Surviving flora

Although the island of Fuerteventura was never covered by forests, before the first human beings arrived there was more vegetation than we see today. The extensive cattle raising and agriculture, the collection of firewood for the homes and the hundreds of lime kilns that were in operation on the island have made most of its trees and plants disappear.

These circumstances, together with the island’s characteristics, make it quite easy for anyone to guess what one of the most common plants in Fuerteventura may be: the cactus.

Endemic species

Fuerteventura has a dozen endemic plants that can only be found on this island, such as the Jandía spurge, which you will find in our garden. You will also be able to see barrel cactuses, such as the “mother-in-law’s cushion”, and column cactuses, which can become really huge.

In addition to being surrounded by species that are endemic to Fuerteventura, you can also find cactuses from other parts of the world.

Dragon tree:

It is an arboreal plant, typical of the subtropical climate of Macaronesia, particularly of the Canary Islands, but mostly found in the western part of Morocco. The dragon tree is, under the laws of the Canary Islands, the plant that represents the Island of Tenerife.

Jandía spurge (Euphorbia handiensis):

A species endemic to Fuerteventura; it grows wild in some southern valleys. It is a small clumping, columnar cactus-like shrub with spines. Its scientific generic name, Euphorbia, honors – or alludes to the big belly of – the Greek doctor of the king Juba II of Mauritania (52 to 50 BC – 23), Euphorbus, because he used resin spurge as medicine. In 1753, Carlos Linneo assigned that name to the whole genus.

Verode (Kleinia neriifolia):

A species endemic to the Canary Islands which looks like a small dragon tree. Its common name is said to come from the prehispanic Berber of the Canary Islands. Its fleshy stems have the scars of its lost leaves. Its fragrant ivory-colored flowers come out in summer. This plant has the special characteristic of keeping the dried leaves and fruits of the previous year while the new ones are in bloom. It is regularly visited by honeybees when in bloom and it produces excellent honey.

Mother-in-law’s cushion (Echinocactus grusonii):

Popularly known as mother-in-law’s cushion, golden ball, golden barrel or hedgehog cactus, it belongs to the family of the so-called barrel cactuses.
It is endemic to central Mexico, it is considered rare and cataloged as in danger of extinction in its habitat.

Growing wild, this species can reach over 1 meter in height but, as it grows rather slowly, this can take quite a long time; which is not a problem given its longevity –it can live over 100 years.

Canary Island spurge:

It is endemic to the Canaries and, therefore, it is considered as the natural symbol of the Gran Canaria island, together with the Canary Island bulldog, under the laws of the Regional Government. It can grow up to 4 meters in height and 150 m² horizontally, which is why a microhabitat is created inside of this plant, where various animal and plant species live.

Sweet tabaiba:

A shrub belonging to the Euphorbiaceae family, perennial, with a succulent trunk. Its non-toxic sap is said to have been used by the guanches (aboriginal inhabitants of the Canary Islands) as chewing gum and to clean their teeth. Under the regional laws, it is the natural symbol of the island of Lanzarote, together with the blind crab.