Humboldt mentions that it was accidentally introduced into Mexico with rice brought from Spain by a negro slave belonging to Cortes, and the same writer saw at Quito the earthen vase in which a Flemish monk had introduced from Ghent the first wheat grown in South America.
There is no great display of arboreal vegetation anywhere except in the valleys and lower passes where the rainfall is abundant, but in general terms it may be said that the rainfall and vegetation which characterize the Quito basin soon disappear as one proceeds southward, and are substituted by arid conditions.
The flora of the Quito basin has been well studied by various European botanists, more especially by Dr William Jameson (1796-1873) of the university of Quito, who began the preparation of a synopsis of the Ecuadorean flora in 1864-1865 (Synopsis plantarum Quitensium, 2 vols., Quito, 1865).
From the Amazon the Napo is navigable for river craft up to its Curaray branch, a distance of about 216 m., and perhaps a few miles farther; thence, by painful canoe navigation, its upper waters may be ascended as far as Santa Rosa, the usual point of embarkation for any venturesome traveller who descends from the Quito tableland.
His consolidated empire extended from the river Ancasmayu north of Quito to the river Maule in the south of Chile.
Superior hand-made carpets are also made, and Quito artisans show much skill in wood carvings and in gold and silver works; the women excel in fine needlework and lace-making.
The Reptilia include countless numbers of alligators in the Guayas and its tributaries and in the tide-water channels of many of the smaller rivers; many species of lizards, of which Mr Whymper found three in the Quito basin; snakes of every description from the huge anaconda of the Amazon region down to the beautifully marked coral snake; and a great variety of frogs and toads.
A severe battle was fought at Pichincha, where, by the prowess of his colleague Sucre, the Spaniards were routed, and Quito was entered by the republicans in June 1822.
They are also characterized by the increasing aridity of the plateau from north to south, the Quito plain being fertile and well covered with vegetation, and the Ambato and Cuenca plains being barren and desolate except in some favoured localities.
And though now nailed amidst all the rustiness of iron bolts and the verdigris of copper spikes, yet, untouchable and immaculate to any foulness, it still preserved its Quito glow.