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Wildflower Watch: Pride of Madeira traces roots to Portuguese islands

The drought-tolerant pride of Madeira, which can be seen along Tiburon’s Old Rail Trail, sports a broad rosette of leaves and white or blue flowers with red stamens. (Joan Linn Bekins / For The Ark)

A very showy purplish-blue conical shaped flowering plant, pride of Madeira, Echium candicans, joins other show-stoppers from its native Madeira, a Portuguese island group off the northwestern coast of Africa, just 320 miles from Morocco. The region is called Macaronesia.

The Palheiro and Madeira botanical gardens in Funchal on Madeira feature a stunning variety of flowers including Strelitzia, the official flower of Madeira, a native of South Africa that we call Bird of Paradise.

You’ll also see the flame-red coral flower, blue Agapanthus, called African lily, that is native to Brazil but also does well in temperate Madeira. Also grown in these gardens are jade vine, protea, heliconia, red hot poker flower, aloe, coral tree and the native pink Geranium maderense, also called cranesbill, on long red stems.

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