Botanical and Cultural Adventures

Botanical and Cultural Adventures

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Where the Desert Meets the Clouds

Deserts and cloud forests are both specialized and unique ecosystems.  Rarely a desert is a cloud forest, but slightly more common is where a desert can meet a cloud forest.  The border of these two ecosystems makes for an interesting area as the plants of the two systems have a chance to overlap and intermix.  The two big differences between the desert and the cloud forest are the temperature and the presences of fog/clouds (which influences temperature, sun intensity, and humidity).

Typical epiphytic Tillandsias and lichen common in cloud forests (Tillandsia ionantha and  Tillandsia achyroschachys)

Tillandsia achyrostachys, a plant typically found at higher altitude growing on a cactus.

At the edge of the clouds.  Just below the clouds where the cactus of the deserts mix with the shrubs and trees of the cloud forest.

Tillandsia atroviridipetala growing with a Mammalaria on an oak tree.  There are also orchids growing with these plants  on the lichen covered oak trees.