DixPix Photographs

     

SOUTH CORDILLERA

 
     
  Flora: PROTEACEAE & ESCALLONIACEAE  

 

This page presents two plant families which are dominated by bushes from the southern hemisphere.  The Proteaceae has given its name to its botanical order, and while the Escalloniaceae is in a sort of taxonomic limbo at time of writing, there are calls for a new order called Escalloniales.

PROTEACEAE is a family of moderate size but unusual variability, involving some 2000 species which are largely native to the southern hemisphere.  Many of these have attractive flowers, but most are from regions more tropical than the Southern Cordillera.

 

One of the most attractive shrubs or small trees in southern Chile and Argentina is Embothrium coccineum.  Its spectacular flowers have engendered many local names.  Notro is the most common, but Fosforitos (little matches) is also popular. Click to see big picture (640x369 pixels; 104 KB)
A close-up of the Notro flowers.  The plant is also known as Ciruelillo. Click to see big picture (623x480 pixels; 125 KB)
And the final results of these flowers look a lot like beans. Click to see big picture (627x480 pixels; 96 KB)
Avellano (Gevuina avellana) is a small tree with an unusually complex flower stalk. Click to see big picture (640x475 pixels; 105 KB)
Another look at the Avellano flower and foliage.  This is a tree of both southern Chile and Argentina. Click to see big picture (640x435 pixels; 104 KB)
When ripe, the Avellano fruit turns reddish, and is edible, usually served toasted. Click to see big picture (449x480 pixels; 69 KB)
A truly ugly fungus killing Avellano trees in south-central Chile. Click to see big picture (568x480 pixels; 106 KB)
Lomatia dentata is another tree from the south of Chile and Argentina.  Its flowers are not as complex as Avellano, but rather weird.  It is sometimes called Avellanillo, but in its home range the term Piñol seems more common. Click to see big picture (592x480 pixels; 100 KB)
Lomatia ferruginea or Fuinque is a citizen of western Patagonia, here showing off its unusual foliage in the valley of Rio Exploradores. 
Orites myrtoidea is a hardy shrub found in central and south Chile, where it is known as Radal Enano.  The seeds are more striking than the flowers, especially when they turn red-brown at maturity. Click to see big picture (385x480 pixels; 105 KB)
The spectactular Australian tree, Grevillea robusta, has been widely planted in the southern Cordillera, in this case in Salamanca, Chile.  For some reason it is usually called Silk Oak in English, but simply Grevillea locally. silkoak

ESCALLONIACEAE is a small family, which can boast only some 130 species world-wide.  Its main claim to fame is that several species have been used in gardening in temperate zones, and are employed especially for hedges.

In the southern Cordillera the genus Escallonia has several native species, several varieties to some species, and several local names.  The most widespread name seems to be Ñipa, but Yang-yang and Siete Camisas (seven shirts) are common if odd alternatives.

 

 
Escallonia pulverulenta has a larger flower stalk than most others of its genus, and in its range of central and southern Chile, it has earned the name of Madroño. Click to see big picture (460x480 pixels; 89 KB)
A closer look at Madroño's impressive floral display. Click to see big picture (234x480 pixels; 52 KB)
This appears to be Escallonia leucantha, which is encountered in the south of both Chile and Argentina.  Photo from south of the Cerro Castillo area, patagonian Chile. Click to see big picture (322x480 pixels; 50 KB)
From the Andes of Chile and Argentina, this is Escallonia virgata.  Those strange seed pods are at least as colorful as the flowers. escallonia virgata
Escallonia virgata is more commonly found in Patagonia, and here is a younger version of the flowers therefrom.
Escallonia myrtilloides occurs from Peru and Bolivia down into northwestern Argentina.   In this case, however, it is ensconced at the botanical gardens of Univ. of Berkeley.  Click to see big picture (519x480 pixels; 88 KB)
An Escallonia of somewhat similar appearance blooming near the town of Aija in western Peru.  Here this genus is referred to as Chachacomo.

Most Escallonia flowers are either white or pink, but those of E. alpina can occur in stripes.  As the name suggests, this species can be found to altitude in the Cordillera, but there are three varieties or subspecies to confuse things.

Click to see big picture (272x480 pixels; 69 KB)
Pink Escallonias are usually called Ñipa Rojo, and the most common in Chile and Argentina is Escallonia rubra.  With five different official varieties or subspecies, there may be a tendency to throw all red examples under this heading, which might be unwarranted.  Is there such a thing as Escallonia roseaEscallonia rubra var. macrantha seems to be gaining traction. Click to see big picture (577x480 pixels; 87 KB)
Here is a full view of Escallonia rubra macrantha, which others may well call E. rosea.  Photo from Patagonia.  The taxonomy is a mess.
The constricted and dark red examples are more clearly Escallonia rubra.  Here is a narrow-leaved variety from the Melado Valley of Chile. Click to see big picture (640x430 pixels; 93 KB)
And finally another form of Ñipa Rojo from near the Chilean town of Pucon. Click to see big picture (534x480 pixels; 72 KB)