The Andes from Ibarra to Latacunga

North of Quito near Otavalo, a town renowned for its weekly colorful Indian market, one can find along the road on steep slopes Tillandsia secunda major. The same species was also photographed in a garden at Mitad del Mundo, showing many new shoots (viviparous).

Near Otavalo are several lakes, a popular one for a walk is the Laguna de Cuicocha with two small islands in it. The pictures to the left and following below (Tillandsia lajensis and Puya asplundii) are from this location.


The picture to the left is a landscape from a region 40 km northwest of Quito on the border of the western lowlands. It is the cloudforest of Maquipucuna, a reserve administered by a nonprofit conservation organization and mainly consisting of primary forest. Elevations range from 1200 to 2800 meter; in the lower part, where an ecotourist lodge and research station is situated, secondary growth is prevailing and besides Guzmania patula little bromeliadspecies are present. The vegetation has been charted in 2001 by researchers from the University of California. For those who like figures: 621 genera of plants with 1640 species, among these 441 epiphytes; 6 bromeliad genera with 35 species, mainly epiphytes and half of them belonging to genus Guzmania. As for fauna: 350 species of birds, 240 species of butterflies and 45 species of mammals.
The attraction for tourists here is the presence of a bird called the red cock of the rock, belonging to the cotinga family.
An early awakening is needed to get a glimpse of that bird. Males - feathers mainly red and black, also some white - gather in a special place, called by birders a "lek". There they give for about an hour a display of screeching and dancing in order to lure the browncoloured female, performing one after the other.
In the primary forest there are many bromeliads, some are illustrated below, below left is Pitcairnia nigra, an epiphyte and looking like Pitcairnia hitchcockiana, a terrestrial species from the Baños region. Below right is Vriesea tequendamae, photographed outside the reserve near the village of Yunguilla, and (further down) Guzmania patula.



Also on the western slopes of the Andes, more to the south near Santo Domingo de Los Colorados, at an altitude of 600 meter, the hotel Tinalandia offers a view on the lowlands of the west (above right). It has extensive grounds including a golf course and is popular with birdwatchers. There is a forested area in which several species of bromeliads can be found (they look a bit collected here). Pictured are Guzmania rhonhofiana, Guzmania remyi, Mezobromelia pleiosticha and Aechmea angustifolia. Others seen here on the grounds of the hotel are Guzmania monostachia and Vriesea cylindrica.



Traveling further south along the Cordillera de Los Andes we arrive near the volcano Cotopaxi. It can be seen in the distance on the picture at the end of this page, with the dirtroad and agaves, taken at the markettown of Saquisilí. From this region is the Tillandsia pictured below.