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10,000 FLOWERS NATIVE TO ECUADOR

World's Greatest Diversity in flowers

In general, the warm humid conditions of the tropical jungle throughout the year provide optimal conditions for plants. Consequently, one finds many more species in the tropics than in the temperate climates. Currently over 400,000 species of plants have been identified for the tropical jungle of the Amazon and botanists continue to add new names to the Flowers native to Ecuador list every year. Biologists found that the greatest variety in plant species in the rainforests of Ecuador. Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, together with Yasuní National Park are the richest in plant diversity in the world. There are several reasons why Cuyabeno and Yasuni are richer in plant species then Amazon parks in neighboring countries:

  1. Cuyabeno and Yasuní National Park are still part of the lower Andes foothills, and still has species that require the lower-Andes ecological conditions;

  2. Slow-flowing rivers and the lakes in the upper-watersheds provide sediment-poor "black-water" ecology favorable for certain aquatic life-forms while sediment-rich "coffee and milk" colored waters abound in the Amazon.

  3. Both well-drained hills "tierra firma" ecosystems and swamp ecosystems are present in the reserves;

  4. Cuyabeno is situated precisely on the Equator and Yasuní just south of it, where seasonal fluctuations are relatively mild and where rain even falls during the "dry season", allowing species to survive that don't support several months of total drought.

 

In fact, Ecuador is the world's smallest megadiverse country and has the world's greatest biodiversity per hectare. This diversity is the result of several factors:

  1. It is one of the only 10 continental countries on the equator, most of which are characterized by wet tropical conditions;

  2. Being on the equator, most rainforests have relatively little seasonal variety, allowing more species to survive than in regions with more seasonal fluctuation in precipitation and temperatures;

  3. The Andes divides the country in three zones, each with different sets of species;

  4. The coastal region of Ecuador is in the transition from the world's wettest region in the world, the Choco in Colombia and the southern Andean deserts that start in Peru with countless endemic species.

Dear visitor, our website gives you info about our National Parks Tours, Cuyabeno Loop, as well as our Cuyabeno  and Cofan Lodges in the Amazon.   For those who want to combine the Exuberant Nature of Ecuador with the Famous culture of Peru, we even have a 7 days Highlights of Peru extension! Here you can find our Prices. Our website has hundreds of high-resolution pictures of National Parks and monuments of Ecuador, with thumbnails that open by clicking on them. If you love our pictures or find our info useful you can help others finding our pages too you can share them from the mobile menu bar with a

Of the 2 Amazon mega parks, the Cuyabeno Nature Reserve certainly is the most accessible one and with lots of low, epiphyte clad trees, you will be able to see many more flowers in Cuyabeno than in Yasuní.

 

Being extremely rich in plants and trees, it is very rare that a single plant  or tree can become so abundant that it dominates the forest. Flowers bloom, one treasure at the time. Along the coast and in the Andes, the situation is very different, hower. Usually there are a few or even sometimes one species that dominate the vegetation.

 

The sunlight on the forest floor of the Amazon rainforest is so low, that few plant species can live there. This has resulted in the evolution of plants that may live high up on trees: Epiphytes. They can grow on trunks, branches, leaves as well as on top of other Epiphytes. Each tree is an ecosystem by itself with its own flora and fauna. Certain life forms occur more frequently, like Bromeliads, Orchids, Aroids, mosses, ferns and lichens. In the Andes, and the dry forests of the coasts, other factors may determine their abundance, in the former, it is particularly the access to the humidity in the air, which is better from the branches.

 

Plants in Ecuador Names: Epiphytes on Macrolobia are common Amazon rainforest plants in the marshes of the Cuyabeno Lake, EcuadorPlants in Ecuador Names: Epiphytic bromeliad cloud forest.

Epiphytes form complete micro-ecosystems in the trees.

 

In the coastal lowlands, Cotacachi Cayapas is the richest in plant species, being in the Choco humid tropical region, while getting down to just over 200 masl in its lowest parts. Other coastal lowland parks may be less diverse in species, as they are either mangrove parks - mangroves are notoriously species-poor - or located in zones with less rainfall and during their pronounced dry seasons, both factors that impact species diversity negatively.

 

Bromeliads

With in excess of 2,000 species of Bromeliads, they're are very prominently present in Ecuador. Sometimes, one can find them growing on the ground, but mostly, they live on branches as Epiphytes. The leaves of Bromeliads wrap around their stems thus creating little spaces where rainwater can accumulate. Sometimes a single plant can hold several liters of water. In absence o fishes, these tiny little pools provide safe environments for aquatic species such as amphibians: frogs along with their tadpoles, salamanders as well as their larvae. Other creatures include snails, beetles, mosquito larvae, etc. When those animals die, their bodies decay and function as fertilizers to the host plants. As Bromeliads come in a number of colors like purple, blue, orange and red, they're getting increasingly fashionable as ornamentals. In dry parks, like Machalilla, bromeliads are essential in catching water from seasonal mists, which they share with their host trees. Naturally you know our favorite Bromeliad, the Pine Apple.

 

Plants in Ecuador Names: Bromelia are Amazon rainforest plants growing at the Cuyabeno LodgePlants in Ecuador Names: Bromeliad cloud forest floor.

Plants in Ecuador Names: Bromelias are becoming popular for the homesPlants in Ecuador Names: Water accumulates in bromelia to form safe environments for todpoles

Many Bromeliads accumulate water at the base of their leaves, which then serve as safe environments for amphibians.

 

Plants in Ecuador Names: Epifytes dry forest.Plants in Ecuador Names: Bromeliad dry forest, Ecuador

Trees are densely covered by epiphytes

 

Orchids

With as many as 20,000 species in the Amazon region alone, Orchids form the most species rich family in the plant kingdom. In forests they grow mostly as Epiphytes, occurring in many different shapes and colors, including green. They have grown to be increasingly successful plants to the horticultural sector as clients value the longer lives of the flowers, their bright colors and their exotic shapes. While more abundant in rainforests, the more spectacular orchids used in horticulture are species from dry tropical forests.

Plants in Ecuador Names: Jungle flower as they decorate the Amazon rainforest plants.Plants in Ecuador Names: Amazon rainforest plants on a Macrolobium tree in the Laguna Grande, EcuadorPlants in Ecuador Names: Amazon jungle orchid is one of the many Amazon rainforest plantsPlants in Ecuador Names: Amazon rainforest plants include the Orchids growing in Cuyabeno.

Plants in Ecuador Names: Yellow orchid belonging to the Amazon rainforest plantsPlants in Ecuador Names: White and Purple Orchid belonging to the Amazon rainforest plants.Plants in Ecuador Names: Green orchids are common among the Amazon rainforest plants.Plants in Ecuador Names: Bright orchid are very popular among the Amazon rainforest plants.

The colors and shapes of orchids never stop to fascinate us.

 

Heliconias

Heliconias  have spectacular multicolored flowers of both wet and seasonal tropical forests. With their spectacular shapes and colors, heliconias are have becoming in fashion as ornamental flowers.

Plants in Ecuador Names: heliconia are well-represented among the Amazon rainforest plants.Plants in Ecuador Names: heliconias are common Amazon rainforest plants. Plants in Ecuador Names: Heliconia Amazon rainforest plant.Plants in Ecuador Names: Heliconia, Amazon rainforest plant, Ecuador

With flowers in bright colors and fascinating shapes, heliconias are gorgeous plants of the rainforest of Ecuador.

 

Other flowers

Plants in Ecuador Names: Purple Amazon rainforest plant.Plants in Ecuador Names: Flower of a plant in the Amazon Rainforest.Plants in Ecuador Names: Red and yellow flower of Amazon Forest plant.Plants in Ecuador Names: Yellow flowers of plants in the amazon rainforest.

Plants in Ecuador Names: Cuyabeno River Amazon rainforest plant.Plants in Ecuador Names: Cuyabeno River marsh Amazon rainforest plant flower.Plants in Ecuador Names: Amazon tributary rainforest marsh plant flower.Plants in Ecuador Names: Upper Amazon rainforest plant: Butterfly Pea

Tropical flowers occur in many shapes and colors.

 

Coniferous trees in South America

There are no native pine trees in South America, which have their southernmost pine species in Nicaragua. But there are only a few conifers in South America,  in Ecuador the Podocarpus trees, in Podocarpus National Park as well as a few other parks, and in Argentina and Chile the Monkey Puzzle Tree, Araucaria araucana. Other than those, all South American conifers, like the common Pinus Radiata in the Andes of Ecuador, have been introduced from the North.

Plants in Ecuador Names: Podocarpus Oleifolius Tree EcuadorPlants in Ecuador Names: Podocarpus Oleifolius Trunk Ecuador

Plants in Ecuador Names: Podocarpus oleifolius twigs, EcuadorPlants in Ecuador Names: Podocarpus Oleifolius leaves Ecuador

Above: Podocarpus trees in Podocarpus National Park;

Below Podocarpus oleifolius twigs.

Above: Podocarpus bark ;

Below Podocarpus oleifolius leaves.

 

Swamps in Ecuador

For non-native speakers: a marsh is a wetland with primarily grass, reed and moss vegetation, while a swamp is a - sometimes temporarily - inundated forest. From the Cotacachi peak at 4939 masl to the Cayapas lowlands just above 200 masl is less than 75 km and it has at least 10 different ecosystems within the reserve. On the other hand, from the Andes foothills to the Atlantic Ocean, the elevation difference is only about 300m over a distance of about 3000km, in other words an average of 10cm per kilometer. The variety of ecosystems is limited to just very few, albeit, that the number of species within each humid tropical lowland ecosystem is enormous. Also, under such circumstances flooding is very common and there are many swamp forests as opposed to the Andes slopes, where swamps and marshes are limited to presence in the paramos only. in the Amazon lowlands, the swamp forests consist of  Macrolobium forest and seasonally inundated forests in the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve and oxbow swamps in Yasuní. Macrolobium trees are covered with countless epiphytes, which in some cases may reach a layers of up to 1m thick.

Plants in Ecuador Names: Macrolobium swamp forestPlants in Ecuador Names: Macrolobium treePlants in Ecuador Names: Macrolobium ancient hollow treePlants in Ecuador Names: Macrolobium covered with epiphytes

Plants in Ecuador Names: Macrolobium bonsay tree.Plants in Ecuador Names: Macrolobium flowersPlants in Ecuador Names: Macrolobium blooming.Plants in Ecuador Names: Macrolobium pods.

The Macrolobium groves are located in the shallow flooded zones of the Cuyabeno and other lakes, including at Lagarta Coche at the border with Peru. These bonsay shaped legume trees stand in water at depth where other trees can't survive; as mucho as 3m deep during high water levels. During the dry season, when they are flowering they may occasionally stand dry. Their leaves are the favorite browse for hoatzins, while the sometimes 1 meter thick carpet of epiphytes for micro-ecosystems in their own right.

 

Famous worldwide, but extremely rare in their worldwide occurrence are the Mangrove forests, which are the swamp forests of the Pacific coast. Other than those, very few marshes and swamps occur in the western lowlands.

Plants in Ecuador Names: Red Mangrove forest, Pacific Ocean, EcuadorPlants in Ecuador Names: Conocarpus erecta Mangrove with air roots, Pacific Coast, Ecuador

Above: Red Mangrove trees are the most common in Ecuador's mangrove swamps.

Above: Black mangrove, Avicennia germinans, is an interesting species which grows countless air roots up into the air for breathing.

 

Vines

Vines too, constitute a life form that has responded to the low light conditions of the forest floor. In stead of growing at a rather slow pace like epiphytes, vines grow along tree trunks; without the need to grow solid strong stems or trunks, they can grow much faster to reach the greater light conditions in the canopies. They hold on to tree trunks with sucker roots, tendrils or by winding themselves along their host tree. The word "lianas" refers to thick woody vines of the tropics and a number of them may grow to a length of several hundreds of meters as they spread across many tree crowns.

A special vine is the Strangler Fig which is a common name for many species of vines that completely wrap the trunk of a host tree, which will eventually end up dying or being being "strangled". As the host tree dies, one will find that these trees have a hollow central core at the place where the host trunk used to grow.

Plants in Ecuador Names: Liana or vine reaching for the tree crowns.Plants in Ecuador Names: Liana or vine in the tropical rainforest are abundant among the Amazon rainforest plants.

In the picture on the right you can see that hardly any plants can grow on the dark rainforest floor itself. Vines have adapted themselves to use the "fast lanes" of tree trunks to grow towards the light of the canopy.

 

Strangler vines

Strangler vines are transform themselves into trees: As they grow more and more vines and branches around their host species, the trunks of the latter get totally covered under a cover of vine trunk.  As they grow, they end up suppressing or "strangling their host by taking all the nutrients and light. After the host dies, its trunk decomposes and the strangler vine becomes a tree with a hollow but healthy core.

Plants in Ecuador Names: Strangle vine or"Banyan"  is an Amazon rainforest plants refered to as figs.Plants in Ecuador Names: Strangle Vine or "Banyan"  in the Amazon.

Different stages of strangler vines.

 

Other impressive tree forms

Plants in Ecuador Names: Buttress tree tropical jungle.Plants in Ecuador Names: hollow strangler fig.Plants in Ecuador Names: fern epiphytes.Plants in Ecuador Names: Air roots in the Amazon resemble Red Mangrove roots.

Some of the forest giants are so tall and heavy, that they need buttress roots to support them, while some of them actually grow in hollow shapes. Much of their weight is due to thick covers of epiphytes, that can absorb large quantities of water that  weigh down the trees. Other trees live along lake or river shores and have large numbers of roots growing down from their branches, thus resembling "fresh water mangroves". With so many different species in the jungle, it is impossible to name all plants and Flowers native to Ecuador.

 

Dry forests

The coastal dry forests are the opposite of the swamps, caracterized by many adaptations, like cacti, leathery and leaves, deciduousness (leave shedding), dwarf trees and shrubs, etc.

Plants in Ecuador Names: Dry coastal shrubland Ecuador.Plants in Ecuador Names: Cactus forest.

Dry coastal srubland.

Lowland shrubs dominated by cacti.

 

Paramos

Often considered extremely species rich, the actually are rather species poor, with a limited number of shrubs, grasses and often compressed dicots dominating the vegetation. Nevertheless, many of their species are very conspicuous and beautiful

Plants in Ecuador Names: Epidendrum Jamieson is an orchid common in the paramo.Plants in Ecuador Names: Paramo Mistletoe Shrub, Psittacanthus sp. is a parasitic shrub.

Epidendrum Jamieson is an orchid common in the paramo.

Paramo Mistletoe Shrub, Psittacanthus sp. is a parasitic shrub common in them paramo.

 

 

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