Sorry for the tardy entries, folks. Things have been rather hectic, lately (as it always is post-trip) — so I’m really appreciative of Eric La Fountaine for providing yet another write-up and photograph from his trip to Chile. Eric writes:
There are more than 800 species of Oxalis found throughout the world. They are generally small herbs. The Chilean endemic Oxalis gigantea is one of the more unusual species of the genus. It forms a thick-stemmed shrub 2.5 meters tall by 2 meters in diameter. It has bright yellow, five-petaled flowers and leaves with three leaflets aranged in the shamrock form typical of the genus. More images of the plant are available from Chílebosque. Oxalis gigantea is summer deciduous and will bloom on almost leafless stems in particularly dry years.
These specimens in el Bosque de Fray Jorge National Park are especially lush. The heavily branching form reminded me of an octopus. The plants in the left foreground are either Puya chilensis or Puya berteroana.
Bosque de Fray Jorge National Park was granted the title World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1977. Although not a large area, it contains the most northernly forest in Chile. Surrounded by dry desert lands, the forest receives moisture from frequent fog, which rolls in from the Pacific Ocean.
Photography resource link: The Editor’s Pick Awards 2008 on NaturePhotographers.net contain more than a few stunning images.