Galapagos is such a magical place, surrounded by amazing landscapes, unique animals, and also surprising plant life. In fact, Galapagos flora is one of the main reasons that make the islands so unique.
Due to the particular microclimates and geological make-up of the archipelago, the islands are not filled with the lush, tropical vegetation that many visitors may expect of an equatorial environment.
In fact, the Galapagos is more like a desert than like a rainforest. This is why Galapagos plant life has had to adapt to survive in this special climate.
Unique plant life
Galapagos vegetation was what caught the eye of Charles Darwin, who included plant life in his natural history collection. He took over 200 samples of Galapagos flora.
Most people know that the uniqueness of the Galapagos comes from its fauna, however, the plants of Galapagos show a complex narrative of the process of adaptation.
In Galapagos, 7 kinds of plants are unique to these islands, and there are 600 endemic species of vascular plants. In addition to native plant life, there are around 825 introduced plant species.
Flora vegetation zones
The Galapagos flora is grouped into three major vegetation zones:
The Coastal Zone
Coastal plants are found in the narrow zone near the shore and are distinctive because of their tolerance to salty conditions.
The most common plants you can find in this area are Mangrove, which serves as breeding sites for many birds, such as pelicans and frigatebirds. Moreover, they provide shade to iguanas and sea lions.
The Arid Zone
The dry area is the most extensive zone in Galapagos and is comprised of plant species that are highly adapted to drought-like conditions. For instance, succulent cacti and leafless shrubs that flower and grow leaves only in the brief rainy season.
The Humid Highlands
Located above the dry zones are the very lush and green, humid zones. You can find Scalesia trees with their branches adorned with mosses, liverworts, and epiphytes.
There is a massive variety of plants to be seen on the Galapagos depending on which area you are visiting, don’t miss the chance to get amazed by its beauty.