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Plants and flowers Machu Picchu
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All the plants and flowers that you can see in Machu Picchu

The Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu is a natural area of ​​more than 37,302 hectares. The central point is the archaeological site of Machupicchu, considered a wonder of the modern world. In this vast area protected by the Peruvian State there is a great diversity of flora. To date, more than 3,391 species of plants and flowers have been recorded. This makes the Inca citadel a mega diverse tourist attraction.



Flora of Machu Picchu
The flora of Machupicchu

Machupicchu is the Inca archaeological site ordered to be built by Emperor Pachacutec in approximately 1450 AD Sometime in the 16th century, the citadel was abandoned until later rediscovery in 1911 by American explorer Hiram Bingham. After several research works, it was decided to create the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu in 1981. The objective is to protect the archaeological site and the great abundance of flora and fauna that surround it. This natural area has 32,592 hectares, most of it made up of the high jungle of Cusco. It is home to many species of flowers, plants, trees and more!


How many plants and flowers can I see in Machu Picchu?

It is estimated that the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu has about 20% of the diversity of plants existing in all of Peru.

According to research in 2012 by biologist Julio Gustavo Ochoa Estrada (Annotated Biodiversity of the Machupicchu Historic Sanctuary: endemic and threatened species) in the Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary there are 3,391 species between plants and flowers.

In addition, research indicates that in Machu Picchu there are 17% of Poaceae and Orchidaceae registered in Peru. In addition, 15% of Scrophulariaceae and 10% of Asteraceae that have been registered in the country.

On the other hand, of all the endemic species in Machu Picchu, 116 species of dicotyledons and 40 species of monocotyledons have been recorded. This number represents 4% of endemic species registered in the country.

What is the reason for this great botanical diversity in Machu Picchu? This is due to geographical reasons such as: the presence of the Andes Mountains, the Amazonian climatic stability, the presence of the Vilcabamba batholith, the snowy peaks, the Vilcanota River, the Torontoy canyon and more.


All plants and flowers in Machu Picchu

This is the table that records the existing botanical species in Machu Picchu according to taxonomic group:

NumberTaxonomic groupNumber of species registered
1Cryptogams (lower plants)611
2Algae (algas)4 (26 g*)
3Musci (hongos)15 (8 g)
4Lichens (lichens)49
5Musci and hepaticae (mosses and liverworts)178
6Pteridofitos (lycopodia, horsetails, ferns)365
7Fanerogamas (higher plants)2780
8Gimnospermas (intimpas, pinco-pincos)6
9Angiospermas (with flowers, important families)2774
10Monocotiledóneas (higher herbaceous)780
11Arecaceae (palms)4
12Bromeliads (air carnations)45
13Poaceae (grasses)155
14Orchidaceae (orchids)420
15Dicots (woody superiors)1994
16Asteraceae (composite)250
17Solanaceae (potatoes)77
18Fabaceae (legumes)63
19Rosaceae48
20Scrophulariaceae42
21Melastomataceae40
22Rubiaceae40
23Piperaceae39
24Ericaceae (macha-machas)30
25Campanulaceae30
26Lauraceae26
27Moraceae (fig trees)26
28Symplocaceae (curunchos)13
29Polylepis (queuñas)6
30Trees (including buffer zone)550
31Trees332
32Climbing plants104
33Introduced plants208
Vascular and non-vascular flora3391

Orchids and their great diversity in Machu Picchu

Without a doubt, the orchid is the most famous family of flowers in Machu Picchu. This is due to its diversity of species and its beauty and characteristics. A total of 420 species of the Orquidaceae family have been registered in the Historic Sanctuary.

Orchids are characterized by their multicolored flowers and their great diversity around the planet. In addition to its colors, its symmetrical triangular shapes of great beauty draw the attention of pollinators.

During the visit to Machu Picchu it is possible to divide the great diversity of orchids along the hikes to the mountains Huayna Picchu, Huchuy Picchu and Machupicchu. The most famous species are: the Masdevallia veitchiana, the Pleurothallis, the Oncidium, the Brassia, the Encyclia, the Stanhopea, the Anguloa Maxillaria, the Phragmipedium and the Odontoglossum.


More information about the flora at Machu Picchu

In the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu there are endangered species of plants and flowers protected by the Peruvian State. In ‘critically endangered’ are: 17 species of flora and 2 species of orchids.

Also in an ‘endangered’ situation are: 11 species of flora. In a ‘vulnerable’ situation, 27 species of flora, 29 species of orchids and 2 species of cacti.

In a ‘near threatened’ situation are: 25 species of flora and 3 species of orchids. In summary, in the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu there are 116 ‘threatened’ species and protected by the Peruvian State. This is summarized in the following table:

CategoryFloraOrchidsCactiTotal
Critically endangered172019
Endangered110011
Vulnerable2729258
Near threatened253028
Total80342116

Questions and answers about the plants and flowers in Machu Picchu

  • 1) How many species of plants and flowers are there in Machu Picchu?

    In the Historical Sanctuary of Machu Picchu it is estimated that there is a diversity of 3,391 species among plants and flowers.

  • 2) How many species of orchids are there in Machu Picchu?

    Up to 420 species of the Orquidaceae family have been recorded in the Historic Sanctuary.

  • 3) How many ‘threatened’ species are there in Machu Picchu?

    In Machu Picchu there are up to 116 ‘threatened’ species divided into: “critically endangered”, “endangered”, “vulnerable” and “near threatened”.

  • 4) What are the most famous species of orchids in Machu Picchu?

    The most famous orchid species in Machu Picchu are: Masdevallia veitchiana, Pleurothallis, Oncidium, Brassia, Encyclia, Stanhopea, Anguloa Maxillaria, Phragmipedium and Odontoglossum.

  • 5) Can I see orchids on my visit to Machu Picchu?

    Yes, orchids abound in Machu Picchu. The perfect places to appreciate them are in: the mountain Huayna Picchu, the mountain Huchuy Picchu and the mountain Machupicchu.

  • 6) What is the Historical Sanctuary of Machu Picchu? How many species of orchids are there?

    The Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu is a natural area protected by the Peruvian State and covers a total area of ​​37,302 hectares. There, 420 species of the orchid family have been recorded.

  • 7) How many species of flowers and plants are there in Machu Picchu compared to Peru?

    It is estimated that the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu contains around 20% of the total diversity of plants existing in all of Peru.

  • 8) Why is there such a great diversity of flora in Machu Picchu?

    The great botanical diversity in Machu Picchu is due to several factors such as: the presence of the Andes Mountains, Amazonian climatic stability, the presence of the Vilcabamba batholith, the snow-capped peaks, the Vilcanota River, the Torontoy canyon and more.

 

By Ticket Machu Picchu – Last updated, January 31, 2023