Thursday, 31 March 2016 09:20

Spring Arrives In Gran Canaria When The Mayflowers Bloom

Pericallis webbii flowers in Gran Canaria Pericallis webbii flowers in Gran Canaria

You know spring has arrived in Gran Canaria when the pretty but misnamed Mayflower blooms all over the north of the island.

Pericallis webbii or the Flor de Mayo is a Gran Canaria endemic that only grows on the fertile northern slopes of Gran Canaria. You'll recognise it as it's the ancestor of those garish cineraria plants that appear in nurseries right at the start of spring. 

Pericallis, a distant relative of the daisy, is one of those plant genera that went evolution crazy in the Canary Islands. There are 12 species and lots of local varieties growing in Gran Canaria, Tenerife and the western islands. P. hadrosoma, which only grows in a tiny area around Tenteniguada between San Mateo and Telde, is one of Europe's rarest plants. There are only 15 plants left in the wild. 

Fortunately, the Mayflower is much more common and its purple, pink and white flowers cover northern Gran Canaria every year. Its seeds sprout during the winter and the flowers appear as soon as the days start to lengthen in spring.  The blooms start out purple and change through pink to white before fading away in the summer heat.  

Along with the yellow and white broom flowers, the pinks and purples of the Mayflower make spring in Gran Canaria's highlands a colourful treat that you can't miss if you visit between March and May. 

Just rent a car and drive up into the Cumbres. You never know just what will be flowering at any one time but you are guaranteed a vibrant show of wild and wonderful Canarian flowers. Or visit the Jardín Canario Botanical Garden to see unique plants from all over the Canary Islands all in bloom at the same time.

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