Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Frailejones

Laguna de Mucubají, Venezuela (Dec 18, 2010)

The large plants in the foreground are frailejónes (or espeletia), a plant which is typical of the Andean region. These are perennial shrubs that can be found in the highlands near Mayli's hometown (Merida in Venezuela). The espeletia genus was formally described by Alexander Von Humboldt, in his expedition to South America. The ones in the photo above are relatively small, as frailejónes go, as I have seen some taller than a grown human. In fact their common name derives from their shape, as seen from afar in the andean mists, possibly confused with the shape of monks (frailes) walking in line on the horizon. The long hairy leaves have the texture and shape of rabbit hears; well giant rabbit, that is. They are one of Mayli's favorite plants.

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