Leontochir ovallei

Another first-time BPotD contributor today, Huenchecal.@Flickr, who is associated with the exceptional Chilebosque site about the native flora of Chile. Today’s photograph was shared via the Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool (original image). Thank you!

Garra de león, or lion’s claw, is endemic to Chile, where it is restricted to the coastal zone of the Atacama Desert. Photographed here in Llanos de Challe National Park, protection for the species seems necessary; it is considered endangered (PDF), though it doesn’t seem to be formally recognized as such yet (it doesn’t appear on the IUCN Red List, as an example). One of the reported threats is introduced goats: Leontochir ovallei via the Pacific Bulb Society Wiki.

Leontochir is a monotypic genus (it contains only the one species). Phillippi named it Leontochir in 1873 as a Greek translation of its Chilean common name. Like most other members of its subfamily (the Alstroemerieae), the species is a geophyte (it has fleshy underground storage organs). In the wild, the species flowers in October and November.

Additional photographs of this species are available from Arkive.org: Leontochir ovallei (including some by other occasional BPotD contributors).

Leontochir ovallei

7 responses to “Leontochir ovallei”

  1. Marilyn Brown

    What a brave beauty to pop right up out of the stones !

  2. Judy

    How beautiful!! It looks like a little cluster of red tulips without stems:)

  3. Donald DeLano

    Not sure who is growing it commercially, but I have seen it show up on occasion at the Los Angeles Wholesale Flower Mart sold as
    Scarlet Lion’s Claw.

  4. Diana Ferguson

    Wonderful contribution. Thank you for sharing.

  5. elizabeth a airhart

    nature is a wonderment and so is the web thank you daniel

  6. Diana

    Great picture, it’s a very unusual looking plant to be so flamboyant yet the stems appear to grow along the ground then have that amazing bunch of flowers at the end, or perhaps the stem falls over from the weight of the flowers…? Do look at the other photos on the Arkive.org link, they show really well how it grows. If you fancy trying it from seed, have a look at http://www.plant-world-seeds.com/ (not sure if it’s OK to mention them? I was just looking at their site last night and remember this plant as it’s so unusual!)

  7. Amerindio

    this plant is in critical danger of extinction because, unfortunately, its beauty and there are many who draw their flowers and seeds for sale (as the page you mention).
    I think the sale of seeds of this species, as well as others, should be regulated.

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