One unique and distinctive landscape element of Chile’s central zone is the Jubaea chilensis, the Chilean Wine Palm, which today we will see in all its glory in our first Dronescape 2016.
Quebrada de los Potros, a place for the Palm.
Branch of the Quebrada de Las Lajas (Las Lajas Gorge), tributary of the Rabuco Estuary that arrives to Aconcagua River.
Light and shadow. Space opened and closed.
The soil receives the seeds that later sprout, a bed of dry branches, traces of water, sunny slope and shade.
Horizontal and vertical, up and down, sit down and rest awhile.
Soak in the sun, temperate surroundings.
Textures of trunks thin and smooth or thick. Palms with different surfaces on the trunk.
Birds, breeze and foliage, background sounds.
Hard leaves, bright ones, transparent, opaque, rough, sticky, small, bordered, stopped, curved, supported leaves, a spiderweb highlighting a place.
Stones that seat the slope.
Humidity, tranquility, effervescence of silent life.
Diverse strata, above, below, all abuzz without bustling, no loneliness here.
Life and bio, long and short, both lives, sound waves of insects come and go in melodic phrases.
Leaves that fly down or fall, leaves perforated, leaves moving, silent insects, everything moves. The stones settle with tremors, spider webs at certain distances from each other, each spider weaves its luminous space.
I leave, internal recollection slowly rising into the light of the sky through the texture of palm trunks.
The Chilean Palm, Jubaea chilensis, Natural Monument
This is the second southernmost species of palm in a world of 3,800 different species thoughwith characteristics in common. This is a significant tree in the history of humanity, recognized for its innumerable benefits. They are in the African desert, in the Bible, in Egyptian and Mediterranean decorations, on Caribbean beaches.
What is unique about our palm?
It has been referred to by scientists, historians, poets, painters, explorers, geographers, botanists, peasants and others who establish a close relationship with its presence. Alonso Ovalle chose it together with the Araucaria pine as an image representative of Chile. It also appears in the commemorative medal of the 100 years of Chilean independence.
It is found in the center of the country, in protected areas of the coastal mountains, from the IV Region (30º latitude south) to the 36º parallel in the VII Region, in a Mediterranean climate given its proximity to the sea.
Its thousand-year-old presence connects us to inhabitants of these places. Its permanence over time establishes a natural link through the generations, making it a fundamental element of collective memory in its rootedness and its identification with this place. Its image stands out visually among the surrounding vegetation, characterizing the landscape wherever it is found.
It is a part of the associations of sclerophyllous, hygrophilous or xerophilous forests, which make up transition zones. It shares in diverse situations, from the wet and dark ravine, with Canelo trees, Arrayanes and Patagua trees, with the evergreen forest of Peumos, Boldos, Litres, Molles, and Quillayes, or in the open hills with the Espinos, Colliguayes, Chaguales and Cacti.
It is born, forever protected by the shady side of a large stone, under bushes or trees in the semi-shade during its first years, sharing the ground close by, rising slowly, deploying its protective branches against other plant species or animals.
When it reaches the height of its companions, it stretches to look for the light and the sun; it excels out of the forest; its flowers grouped in large inflorescences within a woody canoe. It produces its fruits in clusters overwhelming with colors from goldens to greens, its branches welcoming tucúqueres birds and others, too.
Its playful branches move with the breeze, toying with shapes and shadows, crossing glimmering silver and lights that can be seen in the distance, and close by there is a musicality that imitates the sounds of water in distinctive waterfalls.
Juana Zunino M. is an architect, Catholic University of Valparaíso, and holds a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (PUC). She is currently Head of the Diploma Program in Landscape Design at the PUC.
Recommended Bibliography: Piero Castagneto, Una Historia de Viña del Mar (A History of Viña del Mar) Santiago: RIL Editores, 2010 · Felsenhardt, Cruz, Maino and Zunino, Fondecyt Research project 1980589, La Creación del Paisaje de Chile, a través de la Representación Gráfica. (The Creation of the Chilean Landscape through Graphic Representation) 1540-1970 · Humberto Fuenzalida, Biogeografía de Chile. (Biogeography of Chile) Geografía Económica de Chile (Economic Geography of Chile) Santiago: Corporación de Fomento de la Producción, 1965 · Rodolfo Gajardo and M.Teresa Serra, La Vegetación Natural de Chile: Clasificación y Distribución Geográfica (The Natural Vegetation of Chile: Classification and Geographical Distribution) Santiago: Editorial Universitaria, 1994 · Claudio Gay, Agricultura Chilena (Chilean Agriculture) Santiago: Ediciones ICIRA, 1973 · María Graham, Diario de mi Residencia en Chile en 1822 (Diary of My Residence in Chile in 1822) Buenos Aires: Ed. Francisco de Aguirre, 1992· Juan Grau, Palmeras (Palms) Santiago: Ediciones Oikos Ltda., 2000 and Palmeras de Chile (Palms of Chile) Santiago: Ediciones Oikos Ltda., 2004· Adriana Hoffmann, Flora Silvestre. (Wildflowers of the Central Zone) Zona Central (Santiago: Ed. Fundación Claudio Gay, 1982) · M. Victoria Legassa, Constanza Valenzuela, Juana Zunino, “Comunidad Litre, Quillay, Palma,”(Community of Litre, Quillay, Palms) Revista Chagual (Jardín Botánico Chagual, 2011) · Federico Luebert and Patricio Pliscoff, Sinopsis Bioclimática y Vegetacional de Chile (Bioclimatic and Vegetational Synopsis of Chile) Santiago: Editorial Universitaria, 2006· Oscar Matthei S., Max Quezada M., Roberto Rodríguez R., Flora Arbórea de Chile (Arboreal Flowers of Chile) Concepción: Ed. Universidad de Concepción, 1983 · Gabriela Mistral, Lagar (Santiago: Editorial del Pacífico, 1954) · John Meehan, Con Darwin en Chile (With Darwin in Chile) Santiago: Edit. Francisco de Aguirre, 1971 · Juan Ignacio Molina, Historia Natural y Civil de Chile (Natural and Civil History of Chile) Santiago: Editorial Universitaria, 1978 · Andrés Moreira and Sergio Elortegui, Parque Nacional La Campana. (La Campana National Park) Origen de una Reserva de la Biosfera de Chile Central (Origin of a Central Chile Biosphere Reserve) Santiago: Ediciones La Era, 2002· Alonso Ovalle, Histórica Relación del Reino de Chile (Historical Relations of the Kingdom of Chile) Santiago: Editorial Universitaria, 1993  · Luis Oyarzún, Defensa de la Tierra (Defense of the Land) Santiago: Editorial Universitaria, 1973 · Paulina Riedemann and G. Aldunate, Flora Nativa. (Native Flora) Chile, Zona Centro (Santiago: Editorial Andrés Bello, 2001) · Jorge Sánchez et al., Turistel (Santiago, 2001) · M. Torres, Los Parques Nacionales de Chile. (National Parks of Chile) Una Guía para el Visitante (A Visitors Guide) Santiago: Editorial Universitaria, 1999) · Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna, El Clima de Chile (The Chilean Climate) Buenos Aires: Ed. Francisco de Aguirre, 1971 and De Valparaíso a Santiago: Datos, Impresiones, Noticias, Episodios de viaje (From Valparaiso to Santiago: Tips, Impressions, News, Travel Episodes) Santiago: Imprenta de la Librería del Mercurio, 1877.