Oxalis gigantea

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.

Oxalis gigantea

6 responses to “Oxalis gigantea”

  1. van

    That’s fantastic. I had no idea there was a shrubby Oxalis.

  2. Equisetum

    What a treat — I’ve always wondered what the shrubby Oxalis looked like! Did you taste it to see if it’s sour like other Oxalis?

    The Puya’s interesting too — I was surprised to find that it’s a Bromeliad, and hadn’t realized there were terrestrial Bromeliads. Two unusual forms in what, a square meter?

    The terrain looks halfway between (to a Californian eye)rich desert (like Anza Borrego) and Coastal Scrub or Chaparral.

  3. Mary Ann, in Toronto

    This is a beautiful photo, and I’m also very happy to discover NaturePhotographers.net — as you said, stunning images there!

  4. Eric La Fountaine

    Equisetum, I didn’t think to try to taste it. Maybe I should have. Puyas are fascinating plants. I will try to write up that one soon. The colour of their flowers is most unreal looking.

  5. elizabeth a airhart

    someting new for our eyes
    i think i read that this plant
    needs the fog to help it along
    lomas is the community it grows in
    hope my information is correct thank you eric

  6. pradeep

    thats a great pic. i dint know that oxalis taste sour, anyways thanks for the information.do you have any other pics of oxalis where the plant details can be more closely seen. if so please post it next time.

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