The Endemic Plants of Chile

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Los Ríos

As its name suggests, the geography and also the identity of the Los Ríos Region are determined by the many rivers that flow through it. With an annual rainfall of over 2000 mm, it is one of the wettest areas of the country; although the rain falls throughout the year, most precipitation occurs during the winter months. The Andes are relatively low in altitude, about 2,000 metres at this latitude, but include some imposing peaks such as Choshuenco and Puyehue volcanoes. The mountains are covered with dense vegetation, which is known as Valdivian rainforest, named after the regional capital, Valdivia. Between the Andes and the Intermediate Depression are a network of expansive lakes including, Pirihueico, Calafquén, Riñihue and Neltume, each connected and drained by the Valdivia river. Another important river, the Cruces, has an associated extensive wetland that was formed as a result of the 1960 earthquake and tsunami (9.5 on the Richter scale). The central valley has gentle hills that have been highly modified by intensive agriculture and ever-expanding forestry. The coastal mountain range is notably low and sometimes it peters out into the coastal plains. Los Ríos Region has over 160 endemic plants species with seven being unique to the Region and of these, Valdiva gayana (which is also an endemic genus) is the most notable.

Endemic Taxa in Los Ríos

Endemic taxa only occurring in Los Ríos