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Archive for March 6, 2009

Friday, 6 March 2009 – Bahia Kino to San Carlos, SON

Today was a reasonably quiet day, travelling to San Carlos, just a  couple of hours driving plus stops.

The first stop S1306 was prompted by some Feros being spotted along the road. The mainland Feros here seem to fit the description for Ferocactus wislizeni ssp herrerae. and some plants obliged by bearing fruits with ripe seed. We also found Carnegiea gigantea, Pachycereus schottii and S. thurberi.

Just under an hour later we stopped for a large F. herrerae in fruit along the side of the road. (S1307) and photographed Carnegiea gigantea, Cylindropuntia sp (C. echinacarpa?), C. sp. #2, Ferocactus wislizeni ssp herrerea, Mammillaria sp. Pachycereus schottii and Stenocereus thurberi.

Eunice had some scanty information to look for Agave near a microwave tower (these are used in communication systems) on the hills near Guaymas. I was a little concerned about the vagueness of the directions, but as we approached Guaymas, there was a nest of aerials and communication towers high on a hill to the left of the road. It almost seemed too easy, but we still had to find a track up the hill to get to the top. We succeeded on that point as well! We found a turning to a road that seemed to run to the base of the hill, but then stopped, turning into a cobblestone road up the hill. Knowing that we would be passing back this way, we tried not to make too many stops, but instead earmarked places for a more detailed look on the way down.

In fact all images taken between the start of the cobblestone road (next to a prison) and the summit of the hill, with all the communication masts etc are recorded under S1308 and include: Agave actides?, Agave colorata, Bursera sp (more than one I think, in fruit), Ferocactus herrerae, Fouquieria splendens, Hechtia montana, Mammillaria sp., Opuntia macrocentra (or is it O. santa-rita? – more checking to be done at home.) The plant’s yellow flowers resemble those of some O. santa-rita images found on Google, but I seem to remember that the original description applies to a limited population from the Santa Rita mountains on the border between New Mexico and Arizona. The spination looks more like that pictured on Google for O. macrocentra, but that is supposed to have yellow flowers with a red centre. Another plant in flower was a Cholla, or Cylindropuntia sp, with greeny-yellow flowers.

The Mammillaria reported from this area is Mammillaria boolii, but few, if any of the plants seen today match the appearance of these plants offered for sale by that name in the UK. I have no other name to suggest, so Mam. sp. will have to do for now.

Although the internet is a mine of information, there is also (at least) an equal amount of incorrect information out there, some from quite trusted sources. I guess the only way to resolve this naming game is to check out the original descriptions (if they can be found and accessed) to see which presents the closest match for what we see, and that is impossible on the road, as my library sits at home in Durrington. Perhaps I should start a project to publish all original descriptions (perhaps on Wikipedia?), or at least make a start

I have to mention the last cactus that I photographed today. We had spotted a giant Fero as we drove up the hill and stopped to take its picture on the way down. It was some distance away and partially hidden behind a thin white barked tree. So how big was this plant? It seemed impractical to get to it, until I saw a route by climbing up the hill to the right of the plant and, once level with it, working my way to it. Distance and steepness of the rock face were not an issue, but the huge spines on the Acacia and other flora were, so my arms were covered in scratches by the time I stood smiling next to the plant, ready for Cliff to take our picture. I could not reach the fruits at the top of the stem, which puts this barrel at somewhere between 230 and 240 cm in height.

Finally, Brian Bates posted this link to an article about the history of Lotusland, the gardens that we visited in February. Interesting background reading at
and the article in turn links to

Thanks Brian!

Do check Alain’s Diaries for his trip report as well, as every picture tells a story, as Confusius said. But do we have any pictures to tells us what Confucius looked like?