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Chile 2 - Trees And Shrubs From Central Chile


By AndrewR


This is the second blog about the native plants I saw on my recent holiday in Chile.

Heading south from Santiago, we made our way through the Central Valley down to La Araucania and the Lakes District. This took just over a week, alternating one day of travel followed by one day of looking at the local plant life. Towards the end of this part of the trip, we saw probably the most easily recognisable tree in the world, araucaria araucana, the monkey puzzle. These originally made up large areas of the landscape but farming and managed woodland have gradually driven them to less hospitable areas of poor soil (where nothing else will grow); fortunately these areas are now protected in National Parks.

Luma appiculata grows quite happily in milder areas of the UK where it will make a small tree, flowering in late summer, with attractive cinnamon-coloured bark that peels in autumn

Discaria trinervis grows in dry soils, making a large, upright shrub. It has fragrant flowers but the stems carry thorns and it is not quite hardy enough for the UK

Drimys winteri grows quite happily in sheltered places over here, making a large upright tree/shrub. It carries fragrant flowers in spring

Lomatia is a family of shrubs scattered through South America and Australasia. This is lomatia hirsuta, an upright shrub from moist woodland

We saw several berberis in both woodland and very open, exposed positions. The most spectacular was berberis linearifolia (the variety’ Orange King’ is readily available in the UK)

There were also some very good, dwarf forms of berberis darwinii

Berberis buxifolia also made a good impression

Ovidia andina is a small, neat shrub we found in woodland. It is related to daphnes but is not listed in Plant Finder

Embothrium coccineum is the national symbol of Chile. We saw it almost every day on the trip, even in hedgerows around fields where its orange flowers formed a stunning backdrop. The further south we went, the more the flowers became red rather than orange. The foliage is quite variable but the narrower-leaved forms are the hardiest

To be continued …

More blog posts by AndrewR

Previous post: Chile 1 - In Search Of The Rosulate Viola

Next post: Chile 3 - Non Woody Plants From Central Chile



lovely andrew and especially love the orange king, brightens up a winters day here in blackpool, thanx for sharing, happy newyear :o)

31 Dec, 2010


Stunning pics Andrew.
Fascinating to see the Monkey Trees growing on the hillsides...
Happy 2011 to you and yours :o)

31 Dec, 2010


I agree, beautiful photos for us to view. I love the Drimys winteri. Happy new year to you, oh, and to Maureen too!! : o ))

31 Dec, 2010


As usual a wonderful blog that has super supporting photos. You certainly had an interesting trip. Thanks for sharing Andrew. And happy new year too.

1 Jan, 2011


Another great blog, Andrew! Lovely pics too.
Happy New Year! :)

1 Jan, 2011


Once again ~ great blog. Happy New Year Andrew.

2 Jan, 2011


I've just seen there has been another earthquake in Chile (although not as big as the one in February that caused so much damage). It is centred on a place not far from where the picture of the monkey puzzle trees was taken.

3 Jan, 2011


Beautiful pics, Andrew. I really enjoy seeing pics of Monkey puzzles in more natural surroundings. All the plants you have shown here, however, look wonderful!

I don't think that i shall ever get to Chile, so many thanks for your blogs.

4 Jan, 2011


Another great blog Andrew, most be fascinating to see plants growing in their natural habitat, we grow the Luma and about to purchase the Drimys, left our Monkey Puzzle in the midlands .......a sore point!!

5 Jan, 2011


Excellent pictures Andrew,It's great to see these plants growing in their natural habitat.I have seen some fine specimens of Luma in Cornish gardens,and Drimys at Kew. I like the look of that Ovidia andina and will try to find if Kew has it.

8 Jan, 2011


Richard - I grow the luma as well - it always attracts attention when the garden is open due to the bark. I like the ovidia as well, very understated and growing to about a metre tall

8 Jan, 2011

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