Flora | Patagonia Unbound

Flora

Patagonia has a varied climate throughout its different regions. This means the vegetation and plant life are just as varied.

In northern Patagonia there is pasture land, which includes bushes and stunted trees.

Getting into central Patagonia there is more typical tableland; vegetation changes and starts adopting steppe features. Pasture becomes poor and there are forests of jarilla. But the most characteristic thing of this region is the growing desert as a result of livestock and overgrazing.

The river shores have yet a different appearance, similar to that of an oasis in the middle of the desert. There, besides Red or Creole Willow, which is abundant, there are many trees of different imported species.

The bush steppe is littered with an abundance of jarilla, neneo and coironales, all of which are nourished by rains.

In the mountain range the vegetation goes from the steppe to the Andean Patagonian or sub-Antarctic Forest. In the north part, there are araucarias and pehuenes. There also are lengas, cohiues, ñires and oaks and calafate, chaura and berries bushes or forests. On the river shores the Creole or Red willow, once abundant, has been displaced by other imported species.

 

FLORA IN PATAGONIA'S NATIONAL PARKS

In Patagonia's National Parks some areas are kept virgin, and the traveler can enjoy the miracle of preserved flora and fauna.

In Lanin National Park, araucaria and primitive conifer found only in the cordillera area between the Copahue Volcano and the Lacar Lake.

In Nahuel Huapi National Park, the Austral Forest or Andean Patagonian Forest is strewn with trees--most significantly with coihue of great size. In between Puerto Blest and Laguna Frias there is one tree called The Grandfather which is more than 500 years old. Canelo, sacred trees for the araucarians, and arrayan, which gives its color to the forest in Peninsula de Quetrihue, are also found within this park. 

In Los Alerces National Park the forests are protected. The conifers such as cypress and larch would normally be cut down because of the quality of the wood which doesn’t rot and can be used for roof tiles and walls. But these trees are protected within the boundaries of the national park and are allowed to stay.

Bushes, small bush and minor plants, as well as flowers and fruits such as a mushroom called Llao Llao that grows in the coihues and other trees, are noticeable because of their abundance.

In many areas vegetation is reduced to almost nothing: a thin layer of dried herbs, water lacking and no animals can be seen around.