DixPix Photographs

     

SOUTH CORDILLERA

 
     
  Flora:  PINKS AND AMARANTHS  

 

The CARYOPHYLLACEAE is known as either the Pink Family or the Carnation Family.  It is moderately large, with roughly 2000 species, and gives its name to a diverse and important botanical order, the Caryophyllales.  It is dominantly populated by plants from temperate climates, but almost all are native to the northern hemisphere, especially the Mediterranean region. There are a few native species in the Southern Cordillera, but more prominent are naturalized garden flowers or just plain weeds.  With few exceptions, the flowers are neither large nor showy.  Most 'pinks' are really white.

The Amaranth Family, Amaranthaceae, is considered closely related to the Pink Family, and what is available from this group is included.

Cerastium species tend to be called Chickweeds on the world stage.  This one, with unbranched stems in a wet alpine location in central Chile is likely the native species Cerastium humifusum.  It occurs in the central Andes of both Chile and Argentina Click to see big picture (591x480 pixels; 161 KB)
While this would be Cerastium arvense, the Field Chickweed.  It is a widespread, European weed, and in Latin America sometimes referred to as Cerastio or Cuernecita.  Photo from Patagonia. Click to see big picture (434x480 pixels; 85 KB)
Cerastium fontanum, the Mouse Ear Chickweed is also a widespread, European weed, in this case reaching Patagonian Argentina. Click to see big picture (409x480 pixels; 58 KB)
From the steppes of Rio Negro Province, Argentina, more chickweeds. chickweed
Yet another chickweed with a world-wide distribution in temperate climates, Cerastium glomeratum. Click to see big picture (640x436 pixels; 71 KB)
Stellaria media also gets called a chickweed as it ranges far from its native Europe, but in addition carries the name Stitchwort. Click to see big picture (358x480 pixels; 50 KB)
There is a native stitchwort, Stellaria arvalis, which occurs over most of Chile and in western Argentina.  The local name is Quilloi-quilloi. Click to see big picture (640x337 pixels; 61 KB)
Another species of stitchwort from 3500 meters in the western ranges of Peru, with hairy leaves and a purple anther. stitchwort
Finally some color.  Silene andicola approx. is native to southern Chile and Argentina.  Plants of this genus tend to go by the names of Campion or Catchfly in English, and Calabalcillo locally.  Some unite this species with Silene mandonii. Click to see big picture (456x480 pixels; 43 KB)
Silene gallica is an introduced weed that ranges widely in the southern Cordillera. Click to see big picture (563x480 pixels; 89 KB)
And Silene pratensis, known as White Cockle, has been introduced into southern Argentina, perhaps as a garden flower originally. Click to see big picture (557x480 pixels; 76 KB)
From the high ranges of Salta, Argentina, a white-flowered cushion plant, likely Arenaria rivularis.  A wine-leach of this species is reported to be used to treat gall-stones. Click to see big picture (520x480 pixels; 157 KB)
Another cushion plant from the Altiplano, in this case in Peru.  Likely Pycnophyllum bryoides, known as Yaretilla, also spelled Llaretilla. Click to see big picture (541x480 pixels; 121 KB)
A close view of the flowers of Yaretilla. Click to see big picture (538x480 pixels; 141 KB)

AMARANTHACEAE,  the Amaranth Family was, until recently, a group of roughly 900 species of mainly small-flowered plants and weeds.  Then, however, the 'powers that be' decided to dump the Goosefoot Family, Chenopodaceae into this group.  As the Goosefoots were a larger family and contained some important species such as beets and spinach, it might seem that the dump should have been in the opposite direction.  But the gods have spoken.  Neither family are of great importance in the southern Cordillera.

 

 
Amaranthus retroflexus has taken hold in central Chile and likely elsewhere.  On the world stage it has odd names such as Redroot Pigweed. Click to see big picture (319x480 pixels; 56 KB)
Known as Diamante (diamond), Alternanthera sp. from La Rioja Province of Argentina. Click to see big picture (640x454 pixels; 89 KB)
There is a more colorful sibling, Alternanthera porrigens, known as Rubi.  It is native to northern Chile, Peru and Bolivia, and seems to have been exported, with good reason. Click to see big picture (640x372 pixels; 68 KB)

The late Goosefoot Family, CHENOPODIACEAE, contained roughly 1300 species, many in saline habitats.  It has now been folded into the Amaranth family.

 

 
Atriplex lampa is endemic to  western Argentina. The color is from specialized leaves, not flowers.  The local name is Sampa. Click to see big picture (640x475 pixels; 145 KB)
Chenopodium ambrosioides is apparently now re-billed as Dysphania ambrosioides.  It is native, although widespread in the Americas.   Known as Paico, it is used in folk medicine. Click to see big picture (640x391 pixels; 107 KB)
With red stems in the upper Melado Valley, Chile, this is likely Chenopodium philippianum.  Found at altitude in south-central Chile and locally in Argentina, it is known Chapir. Click to see big picture (640x372 pixels; 128 KB)
An unidentifed Chenopodium with saline resistance from a Chilean beach.
This plant from south of Santiago, looks a lot like a goosefoot of some sort Click to see big picture (640x435 pixels; 112 KB)
Finally a photo that shows that even Russian Thistle, or Cardo Ruso (Salsola kali), a global invasive weed from Eurasia, can be attractive.  This tumbleweed has invaded the south of both Argentina and Chile. Click to see big picture (640x430 pixels; 159 KB)
From a coastal marsh at the town of Bucalemu in Chile, this is a Glasswort by the name of Sarcocornia (or Salicornia) fruticosa.  The local name is Sosa alacranera.