So I felt like writing it up. I've already done it once here, but now I know a little bit more.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Brussels and around

Grand Place, Brussels

What, exactly, is Belgium famous for, apart from unelected bureaucrats and Brussels sprouts (which are not featured that much in Belgian cuisine)? OK, beer. Fine, chocolate. French fries. Mussels. More beer. But, apart from the bureaucrats, sprouts, beer, chocs, fries and mussels, what have the Belgians ever gave us? Here's my short list.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Psychoactive plants illustrated

Inspired by Josep Lluís Berdonces i Serra's Guía de las plantas psicoactivas, here's our own short guide to ten common psychoactive plants and one famous psychedelic mushroom. It's just a sample, you understand. Click on "more photos" links under each image to get more Tamara's pictures from Shutterstock.

  1. Amanita muscaria, fly agaric, amanita matamoscas, мухомор красный. Main psychoactive compounds: muscimol, ibotenic acid.
  2. Fly agaric (more photos)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Flora of Gran Canaria - Tanacetum ptarmiciflorum, silver lace plant

Silver Leaf, Silver Feather, silver tansy, Magarza Plateada - common names describe the silvery leaves of the plant. Taken mid-May, in a relatively shady spot

I first noticed unusual-looking leaves of this plant in early spring last year. They were growing in compact round bushes, something between 40 cm and 80 cm in height. The color of the leaves was very distinct - light cyan. When you look closely at the leaves, you notice they are covered with short white fluff. The shape of each leave is very neat, Irish lace-like.

I made a note to myself to find out what the plants were. They turned out to be Tanacetum ptarmiciflorum, Gran Canaria endemic and endangered species according to the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List. I like plants in general, but finding something endemic and rare is always more pleasing. Especially when something in question is beautiful.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Gran Canaria, Cuevas de Caballero, stone face and silver tansy

Panorama taken from the top of the Risco

We came to the place to check out if Tanacetum ptarmiciflorum, the silver lace plants, have started to bloom yet. They have not, but their silvery leaves are beautiful as ever.

The species is listed as endangered, and is endemic to Gran Canaria. The Red List points out five known location, mentioning that the earlier reported site at Cuevas de Caballero was not found during the 2009 survey. I am not sure if the location we came to see was the one they mispaced. Maybe, or maybe not, since one of the locations that are confirmed is vaguely described as "Tejeda" (village? municipality? o que?).

Tanacetum ptarmiciflorum, silver lace, silver feather. I myself like to call it silver tansy

Anyway, I guess I'd like to stress at this point that the plant is endangered and please don't pick up bunches or trample over them. They are joy to behold in any case. I do hope to catch the time of bloom, and then I'll add more pics.

And now for something completely different: the stone face :)

Monday, April 25, 2016

Caldera de Tejeda in April: Flowers

Erysimum albescens, "wallflower" endemic to Gran Canaria
It is extremely rare not to see at least something flowering in Las Cumbres, The Peaks of Gran Canaria. But I figure from two-year observation that the maximum of flowering falls onto beginning - mid April. This year I missed the moment, due to this and that, but when I finally got there there was still plenty of flowers for me to look at and photograph.

Once of Cruz de Tejeda, you don't have to go far to get to the place where on a small spot you will find everything on the photographs below - and more. I hesitate to enclose ALL the pics I took. Head towards Roque Nublo, (signposted Llanos de la Pez). About a kilometer away, you will see a house surrounded by a fence. There is usually a couple of big dogs there. One of them, the friendly while totally huge newfoundland dog, occasionally hangs out *outside* of the fence. Don't be alarmed, he is a gentle soul. The area around the house is relatively flat, rare thing in those parts. Poke around a little. There is a lot of yellow Teline broom and lilac crucifer Erysimum- complementary color combination, really striking. Less showy flowers and plants are found in plenty on the same spot.

I am always interested to find out the correct names of the plants (and not only plants), and I make my best effort identifying them. Sometimes I fail, of course. So if you know for sure what plants are called and spot a mistake, please yell me. 

Enjoy :)