Galapagos Islands Vegetation

The Galapagos Islands vegetation is among the most incredible examples of island evolutionary biology.


Scalesia Gordilloi Plant

galapagos plant

Vegetation in the Galapagos Islands, just like the marine environment of Galapagos, receive very little coverage.

Not only there are many species that are endemic to the Islands, all well adapted to a tropical but dry environment.

These plants are the living grounds for many (and more commonly seen examples of the Galapagos) sea-dependant species like boobies and frigatebirds.

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Of course, Galapagos Islands vegetation is key for the survival of all land-related species like Galapagos Finches Mockingbirds, Land Iguanas insects, Giant Tortoises etc.

Everything in Galapagos is related to each other's ecological niches, and that is a magical component of a Galapagos Expedition.

Naturalists in Galapagos from a very peculiar interpretative scenario, will adapt for visitors the most diverse and complex concepts, into understandable ideas that will make everyone realize the importance of the whole, and not only specific issues.

Approximately, "560 species" of Galapagos plants live in the Islands, from which about a third are endemic (unique) to the Islands.

Where else could you find giant prickly pear cactus? Where else could you find an endemic cherry-like tomato? Where else could you find a member of the daisy family that locally evolved into 17 different species (genus Scalesia)?

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This is the botanical magic of the Islands, which is certainly crucial for the survival of all living things here.

Introduced species by man, are a perpetual threat for Galapagos Islands vegetation.

Thanks to the eradication efforts of the National Park, and the SICGAL control (quarantine program), the chances of introducing new species continue to decrease, but of course, the need for protection must remain constant.

The Galapagos Islands altitude (another feature many times misunderstood) are not atolls like in the Caribbean.

These Islands are 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 Galapagos Islands vegetation zones, and making the islands' ecosystem more diverse.

The experience of visiting the highlands has no comparison to what the lowlands offer.

But of course, if most documentaries and magazines only deal with the lowlands' highlights, everyone assumes that the Islands must not be that high above sea level.

One of the most rewarding surprises for youwill be the highlands of the Galapagos Islands.

Here, other wildlife features are to be seen, like finches (mostly tree finches, including the famous woodpecker finch), vermillion flycatchers, and the famous Galapagos Giant Tortoises in the wild.

Technically, the highlands are a tropical cloud forest where relative humidity is greater that rainfall, and it is here where visitors can see the ever-green landscape of Galapagos.

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Galapagos Islands vegetation zones are divided in a very interesting way:

galapagos islands vegetation zones

Recommended Reading

Ecuador & Galapagos (Insight Guides). Click to order from Amazon

Ecuador & Galapagos (Insight Guides)

With 250 photos and tons of great information, this is an essential addition to your pre-Ecuador and -Galapagos reading!

There are better guides if you are only interested in the islands, but for a combination trip taking in Ecuador as well, it's hard to beat.


Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands. Click to order from Amazon

Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands

Small enough to fit into your pocket, yet containing comprehensive information and pictures of all the species you will encounter in the islands, this book is a must-have for nature lovers.

Let's face it, Galapagos is largely about the wildlife. This book will NOT disappoint, and you'll have a great memento of your time with the seals, penguins and tortoises!


Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World. Click to order from Amazon

Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World

Definitely NOT a tourist's guide, but if you're like me, and find the history and geography of the islands irresistible, then this is a title you ought to invest in.

Stunningly illustrated, and painstakingly researched, those of you who have been there will be enchanted again -- and those of you who have not will begin planning your trip!


Moon Spotlight Galapagos. Click to order from Amazon

Moon Spotlight Galapagos Islands

If you're a seasoned Galapagos regular, then you will probably prefer something weightier.

But for first-timers looking for simple, down-to-earth advice on where to go, what to see and the best shopping and eating on the islands, this is the book for you.

Small, well-priced, and reliable!


Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire. Click to order from Amazon

Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire

The 10th anniversary edition of this photographer's tour of the Galapagos Islands is a stunning book, worthy of anybody's coffee table.

This is a perfect post-trip talking point -- a great way to remember what you've seen, and spread the word amongst your envious friends!


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If you have any questions about Galapagos Islands vegetation, You can post them on our Galapagos FAQ Page and if you'd like to request more information about our recommended Galapagos Islands Cruise to visit this Archipelago, You can Contact us here

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