SEASONS

AUTUMN

Autumn is perhaps the best season to enjoy the Palmetum. Tropical species peak during these months, after the heat of summer. Most palm species bear colourful fruits at this time.

In September and October, typical summer species are still blooming. With the fresher weather of November cooler weather species begin to thrive, usually coinciding with the first rains after summer. It is at this time that the vegetation becomes lusher and most tropical species are at their most vibrant. The Palmetum becomes awash with flowers and fruits.

In the Africa section, the beautiful Hibiscus schizopetalus may be seen almost every day. In the Caribbean section, different species of Plumeria continue to bloom, white andscented, almost until the end of the year. The Barringtonia asiaticaadorns the Asia section with magnificent flowers that can only be seen in the morning, as they are ephemeral and fall to the ground shortly after noon. The Hyophorbe indica palm scents the Mascarene section with its highly fragrant flowers. In the Octagon, we are entranced by the bromeliads with their flamboyant inflorescences and the Brazilian Clitoria fairchildiana is in bloom. In the stream water, hyacinths (Eichhornia) open up their petals almost daily.

In autumn, many palm species bear fruit. It is easy to spot palms all over the park with colourful, sometimes spectacular, drupes (stone fruits). The oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) fruit can usually be seen growing in bunches. Various edible tropical fruits may also be seen during this period. Fruits grow on the breadfruit tree (Artocarpus camansi) in the section dedicated to the flora of Melanesia, and will mature by the end of the year; acerolas (Malpighia emarginata) in the Caribbean, orangeberries (Glycosmis) in Asia and nonis (Morinda citrifolia) in various areas. In the main lake, the curious fruits of the mangroves ripen and fall into the water in late winter.

Many species native to the Canary Islands have a period of winter growth. Now is when the Canarian plants growing by the Palmetum entrance, and which have been dormant during the summer, begin to flourish. The most striking flowers are the Canary Sea Daffodils (Pancratium canariensis), bulbous plants that grow along the path at the park entrance. Between November and December, they adorn the Palmetum entrance with their white flowers.

In mid-autumn birdlife is also on the increase as many migratory birds come to the Palmetum. The most eye-catching among them are the purple heron and the egret, which regularly visit the lakes.

WINTER

Winter is a pleasant time to visit the Palmetum, where the sunny coastal weather means warmer temperatures than in many other parts of Tenerife. Even in the coldest months, it is very unlikely that the nights will drop below 16 ºC. All the same, the Canary Islands are not tropical, and some species that are grown here suffer a little in winter, many slow their growth and others become dormant.

During this period, most palm species do not bloom, but they still bear colourful fruit. For example, the large red fruit of the foxtail palm (Wodyetia bifurcata) and the bright orange fruit of the Everglades palm (Acoelorrhaphe wrightii)In the Octagon, the elephant ear fig tree (Ficus auriculata) is laden with fruit, and numerous bromeliads are flowering. From mid-December, the striking breadfruit (Artocarpus spp.) ripens and may be seen until February as long as there are no storms to shake them off their branches.

Some of the tropical trees are leafless in winter, such as the baobabs (Adansonia spp.), the silk floss tree (Ceiba spp.) and certain Erythrinas. From late February, Erythrina orientalisproduces leaves and flowers.

The cooler weather species are now coming into their own, for example, the endemic Canarian species planted at the Palmetum entrance.

In winter, distinctive bird species, such as herons and curlews, are easily spotted as they shelter here during the cooler months.

SPRING

Spring is the season when everything “awakens”, yet many tropical species are still dormant, because the Canary Islands have a cooler climate than their original habitat.

For example, the baobabs (Adansonia spp.) and the silk floss tree (Ceiba spp.) remain leafless, and will awaken between April and May.

The palms still have leaves damaged by the winter storms but are now recovering as they produce new leaves more quickly.

With the first heat, several species start to flower again, such as the water hyacinth (Eichornia), guaiac tree(Guaiacum officinale)and frangipani (Plumeria spp.).

At the entrance to the Palmetum, dedicated to Canary Island species, native plants are at their best and most are in bloom. A particularly striking flower is that of the endemic shrub Lavatera acerifolia.

Spring is an excellent season for bird spotting in the Palmetum, as many migratory species pass through.

SUMMER

Summer is when tropical species truly awaken. In the Palmetum there is a lot of sun and heat in the middle of the day and most of the palm species bloom at this time of year.

Many other tropical flowers open daily, like the beautiful flowers of the baobabs (Adansonia spp.), grown in the Africa and Madagascar sections. Erythrina sandwichensis in the Hawaii biogeographical section blooms without leaves. Between July and August it is well worth seeing the spectacular bloom of Metrosideros laurifolia,a tree from New Caledonia which is covered with yellow flowers for two or three weeks. Flowers that are now in bloom include the larger bromeliads, such as the splendid Aechmea blanchetiana, grown in the South America section and by the waterfall in the Octagon, water hyacinths (Eichornia) in the streams, the guaiac trees (Guaiacum officinale), Crinum asiaticumfrom New Caledonia and the frangipani (Plumeria spp.), scattered through the South America and Caribbean sections.

Conversely, species native to the Canary Islands,grown at the Palmetum entrance, are in their period of rest, some entirely without leaves. They will not awaken until late October.

In summer, there are not so many birds but you can always see crakes, hoopoes, kestrels, grey wagtails and others. The middle of the day should be avoided, as they are not very active because of the heat.