Due to its unique climate and growing conditions, Ecuador is home to a number of unique plants and flowers. The country lies at the northern end of the Andes north of Peru, with whom it shares a border. This mountain range rises quickly from Ecuador’s coastal region to over 20,000 feet at the Chimborazo volcano. Many species of plants in Ecuador are found in unique mountainous environments, like the wet, high-altitude cloud forests.
This climbing flowering plant lives in the Ecuadorian tropical forests. This type of begonia has large, lily pad-like leaves and waxy flowers that grow in clusters of around three flowers. The flowers of the Begonia sodiroi are often white but can sometimes be pink. These vines usually grow to between 4,000 feet and 9,000 feet. The leaves of this plant have bright green, stiff supports and frequently attract aphid-like insects.
The Psammisia columbiensis is a flowering plant that grows both in the Ecuadorian forests and in less forested areas of Ecuador. A plant well suited for mountainous regions, this plant grows well at around 7,700 feet in elevation. It grows to between 6 and 8 feet tall and has waxy, globulous flowers that hang downward in clusters from green branches. These long, red waxy flowers have a white tip on the end opposite the flower stem. The flowers of the Psammisia columbiensis are between 1 and 2 inches long. Leaves on this plant are 4 to 6 inches long and shaped like a hand spade.
The Saurauia bullosa is a tree that grows by many Ecuadorian roadsides. It grows as high as 7,700 feet in elevation and can grow as tall as 20 feet. This tree’s narrow, soft leaves are bright green with a white underside. The tree produces numerous white flowers that can reach over an inch in diameter. The leaves of this plant are listed in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology as being good for scurvy. To treat scurvy, boil the leaves of the mature Saurauia bullosa in water and drink the resulting tea.
The Anguola virginalis, or virginal anguola, is an orchid found in many parts of Ecuador. This large orchid grows in the ground and flowers between September and December. It grows in the shade of the cloud forests and grows a single flower. The flower is medium sized with primarily creamy white petals with purple spots on the sepals, petals and tips. Specimens of this particular orchid grown outside of the Ecuadoran cloud forests will only survive in carefully controlled greenhouses.
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