DixPix Photographs

     

SOUTH CORDILLERA

 
     
  Flora: THE ROSE FAMILY  

 

In the world at large, there are some 150 genera and maybe 3500 species in the ROSE FAMILY, Rosaceae. This is a family well adapted to temperate climates , but is mainly native to the northern hemisphere.  There are a limited number or species in the Southern Cordillera, and a major portion of these are imported.  That should be no surprise, considering the usefulness of this family in feeding the world and supplying flowers of importance.

 

Rosa Mosqueta, what could be more Chilean, with a spillover into Argentina?  Widely presented as Rosa moschata, the hips make great jellies and the oil from the seeds are use to promote wound healing (it works!),  and with less promise, put in skin creams to prevent aging. Click to see big picture (586x480 pixels; 124 KB)
BIG PROBLEM.  Rosa moschata is actually a white rose (Musk Rose) from the Himalayas.  Apparently this plant, which is rampant in south and central Chile, may be two species.  Usually it is considered Rosa rubiginosa, known in its native Eurasia as Sweetbrier, and beloved for perfumes and oils. Click to see big picture (469x480 pixels; 73 KB)
But Rosa canina, is also listed for southern Chile and Argentina.  As far as I can make out they look very similar, here are its hips.  It is known as the Dog Rose-- try putting that on a jar of expensive skin cream.  Another European refugee, but one which has travelled to many parts of the world. Click to see big picture (510x480 pixels; 91 KB)
Both these species come with big sharp teeth, and they are recurved (facing down-stem).  They are scrambling roses, and the long, exploratory leaders that they put out can act as a rip-saw for those passing on horse-back or on bicycles. Click to see big picture (309x480 pixels; 54 KB)
This white rose has escaped near Salamanca, Chile and is forming brambles in the wild.  It has a pink blush, perhaps R. micrantha or R. sicala. white rose
And in the context of imports, hawthorn bushes are widely used as hedges in the agricultural areas of Chile and elsewhere.  The most popular is Crataegus monogyna, the Common Hawthorn. Click to see big picture (640x380 pixels; 94 KB)
The fruit which follow these flowers are called Haws in the Eurasian regions to which hawthorns are native.   Edible, they are used for making everything from jellies to liquors.  No wonder it has been widely planted. Click to see big picture (353x480 pixels; 88 KB)
There are many species of Crataegus, and hence of Hawthorns used in making fences.  This one from near Curico, Chile. Click to see big picture (640x442 pixels; 108 KB)
Another introduced tree from southwest Asia is Quince, Cydonia oblongata, which in Latin America has  become known as Membrillo.  Like haws, the fruit is used for everything from jellies to liquors, but in Chile is mostly boiled down to blocks called Dulce de Membrillo. membrillo
The flowers of the Membrillo tree are downright beautiful.  Widely planted, I have not heard of it naturalizing, but with fruit and flowers like these, that should be promoted. Click to see big picture (519x480 pixels; 77 KB)
The Nispero, Eriobotrya japonica, is Chinese in origin, but was named for Japan and is now widely grown and appreciated.  It is one of the more popular fruits in Chile and other countries of the southern cone, and appears to have naturalized in some areas. nispero
Fruit of the Prunus genus such as cherries, peaches and apricots are the backbone of many orchards in Chile's central valley, but I have not seen signs of them naturalizing with the exception of these small but very tasty Wild Plums, presumably Prunus americana.
Strawberries, known as Frutilla, are native to Chile and Argentina, in fact the latin name for the local species is Fragaria chiloensis.  Oddly, this species is also common in northwestern North American, especially along the coasts.  Odder still, this has been found to hybridized with the genus Potentilla, and may be in the process of becoming Potentilla chiloensis. Click to see big picture (417x480 pixels; 70 KB)
A fuller view of the widespread Fragaria Chiloensis, named for the island of Chiloe.  Apparently someone in Chile published before the gringos.
The Andean Raspberry (Rubus glaucus approx.) is known as Frambueso Sylvestre in western Peru. Click to see big picture (503x480 pixels; 121 KB)
Blackberries are a major problem in Chile and parts of Argentina, as elsewhere on earth.  Here the main villain is the Elmleaf Blackberry, Rubus ulmifolius, a European import.  Known simply as Mora, they are appreciated for their fruit, but cursed for the way they take over territory.
A striking flower, Geum magellanicum may be found in the south and central Andes of both Chile and Argentina. Its most common local name is Hierba de Clavo (clove herb). Click to see big picture (640x443 pixels; 97 KB)
A closer look at the Geum magellanicum flower.  It also goes by its indigenous name of Llallante.  It is starting to be noticed in gardening, for obvious reasons. Click to see big picture (630x480 pixels; 105 KB)
Oddly, Geum magellanicum also has a yellow form, and here it is south of Cerro Castillo in patagonian Chile.
This thorny shrub tends to be known as Horizonte in Chile and Espina Pescada in southern Argentina.  Tetraglochin alatum by any name is unfriendly, and noteworthy mainly for its unusual seed cases. Click to see big picture (640x370 pixels; 95 KB)
Potentilla anserina is widely known as Silverweed in Europe and North America, and as Goosewort in herbal medicine circles.  Whether for remedies or for its edible root, it has been transplanted to a new home in south-central Argentina.  By some wierd fluke, the plant is now being called Argentina anserina in certain taxonomic circles. Click to see big picture (604x480 pixels; 101 KB)
The distinctive genus Acaena is known in its typical range of south-central Chile and western Argentina by names such as Prun,and Cadillo.  This species from Volcan Osorno in the Chilean Lake District is A. magellanica.  Although named for the far south, it may be found in the Cordillera as far north as Bolivia. prun
And here is another version of Prun, Acaena ovalifolia, which ranges through the Cordillera of southern South America.   Photo from Tortel, Chilean Patagonia.
Acaena pinnatifida is also a citizen of Patagonia, but it is mainly a roadside weed that produces small burrs, and is nothing much to look at.
It is less obvious why anyone would have brought the invasive Hardhack (Spiraea douglasii) from northwestern North America to southern Chile. Click to see big picture (272x480 pixels; 66 KB)
From northern Europe and Asia, the Rowan Tree or Mountain Ash (Sorbus aucuparia) has been planted in many parts of the world, including southern Argentina.  The berries are not edible, but the birds love them and help spread the species. Click to see big picture (640x392 pixels; 112 KB)
It is the striking white berries that gives Margyricarpus pinnatus its name of Hierba de la Perlilla.  It may be found up into the alpine zone in western Argentina and central Chile. perlilla
The wind-pollinated Queñua (Polylepis besseri). This genus found a great altitude in Peru and Bolivia.  In fact one species holds the altitude record for woody plants at about 4600 meters.  They have proved so important in the high Andes, that their foliage appears on the Peruvian flag. Click to see big picture (530x480 pixels; 96 KB)
The Bollen tree (Kageneckia oblonga) is native to south-central Chile.  Its medical uses include a supposed ability to prevent hair-loss, and the wood is appreciate for tool making. Click to see big picture (640x464 pixels; 142 KB)
The light green foliage, attractive flowers and these unusual seeds have made Bollen a favorite for gardens and parks. Click to see big picture (566x480 pixels; 103 KB)

QUILLAJACEAE.  In the murky world of taxonomy, there are those who would wrench the well-loved Quillay tree from the Rose Family and invent a new one for it.  To add further insult, this family would not even be in the Order named for the roses, but rather that dominated by the peas.  Looking at the similarities between the Quillay and Bollen seeds, however, I suspect things are still to be settled.

 

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Quillaja saponaria is known as the Soap Bark Tree in English, but simply as Quillay in its native range of Chile and southern Peru.  A powder made from the inner bark lathers in water due to substances called saponins, and may be used as a soap and related sprays. Click to see big picture (613x480 pixels; 131 KB)
Beside being a favorite tree for parks and streets, etc., Quillay is appreciated for its wood of cabinetry grade, for making perfumes, and for use in both folk medicine and modern pharmaceuticals.  This shows its unusual flower as it opens up. Click to see big picture (640x435 pixels; 92 KB)
And finally produces a five-lobed seed pod. Click to see big picture (565x480 pixels; 77 KB)
The pods dry out, release their seeds, but remain for a considerable time on the tree as an added decoration. Here the winged seeds are being freed. Click to see big picture (420x480 pixels; 72 KB)