DixPix Photographs

     

SOUTH CORDILLERA

 
     
  Flora: THE VERBENA FAMILY  

 

Trying to sort out the Verbena Family (Verbenaceae) is a thankless job.  There are three genera, namely Junellia, Glandularia and Verbena which claim many species in the Southern Cordillera, especially in Argentina.  The problem is, that to the layman, the three genera look much the same.  This does not appear to be confined to laymen-- the more widespread species typically have been described by presumed authorities under a number of different names, including different genera from what they are now tagged.  Before getting into that quagmire, let's start with some more distinctive species.

 

Aloysia gratissima ranges from the southern USA to Argentina, in this case Mendoza area.  It is popular for its odor, and in Latin America goes by names such as Cedron del Monte.  In English, the mindless term Whitebrush dominates. Click to see big picture (507x480 pixels; 74 KB)
Aloysia citriodora (or A. triphylla) is another pleasant-smelling member of that genus (it used to be filed under Lippia), from northwest Argentina.  It is known as Lemon Verbena, but locally as Hierba Luisa.  It has now been widely planted. Click to see big picture (348x480 pixels; 86 KB)
Aloysia triphylla is thought by many to be a synonym of A. citriodora.  Native to Argentina and Chile, it is greatly appreciated in the latter under the name of Cedron, both as a medicinal tea and as a condiment.  This branch was intercepted on its way to a stew. cedron
Tomillo de la Sierra (Acantholippia seriphioides) is a slow-growing member of Argentina's Patagonian community, where it is sometimes known as Andean Thyme, and used to make an aromatic tea. Click to see big picture (640x438 pixels; 145 KB)
In the same regions of Patagonia, mat-forming verbenas go by the name of Te Andino (Andean tea).  There are likely two species here, but of similar habit. Click to see big picture (525x480 pixels; 139 KB)
And this one is called Te de Burro, but I suspect several herbs get that name. Click to see big picture (640x420 pixels; 120 KB)
Another Verbena mat in an equally stressing environment, from over 4000 meters altitude in the southern Cordillera Occidental of Peru. verbena
Repu fruit (Rhaphithamnus spinosus) is the Patagonian answer to blueberries.  It is also known as Arrayan Macho, and is found in the south of both Chile and Argentina.  No guess as to edibility. Click to see big picture (616x480 pixels; 115 KB)
A closer look at the Repu blueberries.
In the Andes of south and central Chile and Argentina, the Retama del Cordillera (Diostea juncea) is one of the most spectacular Verbena.  Click to see big picture (462x480 pixels; 104 KB)
A closer look at the Retama del Cordillera flower cluster.  Click to see big picture (455x480 pixels; 66 KB)
This plant of unusual appearance is known locally as Tiqui-tiqui (Phyla reptans).  The photo is from Peru, but it also occurs in northern Chile.  May be a synonym of the widespread P. fruticosa, according to some authorities. Click to see big picture (501x480 pixels; 96 KB)
From high in the ranges southeast of Lima, a purple-centered species. verbena
Phyla canescens, from near the town of Los Vilos, Chile. Click to see big picture (453x480 pixels; 121 KB)
From northern Peru, a pink Lantana on a strange 4-way structured plant.  This appears to be a species of Lippia. pink lantana
A pure white Lantana from northern Peru.  It looks like L. montevidensis, var. alba, but there are a lot of Lantana species. Click to see big picture (640x454 pixels; 84 KB)
The more normal variety of Lantana Montevidensis is found in gardens under the name of Trailing Lantana.  In this case the San Francisco Bot. Gardens.  Its native range is largely to east of the southern Andes. Click to see big picture (640x424 pixels; 108 KB)
Somewhere between a garden flower and a globe-trotting weed, Lantana camara has arisen from tropical America to inhabit all but the coldest parts of planet earth.  There are many color variations. lantana
On to the foot-soldiers of the verbenas.  Known simply as Verbena Blanca, this specimen from near Combarbala in Chile is likely Glandularia porrigens, which has a restricted range in north-central parts of the country. Click to see big picture (640x462 pixels; 100 KB)
Although a child of the tropics, the bright red Glandularia peruviana is found along the eastern skirts of the Cordillera in Peru, Bolivia and northwestern Argentina.
More widespread is the elongated Glandularia origenes.  This is from central Peru, but it is also found in northern Chile and northwestern Argentina.  For some reason it is known as Rica-rica. Click to see big picture (464x480 pixels; 144 KB)
The succulent leaves of this northern Chile plant suggests Junellia selaginoides. junellia selaginoides
Verbena de la Cordillera (Junellia erinacea) appox.  In this case the Cordillera above Mendoza, but it pops up on both sides of the central Andes. Click to see big picture (419x480 pixels; 93 KB)
A similar foliage may be seen on this unidentified species in southern Argentina. Click to see big picture (538x480 pixels; 126 KB)
From central Rio Negro Province, Argentina, a thorny species.  Do not sit here. spiny verbena
And while in Patagonia, this is an unusual creeping species.  Postings on the Web have identified this as Junellia micrantha. Click to see big picture (640x453 pixels; 195 KB)
However, at the Botanical Gardens at UBC, they have this dwarf variety marked as Junellia micrantha.  It happens to be a dead ringer for one of those called Te Andino in Patagonia--  see above.  Confused yet? Click to see big picture (604x480 pixels; 150 KB)
And while at UBC, this is apparently Junellia tridens, which in its native range of southern Argentina and Chile tends to be called Mata Negra (but so do several other species). Click to see big picture (492x480 pixels; 99 KB)
Sometimes referred to as Escobilla del Campo, Junellia scoparia approx. is an alpine flower, found in the central Andes of both Chile and Argentina. Click to see big picture (485x480 pixels; 104 KB)
Mata Dulce (Junellia ligustrina) tends to stay on the Argentine side of the southern Andes.  The four-petal arrangement speaks to the versatility of the verbenas. Click to see big picture (525x480 pixels; 96 KB)
Junellia lavandulifolia approx. is one of several ball-headed alpine verbenas, but this one is rumored to prefer the Chilean exposure in the central Andes. Click to see big picture (493x480 pixels; 92 KB)
Verbena litoralis is a widespread weed.  While that "litoralis" handle often denotes a seashore habit, this thing can range to 2000 meters altitude. Click to see big picture (640x468 pixels; 120 KB)
From western Peru, this large and hairy, four-petal species fits the description of Junellia (or verbena) fasciculata. Click to see big picture (563x480 pixels; 122 KB)
Verbena bonariensis is a tall, striking plant, native from Columbia down to Argentina and Chile.  It has been doing the garden circuit under various names, and is now more widely spread.  It is very difficult to tell from V. litoralis, but only bonariensis seems to have made it to here in Tanzania. verbena
Verbena corymbosa can occur in two different colors.  We are back to UBC.  It is at home in southern Chile. Click to see big picture (640x465 pixels; 108 KB)
Now we are in the ranges of central Peru, Aija Province.  There are those who would call this Verbena pogstoma, although that does seem a widely acknowledged name. 
This long-tubed species from Patagonian Argentina demonstrates the color variation that sometimes occurs within the flowers of one plant.  This might be Glandularia macrosperma. Click to see big picture (640x391 pixels; 149 KB)
One last return to UBC Bot. Garden for Verbena rigida, called Sandpaper Verbena.  Its native range tends to be to east of the Andes proper. Click to see big picture (640x389 pixels; 99 KB)
This roadside weed near Chilecito, Argentina, sports Verbena-like flowers in a style unusual for the family.
On the other hand this weed hangs out at about 4500 meters altitude in the Chila Range of southern Peru.  It is unusual in that some of the centers are lighter and some darker.
And finally a very beautiful and very unidentified species from high in the Cordillera Negra of Peru. Click to see big picture (389x480 pixels; 65 KB)

The VALERIAN FAMILY (Valerianaceae) is not even of the same order as the Verbenas, but the Valeriana genus that is of importance in the Southern Cordillera tends to look similar, especially to those Verbena with ball-clusters of flowers.

 

 
But there is one alpine species which cannot be confused.  This is Valeriana macrorhiza which graces the Andes of central and south Chile and Argentina. Click to see big picture (572x480 pixels; 166 KB)
Valeriana rigida does not look like a valeriana at all, in fact some would put it in the genus Phyllactis.  This is from 4500 meters altitude in the Cordillera Negra of Peru, where it is known as Quara-quara. quara-quara