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 Frailejones (Espeletia pycnophylla, angelensis)   El Valle de los Frailejones, Ecuador.

These unusual plants are specific to this area of high altitude paramo in Ecuador.  Due to the harsh weather, the plants do not decompose,  The leaves fold down and remain and provide insulation for new roots, and what little debris falls to the ground makes for an unfriendly wet sponge-like surface. 

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Thanks Michael. Yes I meant unfriendly to walk on. Rather than taking the water from the ground, the plant puts water into the ground. The resulting cushion is actually an underground reservoir for the water that the plant deposits from the mist or fog of the atmosphere. The flowers are yellow and look very much like sunflowers. 


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