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General Subjects => Blogs and Diaries => Topic started by: Regelian on August 26, 2016, 01:31:24 PM

Title: MADIERA 2016
Post by: Regelian on August 26, 2016, 01:31:24 PM
It was touch and go, due to the fires that broke out in Funchal, the main town on the Portugese island of Madiera, but, in the end all was under control, so we flew in a few days after the blazes, which were apparently the work of a group of arcenists, were quenched. Disturbing fotos to follow.

Madiera is quite an amazing biotop, being a volcanic mountain jutting up from the african plate just West of the Morrocan coast.  About 50k long, 7k wide and reaching 1850m, it has various temperature zones and is imposing enough to create its own weather.  The actual mountain is 4000km high from the sea bed and very steep, jutting out of the ocean as a group of cliffs up to 480m tall right out of the sea. Due to the extreme depth of the surrounding water it is deeply coloured in sapphire to royal blue with touches of turqouise in the shallower areas.  Remarkable and oft breathtaking.

To give you an impression of the topography, here are a few basic shots of the landscape.
The first is the 'beach' at Canico Baixo. (the second 'c' is soft, but I can't add the cedille on my computer) There is no natural sand on the island.  The coast is rough and strewn with lava stones ranging from fist-large to boulders.

The second shot gives an impression of the typical inland valleys. Verdant and humid.

Here is a down shot from the highest costal cliff in Cabo Girao.  There is a glass walkway to allow visitors a thrill.  You either walk down or take the gondola.

Just like the postcards, Jardim do Mar is the quintesence of a tropical holiday.  Most of the town is only accessable by foot, there are very few streets, just paved ways between the densely built houses.

Ponto Moniz is on the North and has a few natural swimming pools.  They were originally used to capture fish, which were trapped in the natural pools at low tide.
Title: Re: MADIERA 2016
Post by: Regelian on August 26, 2016, 01:52:57 PM
Most of the flowers one sees are not actually native to the island.  Over the centuries they have been imported, many have naturalised and since spread over large parts of the landscape.  There are, however, quite a few endemics, which I will come to later.  First a few of the basics.  These shots are from the hotel gardens, which border on botanical collections.

Clivia nobilis surprised me, as it is rarely to be had in cultivation, other than from seed (which I did manage to get ahold of!)  I saw quite a few colour forms, all in the orange to red category,  I rarely saw C. miniata or anything that may have been a hybrid.

Various bromeliads were abundant, generally on the ground, rather than in the trees.  All were beautiful, but some were clearly suffering from the very dry Summer.

Sobralia orchids were common in garden.  They seem to have on popular hybrid, possibly macrantha x rosea, which I found in just about every garden.  Here are three different plants, which may well be but divisions of an old clone once brought to the island.  Judging from the abundance of this plant, it must have been quite a while ago!
Title: Re: MADIERA 2016
Post by: Regelian on August 26, 2016, 02:22:37 PM
The first two shot are from a climbing Clerodendum, of which I am uncertain if it is C. splendens or C. thomasiae.  I'm not sure what seperates them.  I wish I had brought this back with me, but seed was unavailable.

This surprised me, a classic hanging orchid, Coelogyne massangiana, growing on the ground.  I saw this repeatedly! Seemed a shame, but it obviously is not suffering.

Pandorea jasminoides grows like a weed in Madeira.  It was just starting to bloom and, judging from the size of these vines, sometimes 20m, it must be mind-boggling when in full flower.

Needless to say, Agapanthus, the love flower, is all over the place and naturalised to about 1300m, when is just dissappears.  Apparently there is a climate border for this particular species.
Title: Re: MADIERA 2016
Post by: Regelian on August 27, 2016, 02:01:34 PM
Heliconia is a cut-flower export for Madiera.  The two main types are H. bihai and H. rostrata.  I brought back a rhizome of the latter.
Title: Re: MADIERA 2016
Post by: Gabriela on August 27, 2016, 02:08:30 PM
A very exotic place and plant species that I only encountered in the Glasshouses of Botanical Gardens - hope there are more pictures :)
Title: Re: MADIERA 2016
Post by: shelagh on August 27, 2016, 03:18:21 PM
Your pictures brought back happy memories Jamie.  We had a holiday there more years ago than I care to remember.  I always say if you stuck your finger in the soil of Madeira it would grow.
Title: Re: MADIERA 2016
Post by: Regelian on August 28, 2016, 08:36:59 PM
Gabriela, there a lots more coming, but my computer (as well as myself) strikes in the current heatwave.
Shelagh, yeah, things just grow everywhere.  On the roadside you see lots of hydrangea 'sticks' shoved into the ground, and doing quite well, thank you.  Amazing.

Tropical trees are a major feature of the cityscape.  They have conciously planted to have something in bloom at all times.  Some are spectacular, such as this first shot of Spathodea campanulata.  They were just starting as we arrived.  One of the most vivid reds you'll every see.  Originally from Africa.

It took me a while to ID this next one, Syzigium malaccense, the Malayan apple.  The blossoms are a mass of violet-magenta anthers, much like Callostemon and the fruits, born right against the wood, look like waxy Forelle pears.  But one seed per fist-sized fruit.

One of the export products of Madeira is bananas.  They grow mainly the Dwarf Cavendish, sent maily to Portugal mainland.  It is sweeter and smaller than the standard Cavendish and often used in cooking, as well as fresh.  Other bananas are grwon , as well, such as this Musa rubra.  There is a banana research garden where they breed new varieties, being well aware that the Cavendish is a dead end.
Title: Re: MADIERA 2016
Post by: GordonT on October 25, 2016, 03:18:54 PM
Heliconia is a cut-flower export for Madiera.  The two main types are H. bihai and H. rostrata.  I brought back a rhizome of the latter.

I am envious of your H. rostrata rhizome! I bought some seeds of four Heliconias (orthotricha 'Santa Rosa', rostrata, stricta 'Dwarf Jamaican', and wagneriana). Rostrata and wagneriana were the ones highest on my wish list.... guess which have yet to germinate? I am still waiting after about four months for any signs from these two! Patience will be rewarded, so the pots have moved indoors for the winter. Heliconia orthotricha and stricta had very fast germination (80% and 100% germination success).... so I wait.
Title: Re: MADIERA 2016
Post by: ArnoldT on November 01, 2016, 01:27:02 PM
Didn't know where to place this.

Scilla madeirensis
Title: Re: MADIERA 2016
Post by: cohan on July 23, 2020, 06:29:27 AM
Oh, I was hoping to see the endemics and other natives! Have developed a bit of a fascination with this island, but videos one sees rarely talk about plants much, other than the touristy botanical garden,to some extent the laurel forest, though in no detail,  and glimpses of interesting native plants are rare..
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