The Endemic Plants of Chile

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Araucanía Region traditionally marks the start of southern Chile and it comprises two provinces: Malleco in the north and Cautín in the south and its capital and largest city is Temuco. Its climate is very wet, with an average annual rainfall exceeding 1100 mm which gives rise to lush vegetation and vast expanses of forest widely known as Valdivian rainforest. The most famous forests are those of Araucaria araucana, the seeds (piñónes) of which once formed a staple food of the Mapuche ethnic people. These forests are afforded protection in a series of national parks including: Conguillío, Huerquehue, Tolhuaca and Villarrica. These majestic trees often grow on the slopes of active volcanoes such as: Lanin, Llaima & Lonquimay and Villarrica, which overlook a vast network of azure-blue lakes. The Intermediate Depression is a gently undulating plain, where two important basins can be found: the Imperial river and the Toltén river. Like so much of the Intermediate Depression in Chile, the landscape has become highly modified by urbanisation, agriculture and forestry. The Nahuelbuta range is located at the northern end of the coastal mountains and is where the National Park of the same name protects one Chile's most remarkable Araucaria forests and represents one of only two locations for this charismatic trees outside of the Andes; it is also a vital refuge for many endemic plants and animal species. The distribution of a significant number of native species in this region is shared with Argentina, resulting in a relatively low number of endemic species (c. 350), many of which are restricted to coastal locations.

Endemic Taxa in Araucanía

Endemic taxa only occurring in Araucanía