September weather and flowers

Sunny ….cloudy…..rainy…..windy……sunny……rainbows – always changing

Roaring in like a lion and, I hope, out like a lamb!

Very fickle weather always keeps you on your toes!

Today Thomas and I went for a walk and got caught in a downpour but by the time my older son came to rescue us, the sun was out again. Not much new on the flower front except the Notros trees are starting to bloom.

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Embothrium coccineum of the Proteaceae  family. This family is found only in the southern hemisphere and it includes the trees which produce the macadamia nuts with which you may be familiar and the Protea flower.

Food & Nalca 005The long tubular flowers are perfect for the many hummingbirds which live in this area.

The nalca ( Gunnera tinctoria of the Gunneracea family) is also blooming right now and sending up lots of new growth which attracts the nalca hunters to our hidden valley. Nalca is native to the Valdivian rainforest and the locals eat the stalks. The stems are very prickly and need to be peeled to eat. They are similar in consistency to celery but much more astringent. They are eaten raw with a bit of salt and are sold at most ferias by the nalca hunters which are jokingly known as the town drunks trying to make a few pesos. It has huge leaves that can get up to 5′ across.

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The flowers on very long stalks??????????

 

Notice here the unfurling leaf and the prickly stem??????????

 

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The Eucalyptus

??????????We have admired this awesome eucalyptus tree for a while and it spurred me to do some research on the tree because it is not native to Chile and I wondered how it got here and if it is used to make eucalyptus oil.

Eucalyptus of the Myrtle family is native to Australia and was brought to South America for timber purposes though it has naturalized quite well. It grows fast and is easily replaced. Here in Southern Chile, it is the choice for firewood as it is cheap, burns hot, and the bark peels off in big strips and makes perfect kindling.

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The species grown here is known as ‘globulus’ or Blue Gum refering to the blueish color of the leaves which are lanceolate and hang downwards. The leaves, covered in oil glands,  can be harvested to extract the oil but I have not found the leaves to be particularly aromatic. The oil is used as an insect repellent and natural cleaner and deodorizer. I always enjoy using it in an ointment for a chest rub when I have a congestion.

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The locals harvest leaves from young trees for making a tea. These leaves seem to be a little more aromatic than the mature leaves. The tea, they claim, is good for bronchitis and  leveling blood sugar. The tea can also be used as a face wash for acne and the bruised leaves used as a compress for muscle pain.