Chile Flora ~ Lake District Chile
Native Trees, flowers, shrubs
Chile Flora comes into its own during November's long, sunny Spring days in Chile's Lake District. Native and non-native plants (trees, flowers, shrubs) come into bloom in and around PN Vicente Perez Rosales national park, Puerto Varas and Puerto Montt. Fields and parks were ablaze with springtime blooms! Purple lilacs, yellow ulix and tiny daisy-type flowers, and many more, made a colourful show against the deep green trees -- Oregon pines, coihue (beech), arrayan (a type of myrtle), ulmo, and the wonderful monkey puzzle tree that's native to southern Chile. In summer (late December, January, February) or Fall (March, April, May) different flowers will be in bloom.
Trumpet Flowers (floripondio) tree east of Puerto Varas Chile
About halfway between Puerto Varas and the national park, a laneway leads to a hillside farm where llamas and sheep wander between the house and the barn.
This trumpet tree in full bloom brightened the lawn.
My guide for this day called it floripondio (Brugmansia sanguinea).
It is a cultivated tree, not wild native. At night, I was informed, the flowers give off a wonderful scent. (See the next photo for the fruit.)
I later read in the Wade Davis book about Haiti, The Serpent and The Rainbow, about pharmacologically active plants, about what I believe is this tree.
Davis is writing about the tree datura of the genus Brugmansia, planted as an ornamental:
"These are short, gnarly trees almost invariably covered by large, pendulous trumpet-shaped flowers. Though quite distinct in appearance from the spindly datura shrubs, they share the same active chemical principles and are equally toxic if ingested."
Floripondio Fruits ~ Datura Tree South Chile
Already some of the trumpet tree flowers had borne fruit that was now hanging pendulously from the stems.
Davis continues, in the same book noting that:
". . . same species used by the curanderos of northern Peru, the one known as cimora. I knew that the tree datura were native to South America and had only recently been introduced to Haiti."
Non- Native Chile Flora Camellia Tree Near Puerto Varas
Dense foliage and branches on this (cultivated not native) camellia tree cry out for a good pruning.
I believe it is Camellia japonica, a relative of the tea plant.
The foliage was so thick that, at first, the flowers are barely noticeable.
Camellia Blossoms : Chile Flora Puerto Varas Area
The closer view in this photo gives a better look at the Camellia leaves -- glossy and thick -- and their shape, as well as the tightly-petalled flowers.
Gunnera in early spring In Chile Lake District National Park
This rhubarb-like plant found growing along the roadside in soil that seemed mostly sand and gravel had striking red flower spikes that were the largest blooms of all the native plants I had seen.
This plant was identified as Ruta graveolens; Gunnera.
I understood it to be edible.
In November, it was about 2 feet across; by late summer, it could well be much larger, and taller.
NOTE: In Costa Rica, there are enormous gunnera plants growing near the top of the volcanoes, too, similar to the location near the top of a volcano where this one was.
Llanten in blossom ~ Folk Remedy ~ National Park Lake District Chile
Scattered along the roadside leading up Volcano Osorno in Vicente Perez Rosales National Park, were these delicate flowered llanten (pronounced jan-ten).
Llanten flowers are used as a medicinal herbal tea that is drunk to remedy upset stomachs and diarrhea, or gargled to cure sore throats and mouth infections.
The cooked llanten leaves and liquid are used as a disinfectant for minor cuts and scrapes.
Scotch Broom in Bloom ~ Chile in Springtime
From a distance, the yellow blossoms splashed across fields and woodlands brightened the landscape, but it took a closer look at the blossom in order to identify precisely which plant was to be credited: Scotch Broom or Ulix.
Generally, these dense yellow hedges in fields and along roads proved to be ulix -- also a non-native and very invasive species of shrub.
Shown here is Scotch Broom (Note the legume-like blossom) blooming near the Saltos de Petrohue.
While a few varieties of Scotch Broom are indeed harmless ornamentals, most are considered noxious weeds that crowd out desirable plants and trees.
A Blooming Spear ~ Can You Identify this Chile Flora?
What is this flower?
I wasn't able to find anyone to identify this plant. The stems were about 18 inches high.
The flowers came out in a tapered spear about an inch or so long.
The petals began to open from the base of the spear upwards to the tip.
This habit might indicate that in full bloom, it will appear quite different than it does in this photo.
It had no discernable scent.
If you know, please leave a Comment below.
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