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Machu Picchu flora


Flora

Machu Picchu flora

The sanctuary of Machu Picchu is in the middle of forests and has few flat spaces, so that in order to cultivate, it had to be deforested and terraces constructed. According to recent studies, apart from maize, coca was also sown on the terraces surrounding the citadel. By the same token, fruit could be cultivated and tubers of the kind still sown in the zone today, including yuca and sweet potato.

Nowadays in the high regions you can find different species of Poaceous. In the low regions you can observe large ancient trees like: the Evergreen Alder (Alnus jorullensis), the Brasilian Coral Tree (Erythrina falcata), the Walnut Tree (Junglans neotropica), the Conifer (Podocarpus glomeratus), the quishuar (Buddleja incana), the queñual (Polylepis racemosa), the cedar (Cedrela sp.) and many more which cover the gorges and the forest edge.

Also,  there are palm trees the height of the Geromoina and the tree ferns (Cyathea sp.). Orchids are abundant (30 genus and more than 190 species), and are found alternately blooming throughout the year in the open areas of the thick forest.

Among the most beautiful depicted exist: the Masdevallia barlaeana and the Maxillaria floribunda. The Bromeliaceous are represented by the Puya weberbaueri and the Tillandsia rubra, among many others.

Fauna

Machu Picchu fauna

In Machu Picchu Reserve can be found an impressive variety of wild animals. 375 species of birds have been identified, of which 200 can easily be observed while hiking.

The Cock-of-the-Rock is Peru's national bird, and the male is the only one with all the bright distinctive colours. It is quite large (the males reaches 30cm in length), and can be found along the banks of the Urubamba River. As always, the best time to bird-watch is very early in the morning.

The Sanctuary's thousands of acres are home to the shy, endangered Andean Bear (Tremarctus ornatus) locally known as the "Spectacled Bear". Because the bear is so shy, it is seldom seen or photographed.

But bones of wild fauna were also found, such as of the marsupial weasel or zarigüeya; the vizcacha and other rodents and deer. The park of Machu Picchu is the habitat of the bobcat, small but very aggressive with small animals; of the puma, the nutria, the water cat or mayu puma, and spectacled bears. Of all the wild mammals, the vizcacha is presently the most common inhabitant of the rocky places of Machu Picchu, even though they had disappeared when the sanctuary was visited by Hiram Bingham for the first time in 1911. As is typical of South American jungles, the reptiles are also significant components of the rainforest, especially lizards and serpents. A great variety of insects accompany them and, certainly, birds.

Climate

The climate in Machu Picchu's National Sanctuary varies widely. Its mountain peaks, at around 6,270 meters above sea level, show very low temperatures, and the lower areas, averaging around 2,000 meters above sea level, have a milder climate. Temperatures in the Machu Picchu area vary from the upper zone to the canyon bottom, though, generally speaking, the climate is mild, showing mainly subtropical features: it is warm and humid - hot in the daytime, and cool at night. The weather is dry and cool in June, warm in July and August (winter), and humid between January and March (summer) with an average rainfall of 347.9 mm during summer and 33.8 mm during winter.

On Peru hiking tours to Machu Picchu, you'll find stunning mountain ranges, enchanted valleys and plateaus, offering the most spectacular flora and fauna.

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