DixPix Photographs

     

SOUTH CORDILLERA

 
     
  Flora: THE RANUNCULALES  

 

The flag-bearer for the Order Ranunculales is the Buttercup Family, Ranunculaceae.  This an important one on the world stage, with roughly 88 genera and 2500 species.  Although well adapted to temperate climates, it is only moderately represented in the Southern Cordillera.  On the other hand, the relatively small Barberry Family (Berberidaceae) has a center of diversity here in the genus Berberis.  Also included is the Poppy Family (Papaveraceae), of fame in both horticulture and narcotics, and some undignified weeds of the Fumitory Family (Fumariaceae).

 

Starting with the Buttercups, high in the Andes this is Caltha sagittata, the species name referring to its arrow-shaped leaves.  Locally it is called Maillico, and it is widespread in wet, alpine habitats. Click to see big picture (640x392 pixels; 127 KB)

Anemone multifida is another inhabitant of high places and of the similar climates in Patagonia of both Chile and Argentina.  For this it is sometimes called Anemone magellanica. Locally it is simply referred to as Anemona.

Click to see big picture (600x480 pixels; 96 KB)
One of the interesting aspects of Anemone multifida is its seed-ball, which opens into tufts for wind dispersal.  Here showing off at the UBC Bot. Gardens, very far from Patagonia. Click to see big picture (640x383 pixels; 94 KB)
Again in the southern Andes of Chile and Argentina, Ranunculus peduncularis var. erodifolius, which the locals shorten to Ranunculo or Hierba de vaca. Click to see big picture (640x433 pixels; 186 KB)
Oddly, the petals of Ranunculo tend to turn white with time.  At least they do here in the Cerro Castillo area of Chilean Patagonia.
Ranunculus repens is a weed from the Old World, known in English as the Creeping Buttercup.  It has immigrated to central and southern Chile and Argentina, and has also been reported from Peru and Bolivia. repens
This is the flower of Clematis montevidensis, which occurs through much of northern Argentina and northward.  It is not, however, the species greatest claim to fame. Click to see big picture (599x480 pixels; 69 KB)
It is the wild plumage of the seeds that makes Clematis montevidensis stand out.  Locally it is known as Barba de Chivo (goat's beard), but that name is also used for other plants.  In English, Old Man's Beard is common.

The family BERBERIDACEAE is well represented in the Southern Cordillera by over 30 species of the genera Berberis.  These are all thorny shrubs, similar to the Oregon Grape of North America.  Their flowers all look much the same, and although the leaf shape and other minor features are of assistance, assigning species names from photographs is dicey.  The local names of Calafate and Michay are employed without much distinction.

 

 
Starting with a couple of the higher altitude species, this is Berberis montana, which is found in the Andes of south and central Chile and southern Argentina. Better known as Berberis cabrerae in some circles. Click to see big picture (640x389 pixels; 87 KB)
Berberis empetrifolia, with its more needle-like leaves is one of the few species with its own local name-- Uva de Cordillera. Click to see big picture (640x445 pixels; 106 KB)
And here are the fruit for which Berberis empetrifolia is named, from Volcan Villarica in the Chilean Lake District.
Berberis darwinii seems popular with botanical gardens, in this case in San Francisco.  Click to see big picture (449x480 pixels; 86 KB)
Here at home in southern Chile, Berberis darwinii shows its fruit with a protruding axis, a feature it shares with a few other species. Click to see big picture (563x480 pixels; 135 KB)
At Caleta Total in patagonian Chile, a clear look at the berries of Berberis Darwinii.  Tempting and edible, but damn sour.
Berberis rotundifolia in a garden in the Chilean Lake District.  It is a species of southern Chile Click to see big picture (592x480 pixels; 99 KB)
With smaller leaves, this is Berberis microphylla presenting its fruit south of Cerro Castillo in Patagonian Chile.
Probably Berberis chilensis, with its big thorns and small flower racemes.  Found in both central and southern Chile. Click to see big picture (363x480 pixels; 60 KB)
And here, from the shores of Lago Villarica, Chile, is the fruit of Berberis chilensis, still thorny.
Berberis ilicifolia, the holly-leaved berberis, near Lago Ranco in southern Chile.  It is equally at home in southern Argentina. Click to see big picture (640x457 pixels; 118 KB)
From the steppes of Argentina, this thorny species is likely Berberis ruscifolia. Click to see big picture (640x415 pixels; 102 KB)
A Berberis from a garden in the Lake District.  No guesses. Click to see big picture (640x343 pixels; 93 KB)

The FUMARIACEAE  is the small, but well-traveled, Fumitory Family of innocuous weeds of Eurasian extraction. They have popped up in several agricultural areas of the Southern Cordillera. The species look very much alike. For some reason they are locally known as Hierba de culebre (snake herb).

 

 
Judging by the leaves, this is likely Fumaria capreolata, the handsomest of the forgettable species. (The color is troubling, it is normally whiter.) Click to see big picture (458x480 pixels; 113 KB)
While this specimen is more likely Fumaria agraria. Click to see big picture (371x480 pixels; 85 KB)
And this one from near the coast west of Santiago, with the smaller and sparser leaves appears to be Fumaria officinalis.  This plant has long been used in folk medicine for eye and skin problems, and is the source of fumaric acid. Click to see big picture (522x480 pixels; 74 KB)

On to the PAPAVERACEAE or Poppy Family.   On the world stage, this is of moderate size, with roughly 45 genera and 750 species, but is famous for the beauty of some of its flowers and as the source of opiates.  It is not well represented in the Southern Cordillera, at least not in the number of species.

 

 
Cardo Santo (Argemone subfusiformis) has a native range from the southern U.S. to northern Chile and Argentina. Click to see big picture (640x400 pixels; 73 KB)
A view of the Cardo Santo plant is a reminder of its other name, Mexican Prickly Poppy.  It is also poisonous. Click to see big picture (605x480 pixels; 146 KB)
The white species of Cardo Santo, Argemone hunnemannii, with seed pods in the Norte Chico of Chile.  It is native to north and central Chile and to some extent in Argentina. cardo santo
Eschscholzia californica may not be pronounceable, but the California Poppy is a familiar site, especially in south and central Chile and Argentina, where it has become an invasive weed.  Widely known as Dedal del Oro. Click to see big picture (515x480 pixels; 70 KB)
In Chile, the poppy also goes my the name of Flor del Tren, and there are rumors that it was first sewn along the southern train tracks.  Now it has spread far and wide. california poppies
For the purists, California Poppy also comes in white.  Click to see big picture (640x420 pixels; 95 KB)
Papaver somniferum is the official Opium Poppy, although it is simply known as Amapola in South America.  For both "medicinal" and gardening purposes, it has been planted in several locations in the Southern Cordillera, and gone wild. Click to see big picture (595x480 pixels; 83 KB)
The wild Opium Poppies are quite delicate.  An alternate local name is Adormidera, which like the species name somniferum, refers to its ability to cause sleep. Click to see big picture (542x480 pixels; 114 KB)
Papaver rhoeas is an immigrant from Europe, with a weedy nature.  It is known as Corn Poppy, and has spread happily from gardens. poppy
The Yellow Horned Poppy is a toxic, weedy refugee from the eastern hemisphere.  Glaucium flavum is widely established in the West, here on the barren steppes of Argentina.  The 'horned' name comes from those long pods. horned poppy