DixPix Photographs

     

SOUTH CORDILLERA

 
     
  Flora: ASTERACEAE, Dandelion-like  

 

The ASTER or SUNFLOWER FAMILY is known either as ASTERACEAE, or by the older and more descriptive name COMPOSITAE.  It is a huge family, something like 23,000 species globally.  Although the orchid family may have more species, the asters are more prominent, especially in temperate climates.  The family is renown both for its variety of garden flowers and for its variety of widespread weeds.

There have been a very great number of Asteraceae species described in the Southern Cordillera, and much confusion.  For purposes of this web site, the family has been very roughly divided into six pages, namely Cluster Flowers, Daisy Like, Dandelion Like, Senecios and Kin, Sunflower Like, and finally Thistles and Vines.  This does not follow more formal and complex divisions of the family.

 

It seems fitting to start with the Dandelion itself, Taraxacum officinale. A lawn and open field specialist, this weed has traveled the temperate regions of the world.  The young leaves are edible, and it is even used to make a god-awful wine, but mainly it gets around as an invasive weed. Click to see big picture (640x353 pixels; 82 KB)
Other dandelion look-alikes have also been traveling, the Hawkbits such as Leontodon autumnalis may be found in central Chile, likely accidentally introduced with agricultural products. Click to see big picture (479x480 pixels; 82 KB)
Even more invasive in some areas than the dandelion are the Cat's Ears.  This is known in English as the Hairy Cat's Ear, Hypochaeris radicata.  In truth, most molested gardeners call all this class of flower dandelions, despite obvious differences in leaves and stems. Click to see big picture (607x480 pixels; 168 KB)
From the heights of the southern Andes, Hypochaeris tenuifolia, var. tenuifolia.  Here going to seed above timberline on Volcan Lonquimay, southern Chile.
There are several Hypochaeris species native to the southern Cordillera, including at altitude.  The is likely H. clarionoides, common in central and southern Chile and Argentina. Click to see big picture (444x480 pixels; 91 KB)
A stemless Hypochaeris sissiliflora from above 4000 meters in the ranges of west-central Peru. alp_aster
From the same area as the previous photo, stemless mat flowers with broad leaves.  These two do not appear to be the same species.  Chaetanthera maybe? stemless daisy
In the Spring, many hillsides in Chile turn yellow with Hypochaeris and other flowers, this example being south of Pichilemu.  Collectively these tend to be called Hierba de Chancho (pig herb). Click to see big picture (640x371 pixels; 107 KB)
Perhaps this is because only pigs will eat these plants, in any case, here are pigs with pig herbs. Click to see big picture (640x449 pixels; 134 KB)
And then there are the Gumweeds of the Grindelia genus, whose buds exude a sticky resin.  There are many species, especially in central and southern Chile and Argentina.  This specimen is identified as G. chiloensis at the botanical gardens at UBC. Click to see big picture (577x480 pixels; 120 KB)
Perhaps a similar species from near Illapel, Chile.  The most usual local name for gumweeds is Chiñe. Click to see big picture (554x480 pixels; 112 KB)
Gumweed abound in patagonian Argentina, where they are known as Botons de Oro (gold buttons).  This is likely Grindelia patagonica, but there are at least 5 other species in the area, so no guarantees. Click to see big picture (640x364 pixels; 127 KB)
A closer look at a Boton de Oro and its gummy bud. Click to see big picture (579x480 pixels; 97 KB)
From the drylands of La Rioja Province, this is likely Grindelia pulchella, it being the only species listed for the area.
Several species of the genus Crepis have been introduced as weeds into central and southern Chile and Argentina.  On the global scene, these are known as Hawksbeards, for some unobvious reason. Click to see big picture (363x480 pixels; 80 KB)
Hieracium aurantiacum is sometimes known as the Orange Hawkweed, and has been introduced into southern Chile, likely imported as a garden flower. Click to see big picture (563x480 pixels; 98 KB)
Minute and unidentified, on the forest floor in southern Chile. Click to see big picture (472x480 pixels; 109 KB)
This species with hairy and warty leaves has been introduced as a weed to much of the southern Cordillera.  It is Picris echioides, but here known as Lengua de Gato. Click to see big picture (640x404 pixels; 86 KB)
In fact this weed is so strange and ugly it deserves a closer look.  The name Lengua de Gato means 'cat's tongue'-- very fitting if you have ever been licked by a cat. prickly
Prickly Sow Thistle (Sonchus asper), is another of those globe-trotting weeds that has become widespread in the southern Cordillera. The general name for Sow Thistles in Spanish is Cerraja. Click to see big picture (607x480 pixels; 117 KB)
And Perennial Sow Thistle (Sonchus arvensis) has appeared in central Argentina and will undoubtedly spread. Click to see big picture (640x395 pixels; 83 KB)
This sow thisle like plant on the coast of Chile can't decide if it is white or yellow. odd sowthistle
A sow thistle from north-central Chile with red stems.  The leaves indicate that this is Sonchus tenerrimus.  It tends to be called Slender Sow Thistle in English and Cerraja Tierna in Spanish. sow thistle
The tall figure of Nipplewort (Lapsana communis) is an Eurasian which can now be found in central and southern Chile.  Its leaves are edible, so it may have been imported. Click to see big picture (267x480 pixels; 43 KB)
Chicory (Cichorium intybus) is another European invasive which is hard to ignore.  It likes dry, open spaces such a road-sides and has spread widely in the southern Cordillera.  It is used as a coffee substitute, and may have originally been imported. Click to see big picture (552x480 pixels; 102 KB)
A closer look at the attractive Chicory flower, which is attached to the sides of stems.  The local name is Chicorea. Click to see big picture (550x480 pixels; 74 KB)
These Purple Salsify (Tragopogon porrifolius) near Esquel, Argentina, are a long way from their European origins.  The species was likely originally imported due to its edible root, whose taste gives the species its alternate name of Oyster Plant.  It is now fairly widespread. Click to see big picture (640x358 pixels; 78 KB)
Common Salsify (Tragopogon dubius), is more of a weed than its purple kin. It has become naturalized in south and central Argentina. Click to see big picture (640x431 pixels; 109 KB)
Flor de la Yesca of Chile is notable for its tow-head seed display.  It is likely a species of Trichocline.  The name translates as 'tinder flower', so perhaps the seeds may be used to light fires. Click to see big picture (608x480 pixels; 83 KB)
With similar seeds, but this stemless species hangs out at 4500 meters altitude in the Cordillera Negra of Peru.  It looks a lot like Hypochaeris echegarayi.
There are many species of Haplopappus in the southern Cordillera.  Those with jagged leaves tend to be called Acerosa in Chile. Click to see big picture (319x480 pixels; 49 KB)
Then again, some of the alpine species with large flower heads get the name of Cabezon. Click to see big picture (382x480 pixels; 94 KB)
This Acerosa from the hills north of Santiago appears to be Haplopappus integerrimus, or something close thereto. acerosa
Haplopappus foliosus is a fairly distinctive species from the coast of central Chile, where it goes by the name of Cuerno de Cabra, as do some other plants. Click to see big picture (391x480 pixels; 101 KB)
Another beach oddball (from Pichidangui), a succulent aster that looks like it melted.
Haplopappus chrysanthemifolius.  This is normally found in the central third of Chile, but in this case is in KEW gardens in far-away London. Click to see big picture (450x480 pixels; 101 KB)
An unidentified species with a red back to the petals from high in the central Andes. Click to see big picture (612x480 pixels; 99 KB)
An orange flower, likely Haplopappus macrocephalus.  Although the species name roughly translates back to 'Cabezon', these taller members of the genus tend to be called Hierba de Chivato in their native Andes. Click to see big picture (640x374 pixels; 99 KB)