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 :)

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Yarn Bombing, Calle Viera y Clavijo, Santa Cruz de Tenerife

We had quiet and uneventful Easter holidays on Tenerife. I didn't take a lot of pictures, except for some plants in the Botanical Garden and a whole street full of knitted trees in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. I am not sure who are the authors and how all that came about, but it looked cute. Have a look if you are interested.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Echium callithyrsum, blue candles of Gran Canaria, second go

Tajinaste azul

Last year I found these beautiful blue flowers for the first time, but I set out to look for them a bit too late. This year I wanted to make sure I catch them at the peak of flowering.

So as soon as I spotted some photos of them on facebook, I started to plan my next visit. The biggest colony of them is (still) at Tenteniguada, so I went there. It was cloudy in Las Palmas but as the bus approached the village, the sun came out. It was playing hide-and-seek all the time I was there. It seemed that donkey's belly, the cloud cover of the north, ended just about above Valsequillo.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Cruz de Tejeda — La Ventana del Nublo

Here it is. At least one version of "it"*

While winter lasts and walking conditions are favorable I try to do at least one hike a week. During the last two I tried to find an interesting rock formation, called La Ventana del Nublo (The Window to the Cloud Rock). The first time I failed, because I didn't allow myself enough time and had to go back before reaching it. Second time I succeeded, so here is a small report.

Friday, February 05, 2016

A week in Valencia

Infinitely impressive, if somewhat underused, City of Arts and Sciences

For New Year holidays we went to Valencia. We've never been before, and the only thing I knew before taking the trip is that they grow a lot of oranges there.

This post is just to show a few pics from this beautiful town.

They do grow a lot of oranges. And not only oranges. But orange trees were everywhere - on the small strips separating the lines on the streets, in front of the cathedral, at the bottom of the former river, and of course in the shops. 3 kilos for 1 euro! I like these prices, I do. The choice of things that grow on land and live in the waters was amazing - and I am saying this after we lived on the Canaries for a few years. It might well be that the choice of other foodstuff is equally impressive, but I didn't pay that much attention.

We left it a bit too late (as usual) with booking the stay, so we ended up in a apartment that was about 25 minutes walking distance from the old town. It was perfectly adequate and of course it gave us an excellent excuse to make the kids do their essential bit of daily walking. We were lucky with the weather, too. It was warm, just a bit under 20. We were told by the landlord that only the tourists were happy about the unseasonable warmth. The farmers complained about not having enough rain, the nearby skiing resorts about not having enough snow. Well, there is no pleasing some people. On this occasion we were the easy ones to please.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Vamos a la playa, Oh — ohoh ohoh! Playa de Cofete, Oh — ohoh ohoh!

Cofete! Finally :)

This weekend, 23—24 January, we came to Fuerteventura yet again. We used an excellent Bintazo offer by Binter Canarias *. And we came with a very specific aim in mind — to get to Cofete, a difficult-to-access beach on the windward side of the island. I saw it a couple of times before, but never visited the beach. Kirill never even saw it from the ground level.

Getting there takes some research. The road is quite bad, as you will see later. Soon after you pass the port of Morro Jable, the surfaced road changes to a dirt track, very winding and bumpy. Normal cars can go on it, and will reach the beach eventually, but you are not supposed to drive rental cars on dirt tracks. No one will stop you, but if anything goes wrong, you will pay through the nose. You can walk, but that will be heavy going. I estimate the distance between the car park (where the dirt track starts) and the beach to be about 8 km. Plus you have to go by Cofete pass, which is at about 300 meters above the sea level, so each way will feature 300 meters of both up and down. And there is no shade. Biking is possible, but also strenuous and quite dangerous.

Now that you are sufficiently scared, let me give you a solution to this conundrum.