|Tricholaena sp, Teneriffe|
The Canaries are famous for their flowers, and although as our visit was in February there was not a great number in bloom, the endemic plants are of great interest to botanists. One might expect the plants to be the same as you would find in Spain or North Africa, but when the islands first appeared above the sea the Mediterranean did not yet exist. Instead, the western end of the ancient Tethys Ocean still separated Africa and Eurasia, and the Atlantic was much narrower. The native flora of the islands, or at least the oldest elements of it, trace their origin to the vegetation that once grew on the northern and southern shores of the Tethys, which has since been obliterated by the northward movement of Africa and India.
|Map of Miocene Europe as the Tethys was closing|