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ID Andean Plants?  RSS feed

 
Matt Tebbit
Posts: 35
Location: Cusco, Peru
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I'm not holding out much hope on a 100% ID but even if I could get it down to a general species it would be good. Sorry that the photos aren't all that great, I was just snapping as I went past.

Is the first one a thistle? The leaves look like a thistles, that's about it.





This plant starts off with blueish flowers that turn to white, it produces a yellow berry/fruit. The stems have pretty good sized spikes on them, about an inch long.



This plant is pretty big, it's over 2 meters tall and spreading over an area of 3-4 meters. You can make out that the flower spikes produce berries / fruit.



This plant also gets pretty big, some of the plants have spread over several meters. It grows along the ground. I don't know how the berries / fruit look once mature.


 
Alder Burns
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The first one is almost certainly a prickly poppy....Argemone....or a close relative. Perhaps the second one and quite likely the last one....with the blue-purple flowers, are some kind of nightshade (Solanaceae)
 
Matt Tebbit
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Location: Cusco, Peru
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Wow - thanks for the quick reply.

Any thoughts on potential uses in permaculture? I was thinking of seeding the prickly poppy on my land, it's currently pretty barren and anything edible that I plant will soon be a sheep / goats dinner. I'm figuring that anything that I can get to grow will be beneficial at this point.
 
Alder Burns
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I would venture to guess that both the poppy and the nightshades are poisonous, both to people and to livestock. If you have loose animals on this land, this may be the reason why these few plants are surviving and not much else. Seems like you need to get some fencing or a dog or some such. Even getting trees established will be a headache with enough critters around, though some people accomplish it by piling up thorny stuff and planting in the middle of it.
 
Matt Tebbit
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Location: Cusco, Peru
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I just found this which refers to Prickly Poppy use as a pioneer species for barren ground.

http://www.permaculture.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/revitalizing-barren-ground-a-succession-model-by-tim-murphy1.pdf

It seems a bit confusing though - it lists prickly poppy as edible, poultry forage, suitable for seed pellitization and noxious. How can a plant that is considered noxious be considered edible and suitable for forage? It doesn't specify a particular variety of the prickly poppy so maybe it is because there are so many types that it crosses those boundaries. From reading it appears the variety I saw is Mexicana which is noxious but also can be used medicinally in the right quantities - time for experimentation? maybe not!

A definite positive is that it helps Mycorrhizal growth in the soil - next time I head to my land I'll collect as many seedheads as I can and start spreading them across the area in general. There's a good couple of hectares of barren land and these guys sound like they'll do a good job helping it back on it's feet - maybe having lots of spiky plants about will discourage the sheep and goats as well.
 
leila hamaya
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the last one is some kind of solanum, a nightshade, as the above poster said.

the one above it looks a lot like poke ? poke weed? i am not at all sure on that, just what it reminds me of, though the berries are different.
 
Matt Tebbit
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Location: Cusco, Peru
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Thanks Leila, looks like you hit on a winner with poke weed, looks pretty similar. Now to work out if this is useful or not. Once again it's inedibility will make it a good contender for re-establishing an eco-system, also as a quick grower it will create quite a bit of biomass.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phytolacca_icosandra

 
leila hamaya
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well theres a big debate about whether poke is edible. i am familiar with it because long ago one of my teachers was fond of it, in her opinion it was even a cure for many serious illnesses, including cancer.

in the south, in appalachia, it is all over the place, and many old timers eat it regularly...even though most things you will read will say it is toxic. the people who eat it boil it in several changes of water to remove the toxins...and perhaps it is considered the toxic element is also the medicinal element. idk....i suppose you will have to research it and make up your own mind.

it did look just a bit different, maybe it is a close related subspecies...or maybe it is that same one thats wild all over the south.
 
leila hamaya
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heres a good write up on it:

http://www.eattheweeds.com/can-be-deadly-but-oh-so-delicious-pokeweed-2/

with some related species at the end
 
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