Galapagos Islands Plants

Galapagos Islands Plants are the key for the survival of all land and sea related species.

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galapagos islands plants

There are more than 500 species of plants living in the Islands and almost half of them are endemic.

The Galapagos Islands are from volcanic origin where the highest point is near 1,800 meters (5,800 feet) above sea level, found at Volcan Wolf on Isabela Island.

Several of the Islands have similar heights, thus developing different vegetation zones, and making the Islands' ecosystem more diverse.

Galapagos Islands Plants started maybe by seeds stuck to feet and plumage of migratory birds, or passed through their digestive system.

Or perhaps via chunks of vegetation rushed to the sea by overflowing rivers and conducted throughout the ocean by the marine currents. All or one of these reasons could have brought Galapagos plants to life.

It happened then, it happens now. Not all seeding can "fuse" with the rocky land. Only those with simple germination necessities, can adapt to the barren environment to "survive and evolve" in forms growing every day.

Plants are distributed all across the Galapagos Archipelago, but the Islands have a different climate that's why some species can only be found in certain Islands.

For example the Lecocarpus pinnatifidus species is found only on Floreana Island the lecocarpoides species is found only on Espanola Island and on the beautiful Island of San Cristobal.

Alternanthera galapagensis is found only on the islets surrounding Floreana Island.

Palo Santo, Bursera graveolens, is present on most of the Islands except on Baltra (which is one of the driest island) Seymour, Pinzon and Rabida Islands.

It grows especially in the arid zones of the Islands.

Compared to other locations in the world Galapagos Islands plants have a high percent of endemic species just like its fantastic animals, most of which can only be seen in these group of Islands and nowhere else in the world.

From shores to highlands, there are Five Zones of Galapagos Islands Plants:

1.- Coastal: The sea borders are apt to salt water Galapagos plants like the "Red Mangrove", with its typical aerial roots in Isabela and Santa Cruz Islands.

The Beach Morning Glory plant is abundant in Santiago Island.

2.- Desert: Among a good variety, the big and famous "Opuntia Cactus" (prickly-pear) in many places the only source of food and moisture for reptiles and the graceful Candelabra Cactus.

Another typical of the zone, and common on all large Islands, is a bursera of light bark called Palo Santo (holy wood), after the reddish sap that bleeds from wounds.

3.- Humid: Epiphytes like orchids, mosses, ferns and lichens thrive in this zone's constant moisture and ornate trees and shrubs with color and charm.

Typical at this degree of humidity are the Galapagos Islands plants called Scalesias and Pisonias.

The highlands of the Galapagos Islands, are a cloud forest with unique features.

This is a perfect place for those who love hiking and experience the natural wonders of Galapagos.

4.- Miconia: Particular to San Cristobal and Santa Cruz Islands, this zone is named after the ever present Miconias that require high humidity.

5.- Pampa: In the four populated Islands of Galapagos this is farmland or Pampas. The temperature is low and grass is abundant, good to cultivate commercial products and raise cattle.

More About Galapagos

Galapagos Islands Birds

Galapagos Hawks

Galapagos Hammerhead Shark

Tomas de Berlanga

Fantastic Galapagos Island Tours


If you have questions about Galapagos Islands Plants, Please post them on our Galapagos FAQ Page and if you'd like to know more about our Economic Galapagos Trips to visit these Islands, You can Contact us here


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