Common Name: Llareta
Azorella diapensioides is a woody shrub with tiny tough leaves, in a rounded cushion form of such tight construction that it is frequently mistaken for a moss-covered rock, even on close inspection[
The plant yields a high quality fuel and, although very slow-growing, has been harvested on a commercial basis to the point of overexploitation..
Western S. America - Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador
Rocky slopes at high elevations, generally around 3,500 - 4,500 metres, in areas of low rainfall, but generally in locations where there is some water seepage[
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In its natural habitat Azorella diapensioides tolerates very wide daily temperature swings (ranging from at least -25°c to +25°c), but it probably also requires the arid climate plus the high light intensity found at high elevations if it is to thrive[
Requires a position in full sun in a well-drained gritty soil[
A very slow growing plant, figures of just 20mm new growth per year have been quoted, so larger specimens of 1 metre or more must be around a century old[
Yields a fuel which is virtually smokeless - it is used domestically and commercially[
]. It is only used for firewood because it grows in regions where easier to use fuel crops won't grow. As a result it has become extinct over much
of its former range, but it is still common in some of the high altitude national parks in the northern half of Chile (eg, PN Lauca)[
The plant used to be harvested on a commercial basis for sale to railways, copper mines etc. It is still used on a domestic basis for cooking and heating[
The plant needs to be dried for 4 - 5 months after harvest before being used for fuel[
Seed - we have no details for this species but suggest sowing the seed in late winter in a cold frame. Grow on for at least the first winter in a greenhouse or frame and plant out in late spring.