Vegetation

La Gomera is the territory in the European Union with the greatest number of endemism per square kilometer. It is a figure that sums up the extraordinary biodiversity that exist in our territory.

The flora is distributed in different floors of vegetation that change according to the altitude and orientation. Vallehermoso, the only Municipality in the Canary Islands that spreads from the north to the south, shelters in its area all kinds of natural vegetation of the island.

Thanks to the micro weather and topography of ravines and mountains, the natural variations of this vegetation are multiplied. In a tour around Vallehermoso we can see the different contrasts between the north basin landscapes and those from the south and west as the first is oriented to the humid winds from the west and the other two slopes are drier and sunny whereas the “Monteverde” and “Laurisilva” prevail at heights in the three geographic slopes of the Municipality. That is why Vallehermoso is the Municipality with the greatest number of Protected Natural Spaces in the island.

In the low area, hot and influenced by the sea, there are salt-loving species (halófilas) as well as heat-loving ones (xerófilas). These are the coastal and Basal floors that develop very curious strategies to survive such as the salt secretion or the succulence (fleshiness, water accumulation and latex). The most representative among the “halófilas” are the “barilla”, sea lettuce, marine thyme or the “tarajales”. As regards the “xerófilas” we have to highlight the “tabaibas” and “cardones” (euphorbia) as well as the” balos”, “cardoncillos” and “verodes”. There are excellent examples of this vegetation nearly in all the low areas of the Municipality, especially in the area of Arguamul, Los Órganos, La Sepultura or La Rajita.

The upper floor is the so called “Termófilo”. This is an area of transition related to the midlands, rich in species like palms, junipers,” dragos”, “saucos” , “almácigos” or “acebuches”. These are areas damaged by the action of man but there are more excellent examples in Vallehermoso as in any other place in the Canary Islands (higher Juniper trees and natural palm groves in the Archipelago). These are ecosystems that get used to hot and wet micro weather. They are not a homogeneous community but they are referred according to the species that are more frequent. There are good examples in Tamargada, Vallehermoso Village, Erques, Alojera, Tazo o Arguamul.

Above 500-600 meters there is Monteverde, the most characteristic vegetal floor in the island and the one with the greatest ecological value because of the number of endemism. In this area we find the Fayal-Brezal, a forest that is located in transitional areas and in changing meteorological conditions. In the farthest and wet areas of the Monteverde the Laurisilva is grown, a subtropical forest that survives in the Macaronesia and is made up of “lauráceas” such as the follao, “aceviño”, “mocán”, “barbusano”, “tilo” or “loro”, nearly all of them are endemism of the Archipelago. It is the vegetation that has made possible the declaration of the National Park and one of the greatest ecological jewels of the Spanish State.

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