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Chile 4 - The Valdivian Rain Forest


By AndrewR


I have covered Central Chile in the last two blogs. Although we were travelling south, the growing conditions were pretty much the same and many of the plants were seen every day. Now we come to a change. We reached the city of Puerto Montt (which is one and a half hour’s flying time from Santiago). The climate here is very damp; the nearby forests get more than 260 days of rain a year so we expected to see some new plants and we were not disappointed.

Firstly, I will give you an idea of what the woodland looks like – you will notice it is not raining!

Ferns and mosses are everywhere

including blechnum chilense

The giant gunnera manicata comes from Brazil; here you find the slightly smaller gunnera tinctoria

There are only two members of the crinodendron family and they both come from Chile. These are the flowers on the more familiar one, crinodendron hookerianum, the lantern tree

Another familiar plant was the climber, solanum crispum, scrambling some twenty feet or more into the trees

Less familiar is luzuriaga radicans, available from a few specialist nurseries in this country. Here it is, revelling in the damp, shady conditions

Another plant that is very much at home here is asteranthera ovata. This is a creeping or clambering evergreen shrub, even shinning up trees.

Another shrub, unique to this area, is mitraria coccinea. This will also clamber if given a helping hand, or make a free-standing shrub up to six feet tall

The one plant I really wanted to see in flower on this trip was philesia magellanica. This makes a suckering shrub about three feet high and up to six feet across. Twice I have tried to grow it so I wanted to see it in its natural habitat. Here, we found it growing very happily

From here, we left mainland Chile and flew to Patagona but in the next blog, I will show you some of the orchids we saw.

To be continued…

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Thanks enjoyed the blog and photos as always, looking forward to next blog.

14 Jan, 2011


Love the philesia, and how brilliant to see all those plants in their natural habitat . . . very impressive that you know all the names too! Many thanks.

14 Jan, 2011


Wonderful plants Andrew, the Hookerianum almost looks like upside down tulips.

14 Jan, 2011


So interesting, Andrew.Beautiful plants. Look forward to the next one...

14 Jan, 2011


enjoyed seeing another blog on chile andrew, great pics and lovely plants :o)

14 Jan, 2011


Sheila - I can't take all the credit for knowing the plant names. We had a professional botanist leading the trip and every other evening, he would go through and list all we had seen in the previous 48 hours. This, along with three books I bought in Chile, has made identifying my pictures much easier

14 Jan, 2011


what a totally amazing trip you must have had ~ trip of a lifetime!?
some of those plants are familiar to me ~ i have a crinodendron hookerianum ~ they fascinate me, i would have spent the whole trip being fascinated ~ these are truly beautiful exotic plants and im very glad you put them on here ~ you could do a david attenborough in plants!
i love that white climber that looks a bit like a clematis - luzuriaga repens, i have the shade but not the damp
thanks again, lovely blog

14 Jan, 2011



20 Jan, 2011


Excellent photos.....

22 Jan, 2011


Your comments on Philesia magellanica are discouraging as I have just ordered seed. Oh well, it's done now.

5 Feb, 2015


Meanie - I think the 'secret' to this plant is not to plant it out while it's still a small plant. I bought one from Crug Farm last year which was about twice the size of the ones I tried before. It immediately put on new growth and despite a warm, dry summer, still looks healthy.

5 Feb, 2015


That is better. Strange how some plants need that extra love when young but others that you would hold out no hope for seem as hardy as seedlings as they are when matured.

5 Feb, 2015

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