DixPix Photographs

     

SOUTH CORDILLERA

 
     
  Flora:  THE BRASSICALES ORDER  

 

Brassicales is an order of plants named for the Mustard Family, Brassicaceae (formerly Crucifera).  In the southern Cordillera, this family is represented almost entirely by foreign weeds, some of which were originally imported for food or medicinal reasons.  In this region, there are two other families in that Order, namely Tropaeolaceae, the Nasturtium Family of beautiful vines, and Cariacea, the Papaya Family.

 

It's called Yuyo (Brassica campestris or B. Rapa) and it is a major weed in Chile and an item throughout the region.  This is a European crop plant, exploited for edible leaves and roots and seed oil.  Names include Field Mustard and Wild Turnip. Click to see big picture (288x480 pixels; 70 KB)
A field of mustard near the town of Coyhaique, southern Chile. Click to see big picture (640x421 pixels; 117 KB)
Black Mustard (Brassica nigra) is a notorious weed which can also turn hillsides yellow.  It is appreciated in some parts of the world for its seed oil and edible leaves.  Mostaza Negra is the local name.
Known as Falso Yuyo locally and Bastard Cabbage elsewhere, Rapistrum rugosum is a widespread and less welcome weed imported from Europe. Click to see big picture (640x432 pixels; 96 KB)
A look at the whole plant, the leaves suggest Falso Yuyo again. Click to see big picture (289x480 pixels; 81 KB)
Hirschfeldia incana is an aggresive weed which has been given a genus of its own.  It is native to the Mediterranean, where it is known as Rabaniza amarilla.
Hedge Mustard (Sisymbrium officinale) is another imported weed that seems to have spread around the world.  In folk medicine it has been used as a diuretic and laxative. Click to see big picture (441x480 pixels; 86 KB)
The odd shape of the seeds indicate Menonvillea sp., a genus with many species in north-central Chile.  This is from near Socos. menonvillea
The Wild Radish (Rhaphanus sativus) or Rabano is another major invasive weed that has populated many parts of the world. Click to see big picture (640x269 pixels; 87 KB)
On closer inspection, the flower of the Wild Radish is attractive, if it was only not so damn common. Click to see big picture (473x480 pixels; 84 KB)
The enjoyment of Watercress goes back into antiquity, and it has long escaped cultivation to infest slow waterways through much of the world.  Nasturtium officinale is known as Berros de Agua in South America.
The is Woad, also known as  Dyer's Woad (Isatis tinctoria) and locally as Glasto or Glastum.  A native of central Asia, it was widely used as a blue dye, but has found a home in south and central Chile. Click to see big picture (591x480 pixels; 173 KB)
A closer view of the Woad flowers.  For some reason it is also known as the Asp of Jerusalem. Click to see big picture (391x480 pixels; 100 KB)
Although not much to look at, this is an aggressive weed from Eurasia.  The most common names are Whitetop and Hoary Cress (Lepidium draba). Click to see big picture (354x480 pixels; 101 KB)
From Patagonian Argentina, a diminutive mustard with long pods.  Locally it is simply called Mostascillo, but apparently appreciated as a condiment. Click to see big picture (417x480 pixels; 85 KB)
Even smaller, is this minute Draba-like species, huddled against the Patagonian winds in Rio Negro Province. micro mustard
And from a town in the same area, this is a weed with two distinctive styles of leaves. unk. mustard

The Nasturtium Family, Tropaeolacae, is a relatively small family with three genera worldwide, but Chile seems to be a center of diversity for its signature genus Tropaeolum.  There are said to be about 24 species in the country, almost all flowering vines, and the problem at hand is to tell the species apart.  Local names point to the way flowers line up along vines and include Soldaditos (little soldiers), Relicarios (shrines) and Pajaritos (little birds).  The latter name is also used for other flowers.

This section has been kindly reviewed and corrected by John and Anitia Watson.

 

 
Your garden-variety Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) with the round leaves is not a native of the region, but it has escaped to naturalize in central Chile and likely elsewhere. Click to see big picture (571x480 pixels; 113 KB)
One species that is easy to recognize is Tropaeolum azureum.  Its impressive blue to purple flowers are unusually open for this genus.  Known as the Pajarito Azul, it may be found in north-central Chile, and reportedly in Argentina.  Unlike others of its genus, this is said to be beetle pollinated. Click to see big picture (598x480 pixels; 98 KB)
Tropaeolum leptophyllum is mainly an alpine plant from the central to southern Andes. Click to see big picture (640x405 pixels; 126 KB)
This dark yellow species is probably a hybrid between T. leptophyllyum and something else.  Yellow species are typically referred to as Soldadito Amarillo. Click to see big picture (640x376 pixels; 125 KB)
Tropaeolum hookerianum ssp hookerianum is here gracing the "quisco" cacti.  It seems confined to the region north of Santiago. Click to see big picture (638x480 pixels; 136 KB)
Tropaeolum brachyceras seems confined to the area of Santiago in central Chile. Click to see big picture (464x480 pixels; 75 KB)
This appears to be the Atacaman species Tropaeolum beuthii. Click to see big picture (640x456 pixels; 114 KB)
A vine of Tropaeolum speciosum goes to seed the the coastal mountains of central Chile.  The petals have withered, and only the calyx and the forming berries remain.
Returning to the area west of Santiago, a mass of what is known as Tropaeolum x tenuirostre.  This is apparently a common hybrid between the brachyceras and tricolor species. Click to see big picture (508x480 pixels; 116 KB)
The bright colors and closed flowers of Tropaeolum tricolor may be encountered through most of Chile. Click to see big picture (640x454 pixels; 69 KB)
There have been some eleven subspecies of Tropaeolum tricolor proposed, albeit not presently accepted.  This widespread variety with the green mouth may be one of them or something different.  The caterpillar does not appear concerned with taxonomy. Click to see big picture (352x480 pixels; 73 KB)
From Patagonian Argentina, a plant locally called Macachin due to an edible root.  That name is usually applied to Arjona tuberosa, an entirely different plant.  There is also a Tropaeolum tuberosum which is edible, but this appears to be something else again. Click to see big picture (326x480 pixels; 62 KB)
The Macachin root.  Macachin in an indigenous word and appears to be applied to several small, edible tubers or 'papitas'. Click to see big picture (414x480 pixels; 128 KB)
And while in Patagonia, vines such as this are called Magallana, likely Magallana sp.   After a look at the genes of that genus, however it was drowned in the Tropaeolum.  This is likely T. porifolium, or perhaps T. trialatum.

The Papaya Family (Caricaceae) is a small one, comprising about 30 species, all but two of which are native to the Americas.

 

 
The Papaya itself (Carica papaya) is a native of the neotropics, but it has been so widely planted that it may be found wherever the weather is warm enough.  It is now the only member of the Carica genus.  This photo shows the female flowers turning into papayas. Click to see big picture (524x480 pixels; 86 KB)
And these are the male Papaya flowers. Click to see big picture (525x480 pixels; 92 KB)
A Mitos tree (Vasconcellea candicans) in the mountains of west-central Peru, is also a member of the Caricaceae. Click to see big picture (338x480 pixels; 78 KB)
The male flowers of the Mitos tree. Click to see big picture (531x480 pixels; 109 KB)
The fruit of the Mitos shows its kinship to the papaya.  When ripe they turn red and are edible. Click to see big picture (484x480 pixels; 57 KB)