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11/2-13/5 2010

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The Vegetation of Galapagos.

 Due to the isolation, around 180-200 of Galapagos' native 500 plants are endemic. These are the plants I hope to see and photo, but the other half might be interesting too. I'll try to avoid the almost 900 invasive species, but errors may occur. Here are also around 500 mosses, lichens and liverworts long with some mushrooms and other fungi.

 The vegetation can be divided into groups after their island or after their habitat. There are roughly six different habitats on the islands. My extensive photo collection are found on this page.

 Coastal Zone: Also known as the The Littoral Zone. The sea borders are marked by salt water. Galapagos plants like the Red Mangrove; Rhizophora mangle (Isabela and Santa Cruz), and the Black Mangrove; Avicennia germinans, White Mangrove; Laguncularia racemosa and Button Mangrove or Buttonwood Conocarpus erecta. A little further inland Seaside hibiscus;  Hibiscus tiliaceus and the little succulent; Sesuvium portulacastrum are found.Ipomoea pes-capae

 On the beaches, the beautiful Beach Morning Glory; Ipomoea pes-capae with its large pink flowers are found along with Galapagos Beach Amaranthus; Amaranthus sclerantoides, an annual plant, Beach Dropseed; Sporobolus virginicus, Inkberry; Scaevola pulmierii on the crest of the dunes, and Saltbush; Cryptocarpus pyriformis behind the dunes.

 Arid Zone: Cacti and succulent dominates this zone between 60 and 300 meters. Tallest are the big and famous Opuntia Cactus with up to twelve meters. The genus Opuntia is represented in Galapagos by several species and endemic varieties - depending on who you talk to. They all seems to be subspecies of Opuntia echios aka Opuntia galapageia like Opuntia echios var. echios, Opuntia echios var. gigantea, Opuntia galapageia var. profusa and Opuntia echios var. barringtonensis. More in the sheet below.

 Jasminocereus thouarsiiHere are also Candelabra Cactus Jasminocereus thouarsii and Lava Cactus; Brachycereus nesioticus are the other members of the Cactaceae family, which are found here.
 Along with the cacti are Galapagos Carpetweed; Sesuvium edmonstonei  and
Scalesia affinis Galapagos Purslane; Portulaca howellii. Jerusalem thorn; Parkinsonia aculeata, Galapagos Croton; Croton scouleri, Galapagos Lantana; Lantana peduncularis, Galapagos Running Pop, Passiflora foetida var. galapagensis, Galapagos Castella; Castela galapagensis and Yellow Cordia; Cordia lutea.  In the higher parts of the zone on all large Islands, the Bursera; Bursera graveolens are found. It have a light bark , and are called "Palo Santo" (holy wood), after the reddish sap that bleeds from wounds. Another trees are the tall Manzanillo; Hippomane mancinella. On San Cristobal, the very endangered Talinum galapagosum if found on a few, tiny locations.

 *The Opuntia have, as so many other cacti, been renamed several times:

Opuntia echios Howell 1933     = Opuntia galapageia Hemsl. 1837
Opuntia echios var. barringtonensis Daws. 1962 = Opuntia galapageia subvar. barringtonensis Backeb. 1966
Opuntia echios var. echios 1 = Opuntia galapageia var. echios Backeb. 1958 1
    Opuntia galapageia var. galapageia
Opuntia echios var. gigantea Howell Proc.1933 1 = Opuntia galapageia var. gigantea Backeb. 1958 1
Opuntia echios var. inermis E.Y. Dawson 1962 = Opuntia galapageia subvar. inermis Backebg. 1958
Opuntia echios var. prolifera E.Y. Dawson 1962 = Opuntia galapageia subvar. prolifera Backebg. 1958
Opuntia helleri K.Schum. 1902 = Opuntia galapageia var. helleri Backeb. 1958
Opuntia insularis A.Stewart 1911 = Opuntia galapageia var. insularis Backeb. 1958
    Opuntia galapageia var. macrocarpa Dawson  1965
Opuntia megasperma v. megasperma 1Howell1933    
Opuntia megasperma var. orientalis Howell1933    
Opuntia myriacantha F.A.C.Weber 1958 = Opuntia galapageia var. myriacantha Backeb. 1958
    Opuntia galapageia var. profusa And. & Walk. 1970
Opuntia saxicola Howell 1933 1 = Opuntia galapageia var. saxicola Backeb. 1958 1
Opuntia echios var. zacana.And. & Walk 1933 = Opuntia galapageia var. zacana Backeb. 1958
  =

        Opuntia zacana Howell 1933

 Same goes for the Candelabra Cactus; Jasminocereus thouarsii:

Jasminocereus thouarsii  Backeb. 1959 Jasminocereus thouarsii  Backeb. 1959  =
Jasminocereus thouarsii var. chathamensis 1962 Brachycereus thouarsii  Britton & Rose 1920
Jasminocereus thouarsii var. delicatus And & Walk. 1970 Cereus galapagensis F.A.C. Weber 1899
Jasminocereus thouarsii var. sclerocarpus And.&W. 1970 Cereus sclerocarpus K. Schum. 1902
Jasminocereus thouarsii var. thouarsii Cereus thouarsii F.A.C. Weber 1899
  Jasminocereus galapagensis Britton & Rose 1920
  Jasminocereus howellii E.Y. Dawson 1962
  Jasminocereus howellii var. delicatus  Daws. 1962
  Jasminocereus sclerocarpus Backeb. 1944

Lava Cactus; Brachycereus nesioticus A bit more easy with the Lava Cactus; Brachycereus nesioticus, which originally was given the name; Cereus nesioticus by  Karl Moritz Schumann in 1902. It just have one name - so fare...

 Transition Zone: Here are a area with plants from both Arid a Scalesia Zone. Mainly small trees like the Bursera; Bursera graveolens and shrub like the Pega Pega Tree; Pisonia floribunda and the Guaybillo tree; Eugenia buxifolia? and The Galapagos Tomato; Lycopersicon cheesmanii. Now, the Guayabillo Tree; Pisidium galapagensis, and the Matazarno; Piscidia carthagenensis appears. This might be the place to look for Oxalis megalorrhiza?

 Scalesia Zone: Tillandsia insularisThis is a humid area between 300 - 600 meters with Epiphytes like orchids, mosses, ferns like Leather Fern; Rumohra adiantiformis, epiphytes like Peperomia galapagensis, Peperomia galioides,Peperomia galapagensis Peperomia obtusilimba and Peperomia petiolata, bromeliads like Tillandsia insularis and lichens, growing on small trees. They thrive in this zone's constant moisture and ornate trees and shrubs with colour and charm. Here we find the Daisy Tree; Scalesia pedunculata, Cat's Claw; Zanthoxylum fagara, Galapagos guava; Psidium galapageium and Micronia; Miconia robinsoniana  starts. The vine Colinvaux's passionflower; Passiflora colinvauxii climb the trees. On San Cristobal,  the floating water fern; Azolla microphylla are found in the lake.Cat's Claw Zanthoxylum fagaraFloating fern; Azolla microphylla

 In the higher parts; 800 meters+, which are more moist, the Galapagos Tree Fern; Cyathea weatherbyana starts along with Bracken; Pteridium aquilinum var. arachnoideum and sedges like Cyperus anderssonii.  The upper part is known as the The Brown Zone or Zanthoxylum Zone, due to the fact the mosses usually are brown here. Besides from that, it is pretty much the same plants. Dominating this zone is the Cat's Claw Zanthoxylum fagara, Tournefortia pubescens and  the Galapagos Acnistus; Acnistus ellipticus.

 Miconia Zone: Particular to San Cristobal and Santa Cruz in 600-700 meter, this zone is namMiconias; Miconia robinsonianaed after the ever present Miconias; Miconia robinsoniana  that require high humidity and used to dominates this area. Here are also plants like Galapagos Cotton; Gossypium darwinii.Galapagos Tree Fern; Cyathea weatherbyana

 Pampa Zone: Above 900 meters, this area is also known as the Fern-Sedge Zone. Here are no trees, but the tall Galapagos Tree Fern; Cyathea weatherbyana and Liverworts; Hepatics with 110 species and mosses and  lichens. In the populated Islands of Galapagos, this is farmland, and dominated by introduced pampas grass; Cortaderia selloana.

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