Yareta/Llareta, Azorella compacta, cushion plant, Puna grasslands, Andes, Peru.
Yareta (Azorella compacta, also known as "Llareta" in Spanish) is a tiny, mounding flowering plant in the carrot/parsley family (Apiaceae) native to South America, occurring in the Puna grasslands of the Andes in Peru, Bolivia, northern Chile, and western Argentina between 3200 and 4500 meters altitude. The evergreen perennial leaves of Yareta form a beautiful mounding cushion with pink or lavender flowers in the Puna, a high alpine grassland, an ecological niche like the alps (the high pastures of Switzerland). On the Lares Trek, I noticed where Andean ranchers had freshly ripped out native mound plants to allow grass to grow for their alpacas and sheep. Humans have occupied and modified Andean summer pastures for generations, changing the character of the fragile land. Trekking in Peru (as in Nepal) is not so much a wilderness experience as it is more of a cultural exploration beneath impressive, rugged peaks. The photo was taken in the Cordillera Urubamba between Lares and Patacancha, near Ollantaytambo, Peru, South America. The moderately strenuous trek from Lares to Patacancha traverses rugged, little-visited country in the Cordillera Urubamba across passes at 13,800 and 14,200 feet elevation. A five hour bus ride from Cuzco reaches Lares, where you can soak in developed hot spring pools. Llamas and horses carried our loads for two nights of camping at 12,500 feet elevation.Add to Cart Add to Lightbox Download