Peru is a South American country world-famous for many things. Among the worthwhile things to look for when you visit this region are the stunning Peruvian plants.
If you appreciate natural beauty, you’ll discover that Peru is renowned for its diverse and unique plant life, thanks to its varied geography and rich history.
From the hot and arid coastal region to the cold and snowy peaks of the Andes mountains, Peru’s range of elevations creates diverse habitats and microclimates. And, they each support different types of plants.
Read more in this article about the botanical beauty of Peru you won’t want to miss!
CONTENTS – In this article, you will learn about the most amazing Peruvian plants, including;
- The Most Beautiful Plants You’ll Find in Peru
- 1. Orchids
- 2. Quishuar
- 3. Cactus
- 4. Bromeliads
- 5. Passion Fruit
- 6. Heliconia
- 7. Alstroemeria
- 8. Calathea
- 9. Macrocarpa
- Final Thoughts on Peruvian plants
- Next Steps
The Most Beautiful Plants You’ll Find in Peru
Peru might call most travelers for Machu Picchu, the Amazon, and Lima’s delicious food. But one incredibly unique experience you might otherwise overlook is its plant life.
And while there are amazing botanical gardens across the country like La Molina, Willka T’ika, and San Antonio Abad, you don’t have to head to an established garden to enjoy the fauna.
That’s because much of it can be found:
- Across popular National Parks
- In nature reserves
- Up in the mountains
- Growing wild and cultivated throughout cities
One of the main reasons for Peru’s unique plant life is its diverse geography.
The country spans a wide range of elevations. You can travel from the hot and arid coastal region to the cold and snowy peaks of the Andes mountains.
You can have a very different experience in one place or the other!
This range of elevations creates a variety of different habitats and microclimates. Each of them supports different types of plants.
While the tropical forests of the Amazon are home palms, the subtropical regions of the Andes support a variety of cacti and succulents.
Peru’s history also plays a role in its unique plant life.
The country has a rich history of human habitation, and many of these Peruvian plants have been used for thousands of years by indigenous peoples for food, medicine, and other purposes.
As a result, many of Peru’s plants have been cultivated and domesticated over time, leading to unique varieties that are found nowhere else in the world.
Here are a few examples of some of the most striking and beautiful Peruvian plants you will want to seek out when you visit Peru.
Peru is home to over 4,000 species of orchids, making it one of the most diverse places in the world to see them.
Some of the most striking orchids found in Peru include:
- Cattleya labiata, which has large, showy blooms in shades of pink and purple
- Oncidium sphacelatum, which has small, yellow flowers that bloom in large clusters
The best time to see orchids in Peru depends on the specific species and location. Different regions can have different weather patterns, so orchids may bloom at different times.
We recommend checking with the local botanical gardens or orchid societies for more information on the best time to see orchids in a specific area.
In general, the best time to see them in the Andean region is from June to September, during the dry season. During this time, many orchids are in bloom, and the clear skies make it easier to spot them.
Some of the most well-known Andean orchids include:
- Epidendrum orchids
- Masdevallia orchids
- Oncidium orchids
In the Amazon rainforest, orchids can be seen throughout the year. But the best time for you to see them is from December to May, during the rainy season.
During this time, the orchids are in full bloom and you’ll discover them in many different colors and shapes.
Some of the most well-known Amazonian orchids you’ll want to look for are the Cattleya orchids, the Laelia orchids, and the Miltonia orchids.
In the coastal region, the orchids can be seen from September to December, during the dry season.
The most common orchids in the coastal region are the Epidendrum orchids, the Masdevallia orchids, and the Oncidium orchids.
Quishuar is a shrub that is native to the Andean region.
It can grow up to 1-2 meters tall, has a woody stem, green leaves and small, yellowish flowers that bloom in the spring. It looks a lot like common Lupines, but it’s actually in the Buddleia family (Buddleja incana).
The leaves are usually oval-shaped, have serrated edges and are around 2-5 centimeters long.
Quishuar is known for its medicinal properties and is often used to treat a variety of ailments.
It specifically has anti-inflammatory properties that can help alleviate:
- Stomach pain
- Other stomach-related issues
That said, as with any plant-based medicine, you should always see your doctor before using any type of natural remedy like this.
If you’re traveling from Arequipa to Puno, you’ll definitely spot this beautiful plant!
Other plants you can find in Puno not in this list include Kiwicha, Potatoes, Tarwi, Olluco, Quishuar, Cocoa, and Kaniwa.
Peru is home to a variety of fascinating cactus species.
Many of them are known for their unique shapes and vibrant colors.
One of the most striking examples of this is the Echinopsis pachanoi, also known as the “San Pedro cactus.”
This incredible cactus can grow up to 20 feet tall (6 meters) and is known for its large, columnar shape and vibrant green color.
It’s quite an experience to stand beside this towering beauty!
Bromeliads are uniquely beautiful plants known for their brightly colored flowers and leaves that form a “cup” or “vase” shape.
Some of the most striking bromeliads found in Peru include:
- Aechmea fasciata, which has large, showy blooms in shades of pink and purple
- Guzmania lingulata, which has small, yellow flowers that bloom in large clusters
Their color combinations and growing habit are so pleasing to look at, you’ll surely enjoy seeing these Peruvian plant in person.
5. Passion Fruit
Passiflora ligularis, or yellow passionfruit, is a fast-growing vine that you’ll find in the Andes and the Amazonian rainforest.
This lovely plant produces large, showy, unusual flowers that bloom in shades of yellow, orange, and red.
The fruit that follows is very colorful, too. It sports a yellow or orange skin, and is a great source of vitamins and minerals.
To the palate, passionfruit has a tart and sweet flavor. So, is used in a variety of dishes and drinks throughout Peru like juices and cocktails, and desserts, like mousses, cakes, and ice cream.
Be sure to try this flavor when you visit Peru, and better yet, look for the Peruvian plants around you.
Heliconia is a plant that is also known as the “Lobster Claw” or “Wild Plantain.” It’s easy to see why.
This bold plant is known for its large, showy blooms in shades of red, orange, and yellow. They are often used in landscaping to create a stunning effect.
Not only will you see Lobster Claw them in the local landscape, but also throughout the Andes and the Amazon rainforest.
Alstroemeria is also known as “Peruvian lily.”
It is native to the Andes and is known for its beautiful, brightly colored flowers that bloom in shades of pink, purple, yellow, and red.
You might recognize them as an inexpensive supermarket flower that fills out bouquets in the US.
Likewise, these plants are often used as cut flowers in Peru. And, you’ll also see these lovely lilies throughout the Andes and the Amazon rainforest.
Calathea is a tropical plant known for its large, glossy leaves marked with patterns of silver, green, and black. They are simply stunning!
Some species of Calathea have the added benefit of brightly colored flowers that bloom in shades of pink, purple, and yellow, too.
These Peruvian plants are often used as houseplants and are native to the Andes and the Amazon rainforest.
Macrocarpa is a tree native to the Andes known for its beautiful, glossy leaves that are often marked with patterns of silver, green, and black.
These trees can grow over 30 feet (10 meters) tall. For that reason, Macrocarpa trees are often used as shade trees.
The tree produces a small fruit that is edible and is a great source of vitamins and minerals.
Final Thoughts on Beautiful Peruvian Plants
As you can see from these 9 examples, Peru in beautifully biodiverse.
Peru’s diverse geography and rich history have contributed to its unique plant life. Elevation differences create various habitats and microclimates, while human cultivation and domestication has led to unique plant varieties.
The result is a stunning assortment of plant specimens.
That makes it a great opportunity for you to include a little natural exploration in Puru in your itinerary. Then, you wont miss recognizing these beautiful Peruvian plants!
For more about this region and more botanical beauty, read the articles below, next:
- Best Time to Travel South America: 9 Great Tips for Your Dream Trip
- 10 Best Ecotourism Destinations in South America That Eco Travellers Will Love
- World Botanical Gardens: 35+ Beautiful Gardens That Will Inspire
- 3 Spectacular Botanical Gardens I Love at The Huntington Museum
- Best Virtual Garden Tours in the World
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