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.
Of the Docks (Polygonaceae), in addition to Rumex vesicaria, there was also some R. lunaria on the long walk up to the cliffs.
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.
Another of the incredibly common plants was Traganum moquinii, this again being on the beach.
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.
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:
Let’s move on to a bit firmer ground. This is one of the Caryophyllaceae, certainly a Polycarpaea, and probably P. nivea.
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.
This one was perching about 20m above the beach at La Graciosa:
And is quite different from this one, which was on the Famara cliffs:
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
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).
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?
The Convolvulaceae were largely on waste ground around Yé:
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:
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:
This one was on the dry tracks behind Órzola, and at first sight I thought it was Reichardia tingitana, but the leaves are wrong:
But now things get trickier. Nice plants, though…
Right, now I’m heading into even murkier territory, with plants I had very little idea about, two shrubs and a yellow thing:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
And so I’m left with these, two Ramalina-like lichens and another, all from the area around the top of the Famara cliffs.
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
- Sand and lava
- Following Humboldt
- A long walk to the cliffs
- Shrubs, birds and aeroplanes
- A Lanzarote album [this current post]