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Drimys winteri (Winter's Bark), or Canelo, is a slender tree, growing up to 20 m (65 ft) tall. It is native to the Magellanic and Valdivian temperate rain forests of Chile and Argentina, where it is a dominant tree in the coastal evergreen forests. It is found below 1200 meters (4000 ft) between latitude 32° south and Cape Hornmarker at latitude 56°. In its southernmost natural range it can tolerate temperatures down to −20 °C (−4 °F).

Leaves are lanceolate, glossy green above, whitish below and can measure up to 20 cm (7 in). Its flower is white with its center yellow and is made up by a great number of petals and stamens. Its fruit is a bluish berry.

It is also grown as an ornamental plant for its red-brown bark, bright green fragrant leaves and its clusters of creamy white jasmine-scented flowers. The bark is gray, thick and soft and is used as a pepper replacement in Argentina and Chile. The peppery compound in Canelo is polygodial. D. winteri was also the first commercial source of vitamin C .

The species grows well in South England, but specimens brought from the southern forests of Tierra del Fuegomarker and planted in the Faroe Islandsmarker have proven to be especially hardy. A fine specimen is found in Northumberlandmarker.It has been planted in the North Pacific Coast of the United Statesmarker .

Canelo wood is reddish in color and heavy, with a very beautiful grain. It is used for furniture and music instruments. The wood is not durable outdoors because continuous rainfalls damage it. The wood is not good for making bonfires because gives off a spicy smoke.

References

  • Hoffmann, Adriana (1997), Flora silvestre de Chile zona araucana: Una guía ilustrada para la identificación de las especies de plantas leñosas del sur de Chile (entre el río Maule y el seno de Reloncaví)., Santiago: El Mercurio. ISBN 956-7743-01-0.


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