It is one of the most beautiful natural treasures, and is at least 20 million years old! It is marvellous and exotic, with a green mantle of moss and lichens that envelops the tree trunks and rocks, in a magical and seductive mist.
It can be seen in restricted areas of Macaronesia (Madeira, Azores, Canary Is-lands and Cape Verde); one of its most incredible characteristics is that it sur-vived the Ice Age. It was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999. It is on Madeira Island that it has the greatest expression, occupying an area of approximately 20% of the territory, especially on the north coast, namely, in the Florestal das Queimadas, Fanal, Rabaçal, Chão dos Louros and Chão da Ribeira Park.
There are many species of trees, such as the Madeira Laurel (Laurus novoca-nariensis), or til (Ocotea foetens), or the barbusano (Apollonias barbujana); there is also the vinhatico (Persea indica) and the Lily of the Valley tree (Cle-thra arborea). Flowers deserve special attention, for example, the Maderian Orchid (Dactylorhiza foliosa), Madeira Cranesbill (Geranium maderense), and the so called Pride of Maderian (Echium candicans).
The main “Sower” of trees in Laurissilva are the Trocaz Pigeon (Columba trocaz), and the Madeira Firecrest (Regulus madeirensis).