Just another WordPress.com site

Archive for November, 2016

Thursday 3 November – Isola to Anja

We stopped along RN7 for a fairly scenic, but not too special stop. ‘Do we have a puncture?’ I asked cheekily. Christophe smiled and pointed at the edge of the escarpment above us. ‘Aloes!’ I pointed my 300 mm zoom lens at the edge and sure enough, there was a thick stand of Aloes.  I’m not climbing up there! I protested, quite happy with the view standing next to the car. 

Aloe accutissima

Aloe accutissima

Aloe accutissima

Aloe accutissima right along the side of the road

Fortunately there were some more Aloes (same taxon?) right along the side of the road, where it had been cut into the hillside with lots of other interesting things, including Delonix regia, Euphorbia enterophora, Kalanchoe fedtschenkoi and an Opuntia sp.

Next another hill stop, not too steep and with the promise that the plants of interest started about half way up. Plants here included Aloe accutissima, Euphorbia horombensis, Pachypodium lamerei and Senecio decaryi.

Another hill

Another hill

Euphorbia horombensis

Euphorbia horombensis

I include this image of Pachypodium lamerei for Brian Bates in sunny Bolivia, who commented earlier that he thought that P. lamerei gets fatter than the plant shown in a previous posting. Perhaps in the UK or in the US, but here in Madagascar slim is beautiful. These plants are 3m (9ft) plus in height.

Pachypodium lamerei

Pachypodium lamerei

This lizard must have fallen asleep on the tarmac road when they were putting down the white line in the middle of the road!

White striped lizard

‘White striped lizard’

The Pachypodium here has a different flower shape – must look up details in Roosli’s Pachypodium book. Christophe did give me a name and I’ll kick myself when I find it – I just kicked myself as promised: it’s Pachypodium horombense.

S3512: Pachypodium sp. flower

S3512: Pachypodium horombense. flower

Pachypodium sp

S3512: Pachypodium sp

The next Stop (S3513) was an inselberg with three different Euphorbia taxa:

Euphorbia didieroides; tall plants, over 2 m (6 ft) tall with clusters of flowers without stalks

Euphorbia didieroides

Euphorbia didieroides

Euphorbia duranii, a large shrub

Euphorbia duranii

Euphorbia duranii

Euphorbia enterophora subsp crassa

Euphorbia enterophora subsp crassa

Euphorbia enterophora subsp crassa

verdict: all too big for glass house or living room cultivation.

 

Wednesday 2 November – around Isola

We were staying in chalets at Ranohira in the Parc National de l’Isalo.

Christophe drove us to the Parc’s administrative office where John and I paid our admission fee and paid the Parc’s guide to take us on the short walk, aimed mainly at seeing a family of Ring-tailed Lemurs.  We walked to a semi permanent tent camp where guides were busy preparing a cooked breakfast (or was it lunch) for the tourist guests. We turned down the offer of a bite to eat, but did enjoy a cold Coca Cola while waiting for the lemurs. Our guide assured us that they would e here in around 15 minutes, as though, like trains and busses, they ran to a time-table. He kept disappearing, listening for their calls to  announce their imminent arrival and sure enough, after some 20 minutes, they ‘arrived’. They were outside the camp, in the trees and difficult to catch on camera due to tree stems, branches and twigs and shooting against the sun, resulting only in silhouettes. After a while they came down and made there way to a small stream, with John and me in hot pursuit.  It appeared that they spent most of the day higher up (and cooler) in the hills but came down at regular times to drink from the stream. There were Ficus trees growing along the stream with their peculiar fruits that come from the stems rather than from branches and twigs as expected from other flowering trees. I found myself an excellent spot and caught some excellent shots of the first family until they disappeared as quickly as they had arrived, to make room for a second family group, again of some ten to twelve individuals, with young, that made for the Ficus trees farther along the stream. I remembered my slogan ‘if it moves, film it’ and switched my cameras to movie mode, catching some great footage that will become part of next year’s presentations.

Ring-tailed lemurs

Ring-tailed lemurs with young. Why do they always turn their back on me?

... because they were looking for food! Ficus fruits.

… because they were looking for food! Ficus fruits.

We may have taken too long over lunch as we met up again with our guide for a drive through the Parc to look around at the rock formations with a short walk for a group of Pachypodium densiflorum. One of my problems is that I have been rather spoilt on scenery by walks in many US National Parks, in Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and NW Argentina. Yep – I’ve seen hills and mountains. Sorry to sound like a spoilt kid!

Pachypodium densiflorum

Pachypodium densiflorum

Tuesday 1 November – Auberge de La Table to Isola

I left the comfort of Auberge de La Table, sad at having to leave behind the two Gekko’s that had kept the insect count down to a minimum in my chalet. We were still on asphalt, on RN7, Route Nacional 7, the main road from Toliara to Antananarivo. ‘Will we do anymore rough driving?’ I asked, almost with a hint of disappointment? ‘Oh yes!’ came the answer.

We stopped to take pictures of a small number of Pachypodium lamerei, in leaf and in flower. I had to climb a small hill to get pictures of the flowers.

Pachypodium lamerei in flower

Pachypodium lamerei in flower

Pachypodium lamerei - some 3m tall

Pachypodium lamerei – some 3m tall

We were soon joined by a few kids with sticks, showing us their pets, Chameleons that I christened Chammy and Chummy. The kids requested 5,000 ariary for us to take pictures of each Chameleon. We did not go into specifics such as how many pictures we could take for this amount, but started snapping away.

Chameleon on a stick

Chameleon on a stick

Soon we got fed up with Chameleon’s on a stick, so I asked for the animals to be transferred to my shoulders and asked John to use my camera for some pictures.

Chammy & Chummey - they seem to want to come to England

Chammy & Chummey – they seem to want to come to England

Farther along, a village known for its gem stones and precious metal dealers. Lots of big luxurious houses and sparkling 4x4s among the usual shacks and huts.

Panning for gold and gems

Panning for gold and gems

Again, the sun was low in the sky – not the best light for plant photography, especially as we were looking for tiny geophytic plants. They were soon found and as before, their caudex was hidden underground.

Euphorbia primulifolia var. begardii

Euphorbia primulifolia var. begardii