17 Endangered Plants in Ecuador - Names and Photos

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Due to its geographical location and climatic conditions, Ecuador is one of the 13 most biodiverse countries that exist. Such is this that it houses 8% of the species of animals in the world, highlighting birds (18%), amphibians and reptiles (4.3%). With regard to flora, an aspect that we will address below, of the more than 18,000 species that exist in Ecuador, according to 2010 data from the red book of endemic species, there are more than 1,300 species of endangered plants in Ecuador, which represents around 30% of the cataloged species.

If you are curious to know which plants are in danger of extinction in this country, keep reading this article by Ecologist Verde, where you can learn about some of the most threatened species.

Licaria exserta

Licaria exserta it is a species of the Lauraceae family endemic to Ecuador what is found in danger of extinction. The populations of this tree, which reaches 30 m in height, are distributed throughout the Napo region, specifically in the Amazonian or terra firme evergreen forest. There is evidence of its existence thanks to four collections from the Jatun Sacha Biological Reserve, which are believed to come from the same individual.

Image: Lauraceae My Species

Ocotea hirtostyla

This is also another of the endangered species in Eduador. TheOcotea hirtostyla Another tree is the Lauraceae Family, some of whose collections come from the Jatun Sacha Biological Reserve, Apayacu and the Yasuní National Park. This species can exceed 6 meters in height and provides green fruits in the shape of an oval cluster. Its geographical distribution includes the Napo and Orellana regions, being their habitats the humid tropical forest and the primary forest on red soils of hills.

Image: Stricollections

Aniba pilosa

At piemontano amazon forest of the province of Morona-Santiago we find A. pilosa, a species of tree of the Melastomataceae family found in an altitude range of 500-800 m. The construction of road infrastructures and human settlements constitute the main threats that have led to the Danger of extinction.

Image: iNaturalist

Piper baezanum

In the Napo region we found another species from the Amazonian Piemontan forest, belonging to the Piperaceae family. It is a small tree about which little is known, since in more than 100 years there has only been a single record in the city of Baeza. Currently its state of conservation is considered in critical danger of extinction.

Image: Herbariovaa

Guzmania lepidota

Other species threatened by deforestation, for agricultural activity and coal mining, is the Guzmania lepidota. It is an epiphytic herb recorded for the first and only time at the end of the 19th century, in the low Andean forests that surround the Pululahua volcano, in the Pichincha province. Currently, its conservation status is considered in critical danger of extinction, although the lack of collections could indicate their extinction.

There are species of guzmanias that can be had at home, since they are not in danger of extinction, among other aspects. Here you can know the care of guzmania.

Pseudolmedia manabiensis

Pseudolmedia manabiensis It is a tree of the humid piedmont littoral forest, belonging to the Moraceae family, which is located in the province of Manabí. Among some of its characteristics, it is worth mentioning that its leaves serve as a habitat for the Chrysomelids and that it blooms in autumn, specifically between October and November. Of this species discovered 26 years ago there is only evidence of the existence of two copies, strongly threatened by deforestation, grazing and tourism in the area. That is why its state of conservation is considered in critical danger of extinction. Currently, there is no image of this species that can be published. Therefore, the one shown below is an image of a plant closely related to the Pseudolmedia manabiensis, that it's called Pseudolmedia macrophylla.

Image: Anthropocene

Eudema nubigena

Continuing with this list of threatened or endangered species, we find Eudema nubigena. This super-moor grass, which is capable of growing at an altitude of 4,000-4,500 m, has 8 towns in Ecuador located on the tops of mountains and volcanoes in the provinces of Bolívar, Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, Imbabura, Pichincha and Tungurahua. Currently E. nubigena is considered in danger of extinction, with the destruction of its habitat and climate change the main threats it faces.

Myriocolea irrorata

Distributed only in the riparian zones of the Topo and Zulac rivers, at about 1,200 m altitude, we find Myriocolea irrorata, also known as Colura irrorata (taxonomy updated in 2012). Is a bryophyte and endemic plant of Ecuador, belonging to the family Lejeuneaceae, which grows on the shrub Cuphea bombonasae. Deforestation and the deterioration of the water bodies to which this plant is associated, through the construction of dams, have led to the critical danger of extinction.

We recommend that you learn more about these types of plants by reading this other post about Bryophyte Plants: examples and characteristics.

Image: Wikipedia

Aphelandra azuayensis

Aphelandra azuayensis It is a shrub-like plant species that belongs to the Acanthaceae family. East endemism of the inter-Andean region, It is located at about 2,500-3,000 m of altitude in the tropical or humid subtropical forests of Ecuador. Currently, its state of conservation is in critical danger of extinction due to the loss of habitat due to deforestation and changes in land use for the development of agricultural activities.

Image: iNaturalist

Gentianella jamesonii

On the slopes of the Pichincha and Atacazo volcanoes, it inhabits Gentianella jamesonii, an herb of the bush moor that stands out at first glance for its bell-shaped flowers. It is currently in Danger of extinction due to grazing, burning and the metropolitan expansion of the area.

Elytraria tuberosa

This is a species of grass of the Acanthaceae family that inhabits the dry littoral forest at altitudes ranging from 0 to 500 m. Located in the provinces of Guayas and Manabí, no specimens of this species have been recorded since 1952. Its conservation status is in critical danger of extinction, having identified deforestation and changes in land use for agriculture as its main threats.

Image: Naturalista

Odontonema laxum

Odontonema laxum is another endemic species of Ecuador of a shrub type that belongs to the Acanthaceae family. The first specimens of this phanerogam, which lives in the Piedmont littoral forest at an altitude of 500-1000 m, were recorded near the Patul River in the 1940s. It is currently found in critical danger of extinction by the degradation of the ecosystems of which it is part, as a consequence of deforestation.

Image: Naturalista

Psilanthele eggersii

This is a endemic shrub of Ecuador It is distributed through the coastal forests, from 0 meters above sea level to 530 meters above sea level, in the provinces of Chimborazo, Guayas and Manabí. Also belonging to the Acanthaceae family and the Psilanthele genus, of whose 4 described species, only this one is accepted, P. eggersii is found in critical danger of extinction, without knowing if it is extinct or not, due to the destruction of its habitat.

Image: Wikiwand

Saurauia aguaricana

Saurauia aguaricana it's a kind of endemic shrub of Ecuador belonging to the Actinidiaceae family. Its geographical distribution is limited to the eastern Cordillera of the Andes, in the proximity to Colombia, at an attitudinal range of 2,000 - 3,000 m. For about 30 years, no information has been collected from any specimen and its conservation status is considered in danger of extinction. Among its threats, the destruction of its habitat stands out: for the development of urban areas, agricultural, livestock and mining activities and for the felling and harvesting of wood, according to the IUCN.

Image: Wikipedia

Ceratophora bomarea

This species of liana or climber, of the Alstroemeriaceae family, is an endemism of Ecuador typical of the low andean forest (1,000-1,500 m). Currently, although specimens can be found in the eastern region of the Llanganates National Park (located in the provinces of Cotopaxi, Tungurahua, Pastaza and Napo) and south of the Antisana Ecological Reserve (in the province of Napo), B. ceratophora It's in Danger of extinction due to the destruction of their habitat.

Image: Alchetron

Irenella chrysotricha

Irenella crhysotricha It is a herbaceous species of the equatorial endemic genus Irenella, belonging to the Amaranthaceae family. It inhabits the humid and dry forests of the coastal areas, in an altitude range of 0 - 500 m. In the eighties there was evidence of the existence of 8 populations, mostly located in protected areas. The fragmentation of the territory and the loss of habitat constitute two great threats that have led this species tol danger of extinction.

Image: Bioweb

Aiphanes grandis

This palm tree of the Arecaceae family is endemic to Ecuador and is distributed from the Andean forest low to high, in an altitude range of 1,000 - 3,000 m. Populations have been recorded in Sambotambo, Orianga and in the vicinity of Guaranda (Bolívar). Currently, due to deforestation (for agriculture, aquaculture) this species is in Danger of extinction. In fact, it has been proposed as one of the 50 most threatened palms by the IUCN panel of specialists for this type of tree.

After discovering these endangered plant species in Ecuador, we encourage you to discover more about nature in this country and read about What are the natural regions of Ecuador and 17 endangered animals in Ecuador.

Image: Earth

If you want to read more articles similar to Plants in danger of extinction in Ecuador, we recommend that you enter our Biology category.

  • Susana León-Yánez, Renato Valencia, Nigel Pitman, Lorena Endara, Carmen Ulloa Ulloa & Hugo Navarrete, editors. Missouri Botanical Garden. Academia.edu. RED BOOK of endemic plants of Ecuador. Available at: https://www.academia.edu/34552605/LIBRO_ROJO_de_las_plantas_endémicas_del_Ecuador
  • INABIO National Institute of Biodiversity. Ecuador, a country immense in biodiversity. Available at: http://www.biodiversidad.gob.ec/ecuador-pais-inmenso-en-biodiversidad/
  • María Elena Barragán, from the Gustavo Orcés Herpetological Foundation - Vivarium of Quito. University of the Americas. ANALYSIS OF BIODIVERSITY IN ECUADOR. Available at: https://www.udla.edu.ec/2019/11/analisis-de-la-biodiversidad-en-ecuador/
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