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My Escapes Portugal Madeira Escape to Lush Green Madeira Funchal is an Exotic Plant Paradise!

Funchal is an Exotic Plant Paradise!

January 23, 2014

Not all flowers and green plants are indigenous on the archipelago. Nevertheless, many have been brought in, but have fitted in perfectly. Nowadays Madeira is a spectacular thriving green paradise!
Ficuses, giant cactuses various palm trees, aloe vera in the streets... the dense forests of the inland are filled with exotic pines, ferns...
Even bananas grow on Madeira!

There's a huge diversity and the island is warm enough to accommodate the most exotic plants. Let's see a taste of what can be seen on Madeira.

Huge cactuses and wide-spreading focuses with huge leaves can be seen in abundance.

The palms as well, are very beautiful.

You don't even have to visit the Botanical Garden or the Tropical Garden to be able to see the beautiful plants of Madeira. They're everywhere!

Of course, I'm not saying you shouldn't visit the mentioned gardens... Just that Madeira is surprisingly rich in exotic plants.

Exotic tree

Exotic tree near the São Lourenço Palace

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Huge aloe vera plants, as well as banana plantations can also be seen on the island.

Bananas aren't indigenous, but are widely cultivated on Madeira since the 1500's already!

Banana plantation

My first ever glimpse of a real banana plantation!

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Thing is: Madeiran bananas are smaller! Ha ha, but they're still delicious and when buying them locally, you'll notice the strong flavour of the locally picked fresh fruit.

You might have noticed that fresh bananas taste better than supermarket-sold bananas.

Green bananas

Bananas are green and very small

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If you live in an area with climate unsuitable for banana cultivation, then you should try fresh-picked bananas. Thailand, Malaysia, Madeira, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela for instance, sell bananas that are much tastier locally.

It's because the bananas we can buy from supermarkets are hoarded while still green and they ripen on the ships or, in the supermarket! In best case... And even the yellow ones were green at some point!

They told the Madeiran bananas are too small to "EU sandards" and therefore they aren't allowed to export them.

Cactus tree

Large cactus tree with a guano islet in the background

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The variety of cactuses and ficuses is also astonishing...

Where to go to see the plants? Well, they're pretty much everywhere?

But I'd like to stress that the best places are: the Botanical Garden and the Tropical Garden with the richest collection.

In addition, the Jardim Municipal, the Funchal port, beach and marina area, the Santa Catarina Park and the part of the city known as "Hotel Area", much of which is in the São Martinho Parish (part of Funchal Municipality) - are all areas rinch and diverse in plant life.

Palms everywhere

Lots and lots of palm trees!

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While exploring in the São Martinho area, I came across a cat crawling between plants...

After attempting a friendly call, he (or she?) responded with a wild growl that froze me immediately.

Beware: Madeiran cats are very temperamental!

Madeiran cat

Temperamental Madeiran cat flashing his teeth at me!

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Madeira's Symbol: the Strelitzia Flower

I think this is the top of all plants and it's the symbol of Madeira. Although, it's actually native to South Africa (it's cultivated in large numbers on this island).

The beautiful flowers have been planted here and there and you can even find postcards with it!

Strelitzia flower

Locals consider the strelitzia the symbol of Madeira.

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Escape Hunter

About the Author:

Escape Hunter, the young solo traveler in his early 30's explores the World driven by curiosity, thirst for adventure, deep passion for beauty, love for freedom and diversity.
With a nuanced, even humorous approach to travel, an obsession for art and design, Escape Hunter prefers to travel slowly, in order to learn and "soak up" the local atmosphere...


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