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Archive for October 23, 2009

Friday, 23 October 2009 – Sao Gabriel to Santana do Livromento

I know that for the most of these reports, i have focussed on the cacti that we have seen or looked for. But  we have seen (and photographed) a lot beside. Foremost the landscapes at each of our cactus stops. Hard to put into words, but not at all ‘foreign’ as you might expect on the other side of the world. Many times we could have imagined that we were in England in Spring or high summer. Then there were the tell tale signs that we were not: Araucaria trees, palm trees, groups of Rhea americana intermedia, the equivalent of the ostrich in South America, grazing among the cattle for protection, large numbers of white egrets, again accompanying the cattle in the lush grassy meadows that often have marshy spots as well as the rocky outcrops where we look for cacti. From the marshy patches we hear the sounds of frogs, favourites on the egret menu. And while the paved roads are as bad as UK roads, often poorly maintained with huge pot holes (Marlon warns that there is much worse to come in Bahia!) a significant amount (more than half I guess) of our daily track is driven on unpaved roads of varying quality and totally unpredictable.

These additional features are more difficult to include in the diaries and I’ll try to include some pictures to help to overcome this.

S1439 was another one of those stops with huge diversity of cactus taxa as we found and photographed Cereus hildmannianus, Frailea pumila, Parodia (Notocactus) mammulosa, P. ottonis, P. tenuicylindrica, Parodia (Wigginsia) sellowii and its form erinacea.

In contrast, S1440 just had P. mammulosa and P. sellowii fa arinacea. Frailea pumila was reported from previous visits but not seen (photographed) by me this time. ,

S1441 brought a new (for us) Frailea, F. perumbilicata and a new Parodia (Notocactus), P. mueller-melchersii as well as P. mammulosa

F. permubilicata was still there at S1442, but this time accompanied by Gymnocalycium uruguayense, but none of its neighbours from the previous site. Why? or I guess: why not? or as John would say: Soooooo?!

At S1443 found G. uruguayense again but this time accompanied by Parodia fusca, not yet seen by us on this trip. Why, what is so special about this place that it occurs here, but not elsewhere. It seems so similar to the other Notocactus group that we see elsewhere. The more you see, the more questions it raises. We are always looking for logical reasons that in nature is not always a reasonable expectation I guess. And that makes it all the more intriguing.

At S1444 Parodia (Notocactus) glaucina was the stranger in town and at S1445 P. mueller-melchersii was back, this time with P. tenuicylindrica. At S1446 it was P. mammulosus and P. mueller-melchersii, and by S1447 I seemed to have lost the plot as I have allocated a stop number but have neither pictures nor notes for it. Who knows. I’ll take a closer look in the future and leave S1447 blank for now.