Chilean plant guide

Jane McGary
Wed, 28 Jan 2004 13:21:33 PST
Following is an excerpt from an article I'm writing for the Rock Garden 
Quarterly. Since I was first made aware of the books discussed through a 
posting on this forum, I thought I would follow up with this for those who 
may also have become interested in these titles. Note that this volume of 
the series is for the southern part of Chile, where there are only a few 
bulbs, mostly Rhodophiala species of higher elevations; I assume the 
earlier volume for the Central Zone has more bulbs, and I will make every 
effort to acquire it.


             My newest acquisition in this line is a two-volume set, Flora 
nativa de valor ornamental: Identificación y propagación, Chile, Zona Sur 
[Native plants of ornamental value: Identification and propagation, Chile, 
Southern Zone], by Paulina Riedemann and Gustavo Aldunate (Editorial Andres 
Bello, Carmen 8, 4th floor, Santiago; 2003; ISBN 956-13-1826-1). The 
authors previously published a similarly titled single volume, Zona Centro 
(2001), which I hope to acquire as well. The Southern Zone is fairly moist 
and cool and has fewer high alpine areas than the rest of Chile, so the 
larger first volume of this set includes many trees and shrubs suitable for 
cultivation in the milder parts of North America, as well as climbers, 
perennials, bulbs, hardy bromeliads, and a large group of ferns. The plants 
are grouped by form; common names are used but botanical names are also 
provided, and the index is good. Each plant has a color photo, range and 
habitat, moderately technical description, and information on garden uses, 
cultivation, propagation, conservation status, and "where to see it." The 
remarks on propagation reflect obvious practical knowledge, especially 
about growing from seed. The smaller companion volume (the two come in a 
heavy plastic case), subtitled Rutas y senderos [Roads and trails], will be 
seized upon with cries of joy by botanical travelers, because it describes 
about fifty hiking trails and car routes of great botanical interest, 
including access information even whether an ordinary car can manage the 
road plant lists (common names), length in kilometers and time (probably 
not counting photo stops!), and difficulty of trails. Illustrations include 
photos of scenes and plants as well as schematic detail maps. I must add 
that I had an awful time acquiring these books, since the publisher 
required me to wire-transfer payment in advance, but it was well worth the 
hassle, so let us hope that the NARGS Book Service can be persuaded to 
stock them.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon

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