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Useful Tropical Plants

Espeletiopsis garciae

(Cuatrec.) Cuatrec.

Asteraceae


Various publications since the year 2000 have offered different treatments of this genus and the subtribe Espeletiinae to which it belongs. The subtribe has been variousy interpreted as comprising anything from 3 - 8 distinct genera and 90 - 154 species. We are following the proposed treatment by Mauricio Diazgranados [
1964
Title
A nomenclator for the frailejones (Espeletiinae Cuatrec., Asteraceae)
Publication
PhytoKeys 16: 1-52 (2012)
Author
Diazgranados M.
Website
http://10.3897/phytokeys.16.3186
Publisher
 
Year
2012
ISBN
 
Description
 
], although some other modern treatments still place this species in the genus Espeletia[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

+ Synonyms

Espeletia garciae Cuatrec.

Common Name: Frailejón de Arcabuco

No Image.

General Information

Espeletiopsis garciae is an evergreen perennial plant with a central, unbranched stem that is topped by a dense whorl of leaves that can each be up to 30cm long and 12cm wide. The stem can be up to 6 metres tall and 6cm in diameter.
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine and source of resin and materials.
Espeletiopsis garciae has a restricted distribution in the Andes of Colombia and is found in ten locations defined by threats. There is a continuous decrease in the quality of the habitat, due to a severe transformation due to changes in land use for agricultural activities. The plant is classified as 'Vulnerable' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2020)[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References


Range

Northwest S. America - Colombia

Habitat

Sub-páramo ecosystems and high Andean forest areas from dry to humid, being frequent in oak forests and high scrub; at elevations from 2,520 - 3,609 metres[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
]

Properties

Conservation StatusVulnerable
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height5.00 m
PollinatorsBeetles, Bumblebees
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

Espeletiopsis garciae is a plant of higher elevations in the tropical regions of the Andes, mainly at elevations between metres. The plants are usually found above the tree line in open, windswept regions known as Páramos, where the climate is wet and cool with a relative humidity that can be around 110%. The high elevation means there are high levels of UV radiation and a daily seasonality with night-time temperatures able to fall below zero at any time of the year.
The plant requires an open position in a humus-rich soil that does not dry out and a good supply of clean water. The various species do not generally grow well outside of their native habitat or other similar habitats, though some have occasionally been cultivated successfully at lower elevations or in greenhouses in the temperate zone.

Edible Uses

We have no specific information for this species, but the leaves of most (if not all) members of this genus can be used to make a bitter but tasty, refreshing tea that also has medicinal benefits[
1965
Title
Introducing Frailejones: The Andes’ Perfect Survival Plant
Publication
American Gun Association
Author
Anon
Website
https://blog.gunassociation.org/frailejones-andes-survival-plant/
Publisher
American Gun Association
Year
2021
ISBN
 
Description
An article about the uses of the genus Espeletia and other related genera. Accessed 08/05/2021
]. One medium-sized leaf is washed then boiled vigorously for at least 10 minutes, the liquid is then drunk whilst hot. Cinnamon is also traditionally added for a bit of flavour[
1965
Title
Introducing Frailejones: The Andes’ Perfect Survival Plant
Publication
American Gun Association
Author
Anon
Website
https://blog.gunassociation.org/frailejones-andes-survival-plant/
Publisher
American Gun Association
Year
2021
ISBN
 
Description
An article about the uses of the genus Espeletia and other related genera. Accessed 08/05/2021
].

Medicinal

The plant (part not specified) is used to treat a range of conditions including varicose veins, arthritis, varicose veins, dysmenorrhoea, lung diseases and ear problems (otitis)[
1967
Title
Astonishing diversity - the medicinal plant markets of Bogotá, Colombia
Publication
Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine (2018) 14:43
Author
Bussmann R.W. et al
Website
https://doi.org/10.1186/s13002-018-0241-8
Publisher
 
Year
2018
ISBN
 
Description
 
].

We have no further specific information for this species, but most (if not all) species in this and several other related genera are used medicinally in the High Andes. In particular, the plant contains essential oils and resin, and an infusion of the leaves is used traditionally to alleviate altitude sickness and aid breathing at higher elevations. It is also used to treat respiratory conditions (including bronchitis, influenza, cough and asthma) and to treat digestive problems[
1963
Title
Caracterización química y actividad antimicrobiana del aceite esencial de las hojas de Libanothamnus neriifolius (As
Publication
Revista peruana de biología 26(1): 095 - 100 (2019)
Author
Aparicio-Zambrano R. et al
Website
http://dx.doi.org/10.15381/rpb.v26i1.15912
Publisher
 
Year
2019
ISBN
1561-0837
Description
 
].

Other Uses

A resin obtained from the plant is used as an incense[
1967
Title
Astonishing diversity - the medicinal plant markets of Bogotá, Colombia
Publication
Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine (2018) 14:43
Author
Bussmann R.W. et al
Website
https://doi.org/10.1186/s13002-018-0241-8
Publisher
 
Year
2018
ISBN
 
Description
 
].
Cultural(Detergent)[
1967
Title
Astonishing diversity - the medicinal plant markets of Bogotá, Colombia
Publication
Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine (2018) 14:43
Author
Bussmann R.W. et al
Website
https://doi.org/10.1186/s13002-018-0241-8
Publisher
 
Year
2018
ISBN
 
Description
 
].

Most, if not all, species in this and in several other related Genera yield an abundant, aromatic resin. It can be used as an incense, or to extract oil of turpentine, which is used as a solvent for paints and varnishes[
1964
Title
A nomenclator for the frailejones (Espeletiinae Cuatrec., Asteraceae)
Publication
PhytoKeys 16: 1-52 (2012)
Author
Diazgranados M.
Website
http://10.3897/phytokeys.16.3186
Publisher
 
Year
2012
ISBN
 
Description
 
].

The wide, spongy leaves make an excellent camping mattress or pillow. Simply harvest dry leaves, evenly pile them, then lie down to compress them a bit. Stuff them inside a plastic bag to make a decent pillow, or heap them under your tent for a little extra comfort in the night[
1965
Title
Introducing Frailejones: The Andes’ Perfect Survival Plant
Publication
American Gun Association
Author
Anon
Website
https://blog.gunassociation.org/frailejones-andes-survival-plant/
Publisher
American Gun Association
Year
2021
ISBN
 
Description
An article about the uses of the genus Espeletia and other related genera. Accessed 08/05/2021
].

Propagation

Seed -
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2023-02-01. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Espeletiopsis+garciae>

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