Wednesday 15 February – Puebla to Tehuacan
This morning Alain took us to one of the stops from their 2016 trip, (now S3580) to see large clumps of Ferocactus robustus. There were clumps with flowers and fruits, what more could we ask for!? Ian and Cliff must have stopped a bit farther along and Ian reports finding a Mammillaria pectinifera , along with a couple of other Mammillaria species as well as some Coryphantha.
‘It looked much drier than last year. No sign of the other car so we headed on to Canada Morelos (PK’s Stop number S3581). Their car was parked by the shrine and on climbing the correct hill this time I met up with them and we all saw the Ferocactus haematacanthus – a new plant for all of us. Some were in bud but no open flowers unfortunately. There were large clumps of Mammillaria sphacelata in flower as well as other Mammillarias, Coryphanthas etc. I was able to show them the Mammillaria napina.’
Ian’s nice article about their 2016 visit was in the March 2017 BCSS journal, but this year we couldn’t find any more M. pectinifera. The very large Mammillaria mystax were still there but much smaller and as at the previous location everything seemed very dry with the M. napina pulled down flush with the ground. I have owned a couple of grafted M. napina and it was difficult to reconcile these flat plants in habitat with the globular plants on a graft. A useful reminder that cultivated cacti often look quite different in habitat! In addition to F. haematacanthus, in bud, there were also some more large clumps of F. robustus including one with a fully opened flower. We agreed to come back here on 25th February to check progress of the buds. It has to be said that although they are fairly rare, both in cultivation and in habitat, that F. haematacanthus is not the most dynamic or desirable member of the genus. The base of most mature plants had all sustained quite serious damage around their base. The Agave that I’m calling A. titanota, with which they grow, attracted more action from my cameras than the Feros.
We said our goodbyes to Ian and Cliff, as they returned to Puebla and from there to Mexico City and their flight home while we headed on to Tehuacán where we found that the nice hotel that proved popular in 2016 was also appreciated by others, and was fully booked.
After trying a few more hotels, also fully booked, we found very comfortable beds at the nearby Hotel Villablanca – excellent margaritas and wonderful steaks in Roquefort sauce!