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These rocks on the highlands of the Andes looks like they are covered with moss. Actually, they are a type of flowing plant known as Yareta and it lives in colonies which can be thousands of years old.

Yareta (Azorella compacta), also known as "Llareta" in Spanish, is a flowering plant that belongs to the family Apiaceae. It grows in the cold Puna grasslands of the Andes in Peru, Bolivia, northern Chile, and western Argentina at altitudes between 3,200 and 4,500 meters, where the wind blows unceasingly and the cold cracks even granite. To survive the extreme conditions, Yareta grows in packs so dense that its stems can take the weight of a human. The plant keeps close to the ground in order to retain as much heat in as possible. This also helps to resist the powerful high altitude wind, which would tear up the roots of any plant. To prevents moisture loss through evaporation the Yareta has wax covered leaves.

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© Amusing Planet, 2014.



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