Today we visited one of my favourite locations of other succulents, the habitat of Dudleya anthonyi near San Quintin in Baja California Norte, Mexico – this time S3020.
But first we woke up to thick fog, not an unusual occurrence here. By 10:30 the fog had made way to blue skies and brilliant sunshine.
Not only are Dudleya anthonyi beautiful plants, easily confused with D. brittonii, but they grow in volcanic rock covered in lichen. Unlike D. brittonii, D. anthonyi forms a stout short trunk, covered in blackened dead leaves from which, in time, a number of heads can sprout . The old flower stalks spread out widely from between the older leaves.
As we walked around, we found plants of all ages – young seedlings to ancient plants – beautiful farina covered leaves forming perfect rosettes.
In addition to these easily recognised plants there are two other Dudleya species here: D. attenuata and D. cultrata. We were here on 6 February 2011, recorded as S2197 but did not see or record the cacti that grow here: Mammillaria dioica, Ferocactus sp (F. viridescens?), Echinocereus maritimus, shyly pushing out a single flower, and Stenocereus gummosus. All these taxa were duly photographed this time.
A well camouflaged bird startled me as it flew up from between the rocks, about 1 meter away and settled on rocks about 20 m away. The zoom lens overcame the distance and revealed a long legged burrowing owl, similar to ones I had seen in Minas Gerais, Brazil, that time nesting alongside Coleocepalocereus brevicylindrica. We were to see another couple of owls on our way to the next stop at Molino Viejo, the Old Mill – this time not a plant stop, just an excuse for a cup of coffee and a bit of souvenir hunting.
Our backs are suffering for the beating they took climbing on the rough lava rocks, but margaritas are dulling the pain nicely!