Wednesday, 29 December, 2010 – Taltal: the Paposo circuit
These last three months it has become a regular routine to introduce newbies to the charms of Copiapoa cinerea ssp haseltoniana by a trip to various locations around Paposo. Today we made the following stops:
S2183 – north of Taltal between Ruta 1 and the Ocean – not the stop that I had hoped to have made as I was looking for the place where John Ede and I saw C. haseltoniana and C. cinerea growing side by side in November. Instead we were treated to a number of white spines C. cinerea that we’ll call C. albispina, although this Backeberg name was never published validly.
S2184 was at Quebrada Matancillas where in November we had found C. haseltoniana, C. humilis and Eulychnia taltalensis almost overwhelmed by field flowers. Now the cacti were covered by the remains of that flowering explosion – not very attractive but perhaps an explanation why Copiapoa scorch so easily during the early days of Spring in Europe. The grasses and weeds that practically cover the plants in habitat will also protect them against the sun. E. taltalensis had put on tremendous growth compared to the other Eulychnia species but they were late with flowering, with many buds, only half a dozen flowers spotted and no fruits.
S2185 was our regular visit to the Paposo Virgin where we saw C. humilis and C. haseltoniana, E. taltalensis and Eriosyce paucicostata. There are usually very few mature C. humilis but this time Cliff found a nice plant actually in flower!
There was still a good show of flowers at S2186 – the fog zone above Paposo. Not the cacti (same selection as at the previous stop) but Nolana and a range of bulbs that are another interest for John.
We finished off with the C. cinerea ssp haseltoniana ‘eremophila’ population (S2187) at the pylon service track. This time we only went as far as the disused caravan as there was no benefit to be gained by going all the way to the end as usual.