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|Copihue in flower|
Ruiz & Pav.
|Distribution area of Lapageria rosea|
Lapageria is genus of flowering plants with only one species, Lapageria rosea, commonly known as Chilean bellflower or copihue (co-pee-way < Mapudungun kopiwe). L. rosea is the national flower of Chile. It grows in forests in the southern part of Chile, being part of the Valdivian temperate rain forests flora.
Lapageria rosea is related to Philesia magellanica (syn. P. buxifolia), another plant from the Valdivian flora, having similar flowers, but shrubby rather than climbing. ×Philageria veitchii is a hybrid between L. rosea and P. magellanica. It is more similar in appearance to the former.
Lapageria rosea is an evergreen climbing plant reaching over 10 m high among shrubs and trees. The leaves are arranged alternately and are evergreen, leathery, lanceolate and feature three to seven prominent parallel veins. The vines twine counterclockwise in the Southern hemisphere and clockwise when grown in the Northern hemisphere (likely due to the Sun).
The flowers have six thick, waxy tepals which are red, spotted with white. They are most frequently produced in late summer and fall, although they may be produced at other times. The fruit is an elongated berry with a tough skin containing numerous small seeds about the size of a tomato seed, which are covered in an edible fleshy aril. In the wild the plant is pollinated by hummingbirds.
Seed is distributed by birds and other animals.
In the past its fruit was sold in markets, but the plant has now become rare through over-collection and forest clearance.
The roots were once collected and used as a substitute for sarsaparilla. In 1977 the plant was given legal protection in Chile.
Common name etymology
The name of the fruit in Mapudungun is actually kopiw (derived from kopün, "being upside down"), which is the etymon of Spanish copihue; the Mapuche call the plant kolkopiw (colcopihue in Spanish, which may also refer to the whole plant). The flower is called kodkülla in the indigenous language.
There are numerous named garden cultivars, mostly developed at one nursery in Chile, with flower colour varying from deep red through pink to pure white (L. rosea 'Albiflora'), and some with variegated flowers. In cultivation, to obtain fruit it is generally necessary to pollinate by hand if there are not native hummingbirds.
Chilean bellflower can be propagated from cuttings, layering and fresh seeds. Some cultivars are self-fruitful, but better pollination is achieved with differing parents. Germination is best with fresh moist seed; dried seeds take special treatment and have a much poorer germination rate. Propagation of cultivars is by cuttings (usually rooted under mist), layering, or division. Seedlings take from three to ten years to flower. Cuttings usually flower more quickly.
- Muñoz Urrutia, Rafael, ed. (2006). Diccionario Mapuche: Mapudungun/Español, Español/Mapudungun (in Spanish) (2nd ed.). Santiago, Chile: Editorial Centro Gráfico. pp. 41, 155. ISBN 978-956-8287-99-3.
- Sue Shephard (2003). Seeds of Fortune - A Gardening Dynasty. Bloomsbury. p. 100. ISBN 0-7475-6066-8.
- "RHS Plant Selector - Lapageria rosea". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
- , Lapageria rosea,The Lovely Plants
- Crandall, Chuck; Crandall, Barbara (1995). Flowering, Fruiting & Foliage Vines: a gardener's guide. New York: Sterling Publishing. ISBN 978-0-8069-0726-0. (Page 9 in the book illustrates clockwise and counterclockwise twining.)
- Grez, Audrey A; Bustamante, Ramiro O; Simonetti, Javier A & Fahrig, Lenore (1998), "Landscape Ecology, Deforestation, and Forest Fragmentation: the Case of the Ruil Forest in Chile", in Salinas Chávez, Eduardo & Middleton, John, Landscape Ecology as a Tool for Sustainable Development in Latin America, Brock University, California, retrieved 2012-04-23.
- Reed, Elbert E (1964). "The Chilean Bellflower, Copihue, Lapageria rosea". California Horticultural Society Journal 25 (3).
- Riedemann, Paulina; Aldunate, Gustavo (2003). Flora nativa de valor ornamental : Chile zona sur (in Spanish). Santiago de Chile: Editorial Andres Bello. ISBN 978-956-13-1827-4.
- Ruiz, Hippolyto; Pavon, Josepho (1802). Flora Peruviana et Chilensis.
- Song, Leo. "Lapageria rosea, La Flor Nacional de Chile". Reproduced at "lapageria pages". Retrieved 2012-04-23.
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