Kiwis In The Mist

Adventure In The Andes: Travel Experiences In Ecuador.
Join New Zealand nurseryman Dick Endt on an exciting palm hunt up hill and down dale in the Ecuadorian Andes Mountains. Who needs gorillas?

by Dick Endt, Landsendt Subtropical Fruits, 108 Parker Road, Oratia, Auckland, New Zealand
Chamaerops No.15, published online 23-08-2002

Above: Parajubaea cocoides is a commonly planted street tree in Quito, Ecuador.
Below: Tree ferns on a misty hillside, Ecuador.

Introduction

For the last twenty years Ecuador has held a great fascination for me. This country, roughly the same size as New Zealand, yet one of the smaller South American countries, has probably the most diverse vegetation in the world. Our climate in the northern parts of New Zealand being so-called 'winterless' yet never too hot in summer, equates with the general climate of the high altitude region in the Andes. Plants that we collected on previous expeditions are now thriving in New Zealand. Never before has such a range of new plants, including many palms, been introduced into New Zealand. The results of these efforts can now be seen at our farm near Auckland.

Our latest trip last year in July and August provided much material, both in the way of plants but also experiences which cry out to be put on paper.

It is impossible to describe all of our adventures, rather I will describe just two trips, one to the high mist forest on the Equator, the other, also near the Equator, this time to Rio Palenque river valley in the hot humid western plains of coastal Ecuador.

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