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Author Topic: Stangea Species in The Peruvian Andes  (Read 1652 times)

Joseph Simcox

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Stangea Species in The Peruvian Andes
« on: April 10, 2018, 09:28:42 PM »
I am stumped as to what species of Stangea this is:

It was found at around 4100 meters east-North east of Arequipa Peru.  Any ideas anyone?
« Last Edit: April 10, 2018, 09:33:17 PM by Joseph Simcox »

Joseph Simcox

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Re: Stangea Species in The Peruvian Andes
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2018, 09:29:59 PM »
This is Stangea rhizantha which is shockingly different and was found growing only a couple of kilometers away at about the same altitude.

Joseph Simcox

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Re: Stangea Species in The Peruvian Andes
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2018, 09:32:40 PM »
This is the third species:  Stangea henrici,,, Growing at 4,800 meters in The Central Peruvian Andes.

All of the three species of Stange portrayed in this thread have edible roots and I have eaten them.  Taste is pleasant, slightly starchy in two of the species, more starchy in Stangea rhizantha.  The root of Stangea henrici is definitely edible but also significantly smaller than the other two species... about "pencil" thick.


Leucogenes

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Re: Stangea Species in The Peruvian Andes
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2018, 06:58:36 PM »
Hi Joseph

I am always enthusiastic about the alpine flora on the screes. I didn't know this plant yet. Fantastic looks. I wouldn't eat a plant that beautiful. Too precious. If you have more pictures from this area, I would be very happy.

Thomas

Maggi Young

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Re: Stangea Species in The Peruvian Andes
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2018, 02:45:30 PM »
 I wouldn't eat any of  'em! 
For my part  these Stangea/Valeriana things are a complete mystery -so I consulted John Watson in the hope he might be able to help. 
 John writes, in his inimitable fashion  :
"When Peter Cook did a take on Roald Dahl he said "My name used to be Ronald before I dropped the 'n' ". Well, since we're talking Scotland, maybe it's the excellent Tony Stangea after he retired from rugby, became a botanist (not a lot of people know that), and changed the 'r' to 'a'.  Although, using the same logic, I suppose you could say he was called Stranger before he dropped the 'r'.

Well, seriously, folks (when was I ever anything else?), to begin with, I'll discount that it's a hoax: a dead-head of hydrangea stuck on a Pachylaena rosette (see attached) above a salsify root. Next I shall turn to my brilliant talent for tracking stuff down via the Internet and our home bookshelves. At this point I must admit that we've never had the good fortune to face-to-face with a Stangea - so they literally are strangers to us too.

612227-0
Pachylaena atripicifolia from a Chileflora pic.

The genus intrigued me way, way back when I started to become seriously interested in the Andean flora as a whole. It was created in 1906 by (Karl) Otto Graebner (1871-1933), and presumably named for the earlier German botanist Johann Karl Stange (1792-1854). [Nothing unusual in that - we've named one of our violas for our historical rosulate viola pioneer Wilhelm Becker (1874-1928), who also died before I was born.]
Graebner distinguished Stangea from Valeriana morphologically, although it has been in and out of the latter genus subsequently like a fiddler's elbow. But latest cytological studies seem to have placed it firmly as Graebner's separate taxonomic group. But what drew my attention to them was that he identified exactly five species, and although the number described has crept up to seven since, two are synonyms - one earlier, one later - his five remain the ones still recognised with none added since. By coincidence, as well as his wife, Graebner happened to have three daughters and a son - five. So he named each of the stangeas after one: S. emiliae for Emilia, S. erikae for Erika, S. henrici for Heinrich (Henry), S. paulae for Paula, and S. wandae for Wanda. Now there's a thing! It's true others have named something for all their immediate family, Viola evae, V. flos-idae and V. flos-mariae come to mind. However, not in quantity for an entire genus before or since, I believe. Sadly, poor Emilia's didn't stand the test of time. It was discovered in 1937 that her species had been published as a Valeriana in 1861. That was V. rhizantha. Hence the accepted epithet of Stangea rhizantha now, with S. emiliae as its synonym.  You might call her the botanical Cinderella of the Graebners. As if all this wasn't enough, I discovered while looking for further info that the Valerianaceae, including Stangea, 'no longer exists'. Along with the scabious, Linnaea and Morina, they're now all considered to be part of Caprifoliaceae, the honeysuckle family, believe it or not. From weird to weirder.

The Flora of Peru Catalogue lists the lot, but gives all of them as endemic to Peru, which is obviously rubbish. One is not only listed for Argentina, but has been given a different name there, and two others at least are known from Bolivia. There's scarcely anything on the Internet on Stangea, including via Google Images, and I was reaching a bit of a dead-end on our Big Five when it occurred to me I must have researched and entered it as part of my marathon contribution on the Andean flora in the AGS Encyclopaedia. On the nail. Consequently I'm able to draw up a 'sort of' key:

1a) Spreading underground by rhizomes, not tap-rooted: S. paulae & S. wandae (info on the latter from a herbarium specimen illustrated on Internet)
1b) Tap rooted.
   2a) Leaves rounded, spathulate: S. henrici
   2b) Leaves other.
      3a) Leaves oblong to oblong-elliptical: S. erikae
      3b) Leaves rugose, ovate: S. rhizantha (syn. S. emiliae)

Well, we're all agreed it's not S. henrici, and it obviously can't be S. paulae or S. wandae either. Which leaves (pun intended) just S. erikae and S. rhizantha. And since the foliage ain't oblong or oblong-elliptical, but essentially ovate, it's got to be S. rhizantha in my book. Or something undescribed? Biogeographically that fits very well, as S. rhizantha is recorded from various parts of central Peru, and also from Bolivia (where a photo - as attached here - from a paper of it also unearthed [note, not unearthly] looks a dead ringer for the one you've sent for me). So Arequipa in S Peru would fit the bill perfectly.

It's a pity the one here by your correspondent is past flowering. I hope the others he's posted aren't, because these are highly desirable plants from an alpine gardening point of view, as may be judged from the four illustrations I've managed to dredge up from the Internet. They're terrible, being thumb-sized minimal res originally I'm afraid, and the only ones to be found on Google Images. But as you can see from the three different S. rhizantha plants, the leaf shape is actually quite variable. Despite that, it seems to me the rugose leaf surface looks infallibly diagnostic. But then who am I to pontificate?

Oh, and by the way, the attached S. rhizantha numbers 2 and 3 are from the Bolivian paper I mentioned above. It's about four Andean plants there that form part of the regular food reserves of the indigenous Indians who live on the high Altiplano. Here's quote from the translated version:
"The chijura is used for human consumption. It is peeled and the raw or cooked rhizome is eaten. In February, the rhizome is sweeter and is prepared together with potato varieties. In times of shortage, the rhizome can serve as a substitute of potatoes" (It's noted as high in iron and potassium.)
So there you are!

I'd like to hope this waffle may have helped in a small way, but imagine it's more likely to have muddied the waters.

Right; end of diversion - back to work.

Cheers,

John "


Stangea henrici



Stangea rhizantha


Stangea rhizantha 2


Stangea rhizantha 3

Thanks to John for his help!
« Last Edit: April 13, 2018, 02:47:21 PM by Maggi Young »
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!


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Jose Luis Pizarro T.

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Stangea Species in The Peruvian Andes
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2020, 12:30:04 AM »
I would like to inform you that we have found Stangea rhizantha also in Chile.
Your photo help as also on identification.
Thanks.

http://chlorischile.cl/Stangea%20rhizantha-Chloris/Stangea%20rhizanta-chloris.htm#foto7

Maggi Young

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Re: Stangea Species in The Peruvian Andes
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2020, 11:40:03 AM »
Another note  from John Watson .....

"I wasn't aware the genus was present in Chile, but it doesn't surprise me in the least given its nearby presence in bordering Bolivia and Peru. Even the apparently most explored zones of the country are yielding new records or taxa all the time, and that northern sector is far from comprehensively covered.

Thanks to a recently published addition to our home bookshelves it's possible to add a bit more. There are now two species known from Chile, Stangea paulae and the same S. rhizantha. The latter is recorded from the northernmost region, Arica and Parinacota at 4530 m, and is certainly the one noted by José Pizzaro,  while S. paulae is in the next region to the south, Tarapacá, from 4700-5200 m. It's presence in Chile, with details of collections, is given in the same 2019 Chloris Chilensis article."

 As we can see  from his photo website https://photos.v-d-brink.eu/    ..... " although Marijn van den Brink and his small group explored these northern regions extensively they didn't encounter either species.  It goes without saying that they're very rare and localized in Chile.

Our source for the above data is:
Catálogo de las Plantas Vasculares de Chile, R. Rodríguez & A. Marticorena (eds), 424 pps. Published September 2019, Editorial Universidad de Concepción. We were lucky to get a complimentary copy in return for our contribution of the 27 Tropaeolum taxa and 81 violas, as then were.

 best wishes,

John "
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!


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