Yareta: The 3,000-Year-Old Plant that Looks Like an Alien Life Form

Yareta: The 3,000-Year-Old Plant that Looks Like an Alien Life Form

Michele Collet
Michele Collet
Scribol Staff
Environment, August 30, 2011

YaretaPhoto: Pedro Szekely

Crawling its way along barren rocks and cliffs where nothing should be growing, Yareta could be mistaken for an alien life form or a primordial green ooze. Actually, it is a flowering plant that grows up in the high altitudes of Peru, Chile and Bolivia.

YaretaPhoto: Nicole Courneya

Walking along the rocky, sandy area that Yareta grows in, you notice how it keeps close to the ground in order to retain as much heat in as possible.

YaretaPhoto: Naturaleza

The air temperature close to the ground is always one or two degree Celsius above ambient temperature due to the trapped heat that is radiated from it.

YaretaPhoto: Magnus von Koeller

As stunning and otherworldly as these plants are, they are also incredibly old. It is estimated that these evergreen perennials grow one-and-a-half centimeters a year, which means some of them are over 3000 years old!

 

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