Galapagos miconia (Miconia robinsoniana)

Galapagos miconia in flower
Loading more images and videos...

Galapagos miconia fact file

Galapagos miconia description

GenusMiconia (1)

Although it is now vastly depleted, the Galapagos miconia still lends its name to a unique vegetation zone on two of the major islands in the Galapagos (2) (3) (4) (5). It is an attractive shrub that has large, leathery leaves with conspicuous veins forming a striking pattern on the upper surface (2) (6). The purple flowers are arranged in branched clusters up to 18 centimetres long, while the fruit is a dark purplish berry (6).

Also known as
Height: 2 - 5 m (2)

Galapagos miconia biology

There is no available information on the biology of the Galapagos miconia.


Galapagos miconia range

This Galapagos endemic is restricted to the islands of San Cristóbal and Santa Cruz (2) (3).


Galapagos miconia habitat

The Miconia zone is an area of open shrubland above the tree-line on both islands. It characteristically comprises dense stands of Galapagos miconia interspersed with ferns and clubmosses (2) (4).


Galapagos miconia status

This species has not yet been assessed by the IUCN.


Galapagos miconia threats

Owing to burning, grazing by introduced animals, and most significantly, competition with introduced plants, the dense stands of Galapagos miconia that form the Miconia zone are no longer nearly as extensive as they once were (2). The chief culprit on Santa Cruz is the quinine tree (Cinchona pubescens), introduced from tropical South America in 1946 (2) (7). Quinine has invaded large stands of the Galapagos miconia to produce a non-native closed canopy forest, and has the potential to eventually wipe out the entire zone (2) (6) (7) (8).


Galapagos miconia conservation

The main priority for the conservation of the Miconia zone and its dominant species, the Galapagos miconia, is the eradication of quinine from Santa Cruz. Although scientists from the Charles Darwin Research Station are confident this could be achieved, it has been estimated that the total eradication of this highly invasive species would cost 6 to 8 million dollars, over 10 to 15 years. Although both expensive and labour intensive, the eradication of quinine from the highlands of Santa Cruz is seen as essential to the conservation of the native flora and fauna (7).


Find out more

For further information on the conservation of the endemic flora of the Galapagos see:



This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:


A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.


  1. UNEP-WCMC Species Database (June, 2009)
  2. McMullen, C.K. (1999) Flowering Plants of the Galapagos. Cornell University Press, New York.
  3. Wiggins, I.L. and Porter, D.M. (1971) Flora of the Galapagos Islands. Stanford University Press, Stanford.
  4. Kricher, J.C. (2006) Galapagos: A Natural History. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey.
  5. Jackson, M.H. (2001) Galapagos: A Natural History. University of Calgary Press, Calgary.
  6. Stephenson, M. (2000) The Galapagos Islands: The Essential Handbook for Exploring, Enjoying & Understanding Darwin's Enchanted Islands. The Mountaineers Books, Washington.
  7. Charles Darwin Foundation. (2006) Charles Darwin Research Station Fact Sheet: The scourge of red quinine. Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands (AISBL), Galapagos, Ecuador. Available at:
  8. Galapagos Conservation Trust (June, 2009)

Image credit

Galapagos miconia in flower  
Galapagos miconia in flower

© Dr Alan Tye

Alan Tye


Link to this photo

Arkive species - Galapagos miconia (Miconia robinsoniana) Embed this Arkive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to Arkive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about



MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite Arkive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

This species is featured in:

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!


Back To Top