European Bee-eater – Merops apiaster

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The European bee-eater is a richly-coloured bird of approximately 28 cm in length and a slightly downturned thin beak. They catch large insects in flight by sorties from a perch. An exceptional eyesight allows them to locate preys at a distance up to 20 meters, so they eat flies, dragonflies, butterflies wasps and of course bees, hence its common name.

Bee-eaters nest in almost every kind of habitat but they avoid high mountain areas and dense forests. They dig their nests in slopes or banks where they build a small chamber to lay 4 to 6 eggs that will be brood for approximately 20 days. Three weeks later the newly hatched birds will show their heads out of the nest and on the fourth week  they will start flying.

This species belongs to the Meropidae family distributed along south Europe, central Russia, west of Siberia, Lower Asia, Middle East, Mediterranean Islands, North Africa and South Africa.

Bee-eaters at the Palmetum

Merops apiaster is only occasionally seen in the Canary Islands, because it is a transaharian migrant that only visit the islands shortly. In March and April Merops return to Europe and their route to the north follows the coast of Morocco. Some specimens are displaced by the winds and stop in the Canaries for a few days. In the palmetum they are observed during these months, hunting insects in open spaces. The autumn migration in contrast, coincides with a season of low-windiness, so bee-eaters do not usually reach the islands.

Merops apiaster is legally protected in Spain. It is threatened by the destruction of the slopes they occupy and the use of agricultural pesticides, which affects the bird and its prey. The Palmetum, which for years has rejected the use of pesticides, has become an ideal place for them to stop by.


Photographer: Eduardo García Del Rey

Location: Palmetum de Santa Cruz

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Our Gigasiphon blooms as the perfect finishing touch to the “Plenilunio” at the Palmetum

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On Saturday 26th September 2015 among the activities held to mark?the Full Moon, organized by La Sociedad de Desarrollo de Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Society for the Development of the City) for the first time we offered guided nocturnal tours at the Palmetum de Santa Cruz. It was a unique opportunity to enjoy our botanical garden in a way we have never seen before and we also had the luck to enjoy the first blooming of our Gigasiphon humblotianum, a rare species considered one of the jewels of the Palmetum.


Photo by  Jesus Vera


Gigasiphon humblotianum (Baill.) Drake is a small tree in the family Fabaceae, native to the rainforest in the North of Madagascar. You may find yourself familiar with the shape of its flowers because it is a close relative of bauhinias, commonly planted as ornamental trees in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Its flowers are shaped with long tube where its name comes from (gigas =  giant, and siphon= tube). They open at night, shortly after dusk, revealing a magnificent and fragrant white and yellow flowers, about 20 cm wide. Petals shed at sunrise, leaving a blanket of fragrant white petals at his feet.

Few specimens exist in cultivation, in addition to those found in its habitat in Madagascar. We are particularly proud to have this tree in the Palmetum of Santa Cruz and we really enjoyed its first blooms during tonight’s Full Moon.


gigasiphon 2




We started the morning with the exhibition “Life before the trees” by the Department of Didactic Specific (ULL) and Cienciaull where we could enjoy various activities related to science: a varied exhibition of fossils from different types of logs and plants , fun games of chemistry science approached the little ones to science along with interesting explanations about the existence of volcanoes on other planets and satellites.

Expo ULL

Our friends of Radio Cadena Canarias,  Jeremiah Rodriguez, Alexis Castillo and Maria Rodriguez, broadcasted live his “En Ruta” program from Plaza del Caribe.

Radio cadena canarias

Photo by Alexis Castillo


At 19:00 Tai Chi School “CLUB DEPORTIVO DE WUSHU TIANG CHUANG” students performed in front of the Caribbean Waterfall, where they gathered a big audience, marveling us with the plasticity and beauty of this Chinese sport/martial art, which has proved to enhance both physically and mentally those who practice it.




Throughout the day we offered  free of charge  guided tours for more than 250 visitors who traveled the most interesting parts of Palmetum accompanied by our staff and culminating in the aforementioned nocturnal visits for the first time in our botanical garden history.

Ruta Plenilunio 3 - Armando Brito


Photo by Armando Brito

We would like to thank them all for taking part on this event and we hope to welcome you again in future activities at Palmetum.


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El próximo 26 de septiembre Palmetum de Santa Cruz abre sus puertas con motivo de Plenilunio, durante esta jornada se desarrollarán diversas actividades en nuestro jardín botánico además de rutas guiadas sin coste adicional durante todo el día.


Desde las 10:00 hasta las 24:00 horas (última entrada 22:40) podrán disfrutar de rutas guiadas diurnas y por primera vez rutas guiadas nocturnas especializadas en botánica a partir de las 19:30 de la tarde. Contaremos además con la colaboración de Radio Cadena Canarias que emitirá programa en directo desde nuestras instalaciones, y otras actividades como Feria de la Ciencia o exhibición de Taichi.


No pierdan  la oportunidad de disfrutar de una ocasión única en Palmetum de Santa Cruz, les esperamos….¡¡¡

First blooming of Barringtonia neocaledonica

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Barringtonia neocaledonica 1
Este mes ha florecido por primera vez un ejemplar de Barringtonia neocaledonica. Es un pequeño árbol que crece cerca de los cursos de agua y posee una floración muy espectacular. Las semillas fueron donadas en 2009 por Yvette y George Poncet: una pareja de neocaledonios preocupados por la conservación de la flora de esa isla del Pacífico. Los Kanak, nativos de la isla, llaman a este pequeño árbol Paalac.

Hoy se cultivan en el Palmetum cuatro ejemplares de Barringtonia neocaledonica  y el primero ya es adulto. También se han destinado unos ejemplares al Jardín Botánico de Aclimatación de La Orotava, donde crecen bien pero más despacio, debido a las diferencias de clima.

Floración Barringtonia neocaledonica


Las flores son como grandes cepillos. Son sin duda parecidos a los de la más común Barringtonia asiatica, también representada en el Palmetum, pero en la especie neocaledoniana son más pequeños y crecen agrupados.

La flora de Nueva Caledonia tiene especial importancia en el Palmetum ya que esa isla cuenta con 38 especies de palmeras endémicas y en el Palmetum se le ha dedicado una sección específica de unos 3000 m2.

Barringtonia neocaledonica 2


Un especial agradecimiento al fotógrafo  Armando Brito por permitirnos usar sus fantásticas imágenes.

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Novedades Año Nuevo

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Desde el Palmetum queremos recibir el nuevo año compartiendo con ustedes algunas de las novedades que se han producido en la colección de las que podrán disfrutar si visitan nuestro jardín en los próximos días.


Se trata de la primera floración de nuestros singulares Pittosporum malaxanii de Nueva Caledonia.

Pittosporum malaxanii detalle

Y también por primera vez está fructificando el Cocos nucifera cv. “Red Spicata”, una particular variedad del cocotero que en este caso procede de la India.

Cocos nucifera cd Red Spicata detalle

Esperamos que puedan visitarnos y así disfrutar de estas y muchas otras novedades del Palmetum de Santa Cruz.