Shedding bark of Polylepis tree

Shedding bark of Polylepis tree

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Credit: DR MORLEY READ/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Trunk of Polylepis sp. tree, growing in sheltered pockets on the Paramo in Ecuador, up to about 4000 metres or well above the tree line at 3500 metres. It is among the highest altitude growing tree in the world. Polylepis forests may have been more widespread before the advent of cutting and grazing, which began in pre-Inca times. The flaky bark may provide thermal insulation or it may be a device for shedding epiphytes when they become burdensome.

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Keywords: bark, botany, ecuador, highest altitude, nature, plant, plants, polylepis sp., shedding, tree

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