Plants are living things that, like animals, depend on environmental conditions to develop and reproduce. However, these present the peculiarity of not being able to escape from the threat of some danger to their survival and, when there is enough pressure to increase the probability that there will be no specimen of the species left on the planet, we speak of species in Danger of extinction. For centuries, the landscapes of Chile have suffered great pressure of anthropic origin, from the hand of the human being, such as overgrazing, the fragmentation of the landscape due to the intrusion of urban land, climate change, large forest fires and substitution of the native flora of Chile of high ecological value for another exotic one.
If you were wondering which flora species are in danger of extinction in Chile, stay reading this AgroCorrn article, since here you will discover +40 plants in danger of extinction in Chile , some of their morphological characteristics and the causes of their threats.
Hazelnut (Avellanita bustillosii)
Endemic shrub of Chile and belonging to the Euphorbiaceae family . It is typical of areas with a Mediterranean climate in the Cordillera de la Costa in the Valparaíso, Metropolitan and O’Higgins regions. It can reach 2-3 meters in height and is a monoecious species, where the female flowers are separated from the male flowers, but both are present in the same bush. The foliage of the hazelnut ( Avellanita bustillosii ) is not dense and the arrangement of the leaves is at the end of the branches. It is one of the endangered plants of Chile , since there are few specimens left and it is especially threatened by the forest fires typical of the regions with a Mediterranean climate.
Southern acorn (Beilschmiedia berteroana)
This tree, native to Chile and similar to the laurel, is found in the Chilean rainfed areas of O’Higgins, Maule and Biobío and concentrates 23% of the threatened plants in this country. It is a species whose ideal light conditions are shady. Currently, the southern acorn ( Beilschmiedia berteroana ) is severely affected by human influence and it is estimated that 8 subpopulations remain of no more than 2,000 individuals in total.
Dalea (Dalea azurea)
In addition to being in danger of extinction , this species is classified as rare because it is present in only one region of Chile (Antofagasta on the southern coast) and, also, because it has few individuals. The dalea ( Dalea azurea ) is made up of a series of branches that grow at ground level and rise at the end. Its flowers grow in spikes and are blue and white in color and the fruit is a legume with a seed. The threats suffered by this plant are grazing, as well as extreme rain events.
Lucumillo (Myrcianthes coquimbensis)
It is an endemic species of Chile that inhabits the rocky coast of Elqui. The lucumillo or myrtle plant ( Myrcianthes coquimbensis ) is, in fact, a shrub that has a rounded and dense crown, which can reach up to 1.5 meters. It is threatened by being present in areas of great urban and industrial pressure and by tourist expansion, factors that are linked.
Metarma woolly (Metharme lanata)
The woolly metarma ( Metharme lanata ) is a deciduous subshrub and its small size does not exceed 10 cm in height and 15 cm in diameter. It inhabits the foothills of Arica and Parinacota and Tarapacá. It grows in sandy, high-altitude areas and its regrowth is favored when abundant rains occur.
Michay de paposo (Berberis litoralis)
Another of the native plants in danger of extinction in Chile is this endemic shrub in the northern part of the country, in the vicinity of Paposo. Those of the michay de paposo ( Berberis litoralis ) leaves are oval, hard, dark green with a spiny edge. The flowers are yellow in the form of a cluster and the fruits are blue-green berries. The problems for its conservation are due to grazing activities and its use for firewood.
Red Michay (Berberidopsis corallina)
The voqui pilfuco or red michay ( Berberidopsis corallina ) is a climbing shrub that can reach 5 meters in height. Its distribution is restricted to the area of the Cordillera de la Costa in Chile. Its leaves are evergreen, the most ideal lighting conditions for this plant are generally dark and it is usually found near waterways.
It is in danger of extinction because the habitat in which it is found, the native coastal forest in the aforementioned mountain range, has been reduced due to the enormous destruction caused by the expansion of livestock and commercial plantations of eucalyptus and distinguished pine.
Pitao (Pitavia punctata)
The pitao, pitrán or canelillo ( Pitavia punctata ) is an endemic tree in danger of extinction that currently inhabits the Maule, Biobío and Araucania regions. It has a dense foliage, the bark gray ash, it can measure 15 meters and the leaves are aromatic. Its main threats are the fragmentation of its habitat due to forest fires and the replacement of native forest by forest plantations.
Queule (Gomortega keule)
The queule ( Gomortega keule ) is one of the Chilean trees currently threatened in the country in the Maule and Biobío regions. It is an evergreen species that can reach 15 meters in height. Its fruits are large yellow drupes up to 6 cm long. It is normally surrounded by eucalyptus and pine plantations, which makes it difficult to disperse its seeds, as well as being threatened by uncontrolled deforestation .
Ruil (Nothofagus alessandrii)
Another of the trees of the native flora of Chile is the ruil. Endemic to the coast of the Maule region, this light green deciduous tree can reach heights of 30 meters. It is a monoecious species, with pale green flowers. The main threat for which it is in danger of extinction are the cutting for firewood and charcoal and the invasion of Pinus radiata in the ruil forests ( Nothofagus alessandrii ) . Currently, 12% of the total population of this tree is protected in the Los Ruiles National Reserve (Maule Region).
Other plants in danger of extinction in Chile
Below are other plants that are at risk of becoming endangered in the near future if the threats to which they are exposed persist.
- Acaena masafuera
- Larch ( Fitzroya cupressoides )
- Carob tree ( Prosopis chilensis )
- Apium fernandezianum
- Araucaria ( Araucaria araucana )
- Asplenium polyodon
- Asplenium stellatum
- Berberis corymbosa
- Berberis masafuerana
- Boehmeria excelsa
- Carbonillo ( Cordia decandra )
- Chenopodium sanctaeclarae
- Cypress of the mountain range ( Austrocedrus chilensis )
- Erigeron ingae
- Gavilea insularis
- Guayacán ( Porlieria chilensis )
- Haloragis masafuerana
- Hualo ( Nothofagus glauca )
- Hymenophyllum rugosum
- Juania australis
- Lucumo ( Pouteria splendens )
- Northern Luma ( Legrandia concinna )
- Machaerina scirpoidea
- Nicotiana cordifolia
- Pacama ( Myrica pavonis )
- Chilean palm ( Jubaea chilensis )
- Palo gordo or Chilean Papayo ( Carica chilensis )
- Robinsonia evenia
- Spergularia confertiflora
- Tamarugo ( Prosopis tamarugo )
- Valdivia or Lion Plant ( Valdivia gayana )
- Wahlembergia berteroi
There are also two Chilean carnivorous plants found in the Magallanes Region and they are Drosera uniflora or sundew and Pinguicula antarctica or swamp violetilla.
Now that you have discovered all these endangered plant species in Chile, we encourage you to discover more about the flora and fauna of Chile with this other AgroCorrn article.
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