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Sorry to have been away from the internet for a few days. I’ll try to catch up with the back log of reports over days to come.

We had an early start, helped by the heat and mosquitoes who had managed to get into our mosquito nets. After breakfast we set off, made a quick stop at Marylan’s aunt to arrange the slaughter of a chicken for dinner and then off to the farm where we picked up Raulino who managed the area of the farm that had the huge quartz inselberg. Our target plants for the day, Espostoopsis dybowskii and Arrojadoa marylanae grew on top (S1588). We drove as far as we could in our city slicker car and at 9:15 started our walk (already in the melting heat), to arrive on top of the hill at 10:00.

It was not the easiest of cactus habitats to get to, but also not the hardest and the view from the top of the inselberg was worth every drop of sweat. The Arrojadoa is simply the tallest freestanding member of the genus and it is remarkable that it only grows on this quartz outcrop and not on any of the other quartz fields that we were able to see from the top and later, as we drove away. Marylan had been to investigate them all and although E. dybowskii has been found on some of them, A. marylanae to date has only been found here. The sad news is that the hill is being checked out for possible mining / quarrying potential, said to be for marble, but fortunately this has been stopped for now when the authorities were made aware of the ecological importance of the site.  

An amazing place, where we’ll let the pictures do the talking.

S1589 and S1590 were brief stops along the track back to Sussuarana. At S1589 I saw Stephanocereus leucostele, Melocactus and Pereskia bahiensis, while at S1590 we found all the previous cacti and I renewed my acquaintance with Coleocephalocereus goebelianus and Pilosocereus catingicola  (Ritter’s ‘blue form’). and P. pentaedrophorus

S1591 was for an area of bottle trees where we saw some impressive members of the Malvaceae family, subfamily Bombacoideae: Ceiba glaziovii and Cavanillesia arborea which Marlon did give me the full botanical names for, but without pen & paper handy at the time, I’ have needed to ask again. Cacti found: Cereus jamacaru and Pereskia bahiensis.

Tomorrow we get picked up by a car and driver from the Mayor’s office of Vitoria da Conquista!

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