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|Yareta on slopes of Nevado Coropuna, Peru.|
|Close-up view of a yareta.|
Yareta or llareta (Azorella compacta, also known as "Llareta" in Spanish, and historically as Azorella yareta) is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae native to South America. It grows in the Puna grasslands of the Andes in Peru, Bolivia, northern Chile, and western Argentina at altitudes between 3,200 and 4,500 metres (10,500 and 14,800 ft).
The plant prefers sandy, well-drained soils. It can grow in nutritionally poor soils that are acidic, neutral, or basic (alkaline). Yareta is well-adapted to high insolation rates typical of the Andes highlands and cannot grow in shade. The plant's leaves grow into an extremely compact, dense mat that reduces heat loss. This mat grows near the ground where air temperature is one or two degrees Celsius higher than the mean air temperature. This temperature difference is a result of the longwave radiation re-radiated by the soil surface (which is usually dark gray to black in the Puna).
The yareta is estimated to grow approximately 1.5 centimetres (15 mm) per year. Many yaretas are estimated to be over 3,000 years old. Although traditionally harvested for fuel, its slow growth makes this practice non-sustainable.
- Kleier and Rundel 2004.
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