The last few days I seem to have started the daily reports with what happened at the end and then work my way back. I’ll continue that tradition today. We are at Hotel Bugambilia (no not one of my infamous typos) in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico.
Quite fittingly, our last night is spent in the same accommodation where we spent our first night in Mexico in 2009. There are some minor changes, in that the restaurant has gone down market, is no longer allowed to sell Margaritas and seems to sell snacks rather than a last night of a cactus trip dinner. We stopped off at Walmart and managed to get a bottle of Santa Rita 120 from Chile. On top of that, John believes that the LA Lakers (basketball for the uninitiated) have won their game in the play offs.
We overcame the Margarita problem by crossing the road to the (comparatively speaking) magnificent Holiday Inn where the Margaritas were great, the steak as rare as I like it and the guacamole was served with a parmesan cheese dusting that made it the best guacamole of the trip for me.
We have gone back for a night cap (more wine) so I better finish the stop listing. I recorded six stops: S1884 to 1889 incl.
S1884 was an impromptu stop as Eunice had spotted some Agave’s along the side of the road. She has already retired for the night, so I can’t ask her to confirm the name.
Last year she had very much hoped to see A. bovicornuta (The Cow’s Horn Agave), some 250 km to the south east of Hermosillo. That location just did not fit into that year’s schedule, so this year it was on the agenda. Sometimes I have been disappointed by Agave’s in habitat not looking distinctly different from other taxa that we had already seen, but this time I has pleasantly surprised by a very distinct bright green (to my colour blind eyes) plant (S1885). Some searching on Google explains why we also saw a bluish form growing side by side with the green form. Also here was Agave vilmoriniana, the Octopus Agave, for which we had searched last year around Alamos, to the south from here. Here it was growing with the Cow’s Horn and it seems that there was at least one intermediate or hybrid. An octopus with cow’s horns? Also spotted: Opuntia sp. Mammillaria sonorensis. Dasylirion sp., Tillandsia sp. Bursera sp. and Echinocereus aff. polyacanthus?
We had remarked how, during our travels through the Chihuahuan Desert, we had not seen any ceroids. Finally, as we descended into the Sonora Desert, we spotted our first tallies: first Pachycerus pecten-arboriginum, then Stenocereus thurberi (The Organ Pipe cactus) and finally, Carnegia gigantea, the Saguaro. (S1886). Here we also found Fouquieria macdougalii, huge plants, with a small trunk and flowers at the end of their branches.
We made another stop as we saw the Octopus Agave, A. vilmoriniana hanging from the rock face to the left of the road (S1887). Also photographed
S1888 – just a brief roadside stop to photograph Fouquieria macdougalii, Stenocereus (Hertrichocereus) thurberi and Cylindropuntia versicolor (in flower).
S1889 was another unscheduled roadside stop where we saw Fouquieria macdougalii, Mammillaria dioica (?), M. grahamii (?), M. mainiae (?), Stenocereus (Rathbunia) alomosensis, Stenocereus (Hertrichocereus) thurberi and Cylindropuntia versicolor (in flower).