A Mountaineer in Chile Records an Alpine Plant - (Belated) Observation of the Week, 9/14/20

[It took a few weeks for Gabriela to get back to me, so I’m posting this a bit late. - Tony]

Our (Belated) Observation of the Week is this Nassauvia pinnigera, seen in Chile by @gabyriela!

At the tail end of 2019, Gabriela Alejandra Anríquez Mauricio and her friends journeyed to the Volcán San José complex, about 90 km from Santiago, Chile. “It was the best gift I had last year,” she says. “[To] share that beautiful experience with four friends in the mountains, see its amazing nature (flora, a mysteriously large number of grasshoppers, birds, highland wetlands, penitent-shaped snows…).” 

And one member of that amazing flora is the plant you see above, Nassauvia pinnigera. A member of Family Asteraceae (sunflowers, daisies, and the like), this species grows at high elevations over 3,000 m (9,800 ft). I couldn’t find out too much about the species (if you have something to add, please do so in the comments!), but check out this photo of Gabriela photographing it below.

Gabriela studied environmental biology at Universidad de Chile, where her thesis work analyzed the risk of harmful algal blooms in Chiloé, an island off of southern Chile. And while she’s proud of the important work she did, she also says 

It still feels too far from nature and nature investigation (biology and ecology), involving a lot of literature reading and computer work, and little in the field.

For now I have been going outside with the intention of learning to identify what I see and hear and capture them in photographs (I have been learning photography) or recordings, and participating in a mountaineering club RAMUCH, [for which I am currently serving as Vice President].

Two of her friends, Daniela Pérez and Ariel Cabrera, introduced Gabriela (above) to iNaturalist, and while she’s only just started to post observations, she says “I'm really thankful to them because [iNaturalist incentivizes] sharing and sorting the observations that one has made in the field...iNaturalist and photography have been a great discovery for me, because I can see and learn deeper and share things I love with people who love them too.”

(Photos of Gabriela: Juan Pablo Cajigal (top) and Valentina Guevara (below))

- Take a gander at other observations of Nassauvia plants!

- Check out a past Observation of the Week of another beautiful Chilean flower growing out of rocks!

Posted by tiwane tiwane, October 29, 2020 21:58



Absolutely amazing! Everything mentioned here is amazing!

Posted by mythical_mold 3 months ago (Flag)

What a fabulous plant -- thank you Gabriela!

Posted by susanhewitt 3 months ago (Flag)

Great work. I love seeing the alpine plants of North America. This observation inspires me to explore the alpine plants in the mountains of South America once we can safely travel again.

Posted by brewbooks 3 months ago (Flag)

Climb on

Posted by delbachert 3 months ago (Flag)

Awesome! Thanks for posting!

Posted by grnleaf 3 months ago (Flag)

This is amazing! Thank you for sharing.

Posted by varajuan 3 months ago (Flag)

Great story!

Posted by mothmaniac 3 months ago (Flag)

Beautifully composed photo of a very cool plant!

Posted by rjadams55 3 months ago (Flag)

Wow.. an amazing journey.. thanks a lot @gabyriela

Posted by subhajit_roy 3 months ago (Flag)

in New Zealand we call these penwipers and they grow in the southern alps inland from Canterbury
your,s looks extrordinary.Our alpine plants grow at a lower altitude

Posted by ian4 3 months ago (Flag)

So exciting and very nice to see this species in bloom! Stunning photo. I observed this genus in 2017 near the Torres at Torres del Paine right by the trail, tucked into the rocks. It has been a special genus ever since.

Posted by ribes2018 3 months ago (Flag)

This is a really fascinating genus of plants. From Google Scholar, here are some interesting (and very technical) papers which include Nassauvia pinnigera:

Molecular phylogeny of the genus:
Maraner et al., 2012, in Plant Ecol., Evol., & Syst.: https://tinyurl.com/y6mp58oe (researchgate.net)

Typological analysis of inflorescences in the genus:
Tortosa et al., 2004, in Flora: https://tinyurl.com/yxc5wfv9 (academia.edu)

Importance of cold-stratification for seed germination:
Cavieres & Sierra-Almeida, 2018, in Plant Ecol., Evol., & Syst.: https://tinyurl.com/y48lwp77 (researchgate.net)

Evolution of the distribution of plants, based on panbiogeography (Spanish):
Mihoc et al., 2012, in Rev. Chilena de Hist. Nat.: https://tinyurl.com/y2922x8h (repositorio.conicyt.cl)

Posted by gcwarbler 3 months ago (Flag)

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