The Endemic Plants of Chile

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Relict coastal forest

The relict humid forests of coastal north-central Chile occur in the regions of Coquimbo, Valparaíso and O’Higgins and are thought to be remnants of a flora that once dominated central and south Chile millions of years ago. Today, these remnant forests include (listed in order of latitude): Fray Jorge, Cerro Talinay de Huentelauquén, Fundo Caracas, Cerro de Santa Inés, areas adjacent to Zapallar, Quintay, Quebrada Cordova and Predio forestal Tanumé. These forests are isolated from continuous forest cover typically found further south along the Chilean coast. They are maintained by the continuous humidity provided by the sea fog accumulating on coastal hills and creating conditions similar to the climate found in the much rainier southern areas of Chile. Fray Jorge is the best example of a relict coastal humid forest, in this case surrounded by a mosaic of semi-desert vegetation. This UNESCO Biosphere Reserve has a tree canopy that is dominated by Aextoxicon punctatum with Drimys winteri, both of which have an extensive southern distribution extending deep into the temperate rainforests. Other species in Fray Jorge, with a southern distribution include the climbers Griselinia scandens, Mitraria coccinea and Sarmienta repens; also the ferns Asplenium dareoides and Blechnum hastatum are present.

Endemic Taxa in Relict coastal forest