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Introducing Frailejones: The Andes’ Perfect Survival Plant


There’s a brand new survival plant on the town — Frailejones, and it’s turning into in style amongst survivalists and foragers. Discover out extra about it as you learn alongside!

What You Have to Know About Frailejones and Its Survival Makes use of

What Is Frailejon?

Plants like cattails, amaranth, clovers, and dandelions are all typical vegetation of selection for the survivalist, however what concerning the frailejon? For those who’ve by no means heard of it, you’re not alone. Most individuals outdoors South America have by no means even seen one earlier than. These amazing survival plants are solely present in a really particular area of the Andes, the place the local weather is good for them to flourish.

For hikers, explorers and different outside fans touring on this a part of the world, frailejones can function a important survival and medicinal plant. When the going will get robust, these vegetation are your greatest pals. Or, you need to use your information of frailejones to impress fellow vacationers the following time you hike within the Andes.

Tips on how to Determine Frailejones

Frailejones is straight away recognizable. Whereas exploring the foggy flanks of the northern Andes, you’ll little doubt catch glimpses of shadowy, slender figures dotting the panorama. These silhouetted varieties can appear like different hikers within the fog, however on nearer inspection, you’ll discover one thing a lot stranger.

It’s a plant measuring anyplace from a couple of centimeters to some meters excessive. It would appear like a cactus at first, however the leaves are mushy, and the spines really feel extra like fur. The twisted stalk provides option to a spongy mass of leaves bunched on the prime, and also you may see yellow flowers poking up right here and there.

Botanists name this wacky-looking plant the espeletia, however most locals merely name them frailejones or friars. Certainly, they actually look priestly with their shaggy varieties vaguely resembling cassock-clad monks in dim mild. At evening, the espeletia plant could be a little bit of an otherworldly sight when climbing within the Andes.

The place Can You Discover Frailejones?

In areas the place they’re endemic, frailejones plants can cowl the panorama like a spongy blanket. They’re mostly present in Colombia, together with the western highlands of Venezuela and Northern Ecuador. Failejones additionally develop in some elements of Peru however are usually not significantly frequent. In all 4 international locations, you’ll solely see frailejones on the paramo.

The paramo is a excessive altitude tropical ecosystem. It’s normally moist, windy, and chilly, and generally resembles moorlands. As for the frailejones, they sometimes develop on paramo at altitudes of 1800 to 4700 meters. Nevertheless, this top can fluctuate, relying on the precise local weather of the paramo.

Generally, nonetheless, you may look forward to finding frailejones on any excessive altitude slopes in moist and chilly areas. In some locations, it’s arduous to stroll with out stepping on one; elsewhere, it may be difficult to seek out even a single plant.

Common Survival Makes use of

Frailejones have a surprisingly various set of functions for campers and survivalists. Subsequent time you’re within the northern Andes, check out a couple of of those for your self. Keep in mind, nonetheless, that the frailejon is taken into account endangered attributable to agricultural clearing.

In some areas the place the plant is plentiful, it could possibly appear innocent to take a couple of leaves for your self, however needless to say frailejones develop exceptionally slowly. So if you might want to harvest the plant for your self, accomplish that sparingly. Solely take a couple of of the outer leaves from restricted vegetation the place permitted. In some areas, frailejones harvesting is banned, whereas in others, it’s totally acceptable. When doubtful, play it secure and chorus from choosing this plant.

1. Bedding

The rocky, moist terrain of the paramo affords only a few spots for the weary traveler to sleep for the evening. Fortunately, the frailejon can save the day. The vast, spongy leaves of the frailejon make a superb tenting mattress or pillow. Merely harvest dry leaves, evenly pile them, then lie all the way down to compress them a bit. Stuff them inside a plastic bag to make an honest pillow, or heap them below your tent for slightly additional consolation within the evening.

In Venezuela, you’ll usually see native hikers harvesting frailejones by the armload, piling them into ridiculously excessive improvised mattresses. Don’t copy this wasteful habits. As a substitute, take solely what you want, and accomplish that sparingly.

2. Insulation

Frailejones make a superb addition to any improvised shelters, equivalent to a lean-to, wedge hut, or spherical hut. Packing them everywhere in the partitions will supply safety from the wind whereas serving to preserve the dear heat inside.

3. Medicinal Makes use of

Together with being appropriate development materials for bedding and improvised shelters, frailejones additionally purportedly have some severe well being advantages. They’re believed to keep at bay altitude illness. An attribute that makes them fairly a well-liked survival plant amongst vacationers climbing within the Andes.

4. Frailejon Tea

A standard people remedy for altitude illness, frailejon leaves can be utilized to make a bitter however tasty tea. Boil washed leaves vigorously for a minimum of 10 minutes, then drink scorching. It’s best to use roughly one medium-sized leaf per cup of water. Cinnamon can also be historically added for a little bit of taste. I’ve tried this myself, and discover it may be fairly refreshing and helps with the signs of gentle altitude illness.

5. Frailejon Resin

Boiling the tea additional will result in the liquid forming right into a thick mess of bitter yellow syrup. It would look gross (and wreck your cooking pot), however Andean locals declare it could possibly assist with bronchial asthma and different respiratory issues. At altitudes like these, something to make respiration simpler is welcome.

6. Bonus Tip: Making Booze

As a closing ode to the wonderful frailejon, let me introduce maybe its best software: as booze. On a chilly Andean evening, a frailejon nightcap can work wonders, easing sore muscle mass and serving to even essentially the most stressed traveler get their Zs on. To strive it for your self, start by making the frailejon tea described above:

Tips on how to Brew the Frailejon Nightcap

Add a tablespoon of cinnamon, two tablespoons of sugar, a splash of cardamom and a little bit of nutmeg, relying on style. Simmer for a couple of minutes after the preliminary vigorous boil, and add both aguardiente (principally moonshine) or a spirit of your selection.

In Venezuela, I’d go for their glorious rum, whereas in Colombia, you’re higher off sticking to an aniseed liquor. In Ecuador, Trago de caña will do the trick. After a complete of 15-20 minutes of boiling, pressure the leaves and drink scorching. You’ll thank me.

Try this video from John Campbell about a couple of edible and helpful desert vegetation:

Just like the survival consultants of the primitive occasions, they’ve realized to determine vegetation very important to their survival, which is how we acquired to know the wonderful Frailejones. Take precautions although when making an attempt new vegetation for his or her survival makes use of. Taking time to analysis about vegetation like what you might be doing now could be a technique that can assist you determine secure and helpful vegetation.

So what do you suppose? Will you be preserving an eye fixed out for this legendary plant in your subsequent journey to the Andes? Tell us your ideas within the feedback beneath!

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Editor’s Be aware: This put up was initially printed on February 24, 2018, and has been up to date for high quality and relevancy.




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