The rain was still pouring down as we woke up. It was a quick swim to the restaurant and a full breakfast. So instead of the planned activity of driving to El Cielo National Park, a cloud forest, we decided to make it a driving day and head for Tamaulipas in the hope that things might be drier at lower altitudes. Soon after we crossed the border with TAM, the wipers could indeed be switched off.
Before that, we had driven down the long and winding road, passing by trees covered in Tillandsias, rocks covered in ferns and trees covered hillsides that included Beaucarnea recurvata with its large panicles waving above the tree canopy. Very difficult to get a descent picture. There are nine species, but B. recurvata is the only one listed for San Luis Potosi and Tamaulipas, so that will do. True giants.
It was dry when I eventually spotted Cliff’s car from MEX 85, parked along the track. It took no time to find Thelocactus bicolor subsp schwarzii but they seemed at least twice as large as in March. Lots of Ariocarpus trigonus, and a few of Sclerocactus (Ancistrocactus) scheeri, all looking as if they were on steroids.
Whereas in March the village near where they live had seemed to have been deserted for some years, allowing plants to recover from the damage done by the goats and cattle that the villagers owned, this time the village was populated again and the cattle were back, but ‘parked’ in a field outside the area where the cacti grow. So where was Astrophytum asterias? By now, Ian, Sarda and Cliff had returned from their explorations and soon showed us the first few, so that we could get our eyes in. Wow, they had also grown, happy to grow in mud! But at 27C in October, the conditions are different enough to suggest that we should not try this in the UK. Tomorrow the temperature is forecast to be 30C with 100% humidity. Boil in a bag cultivation should work!