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Archive for January 12, 2009

Monday 12 January 2009 – Puquio to Abancay

This morning we were glad to get away. The hotel had not been great, but I guess value for money. It was at least dry, but the town was a mud bath, as I had to walk with Max (the caretaker) to the secure lock up for the car.

A detailed study of The Database revealed that last night, in torrential rain, we had driven by and missed Matucana haynei. We hoped that it would also occur on similar land on the other side of Puquio, but found that cows, goats and sheep were competing for things to trample.

So S1168, just outside Puquio, provided Corryocactus quadrangularis (in flower), Echinopsis (Trichocereus) sp. (we’re calling it E. puquioensis) and Cumulopuntia boliviana (?) quite an open plant, not like the clumps that we found in Bolivia, Argentina & Chile. Austrocylindropuntia subulata or ssp exaltata was also everywhere. Agave americana seems as abundant as any endemic, but obviously is not, which makes us think about some of the cacti mentioned above: endemic or imported? The bonus at this stop was a hummingbird humming away. European minds are easily pleased where hummers are concerned.

S1169 gave us Austrocylindropuntia floccosa, as single stems or small clumps and most remarkably in some ways, a common dandelion that could have come straight from my back garden in the UK, in a few months time – so much is different and yet there are so many commonalities as well.

S1170 was visited 6 hours later. In between we had driven over the altiplano, through the tail end of a snow shower, just in case you lot think we are ignoring your hard luck stories about snow & ice in Europe, but here we were along the fast flowing Pachachaca river, next to hundreds of meters of Andes going straight up, covered in Tillandsia and other Bromeliads, an Echinopsis sp and a Weberbauerocereus sp., complaining about the heat! An amazing country! Swallowtail butterflies, the same as we saw in Chile, provided an additional attraction, drinking from the storm drains.

S1171 provided a parking space along the Rio Pachachaca  to get better shots (and fruits) of the Weberbauerocereus sp. (cuzcoensis?), and of the Tricho that turned out to be Browningia hertlingiana (syn Clistanthocereus / Azureocereus hertlingianus) and an Opuntia sp. that looks like O. salmiana that we saw in Argentina. And many, many bromeliads. We’ve been looking for, but not found yet, Pepperomias, to photograph and swap for beer vouchers with folks from the University of Gent in Belgium.

We seem to be near to a spot for Oroya peruvianus which would be a nice ‘first time in habitat’ for both Cliff & me. And we would love to see Puya raimondii, but habitat locations seem rather elusive.