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in Bariloche
in Calafate
Flora in Puerto Madryn Flora in San Martin de los Andes Flora in Ushuaia


Bariloche Nature ...

Trees form the main part of the natural woodlands at San Carlos de Bariloche. Particularly the six nothogagus species: coihue, raulí, roble pellín, lenga, guindo or coihue magallánico and ñire, while we can add to this list: larch, cypress, radal, maitén, maniu, cinnamon tree, etc.

Some of them make the landscape more beautiful when they change the color of their leaves in fall, while others are evergreens. All the species protect the land on the mountainsides, preventing erosion and providing shelter to an incredible variety of life forms.

Some species can be admired near the city. As an example, at Los Cántaros lagoon there are 800 year-old larches; facing the town hall there is a spectacular maitén plantation, dating from 1963, and at the corner of Ada M. Elflein and Villegas stands a majestic maitén.

At the corner of Morales and Juramento streets, in the National Parks building gardens the following native species can be seen: larch, cypress, lignum vitae, bluethorn, chilco, colihue, michay and calafate. The huge coihues and cypresses were planted in 1948.

ARRAYAN (Luma apiculata): a persistent foliage tree. Its bark, smooth and of a rusty cinnamon color, is soft and cold to the touch. It reaches a maximum height of 13 meters and the trunk is twisted. It grows in wet places. It forms thick pure woods in the North of Isla Victoria and at Quetrihué Peninsula, where the arrayanal (forest of these trees) is a very popular visit. Its fruit is fleshy and purplish black. It has white flowers with four large petals, similar to those of the European myrtle. It flowers in January and February.

CYPRESS (Austrocedrus chilensis): this tree belongs to the cypress family. It is an evergreen species with a conical top, a strong and straight trunk, grayish, somewhat rough bark, and stubby branches. It can reach a maximum height of 25 to 30 meters. It does not need too much moisture, and thus covers large areas of the eastern part of the park

COIHUE (Nothofagus dombeyi): this tree belongs to the fagaceae family. It is a tree that reaches an enormous size in almost every wood in the park, with thin rough bark and small and persistent leaves. It has a Mapuche name (Co = water, Hue = place) and grows in very wet soils. It has shallow roots that run parallel to the ground. It can reach 30 meters height, is found on the lake shores and covers the low areas of woodland. It grows on the mountainsides up to 1,000 meters above sea level.

LENGA (Nothofagus pumilio): this tree belongs to the fagaceae family. It is a large tree of 30 meters or so height, found on the high parts of the slopes. From 1,400 meters above sea level upwards it adopts a stunted bushlike shape. Its leaves have lobular edges. During the fall they turn reddish. It is the Nothofagus species that best stands cold weather.

MAITÉN (Mavtenus boaria): It belongs to the celastraceae family. It is an elegant tree, with evergreen foliage, grayish bark and pendent branches. It has a green top and alternately placed lanced leaves, thinly serrated, with yellowish flowers. The trunk often reaches 15 to 20 meters height and 30 to 40 centimeters thickness. It populates wet areas.

NOTRO or CIRUELILLO (Embothrium coccineum): It belongs to the proteaceous family. It is a very thickly branched, short tree, with a smooth bark, straight trunk, and deciduous dark green leaves with soft edges. It grows in sandy, wet places and there are a lot of them in the central area of the park. Its wood is very fine, with a beautiful grain, and is widely used in cabinetmaking. It has longish flowers of a bright red color, forming beautiful bunches. It flowers in November and December.

ÑIRE (Nothofagus antarctica): It belongs to the fagaceae family. It is a tree that can reach a maximum height of 15 meters. It prefers the low areas, especially at river edges, but it also grows on higher places, where it becomes stunted. Leaves are oval, unevenly serrated or somewhat lobular at the edges.

PEHUÉN (Araucaria araucana): It belongs to the araucariaceae family. This is one of the strangest-looking and most beautiful trees in Lanín National Park. It reaches 30 meters height, and its trunk has a thick and rough bark that flakes off. Its leaves are coriaceous and sharp. Its seeds are rich in carbohydrates and proteins. This is a native species from Lanín National Park and was artificially introduced in Nahuel Huapi National Park.

In Bariloche there are also woody bushes, whose height rarely exceeds 6 to 7 meters. The most common are: palo piche, calafate, cichay, chacay, cotro, caqui, etc. Both the Arrayán and the Notro may turn into bushes, depending on environmental conditions.

COLIHUE (Chusquea culeou): This is a rhizomatous and woody grass species that can reach 4 to 6 meters height, forming thick canes. Its leaves are lanced and stiff. The fruit is a caryopsis. The Colihue is a perennial tree, but when it produces its flowers and fruit it dies. It reproduces by means of seeds and rhizomes. It is a commonly found species in the Andean-Patagonian area.

ROSA MOSQUETA (MUSK ROSE): This is a bush (Rosa eglanteria) that originally hailed from Europe, but is now widespread in all the Andean-Patagonian area, growing in abundance in Lanín, Nahuel Huapi, Los Alerces and Puelo National Parks. As a matter of "domestic" interest, it can be mentioned that almost every home in Bariloche consumes some product derived from the Rosa Mosqueta: jam, tea, oil, cosmetics; on the other hand, a great number of the rosebushes seen in the gardens have been grafted on a root of the Rosa Mosqueta.


TAlQUE: This is a bush of 0.80 to 2 meters height. It has coriaceous leaves and tube-shaped flowers of a bright red and yellow color. It is found in the National Parks, especially at Lanín and Nahuel Huapi. On the way to Mt Tronador, before getting to Ventisquero Negro, to the right of the road, there are some of these bushes, and if you are lucky to see one in full bloom you will never forget this beautiful species. It is also often seen on the way to Puerto Blest - Frías Lagoon.

CHILCO (Fuchsia magellánica): It is often found near streams or falls. It is a species originally from the area of the Andean-Patagonian woods. It has hanging flowers with red sepals and purplish petals. Its flowers can be admired on almost every tourist trip and tour during the summer.

PAÑIL (Buddleja globosa hope): It is a bush of 2 to 4 meters height. Its leaves are bright green at the top and a lighter color at the bottom. Its flowers are small and a balloon-like shape, bright yellow and nicely scented. This species is from the Andean region of Peru. In Argentina and Chile it is called Matico or Pañil, this last name being used in Patagonia.

MUTISIA: During January and February this plant is seen climbing bushes and trees. It is a beautiful creeper that creeps with tendrils, with bright orange flowers. It is found in Lanín, Los Alerces and Nahuel Huapi National Parks. The flowers should not be touched, as doing this damages the species.


Calafate Nature ...

The flora in Los Glaciares National Park is that typical of the Andean Patagonian forest, and is found throughout the steppes and forests surrounding the Park, over a surface area of approximately 79 thousand hectares.

Some 260,000 hectares of the Park are ice-covered and therefore bare of vegetation, and another 95,000 hectares are occupied by lakes.

Over all the forested areas there is a predominance of lenga and coihue trees. The bushes are mostly notro, with its beautiful red flowers, calafate, with yellow flowers and purple fruit, and the sauco del diablo, in the wetter areas of the forest.

It is worth noting that the forests in the Viedma lake area have been studied much less than those of the Argentino lake area. Lenga forests are more common here, and generally do not form uninterrupted belts, alternating instead with patches of steppe-like vegetation.

The thicker and more uniformly forested areas are in the western valleys, whereas the steppes are found in the east.

There are three well-defined vegetation types:

The Forest
Below the high-Andean flora, and down to the level of the lakes, are found the nothofagus forests. The upper limit of the forest is at around 1,000 to 1,100 meters altitude. There are three nothofagus species in the Park:
  • Lenga (Nothofagus pumilio).
  • Ñire (Nothofagus antárctica).
  • Coihue or Guindo (Nothofagus betuloides).
Of the three, the lenga is the one most widely distributed and that occupies the greater part of the forests in the area. This tree is usually found covered with usnea (a líchen), usually known as "old man's beard" due to its appearance of long untidy strands hanging from the tree trunks.

The lenga, in addition to standing a wider range of temperatures, is less sensitive to cold than the coihue. As a result, in the vicinity of glaciers, the lenga gets closer to the ice. These forests, highly resistant to low temperature, also cover the bottoms of the high mountain valleys that are constantly being exposed to masses of cold air.

One species of creeper, luzuriaga marginata, is commonly found on river banks or at the base of trees. Philesia magallánica, on the other hand, is a very rarely found tree creeper with attractive red flowers.

As from 500 meters altitude, the forest thins out, with specimens becoming stunted and scrawnier. The sauco and the cinnamon tree disappear, together with several low-forest species, and the lengas take their place. The coihue is found in bush form up to approximately 850-900 meters, while the lenga continues to be found in low heath up to around 1,000 meters.

Among the herbaceous strata we find ferns, mosses, lichens and flowers such as the shoe-shaped topa-topa, and orchids.
Patagonia Pictures - LA ARVEJILLA - Nature in PatagoniaBlue-flowered sweet peas heavily blanket the areas surrounding the glaciers. There is also a rare species, pinguicula antártica, with violet flowers. This is an insectivorous plant that traps and digests its prey to obtain the nitrogen compounds it needs for growth.

Among the forests on the eastern shore of the Canal de los Témpanos (Iceberg Channel), there is a clear distinction between pure lenga forests and those that have both lenga and coihue.

Patagonia Pictures - ÑIRE - Nature in PatagoniaThe ñire, although much more rarely found than the lenga, is fairly common in valley bottoms.

The Steppe
The steppe vegetation found around Los Glaciares National Park is specially adapted to highly arid, cold and windy conditions. The grasses in the area, whose leaves are creased, rigid and "thick-skinned", form low, thick mattocks, which are often circular tussocks, as in the case of the neneo.

In the lowest eastern areas, the steppes are overgrown with coirón amargo (Stipa app.) and low bushes.

Among bush species, the most often found are Senecio filaginoides and Berberis buxifolia, whereas the commonest herbaceous species are Festuca Argentina, Poa lanuginose and/or Poa dusenii, accompanied by some forage species.

The High Semi-Desert
This vegetation type is found at over 1,000/1,100 meters altitude, up to 1,500/1600 meters, this being the lower limit of the permanent snow.

There is little vegetation cover here. However, there is a predominance of tussocks of xerophytes and dicotyiledons; among the latter, the most common are tussocks of genus Azorella and Bolax.

In the humid areas, there are small densely-vegetated meadows with abundant Azorella lycopodioides, Epilobium australe, Epilobium nivale, and Alopecurus antarcticus, among other species; often accompanied by Empetrum rubrum and Marsippospermum cf reichei.

In some places, immediately above the level of the bush-type lengas, there is a more-or-less dense bushy stratum with a prevalence of Empetrum rubrum and Pernettya sp.

Contrasting with the North Patagonian high-Andean vegetation types, many species of Mulinum are absent, whereas many sub-Antarctic specimens are found.


Puerto Madryn Nature ...

On the ample steppes surrounding Puerto Madryn live in perfect harmony countless shrubs of different species that will fascinate both the expert and the neophyte making his first acquaintance with Patagonia's plant life.

Low, thorny, small-leaved, these shrubs form small thickets which are strongly and deeply rooted.

These features are determined by the climatic factors in the area. The plant species need protection from the wind and the ability to store the scarce water available.

In the rainy season they open their delicate and attractive flowers. They also store up water to tide them over the months of drought.

Shutterbugs will find pleasant surprises on this steppe.

In the area surrounding Puerto Madryn, and a major portion of Península Valdés may be found the "jarillar" as the predominant species. This is a bush that grows up to two meters in height and is found in Argentina from Mendoza to Chubut.

There are two kinds of "jarillar": the "jarilla hembra" (Larrea divaricata) and the "jarilla crespa" (Larrea nítida). Both are woody bushes of similar appearance, generally wind-blown. They grow at a distance from each other, and in the areas between grow other undergrowth and herbaceous species.

The "jarilla hembra" has leaves measuring 7 to 15 mm. They are resinous and olive green in color and smooth rimmed, and the flowers are solitary. The "jarilla crespa" also has resinous leaves, but with indented rims, its flowers are yellow and its fruit is round.

The original inhabitants used this plant as an anti-inflammatory medicine as well as a healing agent and a hallucinogenic.

Here are also found the "goat beard" (Prosopidastrum globosum), the "Brazilian briar" (Bougainvillea spinosa), the "piquillín" (Condalia microphylla), the "algarrobito" (Prosopis alpataco), the "quilembay" (Chuquiraga avellanedae), and the "molle" (Schinus johnstoni).

The last of these is a bush over one meter high with hard, elongated single leaves and spiky thorns at the ends of the twigs. Its fruit are purple or dark blue globes. It also commonly presents galls (darkish brown spheres) that are not fruit, but rather excrescences of the plant as a reaction to a parasitic insect.

It is often burnt as fuel. The Tehuelches used to make a fermented drink (similar to chicha) from the fruit. It was also used as a purge, a balsam, an anti-catarrh medicine and as a poultice for fractures and hernias.

The "quilembay" is a bush that can grow to 1.5 meters height. Its leaves grow directly on the stem and are spiked. Its flowers are yellowish, and so abundant that the hills are tinged with gold during the month of December. It is an abundant species in this area.

The "piquillín" is a spiny bush with small, elliptical leaves. It has yellowish-green unpetaled flowers. Its fruit is oval and severally yellow, red or black according to the degree of ripeness.

In this area, the "algarrobito" is no taller than 1.5 meters. A salient feature of this species is that it has underground branches from which the aerial branches stem. It has axially placed thorns that are up to 6 centimeters long, placed in pairs at the nodes. The bunched flowers are yellowish in color.

The "Golden Button" is a perennial low shrub (3 to 8 cm. in height). It does not grow into a woody plant. It has large, serrated, dark green, resinous leaves.

It is noteworthy for its yellow flowers that form large clusters (over 5 centimeters diameter). This species is found all over Patagonia, especially on sandy soils.

The "Brazilian briar" is a highly ramified and spiny bush about 2 meters in height. It is characterized by having rigid thorns. Its leaves are small and its flowers are yellowish-white.

The "verbena" is a deciduous bush over 1.80 meters high, but may often be found smaller than this, because it is grazed by sheep.

It is commonly found growing safely in protected areas together with non-grazing plants.

It flowers in spring from September to November. Its flowers form dense clusters at the end of the branches. Their color varies from orange to pale yellow.


San Martin de los Andes Nature ...

The forests of Lanín National Park and Reserve are extremely valuable for conservationists. This is because they are the only forests of araucaria (monkey-puzzle tree) in the system of naturally protected areas. The same is true of the forests of roble pellín and raulí. As well as having these arboreal species, Lanín Park includes a variety of herbaceous species and bushy plants that are only to be found in northwestern Neuquén, not having been found up to the moment in any other of the protected areas of the country.

Species of restricted distribution, considered "of special value":

Bushes and herbs:
Acaena leptacantha, Adesmia papposa, Aster peteoranus, Azorella incisa, Baccharis benzanilleana, Calampelis scabra, Carex minutissima,Centipeda elatinoides, Chaetantera elegans, Chenopodium philippianum, Dioscorea brachybotrya, Eryngium pseudojunceum, Haplopappus marginalis, Libertia chilensis, Lomatia dentada, Mulinum albovaginatum, Osmorhiza glabrata, Paspalum dasypleurum, Poa andina, Poa Hachadoensis, Ribes valdivianum, Senecio comberi, Senecio jobii, Silene cuspidata.

Exotic plants (introduced by man)
Pine forestry species, musk rose, poplars, lupines, etc.

Native (of local origin) plants:
The predominant species belong to a prolific family of the genus Nothofagus, as well as three coniferous species:

Raulí: Nothofagus procera (= N. Nervosa)
A large tree, reaching a height of 40 m. Its leaves, the largest in the genus (up to 9 cm length, have serrated edges and clear veining, changing color in fall.
This species is exclusive to Lanín National Park and NOT to Nahuel Huapi National Park, and it cohabits with roble pellín and coihue. Its wood is ideal for the manufacture of fine quality furniture.

Coihue: Nothofagus dombeyi
This is a handsome evergreen attaining a height of 45 m. Its name in Mapuche language means "watery place". It has perennial small serrated bright green leaves. Its branches are arranged in horizontal planes, giving an impression of stratification. It frequently displays galls on its branches and trunks, as a result of the action of the llao-llao fungus. Its wood is used for the construction of bridges, docks and piles.

Ñire: Nothofagus antarctica
This is a deciduous dwarf tree or bush that reaches 15 m in height. It is a very adaptable colonizing species. It ramifies from the base into several main trunks. Its leaves are wavy, roundish and finely serrated. During the fall it takes on a reddish hue. It is used for firewood and fence posts.

Roble Pellín: Nothofagus oblique
This is a deciduous tree that can attain a height of 30 or 40 m. It has alternately placed lance-shaped leaves with serrated edges. Its non-decaying wood is used to build docks, bridges and homes. This tree is the "wisest" in the woods, according to Mapuche tradition. It is another exclusive species of Lanín National Park.

Lenga: Nothofagus pumilio
This is a tall, straight-trunked tree, that becomes stocky at the higher borders of the woods. It has rounded leaves that show regular notches every two veins. Turning a bright red color, it enhances the appearance of the woods. Its wood is used by Mapuche artisans, and also for carpentry work.

Pehuén: Araucaria araucaria
This endemic (exclusive) species is one of the most attractive trees in the park, reaching a height of 40 m. The fully-grown tree develops an umbrella-shaped crown. It grows on rocky soil and forms single-species forests. Its extremely hard leaves are evergreen. There are male trees with pollen-producing cones, and female ones with spherical cones, whose seeds, known as piñones, are rich in carbohydrates and protein, forming a staple food for Mapuche communities.

Cypress: Austrocedrus chilensis
A pioneer species in the forest, it bears winged seeds that prosper in rocky, arid soil. It has a very conical-shaped crown and short twigs bearing perennial scale-shaped leaves. It reaches 20 m height.

Maniu: Saxegothea conspicua
This tree with a pyramidal crown is frequently found in humid spots. Its reddish bark shards off. Its simple, straight, dark-green leaves have two whitish stripes on the back. The male flower is a short ament (cone), and the female one is a globe-shaped cone.

Other species are:

Maitén: Maytenus boaria
This is an evergreen tree with a globular crown and branches that droop. Its leaves are light green, alternately placed and finely serrated. They are much appreciated by the cattle (often preventing renewed foliage growth). This is a "sacred Mapuche tree".

Radal: Lomatia hirsuta
This is a persistently fronded tree or bush, exhibiting new pubescent twigs. It is common in the drier areas of the Park, where it cohabits with cypresses and the maitén. It has long (4 to 12 cm), simple, bright, oval-shaped, serrated leaves and whitish flowers. Its wood is used for cabinetmaking, affording a very attractive grain.

Notro: Embotrium coccineum
Patagonia Pictures - NOTRO - Nature in PatagoniaThis is a handsome bush that seeks open, sandy and humid areas or volcanic soils. It has a gray bark with dark and light spots. Its branches are flexible, bearing simple, alternately placed lance-shaped leaves. Its bright red or orange flowers deck the countryside in spring and in early summer. It forms part of mixed-type forests. It is reputed to possess medicinal (wound-healing) properties.

Arrayán: Myrceugenella apiculata
This is an evergreen bush or tree with a pleasing appearance due to its silky-smooth, white-spotted cinnamon colored bark. Its small, paired dark green leaves have a small spike on their points. Its attractive, white, axially-distributed flowers form groups of 3 to 5. Its fruit is a black edible berry. It forms a dense wood in Los Arrayanes, which is the only one of its kind in the world.

Caña Colihue: Chusquea culeou
This rhizome-bearing bushy plant consists of simple, non-ramified canes, 2 to 4 m in height. The simple, linear, single-veined leaves sprout from the knots in the cane. Flowering occurs every 30 to 40 years, with attractive purple-colored spikes, followed by the death of the plant. It is highly used in furniture and craft work. The natives used it for their spears and to make a musical instrument called the trutruca.

Michay: Berberis darwinii
This is a highly ramified 1 or 2 m high bush with tiny thorns. Its leaves are alternately placed, and are smooth, bright and dark green in color, with spiky indentations. Its orange flowers are grouped in very attractive bunches, and its fruit is a round, blue-black rather dry berry. Traditionally, all those who sample its fruit will someday return to Patagonia. There are other similar species in the area.

Tree saprophytes (parasites, semi-parasitic plants and epiphytes)

Llao-llao, Pan del Indio: Cyttaria darwinni
Patagonia Pictures - PAN DEL INDIO - Nature in PatagoniaThis fungus is preferentially found on the coihue; its hifae (tubular filaments) undermine the bark of the host tree's branches, forming the characteristic "knots" that can be up to 1 m in diameter. The fungus is edible, and is pear-shaped, white and tasteless when unripe, later becoming orange-yellow, juicy and sweet.

Farolito: Myzodendron punctulatum
Patagonia Pictures - FAROLITO - Nature in PatagoniaThis is a semi-parasite. It lives on the branches of the Nothofagus species (lenga, ñire, coihue), and is yellow-gold in color. It sucks out the sap of the tree by means of haustoriae (tiny roots) that penetrate through the woody bark to the tree's sap vessels, thus affording it chlorophyll. It becomes covered in tiny yellow flowers at the end of winter. Its fruit is windborne.

Barba de viejo: Usnea sp.
Patagonia Pictures - BARBA DE VIEJO - Nature in PatagoniaThese are lichens (organisms formed by the association of an alga with a fungus), of the genus Usnea; they live on the branches and trunks of trees, using them merely for support (epiphytes). They prosper in sunny areas, and are considered indicators of abundant oxygen (and consequently of low atmospheric pollution).


Ushuaia - Tierra del Fuego Nature ...

Due to its location, the flora is not abundant nor numerous in the Argentinean Patagonia. The following species, basically arboreal, are the most common:

Peat Mosses
One of the characteristics of the woods in Ushuaia is the presence of peat mosses (Sphagnum magellanicum) made of vegetation remains, mainly briofitas.

Peat mosses have an enormous capacity to retain water due to the absorbent properties of the Sphagnum moss. Thus, they become active creators of environmental humidity.

Among peat mosses, the white peat (from Sphagnum moss) is used as fuel and soil additive. This moss has been commercially exploited for more than 150 years and lately the demand for peat as fuel has increased in many countries due to the energy crisis.

Lenga (Nothofagus pumilio)
A tree with deciduous, asymmetric and shiny leaves that change from a bright red color to yellow or brown before falling. When leaves get these colors, during the fall, the scenery turns into a bright and colorful picture of spectacular beauty.

Coihue (Nothofagus betuloides)
With small, elongated and evergreen leaves, this tree can reach 30 meters high and 1.20 meter in diameter. When growing in stony and thin soils it gets a shrub-like, tortuous and stunted shape.

Ñire (Nothofagus antártica)
With deciduous, shiny and serrated asymmetric leaves. It has a shrub-like shape and grows both in flooded and dried soils.

Calafate (Berberis buxifolia)
Patagonia Pictures - CALAFATE - Nature in PatagoniaVery "branchy" shrub with numerous thorns. It stands out in the woods because of its small yellow flowers, that later change in delicious fruits of black-bluish color.

Michay (Berberis ilicifolia)
Shrub with very bright green leaves. It looks like the mistletoe and remains always green. Before the end of the winter it shows an orange flowering while its bluish fruits ripe in the fall.

Mata Negra (Chilliotrichum diffusum)
This shrub has flowers that look similar to small daisies that last till the fall. It is always green and grows both in the plains and on the mountains.

Chaura (Pernettya maconata)
Patagonia Pictures - CHAURA - Nature in PatagoniaVery "branchy" shrub with leaves ending in thorns. Its flowers are small and white. They have a small bell shape and the fruit is bright red. It gives flowers and fruits twice a year. It grows near the coast and in slightly humid open spaces.

Magellanic Strawberry (Rubus geoide)
It grows in places that keep some kind of humidity, under the protection of some trunk. This delicious bright red strawberry is extremely sweet and looks like the blackberry. It is found half buried and slightly covered by the leaves of the plant.

Drosera (Dosera uniflora)
This insectivorous plant is 4 to 5 mm high. Its reddish tentacles secrete a sticky substance that attract and catch insects. It only grows in very damp places and blooms in December and February.
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