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Ecuador

Ecuador: Political System

According to the 1979 constitution, Ecuador is an independent democratic republic ruled by a president. There is compulsory voting for residents of the country who are able to read and write. The President and the National Congress (Parliament) are directly elected on the same day. The president is the head of state and government and thus the head of the executive.

Ecuador: Political System

The legislature lies with the National Congress, a one-chamber parliament which, following elections in October 2002, has 100 (previously 123) members for the 2003-2007 legislative period. The parliamentary groups, the President, the Supreme Court and the electorate have the right to initiate legislation (0.25% required). The president and parliament are elected every five years in free, equal and secret elections.

The three most important parties in Ecuador were the Partido Social Christiana (PSC, Social Christian Party), the Izquierda Democrática ID, Democratic Left) and the Partido Unión Repúblicano (PUR, Party of Republican Unity). The influence of the political parties was and is largely limited to only one region: The Christian-social Partido Social Cristiano (PSC) and the Partido Roldosista Ecuatoriano (PRE) are the dominant parties in the coastal region. In the Andean region, the social democratic Izquierda Democrática (ID) and Pachakutik - the political movement of the Indian organization CONAIE - dominated.

After the elections in 2006, the two parties founded in 2002, the PRIAN of the entrepreneur Álvaro Noboa and the Partido Sociedad Patriótica of President Lucio Gutiérrez, who was ousted in 2005, form the strongest political blocs in the National Congress.

A special case is the pachakutik - which is chosen especially in the rural provinces with a high proportion of indigenous populations. In addition to the parties mentioned, there are other political associations as well as the movement of the current president, Rafael Correa, Movimiento PAÍS, which was only formed in 2006.

The president appoints a governor for each province - and at the next level a political head for each canton. The population of the provinces themselves elect a prefect who has roughly the functions of a superior mayor there, as well as provincial and cantonal parliaments. According to Digopaul.com, the official name of the country is:

República del Ecuador

National anthem

Based on flag descriptions by Countryaah.com, the national anthem of Ecuador was written by Juan Léon Mera (1832-1894) in 1865 and set to music in 1866 by the son of German immigrants Antonio Neumane (1818-1871). It became the country's official anthem in 1886 after having been used on public occasions for some time.

Ecuador flag and coat of arms

In spanish language

Refrain:

Salve, Oh Patria, mil veces!

¡Oh Patria, Gloria a ti! Gloria a ti!

Ya tu pecho, tu pecho, rebosa

Gozo y paz ya tu pecho rebosa;

Y tu frente, tu frente radiosa

Más que el sol contemplamos lucir,

Y tu frente, tu frente radiosa

Más que el sol contemplamos lucir.

Los primeros los hijos del suelo

Que soberbio, el Pichincha decora

Te aclamaron por siempre señora

Y vertieron su sangre por ti.

Dios miró ya ceptó el holocausto

Y esa sangre fue germen fecundo

De otros héroes que atónito el mundo

Vió en tu torno a millares surgir.

a millares surgir,

a millares surgir.

 

Ecuador: Personalities, Famous People

Visual artist

  • Joaquín Pinto: Landscape and Portrait Painter of the 19th Century
  • Rafael Troya: landscape and portrait painter of the 19th century
  • Antonio Salas: landscape and portrait painter of the 19th century
  • Eduardo Kingman (1913-1998): Klingman was one of the founders of indígenismo, a pictorial representation of Indian life. While earlier pictures almost exclusively dealt with landscape themes, artists like Klingman depicted the life of the indigenous population.
  • Oswaldo Guayasamín (1919-1999): Guayasamín was also a representative of indígenismo. His works often reduce people to expressive, woodcut-like facial features and hands. His picture cycle "Huacayñán" testifies to this. He also portrayed influential personalities such as Salvador Allende and Fidel Castro. He cultivated friendships with the most important intellectuals in Latin America such as Pablo Neruda and Gabriel García Márquez. Guayasamín is considered the most important artist in Ecuador of the 20th century.
  • Camilo Egas (1889-1962): painter and teacher; Egas founded the country's first art magazine under the title Helice.
  • Oswaldo Viteri (born 1931): Painter influenced by anthropology and folk art.

Writer and poet

  • Eugenio Espejo (1747-1795): Espejo was one of the most important thinkers in Latin America in the 18th century. His writings were influenced by the Enlightenment. Espejo advocated the emancipation of South America from Spain.
  • José Joaquín de Olmedo (1780-1847): In his book "La victoria de Junin" he portrayed the Latin American freedom fighters as the successors of the Incas. Olmedo was president of the country several times.
  • Juan Montalvo (1832-1889): Among other things, he wrote a sequel to Cervantes' "Don Quixote" under the title "Chapters that Cervantes forgot". In addition, Montalvo enjoyed a high reputation due to his essays "Siete Tratados" (1882, on German seven tracts) and "Geometría Moral" (published posthumously in 1902, on German moral geometry).
  • Jorge Icaza (1906-1978): Icaza is the internationally best-known writer in Ecuador. His fame is based primarily on his novel "Huasipungo" (1934), in which the life and exploitation of the Indians is portrayed realistically for the first time. His later works are less drastic. In his novel "Cabellero in the borrowed wreck" he paints the multi-layered portrait of a mestizo who tries to rise to the white upper class.
  • Adalberto Ortiz (1914-2003): In his main work "Juyungo", Ortiz exemplifies the conflicts between the black, white and Indian populations based on the life of the main character.

Athlete

  • Ivan Hurtado (born 1974): The football player is the country's record national player.
  • Augustin Delgado (born 1974): The football player is the country's record scorer.
  • Jefferson Pérez (born 1974): The athlete won the gold medal in the 20 km walk at the World Athletics Championships in 2003 and 2005.
  • Andrés Gómez (born 1960): The tennis player won the French Open in 1990.

Ecuador: animals

Mammals

The fauna of Ecuador is as diverse as the flora. Various species of monkeys such as howler and woolly monkeys as well as capuchin monkeys live in the rainforests and in the Andes.

Bats are common, as are the guanacos. The latter is a South American wild camel species with a shoulder height of 120 cm. Its woolly and dense fur is light brown on the top and white on the underside.

It lives at altitudes of up to 4,000 m and is always exposed to dangers from pumas, Andean condors and Andean jackals.

Peccaries and tapirs can also be encountered in the Andes, although the mountain tapir, the largest mammal in South America, has become extremely rare. He lives very withdrawn, which means that the chances of seeing him in the wild are rather slim.

The Northern Pudu, which also lives in the Andes, is one of the smallest deer in the world with its shoulder height of almost 40 cm.

It has a rough, dense, brown-black fur, a small tail

and the males have small unbranched antlers about 8 cm long.

Its diet consists of leaves, bark, fruits and flowers, which it normally finds sufficient in its habitat of mountain forests and pastures.

However, the pudu is endangered because of human hunting and clearing of the forests.

In the numerous national parks there is a variety of the most diverse animal species, some of which are not found anywhere else in the world. Coatis, spectacled bears and armadillos live in Cayambe Coca, various marsupials, anteaters and badgers have found their home in Manglares Churute. Unfortunately, some animals are already threatened with extinction.

These include the puma and the jaguar.

Reptiles without venomous snakes, amphibians

You should keep your eyes open at rivers in the rainforest, because encounters with crocodiles or giant caimans are not uncommon here and can be extremely dangerous.

Crocodiles

The crocodiles (Crocodylia) are an order that is divided into the following three families:

- Real crocodiles (Crocodylidae)

- Alligators (Alligatoridae)

- Gavials (Gavialidae)

These three families are divided into 9 genera with a total of 25 species.

The local crocodiles are nowhere near as large as, for example, the Australian saltwater crocodiles (estuarine crocodiles) or the Nile crocodiles. Nevertheless, one should keep a suitable distance from them and under no circumstances bathe in the rivers.

You can find a description of the crocodiles at Goruma here >>>

Caimans

The caimans (Caimaninae) are a subfamily of the family of the alligators (Alligatoridae.

Caimans occur with the exception of the crocodile caimans, whose distribution area extends to Central America - only in South America.

Since caimans have a slower metabolism than the real crocodiles, they will With 100 years almost twice as old as this one.

Their preferred habitat are lakes, swamps and rivers.

The local crocodile

caiman reaches a maximum length of 3 m and has the following subspecies: - Common crocodile caiman (Caiman crocodilus crocodilus)

- Northern crocodile caiman (Caiman crocodilus fuscus)

- Nicaraguan crocodile caiman (Caiman crocodilus chiapasius)

- Rio Apaporis crocodile caiman (Caiman crocodilus apaporiensis)

Sea

turtles Sea turtles are found on the country's coastal beaches. With the exception of laying eggs on sandy beaches, they spend their entire lives in the water.

However, as lung breathers, they have to come to the surface of the water regularly to breathe, which may only be necessary after 7 hours when sleeping and after 40 minutes at the latest when doing activities. Their diet consists of cephalopods, crustaceans and jellyfish, but also plants.

Your front legs serve as paddles for photo movement, while the rear legs serve as a kind of rudder.

The salt glands on the head ensure that they can excrete the salt absorbed with the seawater.

All are distinguished by an armor-like back shield and a toothless jaw.

-Leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)

- Green turtle (Chelonia mydas)

- Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta)

- Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)

This sea turtle has the following two subspecies:

- Pacific hawksbill

turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) imbricata)

The breeding process is not carried out by the animals but by the sun.

It is very interesting that the eggs develop into females at temperatures above 29.9 degrees Celsius and males at lower temperatures.

Pinoccio Lizard

This iguana-like lizard (Anolis probescis) with its long, horn-like, approximately 2 cm long trunk on the tip of the nose - which only the males have. Without the tail, it has a length of 5 to 8 cm. It is yellowish-green to brown in color with orange or black marks, while the belly is whitish.

The animal was considered extinct for over 50 years and was only rediscovered in 2004.

Snakes (not poisonous)

Over 200 species of snakes have been counted in Ecuador, including both poisonous and harmless species. The largest snake in the world is definitely worth mentioning - the great anaconda

Anaconda

The great anaconda (Eunectes) can in rare cases be over 9 m long and is therefore the largest snake in the world alongside the reticulated python. Your prey is entwined and strangled or crushed by the contraction of the muscles.

It can also be life-threatening for humans. In addition to Ecuador, the great anakondo can also be found in northern Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Colombia, eastern Paraguay, northeastern Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela.

A detailed description of the local Great Anaconda can be found at Goruma here >>>

There are four types of the genus Anaconda:

- Eunectes beniensis (Beni anaconda)

- Eunectes deschauenseei (De-Schauensee-Anaconda)

- Eunectes murinus (Large anaconda)

- Eunectes notaeus (Yellow anaconda)

Poisonous snakes

Numerous different venomous snakes live in the country, whose bite is dangerous and can be fatal.

Lance vipers

The genus of lance vipers (Bothrops) belongs to the subfamily of pit vipers (Ctotalinae) and to the family of vipers (Viperidae).

The genus of the lance viper comprises 45 species of snakes, some of which in turn have subspecies.

The smallest species or subspecies reach a length between 50 to 70 cm and the largest can be over 2 m long.

Their poison has tissue-destroying parts (proteases), blood-damaging and kidney-damaging parts.

It is worth mentioning that the enzyme reptilase in the venom of Bothrops atrox and Bothrops jararaca is used in diagnostics to determine coagulation disorders and as a therapeutic agent for anticoagulation.

The animals are viviparous. They get their name from their triangular head shape, which is reminiscent of a lance tip.

Andean lance viper

The Andean lance viper (Bothrops pulchra) occurs in Ecuador and Colombia up to an altitude of approx. 2,000 m.

There are no subspecies of the snake

Brazilian lance viper

The Brazilian lance viper (Bothrops brazil) occurs in Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, French Guyana, Guyana, Colombia, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela.

There are no subspecies of the snake

Speckled Wood Lance Viper

The Speckled Wood Lance Viper (Bothrops taeniatus) occurs in Bolivia, Brazil (Amazon, Rondonia, Mato Grosso, Goiás, Roraima, Maranhão, Pará and Acre), Ecuador, French Guyana, Guyana, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela.

The snake has two subspecies, Bothrops taeniata taeniata and Bothrops taeniata lichenosa

Common lance viper

The common lance viper (Bothrops atrox) occurs in Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil, French Guyana, Guyana, Colombia, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela.

Also on Trinidad, an island that belongs to the Lesser Antilles.

There are no subspecies of the snake

Golden lance

viper The golden lance viper (Bothrops punctatus) is known in English as the "Chocoan Forest Pit Viper".

It is found in the northwest of Ecuador, in the west of Colombia and in the southeast of Panama. The snake can be found up to a height of around 2,000 m find

from the queue are no subspecies

Green Jararaca Lance Viper

The Green Jararaca Lance Viper (Bothrops bilineatus) occurs in Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, French Guyana, Guyana, Colombia, Suriname and Venezuela.

There are two subspecies of the snake

- Bothrops bilineata bilineata

- Bothrops bilineata smaragdina

Lojan Lance Viper (Bothrops lojanus)

The Lojan Lance Viper (Bothrops lojanus) occurs in Ecuador (Loja, Zamora Chinchipe) and Peru at altitudes above 2,500 m.

There are no subspecies of the snake.

Osborn`s lance viper (Bothrops osbornei)

The snake occurs in Ecuador and in the northwest of Peru.

There are no subspecies of the snake.

Pulchra lance viper

The Pulchra lance viper (Bothrops pulchra) is found in Ecuador and Colombia at heights of up to approx. 2,000 m.

There are no subspecies of the snake.

Rough-scaled lance viper

The rough-scaled lance viper (Bothrops asper) is found in southern Mexico and in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Belize, Colombia (Valle del Cauca), in western Ecuador and Venezuela.

There are no subspecies of the snake.

Terciopelo lance viper

The Terciopelo lance viper (Bothrops asper) is also known as the rough-scaly lance viper.

They can be found in Belize, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Venezuel.

There are no subspecies of the snake

Palm

lance vipers The palm lance vipers belong to the genus Bothriechis, to the subfamily of pit vipers (Crotalinae) and to the family of vipers (Viperidae).

The species of this snake genus have a length of about 60 to 80 cm - very rarely they reach a length of 1 m.

The palm lance vipers live exclusively in the trees of the tropical rainforest and are well adapted to the way of life in trees thanks to their long tail, which is optimized for grasping.

Like all pit otters, they have pit organs on the sides of their heads between the nostrils and eyes, with which they can perceive thermal radiation (infrared radiation), which makes them good night hunters.

Their basic color is usually green to greenish-yellow with light and dark speckles, whereby the very color-variable prehensile-tailed lance-viper is an exception.

Palm lance viper (Bothriechis schlegelii)

The snake belongs to the genus of the palm lance viper (Bothriechis).

The snake is found in Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua Peru, and Venezuela.

There are no subspecies of the snake

Coral snakes

This usually very pretty snake of the genus Micrurus (coral snake, coral otter) with its black and white or yellow and red rings occurs in 79 species with various subspecies. They can be found in the southern states of the USA via Mexico, Central America and almost all of South America - with the exception of Chile. Often, however, not nationwide but only in parts of the country or even in smaller regions. They live mainly in moist, warm habitats and are between 60 to 150 cm long. Their head is barely wider than the trunk and their tail is short. They have The nocturnal snakes live mostly hidden in holes in the ground, between dense vegetation or under stones and feed on small reptiles - more rarely on small mammals, amphibians, and young birds. Bites are extremely rare in humans. They have a very effective neurotoxin, which interrupts the connection between nerves and between nerves and muscles (synapses). In addition, numerous species have poisonous parts that destroy muscle tissue (myotoxins). Without an antiserum, paralysis and even fatal respiratory arrest can be expected.

Andean black-

backed coral snake The Andean black-backed coral snake (Micrurus narduccii) is found in the north-west of Bolivia, in the north-west of Brazil, in the east of Ecuador, in the south of Colombia and in the north and east of Peru.

There are two subspecies of the snake:

- Micrurus narduccii narduccii

- Micrurus narduccii melanotus

Annellated

Coral Snake The Annellated Coral Snake - in English Annellated Coral Snake (Micrurus annellatus) - can be found in the southeast of Ecuador, in the east of Peru, in the west of Brazil and in Bolivia.

It has dark blue to black rings, which are interrupted by narrow white rings.

There are three subspecies of the snake:

- Micrurus annellatus annellatus

- Micrurus annellatus balzanii

- Micrurus annellatus bolivianus

Catamayo Coral

Snake The Catamayo Coral Snake (Micrurus catamayensis) can be found in Ecuador in the Catamayo Valley (Valley = valley).

There are no subspecies of the snake

Cauca coral snake

The Cauca coral snake (Micrurus multiscutatus) can be found in the Colombia Valle del Cauca in Colombia as well as in Ecuador.

There are no subspecies of the snake

Dumeril`s Coral Snake

The Dumeril`s Coral Snake (Micrurus dumerilii) can be found in the north of Ecuador, in the north and west of Colombia, in the southeast of Panama and in the northwest of Venezuela.

There are six subspecies of the snake:

Ecuador

Coral Snake The Ecuador Coral Snake (Micrurus bocourti) - called Ecuador Coral Snake in English - can be found in the west of Ecuador (Pacific lowlands) and in the northwest of Peru.

There are no subspecies of the snake

Speckled coral snake

The speckled (also speckled) coral snake (Micrurus margaritiferus) is found in Ecuador and in the northeast of Peru.

There are no subspecies of the snake

Hemprich's coral snake

Hemprich's coral snake (Micrurus hemprichii) is found in Bolivia, Brazil (Para, Rondonia), Ecuador, French Guyana, Guyana, Colombia, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela.

There are two subspecies of the snake.

Langdorff`s Coral

Snake The Langdorff`s Lorallenschnake (Micrurus langsdorffi) can be found in the south of Colombia, in the north of Peru, in the upper Amazon region of Brazil and in the south of Ecuador.

There are no subspecies of the snake

Mertens coral snake

The Mertens coral snake (Micrurus mertensi) can be found in the southwest of Ecuador and in the northwest of Peru. There are no subspecies of the snake

Peters 'coral otter

The Peters' coral otter (Micrurus petersi) is only found in eastern Ecuador.

There are no subspecies of the snake

Peru coral snake

The Peru coral snake (Micrurus peruvianus) is found in Ecuador as well as in Peru (Cajamarca, Amazon) . There are no subspecies of the snake

Regal coral otter

The black and red striped with white stripes Regal coral otter (Micrurus ancoralis) occurs in the east of Panama, in the west of Colombia (Valle del Cauca) as well as in the west and north-west of Ecuador. The snake has two subspecies:

Red-tailed coral snake

The red-tailed coral snake (Micrurus mipartitus) is one of the few coral snakes with green rings.

You can find them in Costa Rica, in Ecuador, in the east of Panama, on the Pacific coast of Colombia (Valle del Cauca), in Brazil in the state of Rondônia and in the west of Venezuela (Zulia).

There are five subspecies of the snake:

Slender Coral

Snake The Slender Coral Snake (Micrurus filiformis) is found in the east of Ecuador, in the north of Brazil, in the south of Colombia and in the north of Peru.

There are no subspecies of the snake

Steindachner`s coral snake

The Steindachner`s coral snake (Micrurus steindachneri) can be found in the east of Ecuador and Peru. There are two subspecies of the snake

South American coral snake

With a length of up to 1.30 m, the South American coral snake (Micrurus lemniscatus) belongs to the large coral snakes. You can find them in:

Argentina, northern Bolivia, in Brazil (Amazonas, Goias, Rio Grande do Sul Rio de Janeiro), in the east of Ecuador, in French Guyana, Guyana, Colombia, Paraguay, in the east of Peru, in Suriname,

Trinidad and Venezuela. The snake has five subspecies.

Water coral snake

The water coral snake (Micrurus surinamensis) is also known as the surimam coral snake.

The 1.3 m long snake feeds mainly on eels that live in the local waters. The snake is found in Brazil (Mato Grosso, Pará), Bolivia, Ecuador, French Guyana, Guyana, in the Amazon region of Colombia as well as in Peru. There are no subspecies of the snake

Desert coral snake

The desert coral snake (Micrurus tschudii) is found in the northwest of Bolivia, in the west of Peru and in the southwest of Ecuador.

There are no subspecies of the snake

Dwarf black-

backed coral snake The dwarf black-backed coral snake (Micrurus scutiventris) is found in Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia and Peru. There are no subspecies of the snake

More venomous snakes

South American Bushmaster

The South American Bushmaster (Lachesis muta) occurs in the following countries:

Northern Bolivia, Brazil (Minas Gerais, Acre, Amapéa, Amazonas, Pará, Rondonia, Mato Grosso, Goiás, Alagoas, Ceará, Pernambuco, Paraíba, Bahia, Espírito Santo, Rio de Janeiro), in the east of Ecuador, French Guyana, Guyana, in the northeast and east of Peru, in Suriname, as well as in Trinidad and Venezuela.

There are no subspecies of the snake

Verrugosa Bushmaster

The Verrugosa Bushmaster (Lachesis acrochorda) occurs in Ecuador, Colombia and Panama.

There are no subspecies of the snake

Manabi inverted

-nosed viper The Manabi inverted-nosed viper (Porthidium arcosae) occurs only in Ecuador.

There are no subspecies of the snake

Rainforest inverted-nosed viper

The rainforest inverted-nosed viper (Porthidium nasutum) is found in Mexico in the states of Chiapas, Vera Cruz and Yucatan, also in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, in Colombia in the Valle del Cauca and in Ecuador.

There are no subspecies of the snake

More poisonous animals

Poison frogs Poison frogs are

highly poisonous. The three-colored tree climber, found in the southwest, belongs to the "poison dart frogs" like other tree climbers.

All of these poisonous frogs have a brightly shining skin color that is supposed to warn of their toxicity.

Banana spiders

The genus of the banana spiders (Phoneutria) comprises eight different species, all of which are very aggressive and extremely poisonous. They are also known as the Brazilian wandering spiders.

The most dangerous species is Phoneutria nigriventer. However, this occurs only in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

The females are between 30 and 50 mm in size, while the males are smaller, at most 40 mm. The basic color is dark brown with light stripes.

Their venom can kill a healthy adult human in a matter of hours. However, the spider does not inject venom with every bite. There is also a counter serum. Most spider bite accidents occur in the home during the day.

The spider species live in South America, from Ecuador to northern Argentina.

However, as the name suggests, the main distribution area of the spiders is Brazil.

Every now and then individual spiders made their way to Europe in banana boxes, where they always caused great excitement.

Tarantulas

The common tarantulas are actually poisonous, but the poison does not pose a threat to humans. However, the bite could be quite painful.

Birds

The bird most likely to be associated with the Andes is the condor. With a wingspan of 3 m it is one of the largest birds in the world and it is not for nothing that it is the heraldic animal of the country.

The hummingbird is much smaller, but no less known and popular for that reason. About 120 different species have been counted in Ecuador. Most of these little peculiarities can be seen in the temperate zone of the highlands. They are characterized by the fact that they can not only "stand" in the air, but are also the only birds that can fly backwards. Their low weight and the very fast flapping of the wings (approx. 80 beats/sec.) Contribute to these flying skills.

Birds common in Páramo include the Andean kite, the Andean gull, the Páramopieper, the great thrush and the carakara (a species of falcon). Bird watching will also be unforgettable in the Amazon.

Parrots, toucans, macaws, herons, but also vultures, kingfishers and ducks live here. Frigate birds, cormorants and pelicans are more likely to be found on the coast.

Insects, spiders

Especially in the rainforests, the variety of insects is almost endless.

Giant and leaf cutter ants are represented, as are giant dragonflies and praying mantises.

Different species of tarantulas occur here as well as the flagellum spiders.

You can also find numerous species of butterflies, wasps, bees and of course mosquitoes and flies.

Underwater world

The humpback whales provide a special spectacle in summer, but they are becoming increasingly rare.

Cod, grouper, sole and tuna, as well as crustaceans and shellfish that can be discovered while diving, are common.

Numerous species of sharks, turtles and dolphins also live here.

Ecuador: plants

General information

The vegetation of Ecuador is divided into certain areas, which are largely based on their altitude.

Mangrove forests and deciduous forests are distributed around the coastal area, while inside the tropical rainforest zone in the lowlands and mountainous regions. The grasslands of the paramo vegetation are found in the Andean highlands.

About 20% of the flora of Ecuador are endemic, which means that these plants are only found here.

Trees

While mangrove swamps dominate the image of the Pacific coast, deciduous forests shape the savannah areas. Numerous laurel trees, oaks, ebony trees and guyacans can be admired in Manglares Churute, an ecological reserve. The Polylepis Private Reserve owes its name to the Polylepis trees (paper trees) that grow there. The reddish-brown bark of these trees is very fine and consists of many individual layers, which gave the tree its name.

The pioneer trees include the balsa tree, which can grow up to 20 m high and is often found in secondary forests. Its wood is used in many ways, including as earrings.

The rainforests of the lowlands and mountains are particularly rich in the most diverse and fascinating plants.

The 40 m tall white kapok tree is particularly striking here, as it clearly towers above the lower layer of evergreen trees. The 5 m long buttress roots, which run radially outwards and give the tree the necessary support, are characteristic.

Crops

The few trees that grow in Páramo are eucalyptus trees that were planted for timber. Various species of palm are also important crops. The Chonta palm has a wide range of uses. The very hard wood is used as a building material, but the fruits are often eaten and offered for sale. Hammocks and fishing nets are twisted from the fibers of the leaves of the Chambira, a feather palm up to 30 m high.

One of the most important crops is manioc, which is also known under the name cassava or bread root.

The plant belongs to the milkweed family, grows up to 3 m high, has a bushy habit and greenish-yellow flowers.

The starchy, up to 8 cm thick and up to 90 cm long tubers are used.

All parts of the plant contain a toxin that is destroyed by washing out and exposure to heat. This makes the cassava palatable. Other crops are cotton, cocoa, agaves, rice, coffee and tobacco. Huge banana plantations, once the most important export good, still exist today in the western lowlands.

Numerous plants are used as coloring agents, for example the strongly red coloring inside of the fruit of the annato bush.

Medicinal plants

Valerian, known for its calming properties, grows in the Cayambe Coca ecological reserve.

The cat's claw (Uña de Gato) is a liana that can be 3 - 9 cm thick and sometimes up to 100 m long. The bark is used from the light red wood, from which a brew is made to strengthen the immune system.

The brew helps with diseases caused by fungi, bacteria or microbes, but also with injuries, arthritis and gastritis, as it reduces the sensitivity to pain in the inflamed joints.

In the armpits of the leaves, which are arranged in pairs, there are curved holding or climbing organs, to which the liana owes its name.

The flowers that grow instead of the thorns during the flowering period are white to yellowish or orange in color and have a cinnamon-like odor.

One of the most important remedies in Ecuador is Sangre de Drago (dragon's blood), which is obtained from the bark of three different trees belonging to the milkweed family.

The blood-red sap is obtained by cutting the trunk (or the branches). It has anti-inflammatory and wound healing effects, but is also used for gastric ulcers, cancer, hepatitis, tuberculosis, diarrhea and numerous other diseases.

The tea made from lemongrass leaves is a popular drink for headache or stomach ache.

This bushy plant is a very common sight in the gardens as its cultivation is widespread.

Poisonous plants

Various plants are poisonous, such as Strychnos toxifera or the semolina, from whose bark and leaf extract curare is made. This breath-paralyzing arrow poison is used for hunting by the indigenous people of Ecuador. However, it only works through the bloodstream, so that the hunted animals can then be eaten without hesitation.

Another nerve-paralyzing poison from the Barbasco plant, which belongs to the butterfly family and is specially cultivated for this, is used for fishing.

The poisonous milky sap is extracted from the roots and branches and poured into a river with the lowest possible water level. The fish are stunned and can finally be collected.

One of the numerous ceremonial plants is the angel's trumpet, a very poisonous tree-like shrub up to 5 m high.

This plant has softly hairy leaves and flowers between June and January. The pendulous flowers are up to 25 cm long and can be white, yellow, orange or red. All parts of the plant are poisonous because they contain tropane alkaloids.

Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, flushing of the face, difficulty swallowing, visual disturbances and heart problems.

More plants

The Páramo areas in the Andes are almost treeless. The dominant vegetation here is rather barren and consists mainly of grasses, mosses, lichens and cushion plants such as the genus Espeletia. Frailejones, ragwort plants from the sunflower family, which can reach a height of up to 3 m, are also widespread. Translated, the name means "giant monks" because these plants sometimes appear like human figures in the fog. Frailejones grow very slowly (less than 1 cm/year) and bloom with yellow flowers between November and December.

The quinua, a sacred plant for the Incas, grows in the Chimborazo Fauna Production Reserve. Orchids, bromeliads, tree ferns, walnut bushes and numerous anthurium species thrive in Pululahua.

The eucalyptus trees are originally from Australia. The pines are not native here either, but were imported to Ecuador from Mexico and California. The molasse grass covering the grasslands comes from Africa. Lemongrass, which is often cultivated as a medicinal plant, has its home in India. However, it was introduced to Ecuador a long time ago and is popular here.

 

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