DixPix Photographs

     

SOUTH CORDILLERA

 
     
  Flora:  THE MALLOW FAMILY  

 

MALVACEAE, the Mallow Family, is thought to consist of some 200 genera and roughly 2300 species.  Many of these sport attractive flowers, and some have found a place in gardening or folk medicine.  There are several native species in the Southern Cordillera, but also a number of introduced ones.  Quite recently, the Bombacaceae Family, which includes some beautiful and unusual trees, has been added to the Mallows, for reasons only obvious in the genes.

 

Malva sylvestris is the type species for its genus. Known as Common Mallow in its native Europe, it has escaped gardens to find a home in western Argentina.  For some reason it is also known as 'Cheeses', but in Spanish simply as Malva Silvestre. Click to see big picture (416x480 pixels; 81 KB)
Another introduced bush-mallow is quite common from California down into central Chile.  This is Malva assurgentiflora, although the older genus name of Lavatera is still widely used.  In gardening circles it is often referred to as Malva Rose, but in Chile as Malvaloca or Malvavisca. Click to see big picture (470x480 pixels; 92 KB)
From the farmland of central Chile, a weed known as Spurred (or Crested) Anoda, (Anoda cristata).  It is invasive, likely native to Mesoamerica, but has some folk remedy claims.
From shrubs to dwarfs-- Malva neglecta is called Buttonweed or Cheeseweed in English.  From Eurasia, it has been widely introduced, likely because its seeds are edible and protein rich.  Now ensconced in south and central Chile and Argentina and likely elsewhere. Click to see big picture (554x480 pixels; 77 KB)
Musk Mallow (Malva moschata) is another European which is planted for its considerable ornamental value, but soon naturalizes.  Now in southern Chile. Click to see big picture (617x480 pixels; 93 KB)
As the name would suggest, Andeimalva chilensis, is found in the Andes of Chile, mainly southern.  Here, however, it is blooming at the botanical gardens of UC Berkeley
Andeimalva chilensis can form a massive display. at least in a garden setting.  This hardy species might prove useful to that end.
Sometimes know as False Mallow, Malvastrum coromandelianum is a pan-tropical weed, originally from Central America.  It prefers warmer climates, but may be found skirting the Cordillera from northwestern Argentina northward. Click to see big picture (340x480 pixels; 68 KB)
A touch of orange.  This little weed is native, but widespread in the southern Cordillera.  In Chile it is known as Pila-pila, but its latin handle is Modiola caroliniana.  It is poisonous to livestock, but used in folk medicine. pilapila
From moderate ranges of central Chile, this goes by the long-winded name of Corynabutilon ceratocarpum, but the locals call it simply the Abiluton del Cerro, if they call it at all.
A beautiful mallow-type flower from northwestern Peru. Click to see big picture (335x480 pixels; 55 KB)
Alcea rosea by any other name is a Hollyhock. These have escaped in northwestern Argentina, in this case near La Rioja. Click to see big picture (530x480 pixels; 73 KB)
And in the same region, the native Gaya parviflora.  This would make a good garden plant, as both the flowers and pods draw attention. Click to see big picture (549x480 pixels; 91 KB)
Back to the Jaen area of northern Peru.  This bush with branch-top flowers is likely some form of Sida sp. Click to see big picture (640x455 pixels; 100 KB)
Another species with similarities from the Barranca region of west-central Peru. Click to see big picture (640x379 pixels; 99 KB)
Locally called Malvavisco, Sphaeralcea bonariensis thrives mainly to east of the Cordillera, from northern Argentina northward.  Here are two claims to the name, but there are several species of this genus lurking in the area. malvavisco
Known as Malvita del Cerro, Sphaeralcea obtusiloba is native to central Chile.  Somehow it has now been united (or confused with) S. hastulata, a North American species with orange flowers known as Spear Mallow. Click to see big picture (640x411 pixels; 86 KB)
A closer look at the flowers of Malvita del Cerro. Click to see big picture (640x363 pixels; 71 KB)
Known from central and southern Chile, this appears to be Sphaeralcea purpurata.  You can tell it is blooming beside a dusty road. mallow
From the mountains of Salta Province, Cristaria andicola. Click to see big picture (640x377 pixels; 141 KB)
Alas, there are many species of Cristaria in the area ranging from southern Peru to central Chile.  Confusion is heightened by there seeming to be more variation within species than between them.  From photographs it is simply not possible to determine species with any certainty, but here are some suggestions. Click to see big picture (640x451 pixels; 97 KB)
This is very likely Cristaria andicola, as previously noted. Click to see big picture (472x480 pixels; 104 KB)
This northern species with the rough leaves may be Cristaria aspera. Click to see big picture (569x480 pixels; 109 KB)
The leaf shape and pink flowers would at least suggest C. glaucophylla. Click to see big picture (640x346 pixels; 72 KB)
While a somewhat similar leaf with purple flowers may well be one form of C. integerrima Click to see big picture (640x318 pixels; 69 KB)
At least some authors would consider a white-flowered species such as this as Cristaria viridiluteola.  Whatever their latin handles, they are beautiful flowers-- perhaps it is best just to enjoy them. Click to see big picture (528x480 pixels; 80 KB)
A lovely mat-forming member of the family, found in moist areas above 4000 meters altitude in the Yauyos Range of Peru. This appears to be the alpine herb Acaulimalva sulphurea, also known as A. engleriana. mallow mat
This time from Peru's Chila Range near Arequipa, a tall mallow with distinctive white leaves.

BOMBACACEAE was until recently a family which contained some quite remarkable tropical trees.  Alas the family has been demoted and folded into the Mallows.  The two species presented here have a range lapping up onto the eastern edge of the Andes in Peru, Bolivia and northwestern Argentina, but they have been planted well beyond in parks and gardens.

 

 
The trees are called Palo Boracho or in some areas as Toborochi (Ceiba speciosa).  The flowers are spectacular. Click to see big picture (558x480 pixels; 92 KB)
This flower is lighter in color, from near the south end of the trees range near Mendoza, Argentina. Click to see big picture (566x480 pixels; 72 KB)
Although native, it is always easier to find these in the public parks, in this case in San Javier, Bolivia.  It is called Palo Boracho (boracho=drunken) because of its odd shaped trunk.  It certainly looks like a beer-belly. Click to see big picture (321x480 pixels; 85 KB)
The trunks are often green and with large, conical thorns, which are rumored to store water. Click to see big picture (465x480 pixels; 106 KB)
And then there is the fruit, giant pods, often hanging from leafless trees. Click to see big picture (496x480 pixels; 100 KB)
And when these pods burst, there is tree cotton, sometimes known as kapok. Click to see big picture (640x285 pixels; 65 KB)
Tree cotton is considered of inferior quality, but it is still collected in many areas such as here in Peru.  An oil can also be made from the seeds. Click to see big picture (640x344 pixels; 93 KB)
The other species of Palo Boracho is often known as Yuchan (Ceiba Chodatii), and has a very lovely white flower. Click to see big picture (507x480 pixels; 96 KB)
Until recently, the Ceiba genus was known as ChorisiaYuchan has bark and thorns similar to Toborochi. Click to see big picture (404x480 pixels; 88 KB)