Yareta or llareta (Azorella compacta, known historically as Azorella yareta, from yarita in the Quechua language) is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae native to South America. It grows in the Puna grasslands of the Andes in Peru, Bolivia, northern Chile, and western Argentina at altitudes between 3,200 and 5,200 metres (10,500 and 17,100 ft).[1][2]

Yareta on slopes of Nevado Coropuna, Peru
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Apiales
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Azorella
A. compacta
Binomial name
Azorella compacta


Yareta is an evergreen perennial with pink or lavender flowers. The self-fertile flowers are hermaphroditic and are pollinated by insects.

The plant prefers sandy, well-drained soils. It can grow in nutritionally poor soils that are acidic, neutral, or basic (alkaline) at altitudes of up to 5,200 metres (17,100 ft).[2] Yareta is well-adapted to high insolation rates typical of the Andes highlands and cannot grow in shade. The plant's leaves grow into an extremely compact, dense mat that reduces heat and water loss.[3] This mat grows near the ground where air temperature is one or two degrees Celsius higher than the mean air temperature. This temperature difference is a result of the longwave radiation re-radiated by the soil surface (which is usually dark gray to black in the Puna).[3]

Yareta is estimated to grow approximately 1.5 centimetres (0.59 in) per year.[2] Many yaretas are estimated to be over 3,000 years old.[4] It is traditionally harvested for fuel, but its very slow growth makes this practice highly unsustainable.[5]


  1. "Image of Azorella compacta". chileflora. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  2. Kleier, Catherine; Rundel, Philip W. (August 2004). "Microsite requirements, population structure and growth of the cushion plant Azorella compacta in the tropical Chilean Andes". Austral Ecology. 29 (4): 461–470. doi:10.1111/j.1442-9993.2004.01386.x.
  3. Wickens, G. E. (April 1995). "Llareta (Azorella Compacta, Umbelliferae): A review". Economic Botany. 49 (2): 207–212. doi:10.1007/BF02862926. ISSN 0013-0001.
  4. Prigg, Mark (22 April 2014). "The oldest living things in the world revealed: Stunning new pictures of the 2,000 year old shrub, the 5,000 year old moss and the 9,550 year old spruce". Daily Mail. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  5. "See the world's oldest organisms".
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