Rocks. It does not seem an ideal location for plants to grow. However, as I have to emphasize a lot, plants will never cease to amaze.
I already wrote about some real bad boys called ‘ruderals’ in a previous post. But most of the rockstars of the volcano of Tenerife are examples of plants with a totally different strategy: they are stress-tolerators.
These species are adapted to deal with high amounts of stress, but cope very badly with disturbance. They have slow growth rates, possess leaves that can live for years and years and they are masters in collecting and holding nutrients. Perfectly suited for a live in the hostile environment of the moon landscape of southern Tenerife.
In fact, they follow the same survival strategy as some of the typical alpine and subarctic species (for example). This group of species with similar strategies to deal with stress contains very few alien species, which is remarkable. But, even more remarkable, the kind of landscapes they are adapted for, are not at all alien-free. And that brings us back to the main point of my research: it is not only the stress-tolerators that survive stress, some plants with other strategies seem to adapt surprisingly well.