DixPix Photographs



  Flora:  ASTERACEAE, Cluster Flowers  


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 has 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 rather 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 methods of dividing the family.


The most common cluster flower plants in the Southern Cordillera are of the Baccharis genus, and there are many species.  Most look about like this example, and are more likely to be noticed when they go massively to seed, as shown on the right. Click to see big picture (640x292 pixels; 82 KB)
Baccharis articulata has distinctive flanges on its stems.  Its native range is from Peru to Argentina on the eastern edge of the Cordillera and out to Uruguay and Brazil.  Cargueja is one of the local names. Click to see big picture (327x480 pixels; 91 KB)
Unlike most members of the genus, Baccharis macraei is quite distinctive.  It is found in the central provinces of Chile, where it is known as Vautro. Click to see big picture (640x475 pixels; 129 KB)
Baccharis linearis is one of the commonest of the genus.  It occurs through most of Chile and central to south Argentina.   The most common local name is Romerillo.
Click to see big picture (640x442 pixels; 114 KB)

A closer look at the flowers of Romerillo.  Generally it is considered a weed that can grow to a couple of meters height.
Click to see big picture (422x480 pixels; 82 KB)
Baccharis neaei is found in the southern Cordillera, in this case in the Valley of the Explorers in patagonian Chile.  The leaves are more or less distinctive.
Another distinctive member is Baccharis sagittalis.  It ranges widely in wet habits of both Chile and Argentina.  The local name of Tres Esquinas refers to its unusual triangular stem. Click to see big picture (245x480 pixels; 42 KB)
A mat-forming species, Baccharis magellanica.  As the name would suggest, this is found in Patagonia where it is referred to as Chilca de Magellanes, if it is referred to at all.  Far from Patagonia, this is in the Botanical Gardens at UBC.  Click to see big picture (589x480 pixels; 167 KB)
But here we catch up the Baccharis magellanica on its native turf, in patagonian Chile.  There are those who would denote this as a southern variation on a more widely reported species, namely Baccharis tricuneata var. antioquensis.
And from the same area Baccharis patagonica.  Again, this plant has escaped the stresses of Patagonia for the Botanical Gardens at Univ. of Berkeley. Click to see big picture (640x368 pixels; 123 KB)
But in the mountains south of Cerro Castillo, this is Baccharis patagonica at home in the Patagonian highlands of southern Chile.
There is a variety of flora posted under Baccharis nivalis, hopefully this is the right one.  The species is native to the patagonian Andes, in this case in Chile's Valley of the Explorers.
This is likely Baccharis racemosa , which may be found in southern Chile and Argentina.  It is one of the species called Chilco or Chilca Click to see big picture (391x480 pixels; 57 KB)
Baccharis salicifolia would suggest a willow-like leaf.  It has always been a widespread species climbing to 3000 meters.  The name seems to have become somewhat of a catch-all for consolidation of species. There are many synonyms. Click to see big picture (390x480 pixels; 78 KB)
Based on the sparse teeth on the leaves, this would have been known as Baccharis marginalis of central Chile, but it has now been rolled into B. salicifolia. Click to see big picture (463x480 pixels; 105 KB)
Another thin-leaved Baccharis from the 'Norte Chico" of Chile. Click to see big picture (640x351 pixels; 100 KB)
And from the western ranges of Peru, is this even a Baccharis? Click to see big picture (550x480 pixels; 105 KB)
Gnaphalium cheiranthifolium is found in scattered locations throughout the southern Cordillera.  Here in northern Argentina, it is known as Copa-copa. Click to see big picture (572x480 pixels; 122 KB)
Gnaphalium viravira from south and central Chile.  This genus tends to be passed off as "cudweeds" in English, but is is appreciated in its range as Vira-vira or Hierba de Vida (herb of life). Click to see big picture (322x480 pixels; 74 KB)
This is likely Gnaphalium cabrerae, also known as G. philipii, take your pick.  It is mainly a plant of southern Argentina, but there is also a population in the Santiago area of Chile. Click to see big picture (557x480 pixels; 94 KB)
From the Valley of the Explorers in patagonian Chile, this is likely one form of Ganphalium montevidense, found in the southern portions of South America.
And while in patagonian Argentina, there is also Cola Pichi, named for the tail of an armadillo.  It tends to form these rings, likely by radiating successive generations.  Nassauvia glomerata, approx. Click to see big picture (640x366 pixels; 130 KB)
From the same southern region, this is one of the species known locally as Manca Perro, Nassauvia axillaris, is called Calahuala on the Chilean side. Click to see big picture (340x480 pixels; 86 KB)
While this thorny version of Manca Perro appears to be Nassauvia ulicina.  This group of plants seems to loose most of its petals easily. manca perro
There are also thornless species of this genera from the high Andes.  This is Nassauvia revoluta from near the international border at the head of Teno River. Naussavia revoluta
Nassauvia revoluta flowering well above timberline on Volcan Lonquimay, Chile.
Ageratina glechonophylla has adapted to much of the Coastline of Chile, where it goes by the name of Barba Viejo, despite looking little like an old mans beard, at least not much like mine.  This, however, is stranded at the gardens at Univ. of Berkeley. Click to see big picture (625x480 pixels; 119 KB)
Turning to the actual Chilean coastline, here are similar plants, but there are several other Ageratina species in the area with which to be confused. Click to see big picture (640x354 pixels; 93 KB)
Also from the coast and endemic to central and northern Chile, is Polyachyrus poeppigii.  This is a white species from a group termed Borlon de Alforja. borlon de alforja
Finally some color.  The photo on the left is likely Brea (Tessaria absinthioides), widespread in the Southern Cordillera.  The flower on the right, from the Andes of northwestern Argentina, is likely some species of Eupatorium. Click to see big picture (640x404 pixels; 99 KB)
This appears to be the widespread Billy goat Weed, Ageratum conyzoides.  It is largely found to east of the southern Cordillera, but can climb to 2000 meters altitude.  It is invasive and poisonous, but can but used as an insecticide. Click to see big picture (382x480 pixels; 76 KB)
The two most common latin names are Aristeguietia salvia and Eupatorium salvium.  The two most common local names are Salvia Macho and Pega-pega.  Native to central and southish Chile. Click to see big picture (429x480 pixels; 90 KB)

Eupatorium exerto-venosum according to the Univ. Berkeley Bot. Gardens.  Rumored to hale from Peru and Ecuador and travel under the alias of Ageratina fastigiata.


Click to see big picture (349x480 pixels; 77 KB)
And while in Peru, from near the northern town of San Ignacio. Click to see big picture (491x480 pixels; 137 KB)
This bush known as Tola, dominates vegetation throughout parts of the Altiplano, and can range to 5000 meters elevation.  It is one of the Parastrephia species (likely quardrangularis).  A resinous shrub, it is widely used for starting fires here in southern Peru. tola
Another Peruvian from the central ranges.  Apparently a tea is made from the leaves of medicinal use. Click to see big picture (365x480 pixels; 80 KB)
I suspect that this unusual weed from northwestern Argentina is one of the two species of Flaveria in the area.  Don't quote me.
Triptilion spinosum from central and southern Chile.  This is one of the plants known as Siempreviva, sort of "everlasting". Click to see big picture (640x440 pixels; 97 KB)

From the Chilean coast, a plant with many similarities to the Siempreviva, but it may not even be from the same family.

One of the white versions of Siempreviva, likely Triptilion cordifolium, approx.  of north-central Chile. Click to see big picture (374x480 pixels; 76 KB)
Solidago chilensis, Chile's take on goldenrods, here known as Vara de Oro, almost a direct translation. Click to see big picture (343x480 pixels; 83 KB)
Tanacetum vulgare is a very widespread weed or Eurasian origin.  On the global scene it is known as Tansey or Bitter Buttons.  Although poisonous, it is widely (if sparingly) used in folk medicine.  Other uses include an insecticide and a preservative. Click to see big picture (451x480 pixels; 92 KB)
This appears to be Achyrocline alata, found in mountainous regions from Peru to Argentina. Click to see big picture (217x480 pixels; 50 KB)
Again from those Peruvian highland, in this case from the Conochocha area, meet Achyrocline ramosissima.  Not much to write home about, it could be mistaken for an everlasting.
Achillea millefolium is a globe-trotting weed, commonly known as Yarrow in English and Milflores in Spanish.  I have yet to figure out how to get it out of my lawn.  It has taken root widely in the southern Cordillera. Click to see big picture (640x395 pixels; 103 KB)
As a compensation (or taunt) for failing to eradicate this pest, it sometimes turns an attractive pink in the Autumn. Click to see big picture (561x480 pixels; 125 KB)
Let's end with an orphan, which does not fit any aster category.  This is of the Loricaria genus, likely L. ferruginea.  The genus is normally found above tree line in the tropics, but here it is at 4800 m elevation in the Cordillera Negra of Peru.  In the paramos of Columbia this genus is known as Cacho de Venado (deer horn), also as Falso Pino, although it looks more like a cypress than a pine. loricaria