Visiting the places where plants are native to is a real information boost towards your experience in Life
In Southern California, you've all seen them. Canary Island Pine (Pinus canariensis) Long and Leggy when young. Then they fill out a little later on as they reach maturity. Common in many commercial Landscapes as you can see below. Mostly they are a pine that can handle drought dry conditions with very little water and seem to fend for themselves once planted. What is also interesting is that so many shrubs, trees and other plants from the Canary Islands work out well in southern California. In fact probably before the Canary Island Pine took hold, the other native tree, Canary Island Date Palm had a great foothold as a landscape plant. Not only in the gardens, but public parks and as a street side tree.
So we see them everywhere in the arid landscaping regions of the west. Other than Torrey Pines (Pinus torreyena) they are one of those pines that can tolerate lowland conditions of arid climates. Especially so if they have a mycorrhizal symbiosis connect going on below the ground connected to their root system, but then this is true of most pines. Most pines we only think of as living high up in the mountains somewhere. Okay, so well maybe they do in the West that's how folk think. But in it's actual for real native habitat (not the local Nursery) the tree endures, yet thrives in some of the nastiest soil I've ever seen in a high mountain environment. Yes, the Canary Islands have very large high mountains, volcanic mountains and an area still active. Here are some pics of their habitat and associated plants when we visited there this past February 2012.
|photo by Jose Mesa|
Tenerife landscape with plant Echium wildpretii also know as tower of jewels, red bugloss, Tenerife bugloss or Mount Teide bugloss.
As you can well see, the soil is absolutely nasty looking, or maybe not so fine, but it works for them. But to a gardener or landscaper by no means. The soil however should tell you something about their requirements. Those pics are on the side and foot of a volcano cone which itself is in this giant super-volcano caldera the size of say the Southern Californian communities of El Cajon , Lakeside and Santee all put together. I've always wanted to visit the Canary Islands to see all of these native plants in their own environment where so much of our Southern California Landscaping material in the way of adaptable plants work for Southern California.
Another one which is also rather historical as a landscape icon for So-Cal is Canary Island Date Palm ( Phoenix canariensis ) which is also a familiar site one So-Cal boulevards and landscapes, especially in the older nieghbourhoods. Take a look below of a much younger Date Palm. Though they are called Date Palm, the Canary Island Palm is not grown commercially for dates, but the birds love them. Behind my parents house we had a neighbour in the 1960s who'd pay me a quarter to sweep up the date pits by what seemed to be in the thousands all over his front porch and walk way. That tree is gone today. Very messy trees in the wrong place.
One difficulty faced with having this tree in your landscape is they tend to be messy, especially if you have the female that produces those dates. Birds also nest in them, especially pigeons and sparrows, but also I've seen numerous Hooded Orioles who build these amazing intricately woven sock-like nests with deep pockets for rearing their young and they use the fibrous Palm Frond strands to accomplish this. Take a look.
Here's what the Canary Island Date Palms look like in their native environment in the Canary Islands where they often grow on the steep mountainsides on clusters or groupings.Get a load of this next picture. It's a popular destination for tourists traveling on the steep scary narrow roads which look like film locations for those old James Bond chase scenes along the Mediterranean somewhere. This place is called Masca and when I first saw it, it reminded me of the Peruvian Andies Inca hideaway city in the sky Machu Picchu . We weren't able to stop because there was no parking, but We briefly double parked and took some snapshots and shots as we slowly drove past as we avoided being knocked over the edge of these insanely narrow roads by Public Bus transport. A little spooky, but kool at the same time.
Here is a picture of the ancient high mountain Inca city of Machu Picchu, in Peru, see if you agree the setting is identical to Masca in Tenerife. Well those are my thoughts on visiting sites where common plants we all use in the landscape come from. There's an entire gigantic natural world out there still waiting to be explored, not through the pages of National Geographic or Arizona Highways, where someone else explains the adventure but you can do it for real.