Jane McGary
Mon, 12 Nov 2007 10:42:12 PST
I finally saw Placea (a spectacular population, too) in the wild a couple 
of weeks ago while traveling in Chile, and got some good photos. I asked 
Mary Sue to make a wiki page for the genus, but before we do so, I'd like 
to run the following introductory text past our amaryllid specialists to 
make sure it's not out of date.  It's derived from the "AGS Encyclopaedia 
of Alpines" (1994) and several Chilean wildflower books. Reviewing the 
descriptions confirmed that the plants I photographed are P. arzae, since 
the distinctive corona (the structure in some amaryllids best known as the 
trumpet of a daffodil) is clearly seen in the photos.

Here is the proposed text for your review:

Placea (Amaryllidaceae). Five to seven species native to north and central 
Chile, distinguished from Rhodophiala and Hippeastrum by the presence of a 
short corona structure. They grow among scrub on summits and steep slopes 
at mid elevations in the coast range and Andean foothills, in rocky clay 
soils, flowering in spring and dormant in summer. The Andean species 
experience some frost while in growth. The very showy, narrowly to widely 
funnel-shaped flowers are borne in an umbel. Like other amaryllids of the 
region, they are not eaten by grazing animals except in severe drought years.

Placea amoena Phil. Leaves glaucous-green and rather lax; scape 25-40 cm 
tall; flowers widely funnel-shaped, vivid rose-purple with red stripes on 
the lower half of each tepal; corona 8- to 12-toothed and sometimes also 
trifid. Coquimbo province.

Placea arzae Phil. Leaves glaucous; scape 20-30 cm tall; flowers widely 
funnel-shaped, white with deep red-purple stripes and an entire, narrowly 
funnel-shaped corona, pale with purple rim. Santiago province.

Placea davidii Ravenna. Leaves dark green, almost cylindrical, lax; scape 
to 30 cm or a little taller; flowers dark to pale pink with white center 
and dark purple stripes; corona 6-lobed. Santiago province.

Placea germainii Phil. Leaves 2, with thickened margins; scape glaucous, 
25-30 cm tall; flowers 5 or fewer in umbel, each tepal yellow with purple 
dots on the outer portion and purple in the inner portion; corona only 4 mm 
long. A single peak in the coast range of Aconcagua province.

Placea grandiflora Lem. Leaves to 15 cm long, withered by flowering; scape 
to 45 cm tall; flowers broadly funnel-shaped, white to cream with purple 
stripes; corona deeply 6-lobed, red to purple. Santiago and Aconcagua 

Placea lutea Phil. Similar to P. germainii but tepals lemon- to 
orange-yellow with purple veins at the base rather than a purple zone, and 
corona longer (to 1.2 cm); another single peak in the Aconcagua coast range.

Placea ornata Miers ex Lindl. Leaves 2-3, to 25 cm long, withered by 
flowering. Scape to 30 cm; flowers broadly funnel-shaped, white to cream 
with red stripes; corona deeply 6-lobed, red to red-purple. Andean 
foothills of Santiago & Aconcagua provinces.

Thanks for your comments!
Jane McGary

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