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Noel Gieleghem

The "Copihue" or Chilean Bellflower, Lapageria rosea

The Purpose of this Website

This website is devoted to the Copihue (the Araucanian name for Lapageria rosea), the national flower of Chile. I've only been growing Lapageria for 15 years, but I've benefited from great advice given by some masters of their cultivation. I'm really a rank beginner compared to these folks; this website is really a forum for sharing information with the world at large, my attempt to bring together resources which will encourage cultivation of this beautiful (and at times difficult) plant. This website is an ongoing project, so I love to receive feedback from readers who have questions, comments, or suggestions. Two of my best resources contacted me via this site, so it serves the two-fold purpose of both receiving and dispersing information. I think of it as a clearinghouse. I hope you find it entertaining and informative.

History and natural range
Elbert E Reed of El Vergel
Christian Lambs article
Carlos Rendon at Berkeley
Rennie Moffat
Propagation methods
Pages from

I have received numerous reports of failure of seed germination, and I believe this is in large part due to the fact mat most seed sold is too old and the germination information provided is usually vague (at best) or incorrect, I often have seed available for sale. Send me an e-mail to found out what is available.

In addition to seeds, i have a few un-flowered seedlings to offer. Lapageria plants are even more difficult to find than fresh seed, so I thought it would be nice to offer some plants. Blooming can take anywhere from four to five years and, of course, the color, flower size, and plant vigor will vary widely. Unfortunately white plants, which are quite desirable, seem to be the least vigorous.

I'd also Ike to formally recognize the following folks who've been such a huge help with this project

Maggie Wych, Western Hills Nursery, Occidental, California Purveyor of the unusual and extraordinary, incredibly generous with both her time and information, always on the lookout for something new and exciting. Maggie introduced me to the wonderful world of Lapageria. Her nursery is destination in its own right and at times she offers both seeds and plants. If you're in the area, it is definitely worth a shopping trip, WESTERN HILLS DOES NOT DO MAIL ORDER, SO DON'T EVEN BOTHER ASKING!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tayeko Harada

Just imagine someone who'd dash across South America, from Uruguay to Chile, just to check out a nursery. She's the source of my El Vergel cultivars. I didn't get know her well, but she was an amazing character.

Sarah Wikander, formerly volunteering at U.C. Berkeley

I used to call her "Lapageria Goddess of Strawberry Canyon." Sarah did more with Lapagerias in the Bay Area than anyone else I know. A wealth of information with a sly sense of humour


What can you say about a retired Scottish expert who took time to answer my constant questions with good humor and unlimited knowledge on all things Lapageria I really miss him.

Mike Jeans and Bill Herberts

My Anglo-American seed growing affiance. Providing both the English and American perspective on seed propagation and breeding. An incredible resource. I'm lucky they found my site and took the time to write.

Noel in Napa April 4,2002

A Little About The Copihue

There is no question whatever...that the copihue is considered the most beautiful flower in our Flora. The intense red of its hanging flowers sparkle amid the dark leaves of the forests, making a proud adornment to our woods; it is for this reason that it has been given the honour of being our national flower. The Latin description of the flower is penduli, formosissimi: corolla rosea, alquando roseo-puniceo, intus punctis albis, maculata.

The flowers are sold in autumn in branches backed with fern leaves, in the resorts of the south and taken to markets of the principal cities (of Chile). This lovely flower makes quite a profitable income for innumerable small peasant communities.

The fruits, sweet and tender, are called 'cucumbers,' are edible and have a most agreeable flavour; they are sold in great quantities in towns in the south. The roots are used as a substitute for sarsaparilla (Smilax sarsaprilla); unfortunately this habit is already beginning to endanger the species. ln the hot houses of Europe the Lepageria has been known since the last century without having reached any significant importance in those countries."

Flora Peruvians et Chilensis

Hippokryto Rttfz

A Josepho Pa von, 1892

Click here for the full text of this article by Christian Lamb of the Cornwall Garden Society

Click here for an article by Elbert E. Reed on Copihues at El Vergel Nursery in Chile

Click here for an article by Leo C. Song, Jr. on Copihues in California

Click here for an excellent general article Lapageria cultivation


Click below to learn about

Cultivation of My Collection of Lapagerias

Growing Lapagerias from Seed - The Mike Jeans Method

Growing Lapagerias from Seed - The Bill Harberts Method

Vegetive Reproduction of Lapagerias - The Rennie Moffiat Method

Lapageria Cultivars

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