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It seemed that not all the guests had made it through to breakfast. All the elderly men had, but few of the girls had lasted to this feast consisting of a ham roll and a cup of coffee. Clearly, breakfast had not been the reason for their visit.

Today’s adventures would take us to the far south coast of Cuba, from Guantanamo, via Tortuguilla, Baitiquiri San Antonio del Sur, Macambo, Imais and Cajobabo, before turning north, away from the coast to Baracoa. If you are following these Diaries with the excellent book, ‘The Melocacti of Cuba’ by Rigerszki, Delanoy, Ujreti and Vilardebo (Cactus & Co.,2007)  you can follow this journey on Map 10 on page 72. According to this map we should have seen various forms of Melocactus harlowii, some of which have been given specific names, others just forma names before all being lumped together in the New Cactus Lexicon – a view that is not disputed by the authors in this Melocactus book. For me, all the plants we saw were M. harlowii, followed by any other name (species, variety, forma etc) in ‘quotes’. Each Stop Number is for a group of Melocacti that goes by such a splitters’ ‘name’, perhaps best regarded as a population name, although it is best to regard this as one continuous population (with some small breaks if you make your observations just by following the road) .

So:
S1699 was near Tortuguilla for
M. harlowii ‘borhidii’
S1700 was for M. harlowii at around its lectotype area
S1701 was for M. harlowii ‘candicans’ with white fruits (2 found plus one with a pinkish flush)
S1702 was for M. harlowii ‘acunae’, west of Cajobabo
S1703 was for M. harlowii ‘acunae ssp. lagunaensis’ north of Cajobabo, as the road starts to twist its way up into the mountains. 

The book has a table on page 142 that sets out the differences between the various names.

Stenocereus fimbriatus (s.n. Ritterocereus hystrix) and Pilosocereus brooksianus are ever present, also used in fences all along the southern coast; Consolea / Nopalea sp. is found here and there as is Opuntia stricta (s.n. O. dillleni).

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