Today was almost a replica of our adventures of 23 October. S2022 was a look at Copiapoa cinerea ssp haseltoniana along the coast road north of Paposo (a few km beyond the Cemetery that had been our October spot)
For S2023 we went up hill to visit ‘The Paposo Virgin’ or at least the little chapel on the way up into the hills where again we found Copiapoa humilis.
We missed the Paposo fog zone spot, as ark and John had seen the Camanchaca at play at Las Lomitas yesterday, so S2024 was the powerline maintenance track that leads to the best population of Copiapoa cinerea ssp haseltoniana – s.n. Ritter’s C. eremophila. This quebrada still had an abundance of flowers, especially of Alstroemeria at the beginning of the Quebrada – Angie has still not forgiven me for not allowing her to play in the flowers here in October – oooops.
Ingrid & Ricardo had told us of a Quebrada awash with C. humilis, here growing just a few 100 m above sea level. I remembered such a spot from 2001 but had not revisited it since. S2025 did produce a lot of C. humilis pictures, but they were very difficult to photograph as they were being overwhelmed by spring filed flowers, as were C. haseltoniana and Eulychnia taltalensis!
All along the coast, from some 30 km south of Paposo until Taltal C. cinerea and its subspecies and synonyms make for a very variable group of plants. You could even consider C. ahremephiana a small headed C. cinerea. They seem to increase in size as you travel south along the coast road until you end up at S2026 where there are massive plants that are synonymous with C. gigantea.
As a bonus, we took John and Mark up the road past Taltal towards Ruta 5. Here we had been shown a huge population of C. cinerea ssp cinerea with a number of crested plants, well worth another visit.
S2027 took us back to this spot where there were just as many plants as before, if not more. By now, Juan’s Thelocephala spotting had become so legendary that here his eagle-like vision managed to spot Eriosyce occulta! Mark immediately found a few too – in flower! Better for pictures but not quite such a challenge!.
Back to the Hotel for a well-earned rest.