DixPix Photographs

     

SOUTH CORDILLERA

 
     
  Flora: SAPINDALES AND ZYGOPHYLLALES  

 

These two botanical orders are closely related, in fact the latter is sometimes included in the former.  Sapindales is named for the Sapindaceae, the Soapberry Family.  Of more interest in the Southern Cordillera is the Cashew Family, Anacardiaceae.  The order also includes the Citrus Family, Rutaceae.

The order Zygophyllales is small, containing only two families, namely its namesake, Zygophyllaceae the Caltrop Family, and the mono-genus Krameraceae.

The Soapberry Family SAPINDACEAE, entails somewhere between 1500 and 2000 species, which include the maples.  Many species have a milky or soapy sap carrying saponins.  It is a largely temperate family, but only marginally represented in the Southern Cordillera.

 

The fruit and flower of Atutemo (Llagunoa glandulosa), native to a limited range in north-central Chile.  It is also called Arbol de Cuentos (tree of stories), perhaps because of the traditional use of its wood to make rosaries. Click to see big picture (544x480 pixels; 91 KB)
Guindilia trinervis, known simply as  Guindilla in its central to somewhat south range in Chile.  The "trinervis" may be seen in the three veins in the leaves. Click to see big picture (455x480 pixels; 83 KB)
From Northern Peru, these flowers and seed pods belong to the Cardiospermum genus, a group of species which goes by names such as Balloon Vine or Love in a Puff. podvine
Despite the Love in a Puff name, these are not used as a hallucinogenic, but rather to make eczema cream. podvine
Judging by the leaves, this tangled Balloon Vine from San Juan Province, Argentina, appears to be the micorcarpum subspecies of the widespread Cardiospermum halicacabum.

RUTACEAE is usually known as the Citrus Family, and citrus fruit need no introduction.  In some areas far from the tropical habitat of these trees, the name Rue Family is in use.

 

 
Ruta chalepensis  is a globetrotting weed, but a handsome one.  It is known as Fringed Rue or African Rue, and has been naturalized through much of Chile and likely elsewhere. Click to see big picture (473x480 pixels; 118 KB)
The Lemon Tree (Citrus limon) is of Asian origin, but spread to Europe and was actually introduced to the Americas by Columbus himself.  It is mainly tropical, but planted all over the place. Click to see big picture (612x480 pixels; 80 KB)
Apparently the orange is an ancient hybrid from Asia, but in all sorts of forms it has taken off.  This is a wild orange thicket on the eastern edge of the Cordillera in Bolivia. Click to see big picture (568x480 pixels; 120 KB)

ANACARDIACEAE is widely known as the Cashew Family, except in some temperate regions which call it the Sumac Family.  It is of moderate size, perhaps some 600 species on the world stage.  It includes the Mango tree, and like that  species, flowers tend to be massed but small compared to the fruit.  Sap and even fruit are often poisonous.  In North America, the family is likely best known for Poison Oak/ Ivy. 

 

 
Schinus molle is native to the Peruvian Andes and northernmost Chile, but has been planted more widely.  Locally it is known as Pimenton or Aguaribay, but in the world at large as the Peruvian Peppertree.  Some who care about such things would split the species into two, the second being S. areira. Click to see big picture (394x480 pixels; 107 KB)
Pimenton berries are widely sold as a flavoring and with medicinal claims, although it is suspected of being mildly toxic.  Click to see big picture (360x480 pixels; 109 KB)
Huingan (Schinus polygamus) is also sometimes known as Boroco.  This is a tree found through much of Chile, with some overlap into Argentina. Click to see big picture (640x456 pixels; 132 KB)
And this is the Huingan fruit.  It is edible and also fermented to make a type of chicha. Click to see big picture (398x480 pixels; 92 KB)
In central Chile, the term Molle often refers to Schinus latifolia, whose massed flowers eventually turn to dark fruit.
Turning now to Chubut Province in Patagonian Argentina, this plant is known locally simply as Molle, and is likely Schinus sp..  The masses of small flowers are typical of the family. Click to see big picture (312x480 pixels; 106 KB)
Another form of Molle from the province of Rio Negro.  Schinus roigii, locally known as Molle Blanco. molle
Molle fruit, and the spiny branches which protect the plant against grazing animals of the Argentine steppes.  This appears to be Shinus johnstonii. Click to see big picture (597x480 pixels; 128 KB)
Galls on Molle and related species form when attacked by a type of wasp.  The holes are cut by the young wasps to escape. Click to see big picture (620x480 pixels; 94 KB)
The flowers and shiny leaves of the infamous Litre (Lithraea caustica).  Although a major constituent of what is left of the native forests of central Chile, contact with this tree has the same effect on many people as the related poison oak. Click to see big picture (640x394 pixels; 112 KB)
Lithraea caustica, the "caustica" should be ample warning.  This common tree has put the native forests of central Chile off limits to many people.  The writer happily seems immune to both this and poison ivy. Click to see big picture (640x407 pixels; 81 KB)
Here is a closer view of the berries of Litre, which may be the most interesting part of this common tree.

ZYGOPHYLLACEAE, the Caltrop Family is a rather small one of roughly 250 species, but widely distributed in both tropical and temperate zones.

 

 
Larrea divaricata, one of the bushes known as Jarilla or as Jarilla embra, is fairly common in south and central Argentina, with scattered occurrences in Chile.  It has not had the dominating effect that its cousin the creosote bush (L. tridentata) has had on the drylands of southwestern U.S. and adjacent Mexico. Click to see big picture (640x467 pixels; 111 KB)
From Rio Negro Province, Jarilla fina, Larrea nitida. larrea nitida
Larrea ameghinoi tends to form mats in the steppes of southern Argentina.  It is referred to as Jarilla Rastrera, when referred to at all. jarilla
Bulnesia chilensis, sometimes known as Retama del Cerro, may be found in the the semi-arid lands of north-central Chile. Click to see big picture (640x425 pixels; 74 KB)
From the drylands of La Rioja Province, Argentina, the pods and flower of Bulnesia retama, which like several other plants is called Retamo.  The branches have a wax covering which was historically collected. retamo
Bulnesia foliosa is known as Retamo Hojudo, the adjectives of both names referring to the fact that this species retains its leaves.  This ranges from northwestern Argentina into Bolivia.
Kallstroemia tribuloides,which is likely a form of K. maxima. Photographed in the drylands of La Rioja Province, Argentina.  Click to see big picture (640x472 pixels; 180 KB)
Tribulus terrestris is known as Caltrop of Puncture Vine, due to the ability of its sharp seeds to puncture bicycle tires.  It has also been popular in natural medicine as a "sexual enhancement".  For one reason or another it has become widespread. caltrop
This looks a lot like Fagonia chilensis, whose range extends from northern Chile into Peru, but was photographed somewhat south of that. Click to see big picture (574x480 pixels; 101 KB)

KRAMERIACEAE is a very small family of about 17 species in a single genus, distributed about the Americas.  Most, if not all, are thought to be root parasites.

 

 
Krameria cistoidea is quite common in northern Chile, and likely into Peru.  The local name is Pacul. Click to see big picture (640x420 pixels; 131 KB)
A closer look at the rather unique Pacul flower. Click to see big picture (378x480 pixels; 65 KB)