Tajinaste red. Canarian and impressive

Do you know that in the Canary Islands we have an ornamental plant of those that take away the hiccups by its flowering? It is called red tajinaste and is endemic to the Canary Islands. Do you want to know more about her?

Today we bring you a really impressive ornamental plant whose common name in Spanish does not come from Latin or Greek or anything like that. It comes from Guanche , a language spoken by the aborigines of the Canary Islands . I have not had the pleasure of being in front of a red tajinaste in my life, I promise that I will, but I know the plant thanks to a gift that some friends who traveled to the Canary Islands gave me some time ago. They brought me tajinaste honey . Of the honeys, I knew the milflores, the eucalyptus honey, the rosemary, the heather honey and little else and when they brought me the tajinaste honey, my head exploded. And I started to investigate …

Characteristics of the red Tajinaste

Let’s talk about the genus Echium

His scientific name is Echium wildpretii. The gender Echium  belongs to the family of Boraginaceae  and comprises few species. It is a relatively small genus with 67 species accepted according to The plant list. Consulting in depth the genus Echium , there are 192 names considered synonymous with these 67 accepted and another 51 that have not yet been classified, so there may be some more species within the genus in a while.

The gender Echium is characterized mainly because some species can have a height of up to 3 meters . Is it the case of our red tajinaste? Supossely Yes. Now we get to it right away.

On the other hand, the species that defines the genus, considered the type species is Echium vulgare , which is found throughout the world. You can check here where it is . In Europe it is extremely widespread.

Tajinaste red. Giant and explosive bloom

Does the inflorescence of a sunflower seem large to you ? What if I told you that the inflorescence of this plant can reach 3 meters? Would you believe it? Believe it, hence its ornamental appeal.

Plant is biennial , such as beet . One year it generates the leaves (vegetative part) and the next the inflorescence and subsequent fruit for its propagation as a species. 2 years that are worth it because the flowering is totally extraterrestrial. It looks like something out of the world of Avatar.

Habitat of the red Tajinaste

From the outset if we consult Gbif.org we can see on the world map that the only present point of this species is the Canary Islands, and it is an endemic species there. Specifically, visiting the website of the Canary Islands government, he tells us that the red tajinaste ( Echium wildpretii ) is the most representative species of Las Cañadas. There are other types of tajinaste living with this endemism. There are for example the Arrebol, the white tajinaste (endemic to La Palma), the blue or spicy tajinaste that is also endemic to Tenerife and other endemic species. We could almost say that each island has its own tajinaste.

red tajinaste

Image taken from GBIF.org

Its habitat is curious because, from a landscape point of view, it is surprising due to its contrast with the environment . It is found in volcanic , stony, subalpine terrain, in scree on the slopes of Teide . This creates a rather barren landscape , monotonous in color except for a few dozen plant species that are “bland”. And suddenly boom! It finds you with a conical inflorescence about 2 meters high with hundreds of red flowers. You look up and you see a land apparently with little life but with a lot of pointed structures of a deep red color that seem to come out of the very center of the earth. A photo is worth a thousand words. Although the cover is worth it, there is another one.

red tajinaste

Tajinaste red. Echium wildpretii . Photo from: The Instants Photography & Video Collector

Basic morphology

As can be seen in the photo, the tajinaste is a low- growing shrub that generates a kind of rosette or bud of linear gray-green leaves at the lower base and that only at the time of inflorescence does it present that spear structure. with hundreds of red flowers so majestic.

Tajinaste care in the garden

It’s a plant widely used in gardening in the Canary Islands and it is one of those important species for pollinators. It has a lot of nectar and is very attractive and rich in sugars. Although the climate is normally regular and tropical in this area, we must remember that it is a practically subalpine plant.

Temperature : It supports frosts, not very high, up to -3 / -5ºC if they are not very persistent over time. It is quite rustic. The heat can handle it quite well too.

Exhibition : You need direct exposure. Simply looking at the images in the article we can imagine that the sun will not be a problem.

Irrigation : We can perfectly wait for the soil to dry between waterings. They withstand drought well . In fact, the only problem that we can find in its ornamental cultivation is rot and diseases due to excess of water in the root zone.

Land : Requires a good drainage for growing in the garden. We can use perlite or sand mixed with a universal substrate to avoid ponding of the substrate. It can be fertilized lightly in spring, before the majestic flowering with a specific fertilizer for flower .

It can be multiplied by seed without major problem and transplanted during spring to avoid cold damage.

red tajinaste

Tajinaste honey

If you get Tajinaste honey in Spain, you will know for sure that it comes from the Canaries. Of course, this honey is not only from the red tajinaste. Tajinaste honey is generally considered to be obtained from species of the genus Echium sp . Since the red tajinaste is usually accompanied by other tajinastes such as blue or spicy. And since the percentage of nectar of one or the other cannot be established, we will simply say that it is tajinaste honey in general.

Tajinaste honey or honey from Tenerife is a very clear honey , similar in color to orange blossom honey or a few thousand flowers. It has a creamy consistency and is prized for its smooth, balsamic sweet taste . Some say it is one of the best honeys in the world . I keep the good Heather honey. Call me crazy but I am very used to that dark color and such powerful flavor, but I have to say that the taste pleasantly surprised me. It is really aromatic.

Greetings from Agromática!

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Anna Evans


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