I was in Ecuador 2 years ago....during the trip I got to 14,000 feet and well above the tree-line into the alpine tropical zone. Every night is winter with frost common. During the mornings it is often cold, windy and foggy while the afternoons can be sunny (still windy) and more spring-like. Loads of bizarre plants, most which I haven't a clue as to ID. Many hard buns similar to Raolia but i think many of the ones here are from the Asteraceae. Some plants as seen below. The unknown was like a super-tight Antennaria...fuzzy yet wet-tolerant.
Intriguing plants! They look like they would need a refridgerated bed like they used to have at Kew in the old alpine house. Were there Espeletias and bromeliads like Puya and Fascicularia up there?
Saw some Puya (they were actually at a lower elevation than where we went) but nothing like the tree-senecios and lobelia seen in other alpine tropics.
Here is a shot as we were ascending...we wandered around at the top of the mesa in the fog. I swear the wind was 80 km/h!
Habitat at the top
Interesting cushion plants!
With winds like that, I can see why the birding wasn't as good as hoped! I don't suppose the fog helped visibility either.
Todd, nice to see the Paramo again! I remember seeing lots of Puya but not the Espeletias and Fascicularia. However there were lots of orchids and other bromeliads. We had rather niceweather in the heights. We also spent some days in the jungle at the sources of Amazonas - very interesting.
Fascinating place! Interesting to see the Castilleja looking so familiar (florally, at least)- of course composites looking familiar too, but you almost expect them to be everywhere! They do develop some interesting vegetative strategies, though..