Pasithea

Pasithea is a monotypic genus in the Anthericaceae family from Chile.The Angiosperm Phylogeny Group II, 2003 suggests that this family could optionally be included in the Agavaceae or Asparagaceae family. The only species, Pasithea caerulea , has grasslike keeled leaves and blue flowers with yellow stamens. It is one of the most widespread "bulbous" plants in Chile growing in the coastal zones to altitudes higher than 2,000 meters above sea level. It even grows in the Desert of Atacama. You can see this plant listed as Pasithea caerulea or Pasithea coerulea. D. Don named it in 1832, but how he spelled it is listed differently in several references. Originally this plant was named either Anthericum coeruleum or Anthericum caeruleum by Ruiz & Pavon when discovered in what was then Peru and subsequently became part of Chile.


In late September and early October, 2011, Eugene Zielinski accompanied others on a trip to Chile to observe (and photograph) the flowering desert. See ChilesFloweringDesert2011BulbousFlora. He reported seeing this species frequently on the trip observing plants up to 1 meter (3 feet) or more in the interior and much shorter along the coast. Photos 1-2 were taken by him on this trip. The close up of the flowers was photographed at Parque Nacional Fray Jorge; the photo of the plant was taken at Reserva Nacional Las Chinchillas. Photo 3 was taken by Osmani Baullosa.

Pasithea caerulea flowers, Eugene ZielinskiPasithea caerulea plants, Eugene ZielinskiPasithea caerulea, Osmani Baullosa

Mary Sue Ittner grew and flowered this plant for a number of years in the Northern Hemisphere and found it responded better when it was not kept completely dry during its summer dormancy. Photos below were taken by her. The second photo is a picture of this plant just as it is beginning to start into growth again showing the unusual storage organ, described by Alberto Castillo as radial threads connected to terminal "sausages".

Pasithea caerulea, Mary Sue IttnerPasithea caerulea, Mary Sue Ittner

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