Ecuador: El Angel Ecological Reserve – Polylepis Forest

Polylepis tree is endemic to mid-to-high elevation Andean forests. The Greek-origin name is actually quite exact in describing this gnarly tree – “poly” means “many” and “lepis” means “layers” – the tree is constantly shedding and regrowing its bark, often in paper-thin and almost transparent colorful layers. At El Angel Reserve, there is a whole forest of these bizarre trees (as well as other unique Andean flora).