High up in the Chilean Andes mountains lies the Atacama desert, isolated from civilization, strange green blobs are every where…..and they’ve been there for over 3,000 years.
It is actually a plant called the Yareta, and its one of the oldest life forms still on earth.
The Yareta is akin to parsely and carrots and is native to south america.
They grow only 1.5 cm per year which means some of the larger specimen are over 3,000 years old.
Yareta is an evergreen perennial with pink or lavender flowers. The self-fertile flowers are hermaphroditic and are pollinated by insects.
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.
because the Yareta is dry and dense, it burns well, like peat, and was traditionally harvested for fuel.
The amount of yareta being removed had become so significant that it threatened the very existence of the plant. Yareta is now a protected species and being such a slow grower, it has also made it to the endangered list.