Despite some of the bad reputation volcanoes have earned for producing often destructive and deadly eruptions, these natural wonders do provide a wide range of benefits to the ecosystem. According to Universe Today, volcanoes supply incredible amounts of nutrients to the surrounding soil, allowing a tremendous variety of plant life to grow. Many exotic, colorful flowers grow particularly well in the kind of rich, volcanic soil found in places like Hawaii, Ecuador, Chile and Tanzania.
This unusual tropical flower is native to the volcanic regions of southern Chile, where it grows on mountain slopes, cliff sides and meadows rich in volcanic minerals. Often called pocketbook flower and lady's purse, this plant produces pouch-shaped yellow flowers that often have red or brown spots. These plants survive best in cool temperatures and need lots of ventilation if grown indoors. Water your calceolaria just enough to keep the soil from drying out and give it daily morning sun exposure.
This colorful flower grows at low to alpine altitudes throughout western Canada and the United States. Indian paintbrush thrives particularly well in the volcanic soil found around Mount St. Helens and other active and non-active volcanoes in the region. This plant produces long, tube-like red flowers and narrow pointed green leaves. Indian paintbrush can grow in a range of habitats but generally prefer forests, roadsides and slopes, according to BCAdventure.com. Native Americans used this plant to make red dyes used in clothing and other objects.
These colorful flowers grow exclusively in the volcanic soil found in the rainforests surrounding Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Kilimanjaro impatiens produce orchid-like, brightly colored red and yellow flowers with purple stamens. This perennial flower grows to a height of 18 inches and blooms throughout the year in the Kilimanjaro region. They prefer generally humid, cool areas with temperatures between 50 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Like all impatiens, the Kilimanjaro variety needs full sun or partial shade.
This exotic flower species grows at elevations between 6,500 and 10,000 feet in the volcanic soils of Hawaii. Also known as Haleakala ahinahina in Hawaii, silversword has slender, silvery leaves and small purple flowers that are typically 2 inches wide. Silversword grows to heights between 2 and 8 feet tall. Silversword's large taproot root structure allows it to survive in the windy, often harsh climate found on volcanic mountains in Hawaii. Although found in abundance in Hawaii's Haleakala National Park, silversword flowers are listed as a threatened species and are protected by the state park service.