Tuesday 18 March 2014 – around Parras
Actually it was more like Parras to Viesca and back. This is from memory as I’m safely back home in the UK. The 238 images taken at 6 stops and the locations marked on Google Earth provide a wonderful aide memoire.
S3077: Viesca – Menchaca road, or perhaps track was a better description. Fortunately we had a white car. On a previous occasion our red car looked white when we got back to the hotel. Use of the windscreen washers turned the white dust into cement. We saw Agave lechuguilla, at least I assume that it was that plant that repeatedly attacked my ankles and shins – we were not formally introduced. The yellow flowered Coryphantha durangensis was here, looking great from above but all plants badly marked around the base – these would not score well ina BCSS show, unless the points are given based on maturity rather then looks. There was another Coryphantha sp alongside a Cylindropuntia sp, Echinocactus horizonthalonius, Echinocereus longisetus (I assume, I must check exactly how it differs from E. stramineus apart from the latter forming larger clumps with larger flowers), Ferocactus hamatacanthus, Mammillaria pottsii, Opuntia rufida, Opuntia sp. and Thelocactus bicolor
S3078: I’ll avoid mentioning the usual suspects but note photographing a Corynopuntia sp. mainly because it attached itself to my trouser leg. I explained that giving it a lift was against my ‘no-collecting’ policy and flicked it back into the desert. It’s picture rarely makes into my general cactus talks so I’ll include one here
Any suggestions for a name are welcome. Coryphantha poselgeriana, a lovely plant as a seedling back home, is more impressive but perhaps less cute as a large habitat plant. How could I forget Cylindropuntia leptocaulis at the last stop? Probably because I was too busy cursing it. There were at least two more Cylindropuntia sp., one of which was in flower and is probably C. imbricata
Echinocereus horizonthalonius, Echinocereus engelmannii, E. enneacanthus, E. longisetus, Epithelantha micromeris, Euphorbia antisyphalitica, a.k.a. as ‘Candililla’, which here is harvested and appears to be heated / burned in a process to extract oils and wax. It is also sold in the southern USA as a landscape plant. Fouquieria splendens is another desert plant that is so common that I often forget to mention it on my lists. Here it appeared in my pictures because of a white spined form of Ferocactus hamatacanthus at its base. Sclerocactus uncinatus was spotted again and Thelocactus bicolor deserves a mention as this is a Thelothon.
S3079: we stopped on a track that was (not for the first time) unknown our SatNav systems. So much for the Hertz Never Lost. My Garmin Nuvii did little better. Same plants as before and again at S3080
S3081 was the Viesca Parque on the outskirts of town. This had been a rubbish dump when we visited in 2010, now everything had been tidied up with basketball courts and five aside soccer pitches as well as well maintained swings, slides etc. Unfortunately many of the ‘special’ cacti had gone as well. We had again come to look for Lophophora fricii but failed to find it at the coordinates in my database, now over ten years old.
S3082 was a last ditch attempt at km 8 on the way home to find L. fricii. We were tired, very hot and suffering from snow blindness in a pure white chalk dust landscape. I took just three images.