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The national flower of Colombia is the orchid Cattleya trianae which was named after the Colombian naturalist José Jerónimo Triana. The orchid was selected by botanist Emilio Robledo, in representation of the Colombian Academy of History to determine the most representative flowering plant of Colombia. He described it as one of the most beautiful flowers in the world and selected Cattleya trianae as National symbol.
The national tree of Colombia is the palm Ceroxylon quindiuense (Quindío wax palm) which was named after the Colombian Department of Quindío where is located the Cocora valley, the only habitat of this restricted range species. The Quindío wax palm was selected as the national tree by the government of Belisario Betancur and was the first tree officially declared as a protected species in Colombia. C. quindiuense is the only palm that grows at such high altitudes in Colombia and is the tallest monocot in the world.
Colombia has the largest number of endemic species (species that are not found naturally anywhere else) worldwide. About 10% of the species in the world live in Colombia. Some determinant factors in the distribution range of the species are the wide diversity of habitats available due the variety of altitudes, weather conditions, temperatures, soils and sunlight on the coasts, in the Andes and in the rainforest lowlands.
Many of the Colombian trees are endangered species due to the high quality of the woods and timber industry exploitation (such as Colombian oak Quercus humboldtidiana and Colombian mahogany) and as source of tanning substances for the leather industry (such as mangrove and Encenillo tree Weinmannia tomentosa). Some tree species described in Colombia are:
Colombia has the largest number of orchids in the world. Among others:
Colombia is the country with the second-highest biodiversity in the world, behind Brazil. As of 2016, 56,343 species are registered in Colombia, of which 9,153 are endemic. The country occupies the first position worldwide in number of orchids and birds, second position in plants, amphibians, butterflies and fresh water fish, third place in species of palm trees and reptiles and globally holds the fourth position in biodiversity of mammals.
The country hosts 59 nationally designated protected areas. At the establishment of the as of 2017 most recent addition, Bahía Portete – Kaurrele National Natural Park, Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos said "The biodiversity is to Colombia, what oil is for the Arabs".According to a report by the WWF, half of Colombia's ecosystems are in a critical state of deterioration or in a state of danger. The organization said that environmental degradation is due to oil extraction, mineral and metal extraction and deforestation. Deteriorating ecosystems are threatening the existence of more than a third of Colombia's plants and 50 percent of its animals.Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum
Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum is a variety of Capsicum annuum that is native to southern North America and northern South America. Common names include chiltepin, Indian pepper, chiltepe, and chile tepin, as well as turkey, bird’s eye, or simply bird peppers, due to their consumption and spread by wild birds. Tepin is derived from a Nahuatl word meaning "flea". This variety is the most likely progenitor of the domesticated C. annuum var. annuum. Another similar-sized pepper 'Pequin' (also called 'Piquin') is often confused, the Tepin fruit is round to oval and the Pequin is oval with a point, and the leaves, stems and plant structure are very different on each plant.Carapichea ipecacuanha
Carapichea ipecacuanha is a species of flowering plant in the family Rubiaceae. It is native to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia, and Brazil. Its common name, ipecacuanha (Portuguese pronunciation: [ipe̞kɐkuˈɐ̃ɲɐ]), is derived from the Tupi ipega'kwãi, or "road-side sick-making plant". The plant has been discussed under a variety of synonyms over the years by various botanists. The roots were used to make syrup of ipecac, a powerful emetic, a longtime over the counter medicine no longer approved for medical use in the west, for lack of evidence of safety and efficacy. An example of emetic compound from the roots is emetine.Caryocar nuciferum
Caryocar nuciferum, the butter-nut of Guiana, is also known as pekea-nut, or – like all other species of Caryocar with edible nuts – "souari-nut" or "sawarri-nut". It is a fruit tree native to northern Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guyana, Panama, and Venezuela.
This colourful tree grows up to 35 m, in humid forests. Flowers are hermaphroditic and in small clusters. The large coconut-sized fruit, weighs about 3 kg, is round or pear-shaped some 10–15 cm in diameter, and greyish-brown in colour. The outer skin is leathery, about 1 mm thick, and covered in rust-coloured lenticels. It has been called "perhaps the finest of all the fruits called nuts. The kernel is large, soft, and even sweeter than the almond, which it somewhat resembles in taste."Pulp of the mesocarp is oily and sticky, holding 1-4 hard, woody, warty stones, with tasty, reniform endocarp, which is eaten raw or roasted, and produces a nondrying edible oil. The wood is durable and used for boat-building. The correctly expressed oil of its nuts produces an effective healing balm.
This species is illustrated and discussed in detail in Curtis's Botanical Magazine volume 54 published in 1827, and figured on plates 2727 and 2728 using material sent from the island of Saint Vincent by the Revd. Lansdown Guilding.Cauca Valley dry forests
The Cauca Valley dry forests is a tropical dry broadleaf forest ecoregion in Colombia.Cherimoya
The cherimoya (Annona cherimola), also spelled chirimoya and called chirimuya by the Inca people, is an edible fruit-bearing species of the genus Annona from the family Annonaceae. They were believed to be native to Colombia, Ecuador, Peru , Bolivia and Chile, spreading through cultivation to the Andes and Central America. However, they are now known to originate in Central America. Cherimoya is grown in tropical regions throughout the world, as well as Spain, where it is widely consumed and grown in the southern province of Malaga. It is in the same genus, Annona, as soursop.
Mark Twain called the cherimoya "the most delicious fruit known to men". The creamy texture of the flesh gives the fruit its secondary name, custard apple.Elaeis oleifera
Elaeis oleifera is a species of palm commonly called the American oil palm. It is native to South and Central America from Honduras to northern Brazil.Unlike its relative Elaeis guineensis, the African oil palm, it is rarely planted commercially to produce palm oil, but hybrids between the two species are, mainly in efforts to provide disease resistance and to increase the proportion of unsaturated fatty acids in the oil.Guajira-Barranquilla xeric scrub
The Guajira-Barranquilla xeric scrub is a xeric shrubland ecoregion in Colombia and Venezuela, covering an estimated area of 150,000 km2 (58,000 sq mi). Rainfall varies from 125 to 1,000 mm (4.9 to 39.4 in), and the median temperature is 26 °C (79 °F).Lantana camara
Lantana camara (common lantana) is a species of flowering plant within the verbena family (Verbenaceae), native to the American tropics. Other common names of L. camara include big-sage (Malaysia), wild-sage, red-sage, white-sage (Caribbean), tickberry (South Africa), West Indian lantana, and umbelanterna.
As an ornamental, L. camara is often cultivated indoors, or in a conservatory, but can also thrive in a garden with sufficient shelter. It has spread from its native Central and South America to around 50 countries, where it has become an invasive species. It first spread out of the Americas when it was brought to Europe by Dutch explorers and cultivated widely, soon spreading further into Asia and Oceania where it has established itself as a notorious weed, and in Goa it was introduced by the Portuguese.L. camara will often out-compete other more desirable species, leading to a reduction in biodiversity. It can also cause problems if it invades agricultural areas as a result of its toxicity to livestock, as well as its ability to form dense thickets which, if left unchecked, can greatly reduce the productivity of farmland.List of invasive species in Colombia
Colombia's governmental organization that oversees and manages natural parks within its national borders, Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia, has provided an official list of species that are considered to be invasive under the following resolutions:
Resolution 848 of 2008
Resolution 132 of 2010
Resolution 207 of 2010
Resolution 654 of 2011Lobelia cardinalis
Lobelia cardinalis (syn. L. fulgens, cardinal flower) is a species of flowering plant in the bellflower family Campanulaceae native to the Americas, from southeastern Canada south through the eastern and southwestern United States, Mexico and Central America to northern Colombia.Montrichardia aquatica
Montrichardia aquatica is an extinct species of monocot plant in the family Araceae. M. aquatica is related to the living species M. arborescens and M. linifera. The species is solely known from the Middle to Late Paleocene (about 60 to 58 Ma), fossil-rich Cerrejón Formation in La Guajira, northern Colombia.Papaya
The papaya (, US: ) (from Carib via Spanish), papaw () or pawpaw () is the plant Carica papaya, one of the 22 accepted species in the genus Carica of the family Caricaceae. Its origin is in the tropics of the Americas, perhaps from southern Mexico and neighboring Central America.Passiflora ambigua
Passiflora ambigua is a species of Passiflora from Belize, Costa Rica, and Colombia.Passiflora arbelaezii
Passiflora arbelaezii is a species in the family Passifloraceae native to eastern Nicaragua and western Colombia. This species was named in honor of Enrique Pérez Arbeláez, the person who collected the type specimen. It was first formally described in 1957 by Antonio Lorenzo Uribe Uribe.Passiflora bogotensis
Passiflora bogotensis is a climbing plant native to Colombia, in the genus Passiflora. It can also be found in Venezuela.Tovaria
Tovaria is a genus of herbs native to Jamaica and South America. There are two species, Tovaria pendula and Tovaria diffusa. The genus is the only one in the family Tovariaceae.Uncaria tomentosa
Uncaria tomentosa is a woody vine found in the tropical jungles of South and Central America. It is known as cat's claw or uña de gato in Spanish because of its claw-shaped thorns. The plant root bark is used in herbalism for a variety of ailments, and is sold as a dietary supplement.Vitis tiliifolia
Vitis tiliifolia is a New World liana in the grape family commonly known as Caribbean grape. Other names include West Indian grape, water vine, and (in Belizean Creole) water tie-tie and water-wise.
Flora of South America