Included here are the Canaries, a group of twelve volcanic islands situated in the eastern Atlantic. Among the largest from west to east are La Palma, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote.

Canarian Montane Scrub

On the highest peaks above 1900 m on La Palma, Tenerife and to some extent Gran Canaria an open scrub occurs dominated by endemic members of the Fabiaceae. These commonly include Adenocarpus viscosus, Spartocytisus supranubius (Tenerife), Telina macrophylla (Gran Canaria) and the perennial herb Lotus hillebrandii (La Palma). There are also many other endemic species including tall shrubs such as Echium wildpretii (Boraginaceae) and Pterocephalus lasiospermus (Dipsacaceae), dwarf shrubs like Plantago webbii (Plantaginaceae) and Silene nocteolens (Caryophyllaceae), and herbaceous elements like Buffonia teneriffae (Caryophyllaceae), Nepeta teydea (Lamiaceae), Rhaponticum canariensis (Asteraceae) and Viola cheiranthifolia (Violaceae). On Pico de Teide (Tenerife) a unique community consisting almost entirely of the small, endemic alpine violet (V. cheiranthifolia) can be found on the upper slopes.

Canarian Cliff Vegetation

Much of cliff vegetation of this BioProvince is of outstanding botanical interest comprising many endemic species, but it is difficult to generalize in terms of species composition. On Tenerife the cliffs of El Fraile between Buenavista del Norte and Punta de Teno support over 300 species of flowering plants in just a few square kilometres. These ancient basalt cliffs abound with endemic species. Several endemic euphorbias such as Euphorbia aphylla and E. canariensis (Euphorbiaceae) often dominate, but rare endemics such as the asteroids Arygyranthemum coronopiolium, Centaurea canariensis and Tolpis crassiuscula (Asteraceae), and Limonium fruticans (Plumbaginaceae) have their largest populations here. The basalt cliffs of Tenerife also provide habitat for two endemic genera of the Asteraceae - Vieraea (V. laevigata) and Heywoodiella (H. oligocephala), while the representative of endemic genus Allagopappus (A. dichotomus), also of the Asteraceae, can be found on the cliffs of several islands.  On Gran Canaria the steep cliffs on the west of the island are also rich in endemics and provide refuge for three of the rarest and most treasured plants of the island - the palm-like representative of the endemic genus Dendropoterium (D. menendezii) of the Rosaceae, the glabrous representative of the endemic genus Sventenia (S. bupleuroides) of the Asteraceae, with its basal rosette of leaves, and the almost arborescent Centaurea arbutifolia (Asteraceae).

References

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