DixPix Photographs

     

SOUTH CORDILLERA

 
     
  Flora:  GERANIUMS AND KIN  

 

GERANIACEAE, the Geranium Family, is of moderate size, perhaps 800 species world wide, mainly in temperate climates, many native to Europe.  Nevertheless, it gives its name to the botanical order Geraniales.  The flowers of wild geraniums tend to be small, and the plants are better known for their long and pointy seeds.  This has gained them the names of Storksbills  and Filarees in English, and Alfilerillos in Spanish.  More than half of the species in the family are of the Geranium genus, and the Erodiums differ therefrom mainly in technical aspects.

  Two other families from the Geraniales order are included here, namely the Ledocarpaceae and the Francoaceae.  Both are very small families, but compared to the Geraniums, their flowers are spectacular.

 

On loan from the Mediterranean, the Common Storksbill (Erodium cicutarium). Where room permits, it knows how to spread out. Click to see big picture (531x480 pixels; 158 KB)
These are the seeds for which locals give this class of plant the name of Alfilerillos, derived from the word for a pin.  This immigrant pops up just about anywhere. Click to see big picture (310x480 pixels; 55 KB)
Erodium moschatum is another imported weed, although not quite as widely distributed in the Southern Cordillera.  Click to see big picture (640x433 pixels; 88 KB)
A closer look at  the flowers of E. moschatum.  In reality they look like the other Geranium and Erodium flowers, the leaves are more helpful in identification. Click to see big picture (359x480 pixels; 73 KB)
The all important seeds are also very similar. Click to see big picture (526x480 pixels; 80 KB)
But there are a few Geranium Family members that are native.  This is Geranium berteroanum, native to south and central Chile and Argentina. Click to see big picture (568x480 pixels; 158 KB)
For a geranium, it is actually an impressive flower.  The indigenous name is Core-core. Click to see big picture (640x338 pixels; 78 KB)
Geranium magellanicum is a herb of southern Chile and Argentina, here near the shores of Lago General Carerra in Chilean Patagonia.
Back to the invaders.  This is widely known as Dovefoot Geranium (Geranium molle), which has taken root in south and central Chile and Argentina. Click to see big picture (640x372 pixels; 88 KB)
And here is a Patagonian version of Geranium molle from near Puerto Tranquilo on Lago General Carerra in Chile,
Geranium robertianum has found a home in central and south Chile, where it is known as Hierba de san Roberto.  In gringolandia it is known as Herb Robert. Click to see big picture (395x480 pixels; 61 KB)
One of the better aspects of Herb Robert, which is a widespread but rather small plant, is that it turns red in its old age. Click to see big picture (640x475 pixels; 70 KB)
From the Chilean town of Curico, a geranium weed of unknown (to me) parentage. Click to see big picture (640x392 pixels; 77 KB)
Actually, the leaves look similar to this sprawling example from Patagonian Argentina. Click to see big picture (640x360 pixels; 134 KB)
And here is something different, a white-flowered geranium from Chile's Norte Chico. Click to see big picture (529x480 pixels; 139 KB)
Well, maybe not that rare.  From over 4000 meters altitude in the ranges southeast of Lima, this also looks like a white geranium. alpine geranium

LEDOCARPACEAE is a small family which hasn't even warranted a common name.  There are perhaps a dozen species, but they are concentrated in the Andes and adjacent forests.  There seems to be a move to push all members into the genus Balbisia.

 

 
Wendtia (Balbisia?) gracilis may be found in southern Argentina and both central and southern Chile.  It has received the local name of Oreganillo Amarillo, although far more handsome and interesting than the oregano flowers to which that name alludes. Click to see big picture (433x480 pixels; 93 KB)
The beautiful orange flowers of Balbisia miniata deserve the attention of gardeners.  It has a restricted range in the mountains of northwest Argentina, in this case the Famatina Range. Click to see big picture (421x480 pixels; 100 KB)

The spectacular plants known in garden circles as Bridal Wreaths and in their Chilean homeland as Llaupanque, began their taxonomic journey as a genus in the Saxifrage family.  After a review of their genes, they was given their own micro-family, FRANCOACEAE, and filed under either the botanical order named for the roses or the one named for the geraniums.

 

 
There are between one and three species of FrancoaF. appendiculata and F. sonchifolia are favorites, or maybe one is a subspecies of the other.  In field terms, there is colored or white flowers to choose from.  Here are two tones of the colored variety, one from the Maule mountains of Chile, the other from the San Francisco Bot. Gardens. Click to see big picture (456x480 pixels; 110 KB)
A closer look at the flowers and the large basal leaves. Click to see big picture (640x438 pixels; 112 KB)
And then there is the white variety.  The flowers tend to be smaller, and I suspect that this is a different species. Click to see big picture (542x480 pixels; 111 KB)
Another local name is Vara de Marmol, where marmol is marble and vara can be a rod or refer to a measurement of length somewhat smaller than a meter, which is roughly the length of some of the inflorescences. Click to see big picture (582x480 pixels; 107 KB)