Located off the northwest coast of Africa, in the Atlantic Ocean, is the archipelago of the Canary Islands. There are 11 islands making up the isles with diverse habitats including mountainous, coastal, rocky and arid, as well as forests with the flowering plants just as varied as the climates. The islands are home to approximately 2,000 plant species and more than 500 are natives. Many of the flowering, native plants are well suited for growing throughout the Untied States.
Argyranthemum tenerifae belongs within the family Compositae. It is a small native shrub with an upright habit found growing on the lava streams of Mount Teide’s eruptions in the mountainous regions of the islands. It is quite hardy and drought-tolerant as rains in the area are infrequent with hot and arid summers and cold and frosty winters. The plant fills with an abundance of white daisy-like flowers with large yellow centers that are quite striking against the black substrate.
Afollado (Viburnum tinus) belongs in the family Caprifoliaceae and is a commonly found underbrush shrub throughout the forested regions of the Canary Islands. The native plant has large, heavily veined, green leaves sometimes tinged in red. It grows to approximately 20 feet tall at maturity and is suitable for use as hedges or screening plants in shady gardens, as plants do not tolerate full sun. Clusters of small, scented white flowers form on the end of the shrub’s branches fall throughout springtime.
Malva sivestre (Lavatera acerifolia) is a member in the family Malvaceae and grows throughout the islands, as do several other cultivars. Plants grow up to 10 feet in height and resemble the hibiscus plant with sharply divided leaves and large, mauve flowers with deep purple stripes developing in spring. Flowers are sometimes white and grow up to 6 inches across. Plants are hardy, having a high tolerance to drought as they grow throughout the arid regions of the islands.
Perpetuas marinas (Limonium arborescens), also called sea lavender or statice, belongs within the family Plumbaginaceae and is a native to the island of Tenerife. It is a small, woody shrub growing up to 3 feet in height and found growing along the coastal areas of the island. Starting in spring, closely clustered bright pink and sometimes mixed with white, flowers are born on succulent blades, which are quite striking. Considered rare, perpetuas marinas’ habitat is regressing due to building along the coastline.