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Cultural Programme Week 23

Dear friends of Culture in the Centro,

When the Aeonium lancerottense, known by the locals as "bejeque de malpais", blooms, it is not far from the Canary Islands Day, which is celebrated on May 30th in memory of the first parliamentary session of the Canary Islands in 1883. But now I would like to focus less on this traditionally colourful celebration and more on this unique little plant.

The flora of the Canary Islands is characterised by succulents, which thrive beautifully on stony and rocky, even steep surfaces, and are able to withstand dryness and sunlight. The subgenus Aenium is mainly endemic to the Canary Islands. Aenium is derived from the Greek "aionios" and means something enduring, eternal. The epithet Aenium lancerottense refers to its habitat. This subspecies only exists here. And this bejeque is particularly fond of growing where little else thrives, on the malpais, the "bad land", i.e. stony lava fields that cannot be cultivated or planted, a little higher above the sea, especialy in the centre of the island. The inflorescence rises up to 40 cm from the fleshy, pale green, leaves. Arranged in the shape of a spinning top, it is composed of many small, fragrant, pale pink flowers with sun-yellow pollen. About eight narrow, pointed petals in the crown make each one look radiant, like a small sun. 

It is also interesting to know that this plant was only described and classified by an Irish botanist less than 100 years ago.

If you are ever on the island in May or June, look for this magnificent plant amidst the lava slabs. 

Eternal, living beauty in the virgin rock of the deep. ....

Have a nice weekend

Mikaela Nowak


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