Mount Teide Volcano, Tenerife

Or rather ‘right plant, right place’ – even in these extreme environments, many plants are thriving

I had the good fortune of visiting Mount Teide on Tenerife recently – the cone of the volcano rising to become Spain’s highest point, set within the high walls of a collapsed caldera. And the sun shone.

Not the most welcoming of habitats but I’m told there are 31 species of plants that are found here, and nowhere else in the world. Perfectly adapted to these particular hot and arid conditions – developing coping mechanisms to make the most of the available water, protect against water loss, survive prolonged periods of drought and beat off the heat of the sun. Extraordinary.

We might not be able to reproduce these conditions here in the UK, but if we know what conditions a plant likes in the places it grows naturally, we can at least give it a fighting chance in our own gardens.

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