The Huaynaputina eruption (1600 AD, Moquegua, S Peru) in the northern Atacama Desert denuded the Omate area of all vegetation and deposited deep pumice layers. Data on the flora, climate and soil characteristics of these slopes near Omate at 1600-2600 m a.s.l. are provided. Fifty-nine angiosperm species established themselves on the pumice slopes in the past ca. 400 years, with the bulk of the small and herbaceous species and several species new records for Peru. Three Omate sites were sampled in both a dry and a wet year and species numbers differed widely (14 versus 45 spp.). Among areas compared floristic composition is most similar to the Lomas de Tacna, and has less in common with geographically closer Lomas or Sierra formations. Nine species represent highly disjunct populations (200->700 km) from their nearest known living populations in central Peru, Chile, or Argentina/Bolivia and appear to have reached the area via long-distance dispersal. Abiotic conditions may have played an important role in limiting the establishment of species from the neighboring vegetation. Four taxa on the pumice slopes show clear morphological differences to populations elsewhere, two of them may represent neoendemics of the Omate pumice, indicating rapid morphological divergence.