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Magnifica by name and magnificent in habitat (S1467). Remarkably we did not get to within touching distance of Parodia magnifica – it hung tantalisingly close from steep cliffs and we were separated from it by some 50 meters of fast flowing river. And they hung there in their hundreds or perhaps even thousands. We sat on rocks on the opposite shore and stared in awe.

We had stopped earlier (S1466) near a bridge across the Rio Toropi with a similar looking cliff, but farther away, that allegedly was also home to this plant.

And on the way back S1468 was a stop alongside the track from where we scrambled for a few meters through dense forest before a wire fence prevented us from tumbling down several hundred meters. From this strange vantage point we were able to glimpse huge clumps only a couple of meters down the vertical walls.

To achieve all this, we had travelled for over three hours, first on smooth tarmac but the majority of the time on poor dirt tracks, relying on Marlon’s GPS guidance rather than on sign posts. We overshot the final turning and had to turn back once the track simply stopped. We asked a workman fixing a fence only to be told that the fence that he was putting up was to stop people from using the track to the most accessible of the locations (S1467), due to a dispute over land ownership between neighbouring farmers. Lady Luck was with us in the form of Josellita, the wife of the owner of the property, who drove past in her Chevy LUV. We were invited over to her home, just along the track, where her husband gave permission for her to accompany us to the river, opening gates that otherwise would have posed barriers.

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