Andean Ethnobotanical Collections

This is only a partial list of the plants and seeds we have available. For our complete illustrated catalog send $2 ($4 international)

To assure we are distributing the highest level of genetic diversity, all of the plants we offer are grown from seed unless noted otherwise

In the mid 1980s, at the impressionable age of 12, I was fortunate to be introduced to the vibrant ecological tapestry of Andean Peru during a family Summer trip. Since 1996 I have returned repeatedly to marvel at the unparalleled floristic diversityand explore the rugged mountains of central and southern Peru and adjacent Bolivia, studying the ethnobotany of the region, paying tribute to the land and people, and beginning a long term study of Trichocereus distribution and taxonomy (in conjunction with DNA studies being carried out by Dr. Martin Terry). The Andes are currently one of the most species rich plant-regions in the world, yet it is estimated that less than 10% of its forest remains. With this always in mind, responsible conservation minded collections of seed were made- preservation through distribution and propagation. We have a limited quantity of fascinating species still available along with plants grown from the seed. Purchases will help support future expeditions and the continual study of Andean plant life and ethnobotanical knowledge. See our Rare Plant List for additional offerings.

We have general recommendations for germination and cultivation. Many of these plants are new to cultivation and their needs may prove contrary to our suggestions. Please keep track of the collection numbers and your germination results and let us know! This way you can help contribute to the study and conservation of the remarkable plants of these regions.

Follow this link for our Andean Ethnobiological Field Courses

Andean Collections Photos and Notes 2008

CD/DVD (PC or Mac) with 340 photos of plants, landscapes and archaeological sites from Lima Dept., Cusco and Puno-Peru. Tiwanaku, Isla del Sol, La Paz, and the Yungas regions of Bolivia. List of our seed collections of nearly 200 species with ethnobotanical notes and cultivation suggestions.
$10 postage paid in the USA, foreign orders add $2 shipping

Andean Collections Photos and Notes 2009

CD/DVD containing 350 photos including Peru’s Cusco region, the 3000 year old ruins of Chavin de Huantar, the Cordillera Negra & Blanca, intact highland Polylepis/ Buddleja forests, K. Knize’s nursery, and much more. Includes the list of our complete seed collections.
$10 postage paid in the USA, foreign orders add $2 shipping

Andean Collections Photos and Notes 2010

CD/DVD with 400+ photos from our Spring travels in Cusco, Peru including photos of the seldom visited lush Lares Valley, and Cochabamba, Bolivia where we examined the dryland cactus filled forests of the valleys, the endangered Polylepis forests of the higher mountains and the remote Incan archaeological site Inkallajta. Comes with a complete list of our seed collections with ethnobotanical notes and cultivation suggestions.
$10 postage paid, foreign orders add $2

Andean Collections Photos & Notes Complete Set

3 CD/DVDs of photos plus collection notes from all 3 of our expeditions to Peru & Bolivia 2008, 09 & 10.
$24 postage paid, foreign orders add $4

For additional Andean cactus species see Cactaceae
Please list the BK or NL collection numbers along with the botanical names when ordering!

Acaena sp. ‘Cabo Virgenes’

Rosaceae. Attractive, low spreading groundcover, rosettes of finely pinnate fern-like leaves. Likely has reddish flower heads held above the foliage followed by spiny fruit. Holubec seed collection, Cabo Virgenes, Santa Cruz, Argentina. Came to us as A. sericea, but it is not that species, closer to A. pinnatifida or macrocephala. Genetics show that Acaena are very closely related to the Polylepis trees of the Andes. Well draining soil and sun. Z7?
Plant 2–3 years old $6.50

Agave cordillerensis NL52409

Agavaceae. Clusters of rosettes to 6-8′+. Leaves gray-blue with toothed margins. Flower stalks to 20′+ with curved or sometimes looped branches, yellow flowers. Botanists have dismissed this Andean agave as A. americana, G. Pino recently redescribed it as its own species based on its stouter leaves and radically different flower stalks. A beautiful and versatile plant. Widely planted as impenetrable hedgerows. Unknown in cultivation outside the Andes. N. Logan collection; Luribay, Bolivia, 8,000′. Z7b-8b?
Seed packet $4
3″+ seedling 2 -3 years old $7.50 or 2 for $13.50

Alonsoa aff. acutifolia BK08519.13  “Aya aya”

Scrophulariaceae. Small shrub to 18″+. Racemes of unusual and very attractive flat faced orange flowers, a great ornamental. Seed collected on Incan terracing near Pisac, Cusco, Peru, about 11,000′. A tea of the plant is used for toothache and “susto”. Can be slow to sprout, 30+ days cold treatment. Z9a?
Seed packet $4

Anadenanthera colubrina v. cebil  ‘La Paz’    “Vilca”

Fabaceae. Tree 10–30′+ tall. Feathery pinnate leaves. Large flat seedpods to 10″ long, round shiny seed. About half the trees have strange knobbly protuberances on the trunks. Seed purchased from a street vendor in the Witches’ Market, La Paz, Bolivia. The dominant tree in much of the nearby Yungas dryland forests where the seed was originally harvested. Once one of the most important religious plants throughout the Andes, playing a central role in the spread of the Tiwanaku culture. The seeds are also used as an external head wash for headache, and reportedly as an abortificent. The astringent bark is used for the lungs and wound healing. A leaf infusion is said to “bring about a period of fervor in cows”…which we’ll leave to your imagination. Drought tolerant. Z9b–10a
8-12″+ Treelet 3 years old $16

Anredera sp? BK08612.8

Basellaceae. Scrambling or hanging succulent vine with pink stems 3–8′ long. Rounded pale green leaves. Slender spikes of tiny white-pink flowers are borne in mass at the leaf nodes. May produce a caudex with age. Growing on rocks and cliffs, north of Matucana, Lima Dept., Peru. An unusual, beautiful succulent plant. The leaves and roots might possibly be edible like other members of the genus and its close relative Ulluco. Seed can be slow to sprout. Z9a/b?
Seed packet $4

Apodanthera sagittifolia

Cucurbitaceae. From a large underground caudex grows annual trailing vines to 6′+ with arrow shaped leaves. Small yellow flowers and  2″ fuzzy oval fruit. Seed from Pehuen, Cordoba, Argentina. The fruit is said to be sweet but inedible? A must for caudex collectors. Z9b
Plant 1–2 years old $7.75

Aristeguietia discolor BK08518.2 “Asmachilcha”

Asteraceae. Attractive shrub 5–8′. Thick resinous lanceolate leaves, dark green on top and whitish undersides. Clusters of pale lavender colored flowers. Above Pisac, near 11,000′, Cusco Dept., Peru. Asmachilcha is a very important medicinal, useful for its powerful bronchodilating and mucus drying actions, very similar to Yerba Santa in California. Also burned to make ash for llipta. Z9b?
Seed packet $4

Aristolochia ringens

Aristolochiaceae. Robust evergreen vine to 10–30′. Dark green heart shaped leaves with pale undersides. Bizarre 4–5″ long flowers, yellowish with burgundy to purple veination, somewhat resembling a pelican’s head! Seed from Columbia. Host plant for the polydamas swallowtail butterfly. Evergreen in frost free regions, some sources say it will regrow from the roots in Z8b. Keep warm to germinate in 4–8 weeks.
5 seed $3

Aster sp.? BK09509.5

Asteraceae. Herbaceous plant to 2–3′. Clumps of dandelion-like, soft green leaves with white undersides. Large flashy flowers 3″+ across, bright red slender petals and orange centers. Growing on the hills around Chavin de Huantar, Ancash, Peru. High horticultural appeal. Z9b?
Seed packet $4

Baccharis incarum BK08602.1 “T’ula”

Asteraceae. A pretty rounded shrub to 18″ tall and 24″ wide. Cream white flowers. Small serrated leaves, resinous with a spicy scent. Abundant on the dry sandstone hills of Isla del Sol, Bolivia, 12,500′+. Local shaman Lucio Ticono told us that boiling a handful of the plant makes a spicy brew that generates an “achuma like” effect. In northern Argentina it is used as a tea with antiseptic, carminative, antipyretic properties and a painkiller for muscle and bone aches. Infused in ethanol it is rubbed externally for rheumatism and inflammation. Studies show these southern populations of the plant to contain flavonoids and xanthines with strong antimicrobial and antioxidant actions. As far as we know the northern Bolivian populations have not been studied. Easy, sun and well drained soil. Should be drought hardy. Rooted cuts. Z8a and below
6–8″+ plant $16.50

Baccharis sp. BK08528.2

Dense groundcover that forms green mats to 1″ high and 3′ wide. Waxy leaves, small white flowers. Exposed altiplano, near the ruins of Tiwanaku, Bolivia, 13,000′. We were told the plant is endangered. Grows to about 2″+ tall in cultivation, well draining mineral soil and sun. Rooted cuts. Z7?
2″ plant $8.50

Begonia baumanii BK10509.8 “Killu killu” “Graniso t’ika”

Begoniaceae. Medium size tuber with beautiful round crinkled leaves to 6″ diameter. Large rose colored flowers on 2′ stalks. Growing on rock outcrops above the ruins of Inkallajta, Cochabamba Dept., Bolivia. This lovely endemic is reported to be used in rain rituals. The tubers are chopped and used to curdle milk for making cheese, said to impart an interesting flavor. Used as a mordant for dying. This species favors succulent or rock garden culture in captivity. The caudex like tuber will appeal to the lover of fat bulbous appendages on plants. New to cultivation! Z8/9?
Seed packet $4
Plant 3 years old $9.50

Begonia boliviensis

Forms a discoid perennial tuber/caudex to 12″ across. Arching annual stems to 18″+, slender leaves and 2″ tubular orange-red blossoms draw hummingbirds. Native to the Yungas region of the Bolivian Andes. Introduced into cultivation the 1800s, it is parent of many of the modern hybrids. Well draining soil and part shade. A favorite for hanging baskets. Sprout seed like cacti. Z8a if well mulched
Seed packet $3

Begonia veitchii BK10428.9 “Achan k’aray”

Perennial caudex/tuber with large rounded annual leaves to 10″. Inflorescence to 12″ tipped with orange to pink flowers. Growing on rocks and banks above Rio Trapiche, 11,500′, remnant cloud forest near Lares, Cusco Dept., Peru. The plant is used in medicinal blends to treat flu, the tuber is reported to have contraceptive properties and three flowers in an infusion are said to be laxative. Best grown in a succulent soil mix, sun to part shade and a dry dormant period. Surface sow the tiny seed. Z8/9?
Seed packet $4

Blechnum sp. BK10512.10

Blechnaceae. Unusual and distinct fern with a rosette of thick compound leaves on a small trunk to about 12″ tall, like a miniature cycad. Polylepis lanata forest understory and edges. Above Rio Lope Mendoza, Cochabamba Dept., Bolivia. We are pretty sure as to the genus, yet our fern knowledge is very spotty, but many years ago we saw Blechnum form small tree ferns at high altitudes in southern Peru. Z8?
Spore packet $4

Bomarea sp. BK08517.13 “Sullu sullu”

Alstroemeriaceae or Liliaceae. Large vine with linear ovate leaves to 3″+, green to blue-green with lightly pubescent undersides. Trumpet shaped flowers to 1.25″ long, covered in a fine fuzz. Outer tepals dark pink to reddish, some with a little dark flecking, the very tip turquoise colored. Inner tepals longer than outer, green to lime-green with red midstripe and thick black linear flecks. Reddish ovary and turquoise pollen. Possibly a new species or ancient hybrid, has some similarities with B. speciosa and B. weigendii. Growing amongst dry scrub around the Incan amphitheater-like ruins of Moray, near 12,000, Cusco, Peru. 80+ species of these fantastic tuberous climbing lilies are to be found in Peru. Also known regionally as “ramos-ramos”, “orq-orqo” or “paicha-paicha”, some species are used to treat venereal disease, infertility, kidney pain and hemorraging. Many have edible tubers. The young shoots are eaten, and the seeds have a sweet coating that is sucked on as a pastoral child’s treat. All have extremely showy clusters of multicolored tubular flowers and ornamental seed pods. Vines go dormant with frost and resprout from the tubers late in the warm season. Z9a to 8a
Plant 4 years old $12.50 (limited)

Bomarea aff. macusanii BK08524.11

Twing vine with smooth lanceolate leaves to 2″+. The stems end in a rosette sheath of leaves from which an umbel of 1″ fire orange flowers is borne. Outer tepals red fading to orange, yellow striations towards the tip, green dot at tip. Inner tepals longer than outer, yellow fading to orange tip, small yellow point at very tip, red-orange midstripe. Green and red ovary and blue pollen. Similar to the rare B. macusanii but differs in the green dot on the outer tepals and the longer inner tepals. Possibly a new subspecies? Growing on rock and adobe walls near Lares, Cusco Dept., Peru, 11,000′+. Z8b/9a?
Plant 4 years old $18 (limited)

Bomarea rosea BK09509.4

Twining lily-vine with lanceolate green leaves to 3″, slightly fuzzy undersides. Umbel of 4–10+ trumpet shaped, 3/4″ flowers. Outer tepals lightly pubescent, pale pink to peach, tipped light green to turquoise. Inner tepals longer than outer, green with linear dark spots and a pink central stripe, sometimes outlined in dark brown. Green ovary and turquoise pollen. Attractive red-orange seeds. Growing on Senna shrubs on the hillside north of town of Chavin, Ancash Dept., 10,500′. This is the first time this rare species has been reported fromt his region. Z8b/9a
5 seed $4.50 (limited)
Plant 3–4 years old $14.50

Bomarea sp. BK10509.3

Twining vine to 8′+. Large seed pods with sweet red seeds. Flowers unseen, but all Bomarea bear gorgeous clusters of tubular flowers, edible tubers, etc. Growing near the Incan ruins of Inkallajta, Cochabamba, Bolivia, 10,000′. Z8a/9a?
Plant 2+ years old $8.50
Inquire for additional Bomarea species

Buddleja coriacea BK08528.1 “Colle” “Puna Kiswar”

Buddlejaceae. Of all the Buddleja, this species is undoubtedly the matriarch, the resplendent queen. Rounded bush or tree 8 to 30′. Stems densely packed with small leathery leaves, shiny on top, white underneath. Rounded clusters of pale orange to red flowers adorn the ends of the branches. From a distance it looks like an olive tree. Seed from the modern town of Tiwanaku, near the ancient ruins, Bolivia, over 13,000′. One of the few trees that is hardy up to 15,000′+, and a key species of the now mostly extinct highland Andean forest. Widely planted by the Inca and increasingly planted in the Andes for its beauty and many uses, though unknown in other parts of the world. Seems perfectly adaptable to low elevation cultivation. Flowers and stems are made into a tea for flu and coughs, pneumonia, photosensitivity, stomach ailments, utero tonic, and for post-partum health. An important dye plant. Drought tolerant and hardy to Z5b-6b if kept relatively dry.
Seed packet $5
6-12″+ plant 2-3 years old $15 or 2 for $26

Buddleja tucumanensis BK10512.2   “Yurak-wasa” “Yurayuraj”

Lovely shrub to 5–8′ tall. Downy, silver-grey, lanceolate leaves 4–8″ long with a refreshing fruity-citrus scent. Terminal spikes of rounded, yellow and orange flower clusters, sweetly perfumed. Growing on dry hillsides with Trichocereus riomizquensis and Cleome boliviensis, Totora, Cochabamba, Bolivia, 9,000′. Used for respiratory and cardiovascular issues, urinary troubles and to wash wounds. The essential oil of the leaves has shown insecticidal activity and is made up of 28 components including thujene, pinene, limonene, bergamotene, etc. We are pleased to introduce this unique aromatic species into cultivation. Should tolerate some drought. Surface sow, germinates in 3–8 weeks. Z8b/9a
Seed packet $5

Cajophora horrida BK08517.11 “K’isa k’is

Loasaceae. A bizarre vine covered in stinging hairs like nettles. Triangular leaves with deep cut irregular margins. 1″+ bell-like orange flowers, very cool and distinct, like a pumpkin. The cone shaped fruit dehisce in a spiral arrangement when dry. Typically found scrambling over rocks or through bushes. Utilized much like nettles, made into tea for kidneys. Collected near Chinchero, Cusco Dept., Peru, 12,400′. Z8b?
Seed packet $4

Cajophora sp. SHL19.07.2012.2   ”Pica”  ”Chachina”

Short rosettes of toothed, dark green, spiny leaves. Unusual and lovely, deep orange, 5 petalled flowers. Interesting seed pods dehisce spirally. The whole plant has a sting similar to nettles and is used medicinally in much the same way. S. Lipe collection from rock walls, Amantani Island, Lake Titicaca, Peru, around 13,000′. A choice rock garden plant. Z7/8? Seed packet $4

Calceolaria umbellata ex F&W11439

Scrophulariaceae. Flattened rosettes of dark green leaves. Thin flower stalk held 5–8″ above the leaves, numerous intense yellow flowers with a large inflated pouch. Seed originally from Argentina. Rewarding from seed, blooms in just 6–8 months. Well draining soil and sun. Z7/8?
Seed packet $3

Calceolaria sp. BK08519.8

Shrub to 5′+. Large lemon yellow pouch flowers. Collected on soaking wet terraces in the Kitamayo Gorge below the tombs of Pisac, about 11,000′, Peru. We have fallen in love with the inflated beauty of the “pouch flower”. There is an awesome diversity of species in the Andes and this one is exceptional for its size and garden worthiness. Z9b
Seed packet $4

Canna edulis “Achira” - see our Andean Tubers page

Capsicum eximium “Ulupica Pepper”

Solanaceae. Perennial shrub 2–3′ tall. Purple star flowers. 0.5″ or smaller round fruit turn red when fully ripe. La Paz Dept., Bolivia. The famous ulipica, thought to be the progenitor of all Capsicum. This is a very hot pepper with a distinct sharp flavor. Usually used green. About 80 days from seed to harvest. Self-incompatible, 2 or more plants for fruit set. Needs sun and warmth. Best germination with GA3 treatment. Z9b?
10 seed $3.50

Capsicum chacoense  “Tova” “Covincha Pepper”

Upright 2′+ shrub. White flowers, erect traingular red fruit to about 1″ long. Another rare wild chile pepper, native to mid elevation southern Bolivia, adjacent Argentina and Paraguay. Medium heat, good flavor. Very drought tolerant, 80–120 days to maturity. Best germination with GA3 treatment. Z10
Seed packet $3.50
1 gram seed $14

Cheilanthes bonariensis BK10426.3

Pteridaceae. Attractive xerophytic fern with erect grey to silver blue fuzzy leaves to 6″+. Growing on rocks, descent from Pumamarca, Cusco Dept., Peru, 10,800′. May be chewed like coca leaf, other Cheilanthes and Polypodium ferns have been reported as coca substitutes. These rock ferns can be grown like succulents and are drought tolerant, the fronds curling up when dry. Z8a/b
Plant 2+ years old $9.50 or 2 for $16.50

Chenopodium pallidicaule ’La Paz’   “Kaniwa” “Iswalla Hupa”

Chenopodiaceae. Weedy annual 1-2′ tall. A semi-domesticate, cultivated in the altiplano regions of Peru and Bolivia. Grows where its close kin quinoa and kiwicha (or any grain) will not-dry, salty, and cold regions over 13,000′. The tiny seed is extremely nutritious, about 16 percent protein, even the leaves are protein and calcium rich. Unknown outside the Andes, worth experimenting with as a crop. Heirloom variety with blackish seed, grown on the altiplano of La Paz, Bolivia. Z6?
Seed packet $3.50
1 gram seed $8
gram seed $30

Chenopodium pallidicaule ‘Cochabamba’   ”Kaniwa” “Iswalla Hupa”

Heirloom strain with reddish-brown seed from Cochabamba, Bolivia. Z6?
Seed packet $3.75
1 gram seed $8

Chenopodium quinoa ‘Quri’   “Gold Quinoa”

Rare heirloom Peruvian quinoa with pale yellow to deep orange seed. Annual stalks 5-8′+ tall, the largest quinoa we’ve seen. The flower heads are a medley of color, from yellow to pinks and pale purples. A long season variety. “Quri” is the Quechua word for “gold.”
Seed packet $3.75
5 gram seed $15

Chenopodium quinoa ‘Supha Aqu’    “Quinoa”

3–4′+ tall annual. Rounded flower clusters and seedheads. The stems, leaves and flower panicles range from green-blue to pink-purple. Fat, sand colored, nutritious seeds. A short season heirloom quinoa from Aymara communities in northern Chile. Should be adaptable to arid climates.
Seed packet $3.75
5 gram seed $15

Chenopodium quinoa v. melanospermum BK10505.2   “Ajara” “Quinoa Negro”

Heirloom Bolivian quinoa with shiny blackish seed and rich flavor. Bolivia is the world’s major producer of this extremely nutritious and delicious grain. Seed from Cochabamba, Bolivia.
Seed packet $3.25
5 gram seed $12

Commelina fasciculata  BK09509.3  “Sara-sara”

Commelinaceae. A gentle sprawling plant to 12″+. Slender leaves and unmistakable shiny deep-blue flowers with 3 petals and yellow anthers. In many regions the new shoots of Commelina are eaten. This lovely plant was common around Chavin de Huantar, Ancash Dept., Peru, growing with Trichocereus and Borzicactus fieldianus . Easily grown, sun to part shade. Z9b?
Seed packet $4

Coriaria ruscifolia  BK08524.16 (=Coriaria thymifolia)

Coriaraceae. Leafy shrub to about 3-6′. Long arching leaves made up of may small leaflets. Drupes of tiny purpleblack berries, like a string of jewels. Collected just above Lares Hotsprings, Cusco Dept. Peru, about 11,000′. Nitrogen fixing plants, often considered poisonous. Berries of Ecuadorian populations are used to induce a feeling of flying. Distinct from the Chilean form of this species we offer. Beautiful red leaf stems. So far they are only tolerant of a little frost, may be hardier when mature. Z9a-b
Seed packet $5 (very limited!)
Plant $16

Coriaria ruscifolia v. microphyllaBK09430.4 (=Coriaria thymifolia) “Mio-mio”

Small leafy shrub to about 2′. Arching, fern-like leaves made up of may small leaflets. Drupes of tiny purple-black berries. The plant and seeds are more diminutive than what we collected in 2008 at Lares, may be closer to the original C. thymiolia v. microphylla. Nitrogen fixing toxic medicinal. Source of a purple dye. Collected at 8,800′, Cusco Dept. Z9a-b
Plant $15

For additional Coriaria species see our Chilean offerings

Corryocactus brevistylus BK09424.1 “Sanky”

Cactaceae. Attractive Trichocereus peruvianus-like columnar cactus from southern Peru. Stems 10–20′ tall, spines up to 9″ long! Yellow tubular flowers and softball size fruit. Fruit purchased at one of the large traditional markets in Lima city. The flesh of the huge fruit is amazingly sour, as acidic as a lemon. Considered a liver and kidney tonic. We blended the pulp with a little honey-water to make a delicious and refreshing sanky-ade. More tolerant of cold and aridity than any lemon tree, could substitute in areas where lemons can’t grow. Z8b/9a
Seed packet $4 Inquire for plants

Corryocactus melanotrichus RCB009  “K’usa k’usa”

Slender columnar stems to 6–8′+ tall, well armed with long spines. Endowed with Purplish flowers and fat round fruit to over 3″ with a delicious sweet-sour flesh, reminiscent of kiwi. Seed collected along the Rio Abajo, La Paz, Bolivia, 11,750′. The fruit is said to be useful for inflammation and as an analgesic. Cut sections of stem, along with several other spiny cacti, are sold at the witches market in La Paz for use in misa offerings and as a wash for good luck. A hardy species worth growing for the fruit. Z8b/9a
Seed packet $3.50

Cucurbita maxima ssp. andreana   “Zapallito Amargo” “Wild Squash”

Cucurbitaceae. This is the wild progenitor of many of our winter squashes. Fast growing annual vine. Big yellow-orange flowers swell into ovoid fruit to 5″, dark green with pale green stripes. Bitter inedible flesh. Seed from wild plants, Bahia Blanca, Argentina. Over 4000 years ago people in South America selectively bred this species into the diversity of the hard squash we enjoy today. The vapor of the steamed fruit is used as an expectorant and seeds as a purgative and vermifuge. Ornamental, of interest for cucurbit breeding and historical curiosity. Z9
5 seed $3

Cyclanthera explodens BK09506.2 ”Achukcha” “Wild Caigua”

Cucurbitaceae. Clambering tendrilled vine with 3-lobed leaves, small yellow/white flowers and 1–2″ inflated fruit covered in small prickles. When the fruit is fully ripe it “explodes”, launching the seed up to several meters. This wild caigua is often seen for sale in the local markets, being used for food and medicine the same way the cultivated species is. The small fruits are excellent cooked in soups or stir-fry. From seed collected in Huaraz, Ancash Dept., Peru. Will perennialize in mild climates, otherwise grow like an annual cucumber, giving the vine plenty of room. Z9b
10 seed $3.50

Cyclanthera pedata “Caigua”

Tendrilled annual vine with palmate leaves and peculiar inflated green fruit to 6″, often lightly prickled. A popular food in South America, another “lost” Incan crop, with a flavor similar to artichoke. The hollow fruit is cooked and eaten, usually stuffed with vegetables and meat or added to soups. The flesh is also an important medicinal, being a strong anti-inflammatory and flushing cholesterol from the body. The whole plant is considered a brain tonic. A delectable veetable hat deserves much wider cultivation. Grow like cucumber. Z9b
10 seed $3.50
Cyclanthera pedata BK10505.1  - Heirloom strain from Cochabamba, Bolivia. Produces very well for us.  10 seed $4
Cyclanthera pedata ’Tarija’  - Heirloom strain from Tarija, Bolivia. Vigorous vine, smooth skinned fruit.  10 seed $4

Cypella herbertii

Iridaceae. Bulb with upright pleated leaves and flower stalks to 2–3′+ tall. Showy golden goblet flowers with rust and purple inner markings. Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and south Brazil. One of the easiest species to grow and very floriferous all summer. Bulbs may be edible. Can bloom in 1 year from seed. Well draining soil and sun. Z8a
Seed packet $3.50

Cypella herrerae? BK10430.1 “Michi-michi”

Grass-like leaves to 18″. Large iridescent blue flowers with yellow splotches, a true jewel of a blossom. Near the Wari ruins of Pikillacta south of Cusco City, Peru, 10,700′. The bulb of some species is edible and used medicinally for cough and inflammation. Cold stratify, slow germination over 3-18 months. Z8/9    sold out

Cypella peruviana BK08525.5

Pleated linear leaves, flower stalk to 2′. Bulbous Iris relatives with large gorgeous flowers with a fruity sweet scent. Bright yellow blooms with a center of mottled red-brown striping. The inner petals have a furry stripe edged with white and metallic blue. Rock outcrops in cloudforest, outside Aguas Caliente, Peru, 7,500′. Used for cough and inflammation. There’s reports of the bulbs being edible. Z8b?
Seed packet $4
Plant 3+ years old $8.50 (limited)

Cyphomandra betacea “Tree Tomato” “Tamarillo”

Solanaceae. Fast growing shrub from 6–20′ tall, usually with a single upright trunk. Large heart shaped leaves. Self fertile white flowers. Egg sized, yellow/orange to deep red edible fruit. A cultivar from the mid to low elevation Andes, unknown in its wild state. Grown throughout the subtropics and on a commercial scale in New Zealand for over 70 years. Prolific fruiter, mature trees up to 40+ lbs of fruit a year. The fruit has a bitter skin, but the flesh varies from sweet to acid, similar to a tomato or tomatillo. Typically the yellow or orange fruit is sweeter and fruitier while the red is more acidic. Z9b
Seed packet $3 (Specify your preference of seed from Red or Orange fruit)
Cyphomandra betacea ‘Tarija’ – Seed from Tarija southern Bolivia, where it is thought that the tree tomato was originally domesticated. Seed packet $3.50

Datura stramonium? SHL04.07.2012.2

Solanaceae. Annual species with fragrant white trumpet shaped blooms, purplish inside. Spiny seed pods. Likely introduced to the Andes from Mexico. Rich in toxic medicinal tropane alkaloids. S. Lipe collection, Pisac, Cusco, Peru. Z9?
Seed packet $3

Deuterocohnia longipetala

Bromeliaceae. Puya-like multiheaded mounds to 2–4′ made up of rosettes of recurved, toothed, silver leaves. Erect branched inflorescence with tubular yellow flowers. Seed from the dry valleys of northern Peru where it occurs up to 5000′. Another beautiful pineapple relative. Sun and drought hardy. Z9b
3″+ plant 2+ years old $6.50

Dioscorea sp. BK08517.20 “Andean Yam”

Dioscoreaceae. Perennial rounded caudex to 4–6″+ diameter. Annual vine to 5′+ with slender heart shaped shiny leaves. Strings of tiny yellowish flowers. Dry scrub, Moray, Cusco, Peru, 12,000′. The Andes have dozens of species of unusual Dioscorea, some are medicinal and some edible. With age these plants will appeal to caudiciform collectors. Normal succulent culture. Easy houseplant. Z9a/b?
Plant 3–4 years old $12.50

Dioscorea sp. BK08605.3 “Yungas Yam”

Medium sized annual vine to 8′+. Very Slender heart shaped leaves, clusters of yellowish flowers. Long cylindrical brown tuber/caudex. Found growing on dryland shrubs, Anandenanthera colubrina trees, and the bizzare columnar cactus Yungasocereus inquisivensis. Near the vast Tiwanaku/Incan ruins of Pasto Grande, Sud Yungas, Bolivia, about 6,000′. The tubers of this lovely species look similar to cultivated yams, but we can make no claims to edibility. Worth further study. Seed has sprouted irregularly for us over a 2 year period, so be patient! Z9b?
5 seed $3
Plant 3–4 years old $11.50 or 2 for $19.50

Dioscorea sp. BK10509.2 “Andean Yam”

Vine to 10′+, large heart shaped leaves. Possibly one of the “tortoise-shell” caudex forming species. Growing on Alnus trees next to the river, near Inkallajta, Cochabamba, Bolivia, near 10,000′. Dioscorea seed may have delayed germination, up to 6-12+ months. Z8b/9b?
10 seed $4

Echeveria chiclensis BK08612.6

Crassulaceae. Large rosettes to 10″ or more. Slender leaves are blue-green, blushed an amorous purple or red. Deep-yellow flowers with orange hues. Crassulaceae expert Guillermo Pino took us to see this lovely species growing amongst scrub next to the embankment on the side of the road near Chicla, Lima, Peru, 12,000′. Z8b–9a and lower
1.5–2″ plant 2–3 years old $8.50

Echeveria chiclensis v. backbergii BK08612.2

Blue-grey rosettes to 6″. Slender pointed leaves, yellow flowers blushed orange. Similar to some of the California Dudleya. Growing on rocks, often is association with Trichocereus peruvianus. Near Matucana, 8,600′, Lima Dept., Peru. Echeveria are used medicinally in Peru for cataracts and earache. Sprout like cacti. Z9a and lower
Seed packet $4
1.5–2″+ plant 2+ years old $8.50

Echeveria decumbens BK10428.10

2–4″ rosettes of pale-blue diamond shaped leaves, eventually forms large clusters to 24″. Decumbent flower stalks bearing yellowish red flowers. Growing with Tillandsia, Peperomia sp., succulent Oxalis sp., and ferns. Steep mountainside across from Lares Hotsprings, 11,300′. We first reported this species from this region in 2008. Echeveria are known by the Quechua name “loraypo” and the leaf juice is highly valued for treating cataracts and earache. Z8b/9a
2–3″ plant 3 years old $11.50

Echeveria sp. nova BK09514.1

A very distinct plant. Forms 6″+ rosettes of slender leaves with a central furrow, dark green to dark purple-green or even black in color, sometimes with red-brown highlights. Peach colored flowers. Growing on steep rock cliffs with Tillandsia species and an impressive population of serpent-like Trichocereus peruvianus, Fortaleza Canyon, on the descent from Conacocha and well before Cajacay, Ancash Dept, about 10,000′. Very clearly an undescribed species, G. Pino will eventually name and publish it. Z9b
2″+ plant 3 years old $9.50
Inquire for additional Echeveria species

Elaphoglossum engeliiBK10428.4

Dryopteridaceae. A fern with clusters of upright linear leaves to 5–8″, larger at lower altitudes. Front side of the leaves is grey-green and the back side is black with the spore mass making an attractive contrast. Just above Huacahuasi, Cusco Dept., Peru, 12,700′. Growing with Brachyotum shrubs and a small Vaccinium sp. Z7–8?
Spore packet $4

Ephedra americana BK10504.1 ”Sano-sano”

Ephedraceae. Xerophytic leafless shrub 2–4′ tall. Small red edible fruit a bit more papery than most. Somewhat resembles the Chilean Ephedra breana. Companion plant to Trichocereus bridgesii, Prosopis sp., Puya sp., Oreocereus pseudofossulatus, Corryocactus melanotrichus, etc. Abundant on the shale soil and steep slopes above Huachjilla, La Paz, Bolivia. In some parts of Bolivia it is made into a “coffee” and the herbage is often used for firestarting. Widely regarded urinary tonic and treatment for lung congestion. Z8a/b
6–10″+ plant 2-3+ year old $12.50

Ephedra aff. rupestris BK09511.2

Dwarf species with individual stems 1–6″ tall, tasty red berries. Forms dense mounds to 1–2′ across. Distinctly different than the high altitude miniature species we collected in 2008 in the Cusco region. Open puna grassland and rock outcrops, growing with Oroya borchersii, Matucana spp. and Austrocylindropuntia floccosa. 13,200′, Cordillera Negra, Ancash Dept., Peru. Perfectly adaptable to low elevation cultivation, though it does not grow as compact. One of our favorites. Z5–6?
4″+ Plant 4 years old $16.50 (limited)

For additional Ephedra species see our Succulents/Xerophytes  offerings

Escallonia resinosa BK10509.4 ”Chachacomo”

Saxifragaceae or Escalloniaceae. Tree to 20′+, forms a thickened gnarled trunk with age. Smaller leaves than E. resinosa we’ve seen in Peru. Spires of sweetly scented white flowers adorn the branch ends. Growing along the ravine that splits the ruins of Inkallajata, Cochabamba Dept., Bolivia,  10,000′. A decoction of the plant is used as a cerebral tonic and carminative. A cataplasm of the wood is used to alleviate arthritis and rheumatism. The hardwood is used in construction and in Cusco the young shoots are woven into baskets for storing potatoes. The leaves produce a reddish to purple dye. In southern Peru this tree is the host plant for the butterfly Metardaris cosinga whose chrysalis (known as “huaytampu”) is considered a delectable food. Chachacomo is another keystone species of the mostly extinct high Andean forests, occurs up to 13,000′+. This wonderful tree should be widely planted. Z7/8?
12-18″+ treelet 2-3 years old $15 or 2 for $28

Eustephiasp. BK03

Amaryllidaceae. Medium size bulb with slender green leaves. Flower stalk to 12″ bearing clusters of pendant tubular flowers; lavender tipped green. From seed we collected along Incan stairs, Pisac, Cusco Dept., Peru in 1996. Offsets with age, forming nice clusters. In northern Peru the bulb is used for wound healing, arthritis, and to undo witchcraft. Easy to grow, Winter dormant for us. Give it a dry Summer to encourage flowering. Bulbs from several different clones will be sent. Z8b
3-4 small bulbs $6.50
Inquire for other Andean bulbs

Fabiana foliosa

Solanaceae. Compact subshrub to 6–12″ high. Small linear leaves. Blooms with a profusion of small, erect, pale yellow trumpets. Patagonia, Argentina. This beautiful species is very rare in cultivation. Possibly medicinal as other species. Sun and a lean, gritty soil. Drought hardy. Z7/8?
Seed packet $4

For additional Fabiana species see our Chilean offerings

Furcraea occidentalis BK08612.10   “Llacay Negro”  “Champa Qara”

Agavaceae. Agave-like rosettes of deep green leaves, 3–5′+ in diameter. Flower stalk to 15′+ tall with yellow-white blooms. Rare species native to the western Andean slopes. Seed from near Surco, Lima Dept., Peru, near 7,500′. The leaves are an important fiber source and were used to make everything from rope to sandals in pre-Columbian times. Completely new to cultivation outside of Peru. Will make a bold landscape specimen. Z9b
5 seed $3.50

Gaultheria brachybotrus BK09512.4  “Awinchu”

Ericaceae. Clambering shrub to about 2′. New leaves are reddish and covered in a soft downy fuzz, later becoming dark green and leathery. Clusters of bell-like pink flowers and black edible berries. Used for bronchitis. Growing at the base of boulders, Polylepis forest, Cordillera Blanca, 12,200′, Ancash Dept. Give it part shade and moist acid soil. A gorgeous species. Z8?
Seed packet $4
Plant 3 years old $12.50 (limited)

Gaultheria vaccinioides BK08525.3  “Miumanka”

Very attractive creeping species to about 12″ tall, reddish hairy stems and 3/4″ oval leaves. Inflated pink flowers and oversized black edible fruit to 1″. Growing on rocks in cloud forest, about 8000′, Cusco Dept., Peru. Surface sow seed. Z9a and lower
Seed packet $4

Gaultheria sp. BK10427.7 

Miniature species to no more than 1–3″ high. Red stems, small glossy leaves with slightly hairy margins. White-pink flowers and clusters of sweet edible black berries to 1/3″. Seed collected from plants growing amongst mossy rocks, halfway to Ipsaycocha, Cusco, Peru, 13,800′. A great rock garden candidate or grow in a pot where you can appreciate its delicate beauty and snack on the berries. Surface sow tiny seeds. Z6?
Seed packet $4

Grindelia boliviana BK10423.1 ”Ch’iri ch’iri”

Asteraceae. Small herb to about 12″, resinous aromatic leaves and yellow daisy flowers. Similar to our native Californian species. Growing with arid scrub, descent to the town of Pisac, Cusco Dept., Peru, 10,300′. This modest plant is an extremely important medicinal in the southern Andes, used as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory for sore muscles and rheumatism, wound healing and fractures, various infections, and kidney pains. Z8–9?
Seed packet $4

Harrisia tetracantha BK10508.3 (=Roseocereus tephracanthus) “Ulala” “Pasakana”

Cactaceae. Candelabra cactus with cylindrical stems to 10′+, white spines. White to pinkish funnelform flowers and green to reddish fruit with sweet white flesh, 2–3″ diameter, widely eaten in the region. Prosopis forest, Tiatako, Cochabamba Dept., Bolivia, 7,500′. A plant that has done a lot of name hopping, it has been classified as Eriocereus and even Trichocereus. This was by far the most common cactus species we encountered throughout the mid elevations of Cochabamba Dept., near Aquile and Mizque we saw huge stands to 20′+ tall made up of hundreds of stems. The juice of the stems of the closely related H. tortuosus is reported to produce lethargy when drunk and is used to treat epilepsy and other nervous system problems. Z9b
3–5″+ plant 1–2 years old $8.50  (limited)

Hypericum laricifolium BK09512.1 ”Chinchancu” “Romerillo”

Hypericaceae. Soft feathery shrub to 6′ tall. Small dense acicular leaves. Yellow St. John’s Wort flowers. Source of a yellow dye. Used medicinally as a diuretic and shown to have antibacterial and antiinflammatory actions. Bird and bee forage. The dominant shrub above the eastern end of Orconococha, 13,000′, Ancash Dept., Peru. This was probably once Polylepis forest that was cut for cattle grazing, this Hypericum is a pioneer species on disturbed lands in the eastern slopes of the northern Andes. Z7? sold out

Iochroma australe

Solanaceae. Leafy shrub to 10′. Clusters of 1.5″ blue trumpet-shaped flowers, like a miniature Brugmansia! Southern Bolivia and Argentina. The taxonomy of this elegant plant is ever shifting, it has paraded as Acnistus, Dunalia, and Eriolarynx. Contains withanolides. A fantastic specimen plant, hardier than most of its kin. Z8b
Seed packet $3

Ipomoea pubescens BK08518.9

Convolvulaceae. Perennial caudiciform roots, annual vine to 6′+. Furry trilobed leaves. Shiny deep blue morning glory blossoms. Our collection, Pisac, Cusco, Peru, near 10,000′. Sparsely distributed from Mexico to Argentina. To our knowledge this is the first introduction of genetics from the Andes into cultivation. Z9b?
10 seed $4

Junellia wilczekii F&W84470

Verbenaceae. Tiny creeping groundcover, usually no more than 1/2″ high. Miniature gray-green leaves clothe the stems. Sweet scented pale-lilac flowers with 5 petals. Southern  Argentina. A truly lovely little plant, perfect in a pot or filling cracks in your rock garden. Gritty soil and sun. Rooted cuttings. Z7a
Plant $7.50

Lagenaria siceraria ‘Cusco’  “Gourd”

Cucurbitaceae. Large sprawling annual vine. Heirloom Incan variety, produces 6–10″ round gourds. Traditionally used for all manner of utility. Z9b?
Seed packet $3

Lepechinia meyenii BK08524.17  “Salvinol”

Labiatae. Salvia like groundcover to 3″ tall and spreading to 12″ or more. Aromatic lime-green leaves and clusters of small white flowers. Collected above Lares, Cusco, Peru. Made into tea for stomach pains, colds & flu, coughs, rheumatism, headaches, nervousness and menopause. Makes an excellent medicinal groundcover, hardy and fairly drought tolerant. Z8-9?
Seed packet $4

Lepidium “Maca” - see our Andean Tubers page

Lessingianthus asteroflorus BK10509.12   “Orqo yurak yurak”

Asteraceae. Erect plant to 4′ with blue-green simple leaves. The stems, leaves and flower buds are covered in a downy white fuzz. Clusters of bright purple thistle-like flowers attract butterflies. Seed from near Inkallajta, Cochabamba, Bolivia, 10,000′. A very friendly plant with great horticultural appeal. Used to treat respiratory infections. Regrows from the roots in hard frost. Seed sprouts in 2 weeks warm. Z8a–b?
Seed packet $4

Lupinus mutabilis “Tarwi”

Fabaceae. Another ancient Andean domesticate. Upright annual shrub 3–6′+ tall. Digitate leaves and large spires of bright blue flowers with an exquisite honey scent. 2–5″ pods with 1/3″ round white beans. Edible lupine grown throughout the Andes up to 13,000′. Once formed an integral part of the highland diet, intercropped or rotated with tuber crops, but now being supplanted in many regions with introduced fava beans. Protein rich, up 50% with as much as 20% beneficent oils. The seed contains bitter alkaloids which need to be leached by soaking for 1–2 days prior to eating. Toasted and relished as snacks, added to soups and stews, made into milk and pudding, even ground into flour for use in baked goods. This legume is an excellent green manure and nitrogen fixer, up 300 lbs an acre. Young plants are frost tender, while larger plants are tolerant of some cold. 4–5 months from seed to seed, but will continue to seed heavily for an additional 5 months if climate permits. Z9a/b
12 seed $4
50 seed $13

Lycopersicon chilense  “Wild Tomato”

Solanaceae. Perennial to 3′. Deeply dissected gray green leaves, yellow flowers and small greenish edible fruit. Native to dry rocky areas of northern Chile. Though difficult to cross, considered useful for breeding disease resistance into tomatos. Grow like tomato. Annual in areas that freeze. Z10a
Seed packet $3.50

Lycopersicon pimpinellifolium ‘Rimac’  (=Solanum pimpinellifolium) “Wild Tomato”

Perennial to 2′+, compound green leaves, inflorescence with up to 20+ yellow star flowers. Small orange-red fruit, from currant size to 1/3″, excellent sweet flavor. Native to western South America. This seed is from the upper elevation of its range, the upper Rimac Valley, near 7,000′, Lima, Peru, and therefore should be a bit hardier. One of the ancestors of the kitchen tomato. Hybridizes readily with cultivated tomatoes, considered useful for breeding disease resistance and increased nutritional content. Fruits quickly from seed, even in adverse conditions. Though tiny, the tasty tomatoes are produced in great abundance. In north Peru a decoction of the plant is used for inflammation. Grow like tomato. Annual in cold climates. Z9b?
Seed packet $3.50
1 gram seed $18

Genus Macleania

Ericaceae. Unusual blueberry relative from the cloudforests of the Andes north to southern Mexico. Evergreen terrestrial or epiphytic shrubs that often form impressive caudiciform lignotubers to several feet in diameter. Clusters of extremely showy tubular flowers to enchant hummingbirds.  Juicy edible berries. Macleania are still very rare in cultivation but everything about them is awesome. They do best with a well draining acidic soil, part shade and regular moisture. We grow them in a mixture of orchid bark, pumice and peat. Great for hanging baskets. We list a couple Central American species here along with the Andean ones. Additional species will be available downstream.

Macleania coccoloboides

Large woody caudex, upright to arching branches 5 to 15′ with leathery leaves 4–5″ long. Clusters of waxy, red tubular flowers tipped white. Purple-blue edible fruit rich in antioxidants with high iron chelating abilities. Rare blueberry relative endemic to the cloud forests of Pichincha and Cotopaxi, Ecuador up to 11,000′. This is one of the larger growing species, a real hummingbird’s delight. Well draining acidic soil. Rooted cutting. Z9b
Plant $18.50

Macleania cordifolia

A semi-epiphyte with large caudiciform lignotubers, arching branches to 3′+ with shiny cordate leaves. New growth is bronze. Clusters of bright red tubular flowers with white tips. Translucent purple edible fruit. Native to the Andean cloud forests of Ecuador and northern Peru. Sometimes confused with M. insignis in cultivation. We grow this in a mixture of orchid bark, pumice and peat. Part shade and regular moisture. Rooted cutting. Z9b
6″+ plant $16.50

Macleania glabra BLM0532

Arching stems with elliptic green to bluish leaves. Tubular magenta flowers, edible berries. Forms large woody caudiciform lignotubers up to 3′+ across! Rare semi-epiphyte from the cloudforests of Siberia, Costa Rica. Rooted cutting. Z9b
6″+ plant $15.50

Macleania insignis BLM0628

Develops caudiciform lignotubers to several feet across. Arching branches with stiff dark green leaves. New growth is bronze to bright red. Attractive clusters of orange flowers with yellow-white tips, edible berries. Native to the wet montane forests of Central America up to 8000′.  Rooted cutting. Z9b
6″+ plant $14.50

Melocactus peruvianus

Cactaceae. Stout spined globular plant to 10″. Red central cephalium, pink flowers. Rare species that occurs in the dry Andean foothills of Peru. The closely related Melocactus bellavistensis has recently been reported as an entheogen in Loja, Ecuador. Z10a
Seed packet $3.50

Methysticodendron amesianum  “Culebra Borrachero”

Solanaceae. Large bush or tree to 20′ tall. Dark green linear leaves up to 1.5′ long. Large, hanging, trumpet like white flowers with a split corolla and intoxicating fragrance. This extremely rare plant, endemic to the Sibundoy Valley of Columbia, is thought to likely be a unique Brugmansia mutation. Used as a medicine and dangerous hallucinogen by the Igano and Kamsa Indians. We helped to introduce this plant to cultivation in the U.S. Likes rich moist soil and regular feedings. Tolerant of only mild frost. Z9b/10a
6″+ rooted cutting $26.50 (limited)

Mimulus cupreus “Flor de Cobre”

Scrophulariaceae. Low growing perennial to 1′. Prodigious bloomer of 1″ open flared trumpets that range from dark yellow to burnt orange/red, with shades in between. Holubec collection, Neuquen, Argentina. Native to stream edges and boggy areas of the high Andes. Does great in pots. Surface sow seed. Z6b
Seed packet $2.75

Minthostachys sp. BK10509.16  “Muña”

Labiatae. Shrub to 6′+, all parts highly aromatic, similar to pennyroyal. Small white flowers in dense heads along the stem nodes. Near the Rio Machajmarca below the ruins of Inkallajta, Bolivia. This is a much larger plant than the diminutive M. andina that we are familiar with from around Cusco. Popular digestive aid, nervine and antiparasitical. Also reported as an aphrodisiac. The essential oil is said to help with altitude and is used externally for skin fungus. This lovely plant is sometimes used as a flavoring in soups. Z9a
10 seed $4 inquire for plants

Mutisia acuminata BK08519.5  “Chinchircuma”

Asteraceae. One of the signature plants of southern Andean Peru. Sprawling shrub 3–6′ high. Large pinnate leaves with small tendrils at the ends to help keep the plant erect. 3–4″ long flowers with recurved yellow petals and orange stamens, very popular with hummingbirds. Seed collected near Pisac, Cusco, Peru, 11,000′. This lovely shrub is often planted as an ornamental and to stabilize slopes. The herbage and flowers are made into a tea or bath for colds, respiratory ailments, headaches, kidney issues, and as a muscle relaxant. Burnt to make llipta for coca chewing. Flowers appear in Incan pottery and are still often collected for various celebrations and holidays. Drought hardy when established. Regrows from roots after hard frost. Z8b?
6 seed $4

Nasella sp. BK08520.1 ”Ichu”

Poaceae. A beautiful perennial bunch grass to 2′ with airy flower panicles. Belying our grass knowledge, we originally listed this as Festuca, but we have now keyed it to  Nasella. Used for thatching roofs. Collected at 13,000′, above the town of Taucca, Cusco Dept., Peru. Growing with Stipa ichu, both are nurse plants for Austrocylindropuntia floccosa. An elegant small bunch grass for the landscape. Z5a-b?
Seed packet $3

Neoraimondia sp. NL051008b  “Cardon”

Cactaceae. Distinct and awesome chunky columnar cactus to 8′. Collected by N. Logan on the dry slopes of Cerro Purgatorio above the ancient Tucume pyramids and Prosopis forests, northern Peru. Reported additive to San Pedro brews. Z10a
Seed packet $4

Neowerdermannia vorwerkii JL1635 ”Achacana”

Cactaceae. Spherical cactus to about 4″ diameter with dark green triangular tubercles. Curved spines, lilac-pink flowers and reddish fruit. Distributed from the altiplano of Bolivia to northern Argentina, from 10,000–13,000′+. The whole cactus is considered a kind of potato, it is gathered by the tens of thousands each summer, skinned, cooked and eaten. It is said to be very tasty and is a significant source of vitamin K, calcium and zinc. The pulp is also a remedy for stomach ailments and made into a drink for kidney and liver disease. There is some concern that harvesting may endanger the plant, but it has yet to be clarified how wild populations are impacted. Well worth cultivating as an unusual food plant. Needs strong light and gritty soil. Z7a or below.
Seed packet $4 (limited)

Nicotiana glutinosa BK08612.1  “Tobacco”  “K’ama Sayri”

Solanaceae. Annual to 3′ with rounded leaves. Short, open mouthed, hot pink flowers. Growing near 9,000′ with Trichocereus peruvianus above the town of Matucana in the Rimac Valley, Huarochiri, Lima, Peru. The leaves contain the nicotine precursor nornicotine and diterpenes with antifungal actions. Used like other tobacco. A highly ornamental species. Z9b
Seed packet $4

Nicotiana otophora  “Wild Tobacco”

Shrubby perennial to 5–7′+ tall. Large leaves and wide mouthed pink flowers. A unique and rare species native to the lower elevation eastern slopes of the Bolivian Andes. Considered one of the ancient parent plants of the cutivated N. tabacum. Z9b/10a?
Seed packet $4.50
Plant 1 year old $7.50 (limited)

Nicotiana paniculata BK00.1 ”Tobacco” “Qhamasayri”

Unusual annual tobacco species we collected in 2000 at Moray; an amazing Incan agricultural center at 12,000′ in Peru. Rounded leaves and stems to 3-4′. Lightly variegated flowers: green, yellow and white. A rare and wonderful plant. One of the parent species from which the shamanic tobacco, N. rustica, was hybridized. Z9b
Seed packet $4

Nicotiana tomentosiformis “Wild Tobacco”

Rare perennial species with leafy upright stalks to 10′. Large mouthed dark pink flowers. As the name suggests, it resembles N. tomentosa but never reaches the size of that arborescent species. Endemic to the Yungas region of Bolivia. Genetic studies suggest it may be one of the parent species of the cultivated tobacco (N. tabacum), being hybridized millennia ago with N. sylvestris and N. otophora. Z9b/10a
Seed packet $4.50
Plant $9.50 (limited)

Nicotiana rustica BK09508.1   “Tutuma” “Chavin Tobacco”

Round leaved annual to 3–6′ with yellow-green flowers. Sacred tobacco, we thought this was N. thrysiflora, but now that it has flowered for us at home it is clear that it is a distinct Nicotiana rustica strain. Heated leaves are used for rheumatism. From our collection at the edge of cultivated fields just north of the town of Chavin, Ancash Dept., Peru, 10,000′. Z9b Seed packet $4

Nicotiana rustica ‘Mapacho’   “Tobacco”

Annual to 3′+ tall. Rounded leaves and greenish tubular flowers. Seed from Peru, this is the famous “Mapacho” strain grown throughout South America, cured black and dried into hard “logs”. The potent nicotine smoke is much favored by shamanic healers and cross cultural vision seekers. Z10a
Seed packet $4

Nicotiana tabacum ‘Bolivian Criollo’  “Black Tobacco”

Annual with large sticky leaves, pink tubular flowers. This is a criollo strain grown locally in Bolivia, the region in which it is believed N. tabacum was originally domesticated. Traditionally cured as a “negro”, a dark, strong smoke. Z10a
Seed packet $4

Nicotiana undulata   “Wild Tobacco”

Annual species 2–4′ tall. Rounded leaves with undulate margins. Cream-yellow tubular flowers. Native to Peru. This is believed to be one of the wild parent species, along with N. paniculata, from which the strong shamanic tobacco, N. rustica, was hybridized in ages past. Z10a Seed packet $4

For additional Nicotiana species see our Medicinals page

Oenothera sp. BK10511.4

Onagraceae. Erect plant to 12-24″ tall with slender dark green leaves blushed purple. Deep fiery orange primrose flowers all along the stalk. One of the nicest primrose we’ve met. Rocky area amongst Puya raimondii, Cordillera de Vacas, near Rodeo, Cochabamba Dept., Bolivia, 13,300′. Leaves of Oenothera species are used for wound healing in the Andes. Has done very well in our garden, a superb ornamental. Z6–7?
Seed packet $3.25

Opuntia sp. NL050908

Cactaceae. Upright shrub with flat spiny pads. Very large and delicious juicy fruits with a deep red flesh. Seed collected at the famous markets of Chiclayo, Peru.
4-6″+ plant 2–3 years old $6.50

Oxalis tuberosa “Oca” - see our Andean Tubers page

Pachyrhizus ahipa  “Ajipa” - see our Andean Tubers page

Passiflora gracilens BK09426.2

Passifloraceae. Miniature passionflower vine with tendrilled stems to 3–5′ and 3 part leaves. Small pink flowers to 1″ across hang downward. Green to orange oblong fruit 1/2–1″ long, filled with a sweet tangy pulp and edible seeds. We are excited to introduce this delightful floriferous dwarf species from seed collected at Pisac, Cusco, Peru, near 10,500′. 2–8 weeks to germinate warm. Z9a–b?
10 seed $4
Plant 1-2 years old $12.50

Genus Peperomia

Piperaceae. Huge tropical and subtropical genus of well over 1000 species, most occur in Central and South America. Close kin to such notables as black pepper and kava-kava. Typically small plants, many of which are succulent, with a shocking and joyous diversity of morphological expression. With a few exceptions, the resplendent beauty of these plants is in their exceptional gem-like leaf forms rather than their slender flower spikes. Peperomia are vital to Andean ethnomedicine and ceremony. Their wondrous aromas and flavors when crushed or chewed, etherial combinations of balsam, lemon, mint and safrole, are a revelation. Used traditionally for wound healing, digestive health, as painkillers, tranquilizers, condiments, to freshen breath, to make chicha and to ceremonially “cleanse and flower subtle energies”. Their complex essential oils and other compounds have passed the approval of those high priests of modern culture; the white lab coated scientist and shown significant antibiotic, antiparasitic and wound healing actions in controlled laboratory studies. Other than a few Peperomia popular as common houseplants, most species and their beneficial nature are unknown outside their native habitats. Thanks to the encouragement of police colonel/plastic surgeon/linguist/ethnobotanist and Peperomia expert, Guillermo Pino, we have become inspired by these marvelous plants. We are propagating an increasing number which will be available for distribution in the future. See the Rare Plant List for additional species or inquire if you are seeking anything.

Peperomia asperula f. compacta

Creeping succulent, compact rosettes 1–3″ high. Dark green to rusty grey-brown leaves, sides minutely asperous, the slender upper surface windowed. Yellow to reddish flower spikes. Dry rocky habitat, Rio Sana Valley, La Libertad, Peru. Another jewel-like species with a balsamy scent. Z9b
Seed packet $3

Peperomia callana RRP999

Unique succulent species 6-8″ tall with rosettes of slender, finely warted leaves, pale green to golden in color, with a windowed upper surface. Large branched inflorescence. El Chagual, upper Maranon drainage, La Libertad, Peru. Originally collected by Paul Hutchison in 1964 but only described as a new species in 2012. Z10a/b
Seed packet $3.50

Peperomia congona ‘Canary Islands’   ”Congona”  “Canelo”

Relatively large species, upright stems 12–18″ tall with whorls of succulent leaves. Known only as a cultivar, it has never been found in the wild.  Primarily grown in home gardens and esteemed for its medicinal properties from Columbia to Argentina. The Spanish Missionary Bernabe Cobo mentioned the value of the plant in the 1600s. In 1778 Hipolito Ruiz recorded it was cultivated throughout Lima, Peru for its fragrance. The whole plant is used topically for wound healing. Crushed or chewed it has a mildly sweet cinnamon-citrus scent and flavor. Leaves are chewed daily to freshen breath and keep teeth healthy. Leaf infusion is used as a sedative and painkiller. The Kallawaya, famous travelling herbalists of Bolivia, recommend it for stomach complaints and press the juice from a leaf heated with a match for earache and eye troubles. Curanderos of northern Peru make use of the plant for heart conditions, anxiety and shamanically to “ease emotional pain and forget bad relationships.” The Chachapoyas people regularly enjoy a tea of the plant yet caution that drinking too much “might just cause you to lose your memory…”  In Loja, Ecuador it is used to flavor a horchata drink. The Spanish introduced it to the Canary Islands at some point, it is currently cultivated there and known as “canelo”, being used as a spice and condiment. Since the 1950s it was considered a synonym of P. inaequalifolia, a mistake that has only recently been corrected. The 2 species are distinct and now recognized as such. Despite being a domesticate with a long history of use, this plant has not been well studied. Easily grown in a sunny window. We offer a clone of the plant introduced to the Canary Islands. Z9b
Plant $14.50 or 2 for $25

Peperomia dolabriformis v. grandis GP1492

This is the large variety of species with thick stems growing to 1.5–2′ tall, the yellowish flower panicles reaching another 1.5′+ high. The dull green succulent leaves are petioled and longer with prominent lateral nerves compared to other varieties. Pino seed collection near 6000′, Amazonas Dept, northern Peru. Z10a
2–4″+ plant 1+ years old $9.50

Peperomia dolabriformis v. multicaulis GP1909   “Congona”

Beautiful, upright, heavily branching succulent species 1–2′ tall. Thick handsome leaves, pleasantly aromatic when crushed. Yellow flower spikes. Seed of this new varietal collected by G. Pino in Cajamarca Dept., San Marcos Prov., Peru. Road from San Marcos to Cajabamba, near La Grama, 7100′. Used as a topical painkiller and anti-inflammatory. Z10a
3-4″+ plant 3+ years old $10 (limited)

Peperomia galapagensis  “Galapagos Congona”

Bright green succulent 3–6″ tall. Creeping to upright multibranched stems. Whorls of 4+ small oval leaves at each internode. Green flower spikes. In bright light the plant will take on reddish hues. Rare endemic of Darwin’s wonderland, the Galapagos Islands. First fondled by the great man and pressed into herbarium sheets in 1835. Grows on rocks and trees, often in moist shaded areas above 300′. Appears to have evolved from P. inaequalifolia of the Andes and the flesh of the plant has a similar superb balsam-citrus scent/flavor. Medicinal like close kin. Rooted cuttings. Z9b/10a
Plant $22.50

Peperomia galioides BK09423.2 ”Congona Macho”

Sprawling clusters of upright green succulent stems 10–15″ tall. Whorls of emerald succulent leaves, yellow flower spikes. Growing on steep slopes with Trichocereus peruvianus, Echeveria chiclensis v. backbergii and Carica candicans, below Huariquina, Lima Dept., Peru, 7,600′. Said to be the most important medicinal Peperomia by Pino, used for “everything”-  an effective painkiller, compress for wound healing, calming sedative, even for hair loss! The plant contains quinones, sesquiterpenes and over 70 other compounds in the essential oil including limonene, eugenol, safrole, etc. Extracts have shown to be effective against staph infection and the deadly chagas and leishmaniasis parasites. Has a delicious balsam with a hint of lemon aroma when crushed. We love to chew this plant! Z9b
2+ year old plant $11.50 (limited)

Peperomia galioides BK10424.1 ”Congona Macho”

Large clusters of upright, lime-green succulent stems 6–12″ tall. Whorls of slender succulent leaves, yellow flower spikes. Growing on steep rocky slopes with decumbent Trichocereus cuzcoensis, Tillandsia spp., Sedum sp., Cheilanthes, near Lamay, Cusco, Peru, 9,600′. Has a delicious balsam with a hint of lemon aroma when crushed. Seed can take 4–8 + weeks to germinate (sometimes much longer), sprout like cacti. Z9b
Seed packet $4.50

Peperomia galioides v. glauca? BK10509.9

Clusters of succulent stems to 6″. Whorls of small glaucus grey-green leaves. Yellow flower spikes. Seed collected from plants growing on Incan ruins, Inkallajta, Cochabamba, Bolivia, 10,000′. When crushed it has a superb balsam/citrus/mint scent and flavor, one of the best. Rooted cuts from clone A or B. Z9b
Plant $11.50

Peperomia aff. galioides BK09425.1 ”Congona”

The mother plants looked to be P. galioides, yet these seedlings seem distinct. Possibly a natural hybrid with P. lanuginosa. Red or green stems, alternate succulent leaves, yellow flower spikes. Great aroma and flavor when crushed. Seed collected from rock outcrops on the steep slopes above the acequia just north of the town Pisac, Cusco Dept., Peru, near 10,000′. Growing with Echeveria sp., Pilea serpyllacea, Oxalis sp., Tillandsia sp. Give it a bright warm spot, but dislikes extreme heat. Good houseplant. Z9b
Seed packet $4
2+ year old plant $9.50

Peperomia hartwegiana BK08521.6   “Jalcacongona”

Piperaceae. Jewel like succulent with whorled orbicular leaves with a windowed upper surface. Just 2–6″ tall, grows creeping along rocks and cliffs. This seed is from a very attractive population with red leaves and purple/red flower spikes, Ollantaytambo, Cusco Dept., Peru, 9300′. Used for eye/ear infections, a tea for lung and kidneys issues. Curanderos of northern Peru consider the plant protective. Reportedly utilized during mesada ceremonies for ‘floricimiento’- “to cleanse and flower the subtle energies of the body and spirit so that the patients dormant potentials can blossom like the nocturnal flowers of the San Pedro cactus”. Seed can be slow to germinate. Z9b?
Seed packet $4.50 (limited)

Peperomia inaequalifolia BK09512.5   “Congonita”

Small upright plants to 3–5″, spreading by rhizomes. Reddish stems and whorls of small pointed succulent leaves, lime to yellow green in color. Has an energizing and refreshing balsam-lemon scent when crushed, a personal favorite. Many medicinal uses like P. galioides, in northern Peru it is smoked or added to food for forgetting emotional pain and strengthening the heart. Growing amongst boulders and Polylepis weberbaueri trees along with Peperomia hartwegiana, Tillandsia sp., and Berberis sp., Ancash Dept., Peru, 13,000′. Will regrow from rhizomes after frost. Z9a or below
2–3″+ plant 2+ years old $10

Peperomia inaequalifolia ‘Lachay’    “Congonita”

Small upright plants to 4–6″+. Whorls of small rounded succulent leaves, lime to yellow green in color, shiny like tiny jewels. Has a pleasing fruity balsam scent when crushed. This form comes to us from G. Pino and was originally collected in the foothills of the Andes, a unique mist fed ecosystem known as Lomas de Lachay, Lima Dept., Peru. A bit taller and more succulent than our Ancash collection of the species. Z9b
3–4″ plant 2+ years old $9.50

Peperomia majieri WK670

One of the coolest looking leaf succulents. Upright, olive green to purple red stems 4–6″+, rosettes of thick, flattened leaves with a rough warty texture, white-gray to purplish brown in color and a dark green windowed upper surface. Branched yellow inflorescence to 12″+. Collected in 1979 by Wolfgang Krahn along the Rio Maranon valley of Peru near 11,000′, but only described in 2012. Has a strong balsam-spice scent when crushed. Rooted cuts. Z9b
Plant $11.50

Peperomia lanuginosa? BK09428.3  “Pukacongona”

Upright to sprawling succulent species with whorls of 4 soft elliptic leaves with reddish undersides, red stems and yellow flower spikes. Excellent balsam scent. Growing in the shade of a large rock at the Incan ruins of Pumamarca, Cusco Dept., Peru, 12,000′. Z9b or below
2–4″+ plant 2+ years old $9.50

Peperomia naviculaefolia GP1622

A compact, creeping succulent species 2–5″ tall. Rosettes of beautiful dark green leaves with bronze to pinkish highlights. The upper surface of the leaves is a clear window, the sides have a rough texture. Grows on rocks near 10,000′, Junin Dept, Peru. Nice aromatics when crushed. We find this rare species to be quite esthetically pleasing, a real gem. Prefers a gritty mineral soil and bright light. Rooted cuts. Z9b
1.5–2″ plant $9.50

Peperomia nivalis fma. diminuta?  ‘Huacariz’

Tiny creeping succulent 1-2″ high, lime green leaves with a windowed upper surface. Distinct from variety compacta. Marvelous unusual dwarf form from Huacariz, north Peru. Z9b
1″+ plant 2+ years old $11.50

Peperomia nivalis v. compacta

Small creeping species 2–4″ tall. Lime-green columnar stems covered in densely arranged tiny succulent leaves with windowed upper surfaces. Relatively recent discovery from San Marcos, Cajamarca, Peru, near 10,000′. One of the more exceptional looking Peperomia. Strong balsamy scent when crushed. Prefers a very bright location and well draining soil. Z9b/10a
Seed packet $4   Inquire for plants

Peperomia pellucida  “Lingua de Sapo” “Shiny Bush” “Pansit-pansitan”

Annual succulent 5–15″+ tall, shiny heart shaped leaves, yellow-green flower spikes. Found in tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas, Asia, and Oceania. The entire plant has an attractive aromatic scent when crushed. A highly versatile panacea, it is used for wound healing, skin & eye problems, headaches, colds & coughs, fevers, sore throat, rheumatism, upset stomach, as a topical pain killer, diuretic and for kidney and prostate problems. In Brazil it is used to lower cholesterol. Studies in India suggest that extracts of the plant have psyschoactive diazepam-like effects. Pharmocological research has shown the plant to have analgesic, antifungal, anticancer and antiinflammatory properties and broad spectrum antibiotic actions. The leaves are also very tasty and are popular in salads and stir-fries in Asia. Surface sow seed. Prefers warmth and filtered sun. Reseeds easily. Z10a
Seed packet $4

Peperomia peruviana BK10423.2  “Puku puku” “Inti-killa papa”

Perennial geophyte. Endearing little dumpling tubers which produce annual peltate circular leaves to 1″ diameter and yellow inflorescences. The balsamy scent of the crushed leaves is considered calming and they are chewed for oral hygiene. Growing in Incan walls just above the town of Pisac, Cusco, Peru, 10,000′. One can’t help but love the Quechua name “Inti-killa papa” which translates as ”sun-moon potato”. Good germination after 8 weeks warm. Z8?
Seed packet $4 Inquire for plants

Peperomia strawii

Small succulent to 4–6″ with densely arranged slender pale green leaves, windowed upper surface. Endemic to the upper watershed of the Río Marañón, Huamachuco, La Libertad Dept., Peru. A beautiful odd plant. Alluringly aromatic when crushed. Strong light and mineral soil. Z10a/b
2″+ plant 2-3 years old $9.50 (limited)

For additional Peperomia species see our Succulents/Xerophytes  offerings. We also have many species not listed, please inquire.

Pernettya prostrata BK08524.3  “Macha-macha”

Ericaceae. Evergreen, creeping stems to about 6″ tall. White-pink flowers and small blue-black berries. Growing at the base of Brachyoton shrubs on the descent towards Huacahuasi, 13,200′, Cusco Dept., Peru. We had originally thought this a Vaccinium, but we now see it is a very low growing form of P. prostrata. The fruit is sweet and edible but should not be eaten in excess. Sun to part shade, acidic soil. Z8a                                               
Seed packet $4

Pernettya prostrata BK09512.3  ”Macha-macha”

Evergreen subshrub to 18″. Pink or red stems with small leaves, dark green and shiny. Bell shaped white flowers followed by black berries. The berries are said to be edible but if too many are eaten cause a kind of inebriation. The Quechua name “macha-macha” means “drunken”. Growing amongst rocks, streamside, Polylepis weberbaueri forest, 12,200′, Ancash Dept., Peru. Z7a
4–6″ plant 3 years old $10

Pernettya prostrata ‘minuta’ BK10511.3 

Miniature form of this widespread species, to only 2″ tall, creeping to 10–12″ across. White flowers and small black fruits, fairly sweet. Growing next to spring-fed acequia just below Puya raimondii populations, near Rodeo, Cochabamba Dept., Bolivia, 13,100′. Perfect for rock gardens or as an edible ground cover. Z6 or 7?
Seed packet $4

Pernettya sp. BK08524.6 ”Concapas”

Rounded evegreen subshrub to 2.5′. White bell flowers, abundant pink to cream colored berries, up to 1/2″ diameter. Near Huacahuasi, Cusco, Peru, 12,300′. The local name means “to forget”, because it is said you forget everything else while you are hunched over the bush munching the sweet fruit. This may also allude to some mild inebriating property as some P. prostrata are reported to cause delirium if eaten in excess. An attractive shrub, acid soil, should handle drought once established. Z8a?
Plant 4+ years old  $12.50

Pernettya sp. BK10511.11

Small shrub to 3′. White bell flowers and purple berries. Slender glossy leaves, new growth deep red. Growing under Polylepis lanata trees, near Kewina Casa, Cochabamba Dept., Bolivia, 11,500′. Similar to BK08524.6. The berries were sweet and agreeable, though they should only be eaten in moderation. Z7/8?
4–6″+ plant 2–3 years old $9.50

For additional Pernettya species see our Chilean offerings

Phacelia pinnatifida BK08519.15

Hydrophyllaceae. Cool looking herbaceous plant to 2′. Strongly dissected sticky leaves. Curiously curled flower stalks with blue purple flowers, attracts butterflies. Growing amongst arid scrub below Pisac ruins, Cuco Dept., Peru. Z9a-b?
Seed packet $3

Phaedranassa chloracra

Amaryllidaceae. Bulb with large elliptical leaves. 12–24″ stalks tipped with cluster of tubular flowers, deep pink with green tips. Native to the Bosque Secos of Andean Ecuador. This beautiful species is now considered to be synonymous with the more widespread P. dubia, but because of differences we list it here as distinct. Withholding water for 2 months at any time of year will induce blooming. Keep cool and dry during the winter. Sun to part shade and a succulent type soil mix. Z8b (when dry)
Plant/bulb $11.50

Phaedranassa dubia

Large bulb with fleshy elliptical leaves. Inflorescence to 18″+ with tubular flowers, deep pink with green tips. Native to the dry forests of southern Andean Columbia to Ecuador. No water for 2 months will induce blooming. Keep cool and dry during the winter. Succulent type soil mix. Z8b
Plant/bulb 1–2 years old $8.50

Phaedranassa viridiflora

Attractive bulb with thick fleshy leaves and umbels of bell-like yellow flowers tipped green. An endangered species from the seasonally dry Andean forests of Ecuador. Grow like P. chloracra. Z8b (when dry)
Plant/bulb $12.50

Phaseolus lunatus “Lima Bean” “Butterbean”

Fabaceae. Annual bush or pole bean with large nutritious beans. Domesticated by coastal cultures of Peru around 4000 years ago. We have 2 varieties.
‘Mantequilla’ Huge pure white beans, rich buttery flavor. Grown in Lima Dept., Peru. Seed packet $2.50
‘Castaña’ Cream and dark maroon swirled beans, chestnut like flavor. Pole bean. AKA Christmas or Speckled Calico Lima. Seed packet $2.75

Physalis peruviana BK09507.2  ”Aguaymanto” “Cape Gooseberry” “Goldenberry”

Solanaceae. Herbaceous plant to 2′. Downy leaves, yellow flowers and cherry size yellow fruit encapsulated in a papery husk. The sweet fruit is relished throughout the Andes, often made into jams. The plant is drunk as a tea as a diuretic, anthelmintic and to dilate the uterus during childbirth. Can survive some frost, regrowing from the roots in Spring, otherwise treat as an annual. This Andean weed is now being marketed in the U.S. as “Inca Berry” or “Goldenberry”. Collected near the ancient ruins of Chavin, Ancash Dept., Peru. Z8b
Seed packet $3.25

Pilea serpyllacea BK10425.1  “Kaka uvas uvas”

Urticaceae. 2–5″ succulent with densely packed miniature round leaves that turn bright red in sunlight. The backs of the leaves are like a clear window. Grows on exposed rocks throughout the highlands of Cusco. Surely one of the most unique plants in the nettle family, not to be confused with the larger, less succulent plant that is in cultivation under the same name. Used as a tea for urinary and kidney health. The small crunchy leaves are eaten by children in Peru and our daughter Ember loves them! Seed collected from plants growing on bare rocks, Cusco Dept, Peru, 9,300′. 4–8 weeks warm to germinate. Z9b
Seed packet $4
2-3″+ plant 2-3 years old $9.50 or 2 for $16

Pilea sp. BK08524.15

Branching plant to about 8″ tall with jointed, deep red succulent stems and stingless, nettle-like green leaves with furrowed veination. Yellow-green flowers. An unusual succulent we found growing with a Peperomia species in the shade of an Escallonia tree on a rock wall edging a rural homestead above Lares, Cusco, Peru, near 11,000′. The leaves and stems seem perfectly edible. Very easy to grow, makes a superb houseplant, sun or part shade. Roots quickly from cuttings. Z9b?
4–6″ cutting $6.50

Polylepis australis “Kewina”

Rosaceae. Gorgeous small tree with peeling reddish bark and often gnarled twisted trunks. Pinnate leaves with 5-7 leaflets. The southernmost species of this Andean genus, occuring all the way into the Cordoba mountains of central Argentina. A keystone species of the high Andean forests which are one of the most endangered forest ecosystems in the world. This particular species is threatened in habitat by a pathogenic fungus and climate change. Polylepis are used medicinally for lung issues. So far they seem quite adaptable to low elevation cultivation and are truly beautiful trees of unrealized horticultural merit. Z4b or 5a
Seed packet $5
10-16″+ treelet 2-3+ years old $15

Polylepis tomentella ssp. incanoides BK10509.20 ”Kewina”

Upright multi-branching trees 15–30′+. Contorted trunks with dark-red peeling bark, deep green leaves, dangling clusters of yellow-green flowers. This beautiful subspecies is endemic to central and southern Bolivia, it seems to favor a slightly warmer/dryer climate than other species. Growing with Berberis sp., Baccharis sp., bunchgrasses and the occasional Trichocereus totorensis and Cleistocactus sp. Restricted to arroyos primarily due to agricultural activity and overgrazing. Though there were a good number of large individuals and the bird diversity was quite high, these forests felt in transition and had the heavy mark of man and his beasts. Between Monte Puncu and Totora, Cochabamba Dept., Bolivia, 9,500′. An Andean genus of 26 species in the rose family, Polylepis forests once covered over 20% of the Andes up to 17,000′+ in elevation. These forest were slowly cleared over millennia and massacred over the last 500 years, now reduced to almost nothing. Polylepis are amongst the most enchanting trees we have ever encountered, with their contorted trunks and peeling bark, not to mention their rebellious nature; this is a tree that actually dares to grow above the treeline. Extremely hard wood excellent for construction and firewood, used medicinally for lung issues, bark chewed for oral health. Beige, pale pink and green dyes are obtained from the tree. Polylepis were considered sacred during Incan times and were associated with the ancestors, forests were venerated and protected. Propagation and reforestation is essential for sustainable development in the Andes. Polylepis forests are known to harbor the highest diversity of plants, birds and other fauna of any ecosystem in the high Andes. Z7–8?
12-18″+ treelet 2-3+ years old $18.50
Inquire for additional Polylepis species

Porophyllum ruderale   “Quilquina” “Bolivian Cilantro”

Asteraceae. Upright annual to 2–5′. Oval blue-green leaves, purplish flowers with orange pollen. Seed from Bolivia. Strongly aromatic with an arugala/rue-like scent. Insect repellant and considered beneficial for liver problems. Used fresh as a seasoning in Andean cuisine, the complex flavor is somewhat akin to a pungent cilantro. People seem to completely love it or be repulsed. Subspecies macrocephalum is popular in Central America dishes. Surface sow seed warm. Easy, reseeds readily. Z9?
Seed packet $3.25

Portulaca sp. BK08521.8

Portulaceae. Small sprawling stems hug the ground. Reddish-green cylindrical leaves and yellow flowers. Twisted caudex like roots. Ollantaytambo, Cusco, Peru. We originally listed this as Calandrinia. A cute plant for those who admire miniature succulents. Germinates better with cold then warm. Z9?
Seed packet $3.50

Genus Puya

Bromeliaceae. Xerophytic pineapple relatives from Central and South America with swirled rosettes of silver to green, slender, toothed leaves. The 150+ species vary in size from small plants to tree like giants. The stunning flower stalks often bear blossoms of unusual colors; metallic greens, blues and yellows. Puya are pollinated by hummingbirds and other nectar drinkers. Spectacled bears (Tremarctos ornatus) are known to particularly relish the plants. Rather than choosing dwarfism as most plants do at high altitudes, Puya erupt to giant sizes, the largest and loftiest species, P. raimondii, reaching nearly 40′ tall at elevations of 15,500′! Forests of this strange sentinel of the heavens were once widespread, but its realm is now reduced by man to small scattered populations in the remote high Andes of Peru and Bolivia. Puya species are used for their leaf fibers, wound healing qualities and magical purposes. Around Cusco, Peru the flowers stalks are burned to make “llipta” for coca chewing. Easy to grow, sprout seed like cacti. Great landscape plants, extremely drought hardy, many species are tolerant of cold and high rainfall.

Puya assurgens

Dense rosettes of silver green leaves. Branched flower stalk with bright green flowers that become dark purple when drying. Dry rocky areas with Trichocereus pasacana, near 6500′, Yala, Jujuy, Argentina. Z8b/9a?
3″+ plant 2 years old $7.50  or 2 for $13

Puya castellanosii  “Taraca”

Rosettes of slender silver-blue leaves that form dense clusters to several feet across. Upright, pyramidally branched flower stalk bearing flowers of milky blue shades. Found in large colonies on arid rocky slopes between 9-10,000′+, Salta, Argentina. Rare. Fairly cold hardy and drought tolerant. Z8b/9a
Seed packet $3.75 3″+ plant 2+ years old $7.50  or 2 for $13

Puya dyckioides   “Chaguar”

2–3′ rosettes of thin, arching, lightly serrated leaves. Extremely showy bipinnate inflorescence 2–3′+ long with bright pinkish bracts and metallic aquamarine blossoms. Native to southern Bolivia and northern Argentina, between 4300–11,000′+. One of the more friendly and attractive species. Z8a/b
3″+ plant 2+ years old $7.50 or 2 for $13

Puya ferruginea BK08519.7

Clusters of silver to green rosettes up to 4′ diameter. Flower stalks to 6-8′ tall. Beautiful large specimens. Growing all over the arid slopes above the town of Pisac, Peru, 11,000′. Z9a?
Seed packet $4
4″+ plant 3+ years old $7.50

Puya harmsii

Large clusters of Agave-like rosettes of frosted white leaves. Branched inflorescence to 7′+ with velvety black flowers tinged blue. Found on arid slopes up to 8300′, north western Argentina. Z8b/9a?
3″+ plant 2+ years old $7.50  or 2 for $13

Puya herzogii BK10511.5

Clusters of 2–3′ rosettes of grey serrated leaves. Large club like inflorescence to 6–8′ tall, flowering bracts covered in a white and grey fuzz, yellow-green flowers with bright orange pollen. The impressive flower stalks makes this one of our favorite species. Growing amongst Puya raimondii, near Rodeo, Cochabamba Dept., Bolivia, 13,300′. Seed slow to germinate, 5-10 weeks warm. Z7–8?
Seed packet $4
3-4″+ plant 2-3+ years old $9.50  or 2 for $17

Puya aff. humilis BK10509.18

Mounds to 6–8′ across, 3–4′ high. Individual rosettes to about 2′ wide with slender, serrated, grey leaves. Inflorescence 10–16″ tall with reddish bracts, actual flowers unseen but likely deep blue or green. Looks like P. humilis, yet was larger than that species is reported. Open north facing rocky slopes between Inkallajta and Monte Puncu, Cochabamba, Bolivia, 10,000′. Z8b
3–4″+ Plant 2-3+ years old $9.50  or 2 for $17

Puya mirabilis BK10506.2

Single rosette of very slender white leaves to 12″+ diameter. Flower stalk to 3′. Should have yellow-green iridescent flowers to beguile hummingbirds. Base of Cerro San Pedro, Cochabamba, Bolivia. Tadeo Haenke wrote in 1795 that an unidentified Puya was used to treat syphillis. Z9a–b?
Seed packet $4
3-4″+ plant 2-3+ years old $7.50  or 2 for $13

Puya raimondii  “Cuncush”  “Titanca” “Machukawara”

The giant queen of bromeliads, forms single or occasionally branched trunks with rosettes of slender serrated leaves to 10′+ across. Massive flower stalks like a floral rocket ship with as many as 10,000+ white blooms! Upon flowering these amazing beings have been known to reach nearly 40′ tall. 30 to 80 years to blossom, set seed, then die. Forests of this strange sentinel of the heavens were once widespread, but its realm is now reduced by man to small scattered populations in the remote high Andes of Peru and Bolivia at between 12,000–15,500′+. This seed is from robust populations in the Cordillera Blanca of Peru. We have witnessed this spectacular plant in the Cordillera Negra of Peru and Cordillera de Vacas of Bolivia. Standing on the windswept rocky ridges where you can nearly scratch the sky, surrounded by a herd of these imposing vegetal beasts, their leaves clacking and sighing with the wind, the views of a mountain magnificence that stretches countless miles, is a timeless and utterly affecting experience. This plant creates a unique ecosystem around its base where we have observed a high diversity of plant species not seen elswhere. There are reports that the rare spectacled Andean bear eats the young flower stalks. In some regions the inner pulp of the inflorescence is dried and powdered to use as a flavoring and special “chicha” is made from the roasted and fermented pulp. The dead flower stalk is also burned and the ash made into “llipta” for coca leaf chewing. Sections of the dried inflorescence are used as torches during special festivals and as insulation and construction material. The leaves are utilized with ichu grass as roof thatching, the trunks are made into seats. In the Cordillera Negra we were told that locals have been known to burn the plants because wandering cows sometimes get stuck on the barbed leaves and perish. This exceptional and endangered species has been successfully grown in California, but is still practically unknown in cultivation. Sprout seed like cacti. We have found it to be a slow germinator like P. herzogii, from 5-10 weeks. Protect from extreme summer heat. Z7?
Seed packet $7
2-3″ plant 2 years old $16.50 or 2 for $30

Puya raimondii GP2609   “Cuncush” “Titanca” “Machukawara”

Another important seed collection of the giant queen of bromeliads. This seed was collected by G. Pino just below 12,000′ on the road from Ayacucho to Vischongo: Rodal de Titanka, Huamanga Prov., Ayacucho Dept., Peru. Slow to sprout, germinates best after 4–8 weeks of cool temperatures and another several weeks warm. Z7?
Seed packet $7.50

Puya roezlii ‘Surco’

Clustering rosettes to 3–5′, silver leaves with toothed margins. Inflorescence to 4′ high, large dark blue-purple-black flowers with a metallic sheen. Seed from plants growing on steep slopes with Trichocereus peruvianus, Surco, Lima Peru. Z9?
3″+ plant 1-2 years old $7.50  (limited)

Puya yakespala

Clusters of medium size rosettes of green leaves with white undersides. Impressive 6–12′+ tall, thick, club-like inflorescence covered in a tan wool from which large vibrant yellow flowers emerge. The largest, highest altitude Puya in Argentina, known only from populations at Yakespala, Santa Victoria, Salta, 13,000′+. Similar to the equally outstanding P. herzogii of Bolivia. This is the true species, not the blue flowered plant occasionally encountered in cultivation under the same name. A hardy species that deserves wide cultivation. Z8a
Seed packet $4
3″+ plant 2+ years old $8.50

Puya sp. BK08517.6

Small grey-green rosettes to 10–12″. The thin slender leaves are very curly, like soem terrestrial octopus! Flower stalks to 24″. Flowers unseen. Growing on the rock outcrops around the carved Incan caves at Chinchero, Peru, 12,400′. Puya species are used for external wound healing and magical purposes. Z8b/9a
Seed packet $4
3-4″+ plant 3+ years old $7.50 or 2 for $13

Puya sp. BK08521.5

Rosettes to 5′ diameter. New growth frosted silver, turning red with age. Leaves have small red teeth along the margins. Fat flower stalks to 6′. Dark-green metallic flowers. Growing near the Ollantaytambo ruins, Cusco Dept., Peru, about 9,000′. Z9a?
4″+ plant 3+ years old $7.50

Puya sp. BK10504.2

Rosettes to 18″ across with thick serrated silver leaves with a red blush. Forms clusters of 3–4 heads, 12″ prostrate stems that look like they’ve survived repeated fires. 4′ inflorescence with densely packed seed pods. Flowers unseen. Growing with Trichocereus bridgesii, Prosopis sp., Corryocactus, Echinopsis, etc, Huachjilla, La Paz, Bolivia. Z9a/b
Seed packet $4
3-4″+ plant 2-3+ years old  $7.50

For additional Puya species see our Chilean offerings

Rauhia multiflora (=Rauhia peruviana)

Amaryllidaceae. Fat bulb with a pair of tongue-shaped fleshy leaves. Flower stalk to 2–3′ high topped with clusters of green-blue tubular flowers. Native to the warm interAndean valleys of northern Peru. Does best with a well aerated soil mix of 60%+ pumice or perlite. For those that can’t resist the curves of caudexes the bulb can be grown above the soil. A summer grower that needs a dry winter rest. Z9b/10a
Plant/bulb 2 years old $8.50

Salvia oppositiflora BK08518.8 “Nuj’chu”

Labiatae. 1–2′ aromatic plant. Red to red-orange or pink flowers. Growing in dry rocky areas, Pisac ruins, Peru. Symbolic Incan plant, thousands of flowers were collected and strewn along the Incan roads during ceremonial processions. The flowers are added to tea to treat cough and kidney issues. A lovely sacred sage. Drought hardy. Z9b
Seed packet $4

Salvia sagittata

Aromatic shrub to 4′ with bright green arrow-shaped leaves. Deep blue flowers with a broad flat lower lip. Native to the mid elavation of Ecuador and northern Peru. A tea of the plant is used for coughs and hair loss. Sun to part shade. Z9b
Seed packet $3

Salvia sarmentosa BK08517.14 “ásul ñuqchu”

Attractive rounded shrub to 2′. Small simple leaves and small sky blue flowers. A highly aromatic sage. Dry scrub around the ruins of Moray, Cusco, Peru, 12,000′. Great potential as a landscape plant, its rounded shape, colors and drought tolerance will make it the perfect companion to lavender. Thanks to Dr. Aaron Jenks for keying this one for us. Z9b?
Seed packet $4

Salvia scutellaroides BK10426.2

12–18″ aromatic plant that spreads by runners. Dark-green leaves and deep iridescent blue flowers with a flared lower lip. Growing around the ruins of Pumamarca, about 12,000′, Cusco Dept., Peru. Made into a tea for coughs. This beautiful sage is new to cultivation. Z9a/b?
10 seed $3.50
Plant 3 years old $9.50 (limited)

Salvia verbenaca SHL06.08.2012.1  “Alosima”

Basal rosettes of aromatic leaves. Erect inflorescence to 18″+ tall, blue flowers. Naturalized throughout the Andes, but native to the Mediterranean and Europe where it is used as a culinary herb. In Peru it is used to treat aches and sores. Makes a pleasant tea. S. Lipe collection, Chinchero, Cusco, Peru. Z6b
Seed packet $3

Saracha aff. punctata BK08524.5

Solanaceae. A staggeringly gorgeous plant and one of our most appealing seed collections in 2008. Tree 20–40+’ with oval leaves and festooned in hundreds of 1″ bell flowers, pale lavender to dark purple with cream colored veination. 1/2″ round black fruit. Looks strangely like an arborescent belladonna! Planted at rural homesteads in the village of Huacahuasi, 12,500′, Cusco Dept., Peru, where it is grown as an ornamental. Since our initial collection we have also seen it planted above 13,000′ at Patacancha village and observed a few wild specimens growing in remnant forest along the Rio Trapiche above Lares. We are excited to offer it into cultivation for the very first time so it can take a place in the garden next to its other exotic arborescent solanaceous kin such as Brugmansia, Iochroma, Cestrum, etc. Easy to grow. Young plants only tolerate mild frost,  mature specimens should be hardy below Z8b. Rooted cutting from varied clones.
8-10″+Plant $24.50

Sedum incarum BK08612.7

Crassulaceae. Small multi-stemmed succulent, 4–6″ with spirally arranged triangular leaves. Whitish flowers at branch ends. An attractive rare species growing along with Echeveria chiclensis amongst scrub next to the embankment on the side of the road near Chicla, Lima Dept., Peru, 12,500′. First introduction into cultivation. Z8b?
Seed packet $4

Sedum aff. reniforme BK09508.3

Small columns to 4–6″ with densely packed chubby green-grey leaves. Star shaped white flowers with yellow or pink centers. G. Pino thinks this might be a large form of Sedum reniforme, or possibly a new species. Growing on rocks and steep slopes with Peperomia galioides, Peperomia aff. naviculaefolia and Matucana sp., Borzicactus fieldianius, and Trichocereus sp., on the western mountain above the ruins of Chavin de Huantar to the north side of the Wachesca River, Ancash Dept., 10,900′. Should be hardy to at least Z9a, possibly quite lower.
2″+ plant 2-3+ years old $8.50 or 2 for $14.50

Siphocampylus tupaeformis BK09428.1   “Cochaya” “Pishqu Shoqunan”

Campanulaceae. 3–5′ tall herbaceous plant with lanceolate leaves. Dozens of tubular yellow, orange and red tricolor flowers on a large inflorescence. An eye catching plant and hummingbird’s delight. The latex of the plant is reported to be chewed like gum. In northern Peru it is considered a companion to San Pedro cactus and is planted around homes for protection, acting as a kind of guardian. Seed collected on the ascent to Pumamarca, Cusco, Peru, about 11,000′. Sun to part shade. Regrows from roots after frost. Surface sow seed warm to sprout in 2–6 weeks. Z8a/b?
Seed packet $4

Siphocampylus aff. tupaeformis BK10509.11   “K’au Sillu”

Herbaceous Lobelia-like plant to 2–3′. Extremely showy heads of orange and yellow tubular flowers, undoubtedly to seduce hummingbirds. Rocky areas above ruins of Inkallajta, Cochabamba Dept., Bolivia, 10,000′. In parts of Bolivia and southern Peru the latex of S. tupaeformis is reported to be chewed like gum. Z8a/b?
Seed packet $4 Inquire for plants

Siphonandra elliptica? BK09430.3

Ericaceae. Shrub to about 12′. Leathery evergreen leaves. Green/blue berries. If I.D. is correct, it should produce clusters of waxy tubular red flowers with white tips. Home to many bromeliads and unusual mosses. 8,800′, Cusco Dept., Peru. Another awesome subtropical blueberry relative, collect them all! Surface sow, warm 4–6 weeks to sprout. Z9b?
Seed packet $4
6-10″+ plant 3 year old $12.50 or 2 for $20

Sisyrinchium sp. BK10512.8

Iridaceae. Clumps of slender leaves to 12″ tall. Clusters of pretty yellow flowers. Iris relative. Edge of boggy grass meadow between Hesperomeles and Polylepis forests, above Rio Lope Mendoza, Cochabamba, Bolivia. Easy to grow. 2-4 weeks warm to germinate. Z8?
Seed packet $3.50

Smallanthus “Yacon” - see our Andean Tubers page

Solanum acaule  “Apharu” “Wild Potato”

Solanaceae. Low growing plant, often less than 6″ high. Rosettes of dark green, odd-pinnate leaves. Pale purple flowers and heart shaped fruit that often plant themselves below the soil. Small white tubers, 1/4–1.5″ diameter, round or oval and flattened. The tubers are borne on the end of long lavender colored stolons. This tetraploid wild potato is known from central Andean Peru down through Bolivia to northern Argentina, preferring the grasslands of the Puna. Occurs from about 9,000′ up to 15,000′+, often amongst Stipa ichu, Cajophora, Urtica and several cactus species. Even grows along the margins of permanent snowbanks. On of the ancestors of the Ruki potatoes cultivated in parts of Peru and Bolivia. Used in modern potato breeding to increase frost tolerance and resistance to disease and pests. The bite size tubers are perfect for soups. Good horticultural appeal and is of keen interest to experimental home gardeners. Sun to part shade. Resents extreme heat. Tubers hardy to Z5/6?
10 seed $4
Tubers/plant $10.50

Solanum quitoense  “Lulo” “Naranjilla”

Shrub to 3–5′ with large serrated leaves covered in a purplish fuzz. White to lilac flowers and round dark yellow fruit 1–3″ diameter. Ancient domesticate, its wild ancestor is likely native to Andean Columbia or Ecuador. The fruits are highly esteemed throughout the Andes for their strong citrus flavor, favored over oranges for juice. Does best in filtered sun to partial shade. Sprout like tomatoes. Z10a
Seed packet $3.50

Solanum sessiliflorum  “Cocona”

Upright shrub to 6′ with large velvety leaves. Pale green self fertile flowers. 2–4″ yellow, orange or red edible fruit with a yellow flesh and fruity sub-acid flavor. Close relative of “naranjilla”, cultivated throughout the low elevation Andes and tropical regions of South America. An ancient cultivar that likely originated in the Amazon basin, though it is not found in the wild. Sprout like tomatoes. Highly prized for the refreshing juice and used in all manner of desserts. Contains cholesterol reducing compounds. Easy to grow, can fruit in as little as 9 months from seed. Protect from cold. Seed from fruits with orange skin blushing red when ripe, lowland southern Peru. Z10a
Seed packet $3.50

Solanum sisymbriifoliumCh’iltu” “Litchi Tomato”

Spiny plant 2–4′ tall with deeply dissected leaves. Large white to pale blue flowers. Out of spiny husks emerge small cherry red fruits with an unusual sweet tomato like flavor. Found in mid elevation Andean Bolivia and throughout the Chaco region. Traditionally applied for CNS disorders and as sedative. Used as a trap crop for potato cyst nematodes which are fooled to hatch out of dormancy by the plant then quickly die without an adequate host. The fruit are a rich source of solasodine. Maligned as invasive by some. Easy to grow, sprout like tomatoes. Grow as an annual in cold climates. Z9b
Seed packet $3

Solanum incarceratumBK10510.2

12″ prickly stems. 1–2″ leathery tomato like fruits, yellow with green mottling, questionably edible/medicinal. Growing at edge of agricultural fields, 10km from Aquile towards Mizque, Cochabamba Dept., Bolivia, 7,200′. Z9b/10a
Seed packet $4

Sphyrospermum cf. buxifolium

Ericaceae. Another unique neotropical blueberry. Terrestrial to epiphytic shrublet with slender ascendent or pendent branches 1–5′+ long. Rounded semi-succulent leaves, white-pink egg-shaped flowers with darker tips. Translucent, violet tinged, edible berries. Native to the cloudforests of the Andes. Filtered light and well draining acidic soil like Macleania or Agapetes. Rooted cuttings. Z9b?
Plant $12.50

Stenomesson pearcei   “Chiwanway”

Amaryllidaceae. Clumping bulb with thick leaves and clusters of rather large, inflated tubular flowers of pale yellow. Native to the Andes of Bolivia and southern Peru where we have often admired the plant blooming from rock crevasses and Incan ruins. Sun and well draining soil, similar to succulent care. Give it a couple months dry to flower. Z8b
Plant/bulb $12.50

Stipa ichu BK08520.2 ”Ichu”

Poaceae. A lovely perennial bunch grass to 18″ tall. Collected at 13,000′ above the town of Taucca, Cusco Dept., Peru. Growing with Nasella grass and acting as nurse plant for Austrocylindropuntia floccosa cacti. The famous “ichu” grass of the high Andes. Used for thatching roofs, making ropes, etc. No collection of Andean plants is complete without this species. Easy to grow, would make handsome addition to any landscape. Z5a?
Seed packet $3.50

Streptosolen jamesonii NL042308a

Solanaceae. 5′+ shrub with showy 1″ tubular flowers that start yellow and transform to burnt orange  over many days. Collected by Neil Logan, Vilcabamba, Ecuador, 5500′. A bath of the plant is used for fright. Has great horticultural potential. Grow like Brugmansia. Z9b
6″+ plant 1+ years old $7.50 or 2 for $13

Tagetes minuta BK10510.1 ”Suico”

Asteraceae. Aromatic leaves, yellow-white flowers. We originally collected seed from small plants with orangish flowers, yet when we grew these they rocketed to 8′ tall and flowered pale, very clearly T. minutaTagetes are used as a condiment and flavoring in a diversity of Andean dishes. Medicinally they are digestive aids. Encouraged to grow near fields because they repel soil nematodes. Near Aquile, Cochabamba, Bolivia. Z9b
Seed packet $3

Trichocereus peruvianus BK08612.4  ”Pichu”

Cactaceae. Fat blue-green stems to 6″ or more in diameter. New spines are red to yellow, up to 3″ long. Often growing prostrate or descending. White flowers, sweet fruit. Usually growing with Peperomia galioides, Mutisia sp., and the local Echeveria as companions. Above the town of Matucana, around 8,600′, Lima Dept., Peru. Z9a
Seed packet $5
3″+ seedling 2–3 years old $12.50

Trichocereus validusNL52509a

Thick columnar plant with large stout spines and big 4″ diameter sweet fruit. Collected by N. Logan at 7,600′, between the town of Puna and Belin, Potosi Province, Bolivia. These large Trichocereus are in need of serious study to clarify the taxonomy. This plant falls into the T. validus/werdermannianus/tacaquirensis/taquimbalensis/ escayachensis complex. Z8b-9a Sold Out

Trichocereus sp. BK09509.2  “Huachuma de Chavin”

Candelabra stems to 10′. Stems to 4″ diameter, dark green epidermis, new growth blushed blue. 5-7 radial spines, the downward facing ones up to 1.5″ long. 1 central spine to 2.5″. New spines yellow to red-brown in color. Growing on rocky cliffs, western slopes above the north end of the modern town of Chavin, 10,600′, Ancash Dept., Peru. Looks intermediate to T. santaensis (pachanoi) and T. cuzcoensis. This is the plant that grows around the 3000 year old ruins of the temple of Chavin de Huantar, and is likely what is represented in the oldest known human artwork depicting a succulent plant in the entheogenic rock carvings present there. Z9a
Seed packet $5
3–4″ plant 3 years old $14

For additional Trichocereus see Cactaceae

Tropaeolum sp. BK09427.2   “Andean Yellow Nasturtium”

Tropaeolaceae. Floriferous scrambling vine 6′–15′+. Clusters of strange looking vibrant yellow flowers with red dots, hundreds of blooms late summer. Rounded palmate leaves. Does not appear to be tuberous. Seed originally collected from a plant growing next to the only algorroba, Prosopis laevigata v. andicola, in the Sacred Valley of Cusco, Peru. Leaves and flowers edible. Andean Tropaeolum usually need alternate warm/cool temperatures to germinate. Annual in cold climates. Z10a
5 seed $3.50

Tropaeolum sp. BK09510.1

Scrambling or climbing vine to 10–15′. Unusual rounded leaves with amazing veination and large deep yellow/orange flowers with dark-orange veination and blotches, all parts edible. Reminiscent of the common cultivated nasturtium, yet decidedly distinct. Growing at the ruins of Tumshukaiko, a little known site near Caraz, Ancash, Peru, that was occupied pre-Chavin up to Incan times. Prefers sun, perennial in mild climates, otherwise grow as an annual. Like other Andean Tropaeolum, seed germinates erratically from 1–12+ months! Z9b/10a
5 seed $4

Tropaeolum tuberosum “Mashua” - see our Andean Tubers page

Ullucus tuberosus “Ulluco” - see our Andean Tubers page

Urera baccifera   “Chichicaste” “Ortiga Brava”

Urticaceae. Dioecious pachycaul shrub to small tree, 4–15′ tall. Serrated leaves 5–10″ across. Purplish inflorescence, clusters of white to pink edible fruit, said to be spongy yet juicy. A surprisingly attractive nettle relative from tropical Central and South America. The swollen trunk and leaves are covered in prickles that have a relatively mild and short lived sting similar to common nettle. The leaves of the plant are edible and have been shown to have antiinflammatory and antiviral activity. Natives of Costa Rica have been known to flagellate themselves with the plant to keep warm when hiking the high mountains. The stems were made into paper by the Aztec. The plant produces pearl bodies on its leaves for several species of ants with which it has a mutualistic relationship. Prefers well draining moist soil, tolerant of drier succulent conditions as well. Easy to bonsai. Z10a
Seed packet $3.25
5–6″+ plant 1 year old $6.50 or 2 for $11.50

Urtica flabellata BK10428.3 ”K’isa” “Ortiga”

Urticaceae. Small species to 6″ that forms tight clumps of dense, spiny, rounded leaves, like a henbit. Distinct from the other small species that grows in the region. Makes a good tea or addition to soups. Nutritive medicinal like other species. Growing near a small lake on the descent from Ipsay Pass, Cusco Dept., Peru, 13,500′. Bright light, dislikes hot weather. A good rock garden plant. Z5–6?
Seed packet $4

Urtica sp. BK00.2    “Mula Khisa” “Nettle”

Herbaceous perennial 6 to 20″. Dark green leaves with stinging hairs. We collected this dwarf Peruvian nettle at the village of Patacancha at 13,000′ in 2000. It has grown well for us here, makes a tasty, nutritious tea and addition to soups. Spreads by runners and should be very cold hardy. Sun to part shade. Z5a-6a?
Seed packet $3

Vaccinium floribundum BK10428.6 ”Andean Huckleberry”

Ericaceae. Beautiful shrub to 2′ with glaucus-blue leaves, new growth is a erotic reddish-purple. Dense clusters of white bell flowers precede the clusters of delicious blueberries. Forms small thickets in rocky areas above Rio Trapiche, between Huacahuasi and Lares, Cusco Dept., Peru, 12,000′. Cultivated in some parts of the Andes for its esteemed berries, has great potential for edible landscapes worldwide. Cold stratify seed, slow to germinate, 2-12 months. Z8 Sold out  Inquire for plants

For additional Vaccinium species see our Medicinals/Edibles & California page

Valeriana sp. BK09508.6

Valerianaceae. Plant to 12″ with semi-succulent long pinnate leaves. Thick caudex-like roots with strong valerian aroma. Flower stalk to 2–4′, intricately branched in interesting angles, almost like a diagram of an alkaloidal structure. Tiny purple to white flowers. An unusual and attractive species, likely medicinal as close kin. Growing on rock outcrops and cliffs at Tres Cruces above the ruins of Chavin, about 10,800′, Ancash, Peru. Easily grown, hardiness is untested. Z9b?
Seed packet $4
Plant 1+ years old $8.50 or 2 for $14.50

Vicia faba ‘Ojo de Dios’  “Fava Bean”

Fabaceae. Annual with erect stems 2–3′ high. White and black flowers. Bean pods enclosing beige or brownish 1″+ beans, of which 75% have a circular eye like mark on them. Seed originally from Matucana, Lima Dept., Peru. Fava bean is an old world food and cover crop that was brought to South America in the 16th century and has since become an important staple crop throughout the Andes. A unique heirloom strain. Z9b
Seed packet $3.50

 Zea mays BK10429.3  “Parakay Sara” “Cancha Corn”

Poaceae. This is the famous ancient heirloom strain of giant kernelled white corn from the inter-Andean valleys of Cusco Dept., Peru. The dried kernels are popular toasted and salted. Fresh ears are boiled and sold with chunks of cheese. Long season to mature, 8 months+ .
Seed packet $3

Zea mays ‘Chullpino’

Heirloom strain of corn with rounded ears and long slender yellowish kernels from Andean Peru. Has a high sugar content, but it is eaten exclusively toasted. Said to be low yielding yet highly valued. Sprouted kernels are made into chicha, the favored alcohol of the Andes.
Seed packet $3

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