A Lanzarote album

My brief trip to Lanzarote was back in April, and over the course of four days I walked about 50 miles and recorded and photographed perhaps 200 different species, mostly plants, but also birds, lichens and a handful of mammals. I came home with in excess of a thousand pictures and the simultaneously enjoyable and daunting task of trying to figure out what I’d seen, since there had been relatively little time to do so while I was there. As it was, armed with a German flora it proved a bit challenging, and web resources have certainly helped.

Using the journal I kept at the time as a starting point, bit by bit my account of the trip has only recently been added to this blog, and the pictures that have appeared in it were those of which I have been more or less confident in my identification. Even so, there is a strong chance that some of them are still not right, so any corrections will be gratefully received.

After finishing the daily narrative, I was still left with a group of pictures, some of which I had identified, and others which I had no idea at all, so this is where they’ve all ended up. Of course, chances are the photos don’t include the vital component to identify them from their extremely similar relatives, but that shouldn’t be the case for all of them. Either I will gradually get to work through this remaining set, or perhaps others may be able to suggest identifications for some of them. In any event, some of them are quite nice pictures, so here they are, vaguely in taxonomic order, and numbered for easy reference…

Starting off with the Urticaceae, the weed Forsskaolea angustifolia was around some ruined buildings on the way to Yé.

Picture of Forsskaolea angustifolia

1. Forsskaolea angustifolia

Of the Docks (Polygonaceae), in addition to Rumex vesicaria, there was also some R. lunaria on the long walk up to the cliffs.

Picture of Rumex lunaria

2. Rumex lunaria

I don’t feel especially confident with British Chenopodiaceae, so the Canarian ones proved even harder. This first one was on the sand and lava by the sea on the first day.

Picture of Atriplex?

3. Some sort of Atriplex?

Another of the incredibly common plants was Traganum moquinii, this again being on the beach.

Picture of Traganum moquinii

4. Traganum moquinii

Now the Sea-blites (Suaeda), and I wasn’t sure about any of these, even though some of the ones that occur on the island are ones you get in the UK.

Picture of a Suaeda

5. Could this be Suaeda maritima?

Picture of a Suaeda

6. The same Suaeda, or different?

Picture of a Suaeda

7. Another Suaeda, this time from Órzola beach

While I’m on the plants from the beach that I’m really struggling with, let’s have a look at these, both from Órzola:

Picture of a plant from Órzola

8. I’m sure it’s easy, since it was so common

Picture of a plant from Órzola

9. Trying to identify this in my hotel room forced me to go for another walk

Let’s move on to a bit firmer ground. This is one of the Caryophyllaceae, certainly a Polycarpaea, and probably P. nivea.

Picture of Polycarpaea nivea?

10. Polycarpaea nivea?

Picture of a Polycarpaea

11. And is this the same?

The variety of Fabaceae lurking in various corners of the island was quite wonderful, though somewhat challenging to deal with. This first was about a mile inland from Órzola.

Picture of a Lanzarote plant

12. Probably Lotus lancerottensis, though it looked a bit diffferent…

This one was perching about 20m above the beach at La Graciosa:

Picture of a Lanzarote plant

13. Pretty plant in gorgeous location, possibly Ononis herperia?

And is quite different from this one, which was on the Famara cliffs:

Picture of a Lanzarote plant

14. Not sure…, but could equally well be Lotus lancerottensis

Picture of a Lanzarote plant

15. Same as 14 from a different angle

I suppose all this plant identification lark has made me appreciate the value of owning a flora with a good key in a language I can read easily. However, this one I’m pretty sure of. It is one of the Zygophyllaceae and is Tetraena fontanesii, common on the coasts

Picture of Tetraena fontanesii

16. Tetraena fontanesii

The other Lanzarote posts have featured the big shrubby Euphorbiaceae, but you can also find smaller ones, including familiar plants such as Sea Spurge (Euphorbia paralias).

Picture of Euphorbia paralias

17. Euphorbia paralias

Next up, the Frankeniaceae. I think there are three species that occur in Lanzarote: F. capitata, F. ericifolia, and F. pulverulenta. The question, what are these?

Picture of a Frankenia

18. A Frankenia

Picture of a Frankenia

19. Another Frankenia

Picture of a Frankenia

20. And another, this time at about 300m

The Convolvulaceae were largely on waste ground around Yé:

PIcture of a Bindweed

21. Bindweed #1

Picture of a Bindweed

22. Bindweed #2

Picture of a Bindweed

23. Bindweed #3

Near the top of the Famara cliffs was this big shrubby member of the Solanaceae with purple flowers and red fruits. This one I can identify:

Picture of Lycium intricatum

24. Lycium intricatum

And now we come to the Asteraceae, most of the remaining ones of which are a bit tricky, and probably not identifiable from pictures at all, though I’ll start with the one I know, which is extremely common all over the island:

Picture of Launaea arborescens

25. Launaea arborescens

This one was on the dry tracks behind Órzola, and at first sight I thought it was Reichardia tingitana, but the leaves are wrong:

Picture of a Reichardia

26. A Reichardia?

But now things get trickier. Nice plants, though…

PIcture of a member of the Asteraceae

27. Asteraceae #1

Picture of a member of the Asteraceae

28. Asteraceae #2, exposed position at 400m

Picture of a member of the Asteraceae

29. Asteraceae #3, in sheltered position on Famara cliffs

Picture of a member of the Asteraceae

30. Asteraceae #4, also on the cliffs

Picture of a member of the Asteraceae

31. Asteraceae #5

Right, now I’m heading into even murkier territory, with plants I had very little idea about, two shrubs and a yellow thing:

Picture of a Lannzarote shrub

32. Shrub

Picture of a Lanzarote Shrub

33. Shrub

Picture of a Lanzarote flower

34. At about 350m near Limonium puberulum

I thought I’d have a bash at the grasses (Poaceae) too, and these are probably the most distinctive-looking ones I saw, but I’ve not worked out what they are yet.

Picture of a Lanzarote grass

35. Poaceae #1, possibly Cenchrus ciliaris?

Picture of a Lanzarote grass

36. Poaceae #2

Picture of a Lanzarote grass

37. Poaceae #3

At last I have reached the end of the plants. Animals don’t really get a fair look-in here, since there are just two, a mollusc and a bird.

Picture of a Lanzarote mollusc

38. Mollusc on Sonchus pinnatifidus

Picture of a Lanzarote bird

39. A Lanzarote bird

And finally, the lichens. These first are probably something like Caloplaca or Xanthoria, the first on the lava rocks right by the sea, and the second up on the cliffs.

Picture of a Lanzarote lichen

40. Lanzarote lichen #1

Picture of a Lanzarote lichen

41. Lanzarote lichen #2

The little museum in the fort at Arrecife included a cabinet containing a couple of lichens which were used extensively for dyeing. The most common of these was Ramalina bourgeana, which coloured materials orange-brown. I’m fairly sure the grey lichen in the top left of this picture is it:

Picture of a La Graciosa lichen landscape

42. La Graciosa lichen landscape

The other dye source was Rocella canariensis, and was used for purple colours. It was very highly prized and its collection was of economic importance from the middle ages until the nineteenth century, though it was always more scarce than the Ramalina. I think both of the following pictures are of it.

Picture of a Lanzarote lichen

43. Lanzarote lichen #3

Picture of a Lanzarote lichen

44. Lanzarote lichen #4

And so I’m left with these, two Ramalina-like lichens and another, all from the area around the top of the Famara cliffs.

Picture of a Lanzarote lichen

45. Lanzarote lichen #5

Picture of a Lanzarote lichen

46. Lanzarote lichen #6

Picture of a Lanzarote lichen

47. Lanzarote lichen #7

So with that we end the Lanzarote trip, and the slush pile of partly-identified photographs. It would be interesting to go back and see what I missed.


The blog posts on the Lanzarote trip

  1. Sand and lava
  2. Following Humboldt
  3. A long walk to the cliffs
  4. Shrubs, birds and aeroplanes
  5. A Lanzarote album [this current post]

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