Natural Habitat

Heliamphora are native to and grow only on the summits of the "tepui" or mesas of the Guayana Highlands of southern Venezuela, Guayana, and northern Brazil. The mesas are very high 5,000-10,000 ft. (1,524 to 3,048 m), flat-topped features isolated from one another by deep valleys with steep walls. One of the largest mesas called Auyan-tepui has an area of 286 sq. miles (750 sq. km.). Angel Waterfalls, the highest in the world, plummets 3,300 ft. (1,006 m) down the sheer wall of Auyan-tepui. The "tepui" form islands of vegetation which are adapted to much lower temperatures than the tropical jungles at their bases. The Guayana Highlands have an extremely high annual rainfall, often exceeding 100 in. (254 cm). The mesas are often shrouded by clouds and mist which keeps the humidity high. Weathering and erosion have carved valleys and canyons on the mesa tops and walls. The plateaus are remote and extremely difficult to reach, therefore, few people have seen Heliamphora plants growing in their native habitat.

So isolated is the area that it was almost 100 years after the discovery of the first species before others were found. The plants are confined to the top of sheer-sided mesas where they grow in acid soils in swampy savannahs exposed to the brilliant equatorial sun.

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