STUDY OF THEFLORA OF RUCAMANQUE,CAUTIN PROVINCE, CHILE'Carlos Ram(rez,2 Enrique Hauenstein,3Jos� San Martin4 and Domingo Contreras3ABSTRACT The flora of forest, scrub, and grass communities was studied in Rucamanque, located near the city of Temuco,Cautin Chile, in the central valley of south central Chile. Forty-six vegetation samples were made, and plants werecollected intensively outside the sample areas. A catalog was written for 203 plants species, which were analyzed forsystematics, phytogeographics, life forms, the biological spectrum that they compose, the frequency and relativeimportance of each in the different vegetational communities, and their uses in industry, crafts, and medicine. Rucamanque, "The House of the Condor" inMapudungun, the language of the indigenous peo-ple of this region (Ramirez-S�nchez, 1985), is avalley located 12 km northwest of the city of Te-muco, capital of the IX Region of the Araucania,Chile (Fig. 1). The primitive forest vegetation ofthis valley escaped destruction during last century'sprocess of colonization of central southern Chile(Donoso, 1983) because it was protected as anearly watershed area for the drinking water forTemuco (Magofke, 1985). With the increase in population, water for thecity had to be drawn from other sources, principallysubterranean, so the state lost its interest in Ru-camanque and offered it for sale in March of 1986.Because of its value as a forest relict and its sci-entific interest, several state and private institutionsand ecological organizations intervened to preserveit from exploitation. Finally, the University of theFrontera in Temuco became the legal owner, savingthe relict forest for science, education, and thegeneral public. The present catalog of the flora of Rucamanquewas made during the time that the land was forsale.STUDY AREA Rucamanque is a small river valley orientedsoutheast-northwest to the south of the Nielol-Huimpil hills (Magofke et al., 1986). Through itruns Chivilcan Creek, which receives the water oftwo small unnamed streamlets. Its elevation rangesfrom 300 to 530 m. The area occupies about 525ha, including some of the adjacent forests thatbelong to private owners. The basin and slopes ofRucamanque Valley are covered by native forest,which is evergreen in the lower areas and partiallydeciduous at higher elevations. In several placesthe forest has been destroyed and secondary scrubreplaces it. In the higher slopes, originally of de-ciduous forest, permanent grasslands of humanorigin can be found. Small bogs, which we includein the grassland formation, appear in open areason the edges of streams at the bottom of the valley. The climate of the area is humid and temperatewith a Mediterranean influence (Di Castri & Hajek,1976). The average annual rainfall is 1,400 mmand the median annual temperature is 120C. Rain-fall is abundant in winter, and summers often haveone to two dry months, as shown in the climaticdiagram in Figure 1. Winter and spring frosts arefrequent. To this climate corresponds a subtropicalsemideciduous forest type as natural vegetation(Schmithisen, 1956). The Nielol-Huimpil hills comprise a tectonic unitcharacteristic of the central valley of Chile and donot connect with either the Coastal Ranges or withthe Andes. The red clay soil does show similarityto the Coastal Range soils (Weinberger & Binsack,1970). When cultivated or grazed, this soil is sub-ject to erosion.METHODS The catalog of plant species of Rucamanque wasmade from 46 vegetation samples taken using the Supported by Grant RS-84-22 from the Research Fund of Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, and the Projecto2. 88. 7 of the research fund of the Universidad Cat�lica de Chile, Sede Temuco, Chile. 2 Instituto de Botanica, Universidad Austral de Chile, Casilla 567, Valdivia, Chile. Departamento de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Cat�lica de Chile, Casilla 15-D, Temuco, Chile. 4 Area de Ciencia, Universidad Cat�lica de Chile, Casilla 617, Talco, Chile.ANN. MISSOURI BOT. GARD. 76: 444-453. 1989.