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Pati tree

Eriotheca sp.

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What are the characteristics of the species?

  • Eriotheca vargasii is an endemic species of Peru. It is a small tree about 6 m high that belongs to the Malvaceae family, its flowers are cream-yellow.

  • E. vargassi are the most conspicuous and dominant trees of the inter-Andean dry valleys of the southern Andes.

  • The Eriotheca species in the Apurímac basin are differentiated by morphological characteristics of both foliar and flowers and it is possible that there is a species other than E. vargasii in the study area.

Where do we study the species?

The study area is located in the valley of the Torobamba river, which belongs to the system of inter-Andean dry valleys of the Apurimac River (ELU 3). The valley of the Torobamba River covers altitudes between 2,400-3,700 meters above sea level. The Torobamba River is a tributary of the Pampas basin.

What questions do we seek to answer with the study?

  • What are the characteristics of the habitat of E. vargasii?

  • What is the distribution and abundance of E. vargasii in the area of ​​influence of the gas pipeline?

  • Are there potential primary and secondary impacts that can affect E. vargasii populations?

  • What conservation measures are required to ensure the existence of these trees in the study area over time?

What general results have we obtained to date?

  • Eriotheca species are dominant in the dry interandean forests, not only structurally (they have the highest values ​​of height, diameter at breast height and crown diameter), but they are also widely distributed (occur in 26 of the 30 plots evaluated).

  • Accompanying this species, 99 species of plants within the plots have been identified so far, most of which appear only during the rainy season. The most frequent species are: Tecoma fulva (Bignoniaceae), Plumbago coerulea (Plumbaginaceae), Alternanthera pubiflora (Amaranthaceae), Zinnia peruviana (Asteraceae) and Salvia oppositiflora (Lamiaceae), all registered in 20 of the 30 plots.

  • No natural regeneration of any woody species was found. Only a single juvenile Eriotheca individual with diameters at breast height of 1-5 cm was observed. While there is a significant amount of seeds produced (during the output in October could be observed almost all individuals of Eriotheca with fruits and seeds), in the visit towards the end of the rainy season no germinating seeds were seen, or established seedlings nor young trees. It is very likely that the poor stability of the soil and / or the presence of livestock (especially goats) are the factors that cause this situation.

Why is the conservation of this species important?

  • This species is ecologically dominant in the dry Andean valley of the ELU 3 valley of the Torobamba river, and therefore plays an important role in the ecology of the ecosystem. In addition, the inter-Andean dry forest is highly fragmented and there is little regeneration of trees in the area. It is important to identify the factors that impede the regeneration of trees and study aspects of their ecology such as pollination, the mechanisms of seed dispersal, their germination and establishment, and the survival of seedlings.

  • It is important to determine the negative factors in the maintenance of the populations of this endemic species.

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