The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

Chile 1 - In Search Of The Rosulate Viola


By AndrewR


While most of you have been basking in snow and ice, I have been battling blue skies and sunshine looking at the native plants of Chile. This is the first in a series of blogs to show you some of the ones we found.

This part of the trip started in forests of nothofagus (southern beech). We then climbed above the tree-line where plants get smaller and only alpines can cope with the harsh conditions.

These are the flowers on sophora macrocarpa, a shrub up to three metres tall. Shrubs in the sophora family are also found in New Zealand

By streams and damp places, we saw schizanthus hookeri. It is an annual up to a metre tall

Most calceolarias have yellow flowers but in calceolaria cana, they are pink

Quinchamalium chilense forms clumps of ground cover in woodland. Later in the trip we saw its cousin, quinchamalium majus with orange flowers, growing in the open

Azara petiolaris may be found in large gardens in warmer parts of the UK. It forms a shrub up to five metres with fragrant flowers in spring

Viola reichii is a common plant, growing in part or full shade in much of the southern half of Chile

Calandrinia affinis is a small alpine but may not be hardy in the UK due to our wet winters. We saw both pink- and white-flowered forms

Tristagma bivalve is a small bulb that flowers as the snow covering it melts in late spring/early summer on the mountains

If you want something completely different, how about nastanthus spatulatus? I think it looks like a miniature green cauliflower

This is caltha sagittata, related to our native marsh marigold. It grows by small streams high up in the mountains

But finally we found the object of our search, viola congesta. How would you describe it – a perennial, an alpine or a succulent?

To be continued….

More blog posts by AndrewR

Previous post: Autumn Bulbs Of The Peloponnese

Next post: Chile 2 - Trees And Shrubs From Central Chile



Very interesting.

23 Dec, 2010


lovely andrew, hope you had a great time in chile, happy xmas :o)

23 Dec, 2010


Oh Andrew, you lucky man. A number of friends have been to Chile etc and I would love to go. Who's tour did you go on? I am looking forward to more blogs on your trip.

23 Dec, 2010


looks very exsotic

23 Dec, 2010


BH - I went with Greentours. I've not travelled with them before but had a recommendation from a close friend. This was the first time this particular trip had run and there one or two things that could have been better organised, but on the whole it was a great experience. The weather was mostly good (only two bad days) and we covered a lot of ground, starting from Santiago and finishing in Patagonia.

23 Dec, 2010


Wonderful plants to be seen here, especially the Schizanthus hookeri. Looking forward to the next instalment. Happy Christmas to you.

23 Dec, 2010


Looks like a wonderful trip Andrew. The Tristagma bivalve is beautiful.

23 Dec, 2010


Your Viola congesta reminds me of some of the Saxifraga.

23 Dec, 2010


A very exciting trip Andrew - some wonderful plants to cheer us up.
Happy Christmas to you.

23 Dec, 2010


So many beautiful, delicate must have been a very memorable trip for you, Andrew. Thanks for sharing your photos with us. Season's greetings to you.

23 Dec, 2010


Great plant photos Andrew, looking forward to next installment.

24 Dec, 2010


Wonderful photos Andrew...
I guess these were taken with your new camera ?

24 Dec, 2010


TT - I don't have a new camera - just my trusty point-and-shoot with a macro facility. Are you confusing me with someone else or are you sending me a new one for Xmas? ;-)

24 Dec, 2010


Really superb pictures Andy: Chile is a favourite destination of students at Kew, due to its interesting flora. I'm pleased you found your Viola congesta,and really looking forward to your next blog.

28 Dec, 2010


Richard - Chile has been on my list for some time now. My planned holiday in September was cancelled (through lack of numbers) so I took the plunge and went on this trip instead. As you rightly say, it is very rich in plants and it is surprising how many plants we take for granted in our gardens come from there. But there also some 'specials' that I am attempting to grow and I wanted to see them in their native habitat to get some idea of the conditions they require

28 Dec, 2010


Most interesting and informative blog, wish I had the courage to take on such an expedition, will look forward to the next instalment.

30 Dec, 2010


Hi Andrew...
The photos look so clear, I presumed it was a new camera...

No new camera for Christmas ?
Does this mean that Santa thought you were a bit naughty ? ;o)

Looking forward to future Chilean episodes :o)

31 Dec, 2010


Andrew, you have started a great and informative set of blogs. You are very lucky visiting this amazing country! This November my husband and me have been going to Chile for the business trip. But having some health problems I stayed home. My husband is not a great plant lover as a result too little photos of Chilean Flora for me. :(
He visited Santiago and Antofagasta actually not a great place for finding many different plants because of its rainless weather.
So hope you will make my lack of info with your wonderful pictures and stories about your trip. :)))

1 Jan, 2011


What an experience Andrew, feeling very green :o) The photo's are beautiful as well as the plants, & I loved the Viola congesta.

2 Jan, 2011


Wonderful blog. What a great series of blogs about your holiday.

9 Jan, 2011

Add a comment

Featured on

Recent posts by AndrewR

Members who like this blog

  • Gardening with friends since
    9 Jul, 2010

  • Gardening with friends since
    1 Apr, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    12 Feb, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    3 Apr, 2010

  • Gardening with friends since
    17 Mar, 2007

  • Gardening with friends since
    9 Aug, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    5 May, 2010

  • Gardening with friends since
    27 Dec, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    24 Jun, 2007

  • Gardening with friends since
    14 Dec, 2010

  • Gardening with friends since
    27 Sep, 2008

  • uma

    Gardening with friends since
    28 Oct, 2009