Peru Flora and Fauna

By | December 21, 2021

Flora and vegetation. – The coastal area is extraordinarily arid and appears as an immense beach, crossed by some cultivated valleys; only here and there on the shores of the sea do Salicornia peruviana, some Salsola and Sesuvium grow and in the interior of the coast some Tillandsia, Cactaceae and Argemone mexicana. Only at the time of the garúas (which moisten the soil and the environment in the winter season) did the territory become covered with an ephemeral vegetation with showy flowers, which goes up to 650 m. height: Ismene with fragrant flowers, Begonia geraniifolia, Quamoclit coccinea, Valeriana officinalis and pinnata, Bomarea ornata, Commelina fasciculata, Piper chrystallinum and various Oxalis and Solanum. The woody plants are represented by groves of Prosopis dulcis and horrida, Acacia punctata, Buddleia mostly with frutescent forms; scattered here and there grow Carpomanesia cornifolia, Schinus molle, Alnus acuminata, in the valleys that line the coastal shore, and together with them are: Baccharis Fevillei, Tessaria legitima, which cover large surfaces of land, Mikania variabilis, Encelia canescens, Spilanthes diffuse, Wedelia hispida, Ambrosia peruviana, many Compotes (Galinsoga, Senecio, Gnaphalium, Eupatorium, Ageratum, Bidens, etc.), many Solanaceae (Nicotiana paniculata and glutinosa ; Datura arborea and stramonium ; Physalis peruviana, prostata and angulata ; Nicandra physalodes ; Lycopersicum peruvianum ; Cestrum ; Solanum), Verbenaceae, Scrofulariacee, Leguminosae, etc. For Peru geography, please check franciscogardening.com.

Going up the Cordillera we see that the tropical plants are replaced by those of the temperate regions: the Cactaceae increase in number and size, at 1200 meters above sea level the colossal Cereus peruvianus appears ; then there are Tillandsia usneoides, Heliotropium peruvianum, Nicotiana rustica and numerous tuberous plants: Oxalis crenata and tuberosa, Ullucus tuberosus, Tropaeolum tuberosum, Polymnia sonchifolia, etc.; but here the luxuriant vegetation that grows on the eastern mountain range is missing, due to the lack of humid and rainy winds.

With increasing height the vegetation varies, which at 3500 m. acquires an alpine character: Conifers are missing; among the rare trees we can see Peruvian Sambucus, Buddleia incana, Poylepis racemosa: the grass Stupa ichu abounds, which is then the characteristic of the Puna region. Up to 4200 m above sea level, tree plants decrease, limited only to Sambucus and Polylepis, while thorny and thorny shrubs increase: Chuquiragua spinosa and microphylla, Baccharis, Bolax glebaria, etc. At higher altitudes the cold region begins, which is characterized by a reduction of the Phanerogams, which disappear completely at approximately 4500 msm. On the opposite side of the western Cordillera, social grasses abound (Stupa ichu, Deyeuxia, Bromus, Avena, Poa) which constitute a steppe vegetation which represents a discrete pasture: there are also Baccharis, Astragalus, various species of Azorella, Bolax, Verbena minima, etc.

The Central Cordillera has a discrete arboreal vegetation consisting of Buddleia incana and Polylepis racemosa: here grow the Pharbitis pubescens with purgative roots, the Krameria triandra which supplies the ratania, some Solanum, Datura, several Salvia, various species of Cassia, etc.

To reach the region called Montaña, one must cross the Eastern Cordillera: here the vegetation has a distribution similar to that of the Western Cordillera and the same scarcity of trees is observed. However, descending the slopes of it facing west there is a rich and varied vegetation. There is at the bottom between 310 and 1530 m. a tropical region rich in useful plants: Cocos butyracea, Phytelephas macrocarpa which gives the vegetable ivory, Carludovica palmata which provides the fibers for panama hats; Cedrela odorata, Swietenia, Lucuma obovata, Carpomanesia cornifolia which provide valuable construction timber: in the woods there is the colossal Ficus gigantea, the Vanilla, several Bignoniacee, numerous Araceae, several Musaceae, Marantaceae, some Smilax, Bombaxceiba. Here lives the coca (Erythroxylon coca), which goes up above 2000 m., And here begins the region of Cinchona rich in species (C. Ovata, carabayensis, Humboldt, glandulifera, micrantha, mtida, scrobiculata) which reaches up to 2700 m. approximately. This region of cinchona plants occupies part of Bolivia, crosses all of Peru and reaches as far as Ecuador. The rocks are covered with mosses and lycopods; there is also the Oreodoxa frigida palm.

Above, up to 3315 m. there is the Ericaceae region with numerous species (Gaylussacia dependens ; Vaccinium ramosissimum, floribundum, crenulatum ; Gaultheria erecta e glabra ; Befaria ledifolia, etc.): above 3315 meters the alpine region begins, which goes up to the snow limit perpetual.

The Montaña area is the one that has the richest vegetation in Peru, with large forests where useful tropical plants abound and with a remarkable wealth of plant forms.

But today the Cinchona of Peru have very little importance for the production of cinchona bark, which almost all come from the crops of Java, having in the past the greed of the gatherers destroyed most of the spontaneous resources that the region had.

Fauna. – The Peruvian fauna includes elements characteristic of the neotropical fauna. Among the Mammals we will mention various species of Platyrrhine monkeys (Mycetes, Cebus, etc.), many bats including various species of vampires; among the Carnivores, various Felines such as the ozelot, the jaguar, etc. In the mountainous areas the ornate bear is found, the only species of neotropical bear, also widespread in Chile. Among the ungulates there are various deer, the guanaco lama who lives in herds on the mountains. The Rosicants are well represented including the dipper that lives on the highlands, the aguti, various chinchillas, the rat-like Segu, the myopotamus and various species of mice. The Toothless are well represented, including the common anteater and the tamandua. Rich in forms and species is the neotropical avifauna with graceful fly birds, toucans, macaws, etc. The Reptiles are also numerous and interesting with numerous Sauri and Ophidî, as well as the Amphibîs including the Nototrema in which the development of the eggs takes place in a dorsal pocket of the female. Among the numerous arthropods there are insects, especially beetles with characteristic species of longicorns and beetles.

Peru Flora