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.
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.
are also Candelabra Cactus
Jasminocereus thouarsii and Lava
Brachycereus nesioticus are the
other members of the Cactaceae family, which
are found here.
*The Opuntia have, as so many other cacti, been renamed several times:
Same goes for the Candelabra Cactus; Jasminocereus thouarsii:
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: This 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 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.
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 named 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.
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;
with 110 species and mosses and
lichens. In the populated Islands of
Galapagos, this is farmland, and dominated
by introduced pampas grass;