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El Castillo de San Felipe de Lara click on the image to enlarge
Mexico’s plant life is very diverse, but generally speaking, because there is less rain in the north and more in the south, Mexico’s trees and plants can pretty much be divided up along it’s topographical and geographical lines: desert plants in the north, forests and grasslands in the mountains and altiplano of the centre and jungle-type plants and trees in the south.

Two deserts cover most of northern Mexico, the Chihuahuan desert, the largest of the North American deserts and the Sonoran desert. Plants such as the prickly pear cactus, whitethorn acacia, lechugilla, mesquite and creosote cover the Chihuahuan desert. The Sonoran desert has cactus such as the saguaro, cardon and organ pipe and plants such as the paloverde, ironwood and ocotillo. In all there are 6,000 species of desert plants, 90% of them endemic to the deserts of Mexico and the USA .

El Castillo de San Felipe de Lara click on the image to enlarge
Central Mexico supports a variety of different trees on its three mountain ranges. In the higher forests there are more than 50 species of pine. Coniferous and broad-leafed trees are found mainly in the states of Chihuahua , Durango , Jalisco, Michoacan , Oaxaca , Chiapas and Guerrero. In the mid-range forests you can find juniper, pinon pine and evergreen oaks. On the lowest slopes the forests are found figs, lianas, orchids and bromeliads. In the central plateaus between the mountain ranges (the altiplano) semi-desert grasslands can be found that in addition to the grasses, support yucca, barrel cactus and sotol.

El Castillo de San Felipe de Lara click on the image to enlarge
Tropical rainforests are located in the states of Chiapas, Quintana Roo, Yucatan, Campeche, Tabasco and Oaxaca . These include low jungles of evergreen broadleaf vegetation and tall deciduous forests combined with palms, mangroves and marshes. The Yucatan also supports tropical savannah with thick grasses interspersed with evergreen trees and shrubs.

El Castillo de San Felipe de Lara click on the image to enlarge
Mexico is a country of biological diversity. In total number of species, it ranks fifth in the world. It ranks first in the total number of reptile species (640) and is home to more than 1,000 bird species, 450 mammals (142 found nowhere else on earth and the second-greatest diversity of any nation) and 330 amphibians. Insect species number in the hundreds of thousands.

El Castillo de San Felipe de Lara click on the image to enlarge
This diversity can be explained by understanding that Mexico lies within the intersection of North and South America. When the continents were separate, millions of years ago, they developed their own species. When the land bridge formed, the result was great habitat variation and diverse ecological regions.

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