Kilimanjaro Plants

Since Mt. Kilimanjaro is home to five different ecosystems, there are hundreds of different plants and trees that you will see along the way to the summit. Most of the plants live in the lower regions of the mountain as very few species can survive in the cold and wind found at the top.

While it’s hard to name all the flora and fauna you might see, here are some of the more common plants that people find interesting.

Kilimanjaro-Plants

Red Hot Pokers

This is one of the more colorful plants found on the mountain. You might also hear the guides call it a torch lily. They are able to live in scorching heat without any water making them very abundant in the parts of the mountain where there is little to no rainfall.

The tip of the plant is orange and yellow. They resemble hot metal that has just been taken out of the fire which is why people often call them hot pokers.

Fireball Lily

This is one of the largest flowers on the mountain with the head reaching up to 9 inches. The head of the flower can contain up to 200 different sections as well. The bulbs are poisonous so make sure not to touch them or consume them.

In general, it’s not recommended to touch any of the plants on the mountain because we want to preserve the environment as much as possible.

Old Man’s Beard

This plant is named this because it often looks like a long white beard. It’s actually not a plant or a flower, but a type of algae and fungi that wrap themselves together. They are mostly found growing from twigs or the branches of trees.

The fungi and algae can be used to make certain types of medications making it an important and unique plant for local Tanzanian people. It’s used to cure fevers and to clean infected wounds.

Everlasting Flowers

The mountain’s tallest flowering plant, these are one of the only flowers found at high altitudes as they often grow between 8000 and 15000 feet. They can grow and bloom all year long so you will definitely see them during your climb.

They can grow to be two feet tall and often grow in large clumps. Their leaves allow them to even survive in snow and harsh winter conditions.

Dondrosenecio Kilimanjari

These plants are extremely rare and only found on Kilimanjaro. Not all routes have these plants, so you want to ensure you choose a Kilimanjaro route that includes Barranco Camp if you want to see them as that is the only place they grow.

The plant grows very slowly, but it can reach up to 20 feet even in cold conditions. It has a special place in its stem where it can store water and drink from in case of drought or very dry weather.

The leaves can also close to block out cold weather. It’s extremely adaptable and can live in almost any condition.

Tussock

This is a type of grass plant. They can absorb much more water compared to other kinds of grass allowing them to live for much longer. Their long roots can also suck up moisture from surrounding grass and plants during dry spells.

You’ll see Tussock in various different places on the mountain. Even though it’s not a very beautiful plant, it’s important to the ecosystem and harmony of the mountain.

Stoebe Kilimandscharica

This is one of the prettier plants on the mountain. They resemble yellow daisies but are a little bit different. The shrubs that it grows on are thin but very strong.

Protea Kilimandscharica

These flowers are extremely delicate. They are some of the oldest plants on the mountain. You might hear your guides or local people call them sugarbushes as this is another common name for them.

Hebenstretia Dentata

This plant has very small white flowers, so it’s often referred to as the “white flowering plant.” It doesn’t grow all the time as it’s not as hardy as other plants on the mountain, so you will only find it during spring, summer, and the early part of autumn.

Flora and Fauna on Kilimanjaro

Like all outdoor environments, Kilimanjaro has many different flowers and plants that make it unique. Preserving the natural environment of the mountain is extremely important which is why the national park doesn’t allow any rubbish or belongings to be left on the mountain.

It’s important not to touch the plants while you’re climbing. Some of them are even poisonous which is why it’s even more important to not disturb the natural beauty around you.
Our Kilimanjaro guides are very knowledgeable about the plants and trees on the mountain, so feel free to ask them the names of the things you see. You’re also free to take photos of any of them.

Ready to See the Nature on Kilimanjaro?

Experiencing the natural beauty of Kilimanjaro is something you will never forget, especially if you’re an avid plant lover or if you enjoy gardening. Even if you don’t have a special interest in plants though, you will still enjoy being able to admire all the trees and flowers that grow along your path to the summit.

Contact us today to get more information about our climbs. We can answer any questions you have and walk you through the booking process.
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