vendredi 18 décembre 2009

Central Chile

Finally I left Valparaiso behind me sooner than preview and so didn't have time to visit the Mapuche pharmacy, we have rented a car and are now spending a week exploring the coastal region of Central Chile. There are loads of plants, many of which are familiar others that have familiar characteristics but that I have not seen before. Central Chile is far enough south to have a moderate climate, we are not in the tropics here and so the flora looks much like a luxuriant version of what we have in Europe, making the transition a rather gentle one. If I had known I would have bought along my identification books but as I didn't, I am taking photos and detailed notes of the different plants so that I will have a good chance of identifying them with the help of books and Internet when I get back to France.
Here is a small leaved mint, which I am sure is mentha pulegium (Penny-Royal mint), it was growing all alone in the large pebbles next to a river 300 kms south of Santiago.
This dog-rose was found growing in the first foothills before the climb up into the Andes about 400kms south of Santiago. I have taken down all its botanic criteria in the hope that its a famous Rosa affinis-rubiginosa or commonly known musk rose, in which the seeds are pressed to make rose musk oil (huile de rose musquee), a lovely oil for the skin and now very popular in Europe for its nourishing properties.
Looking at its leaves, flowers and form, this looks to me like a Chilean version of our Verbena officinalis, known in Europe as a witches sacred herb for spells and healing all ills, in European herbal medicine its properties concentrate on the liver, digestion and migraines. The Chilean version seen in the photo is Verbena litoralis and is used to help in cases of diarrhea, stomach ulcers and liver complaints.

Can anyone help? I am sure this flower belongs to the Solanacea family due to its characteristic form, however what it is I couldn't say, a single flower on the top of a long petiole, no leaves present, found a small colony on dry roadside in the same area of Central Chile.

1 commentaire:

  1. Beautiful! I sent the photo and question to a friend who knows a lot about plants. Will let you know.
    Beautiful photos and what a fantastic trip!!
    Love, Julie de Paris