Saturday 25 February – around Tehuacan
Today we had just one planned stop, S3613, a repeat of S3581 made on 15 February. On that occasion we saw our first Ferocactus haematacanthus, but rather to our disappointment, these plants were in bud, but not in flower. And so, towards the end of Chris’ and Jonathan’s trip, we revisited the site to see if the buds had opened yet.
In my collection in the UK, I find that Fero’s can tease you with buds for weeks and then suddenly put in a growing spurt to catch you unawares, when you’re away on another break or when the weather is too dark and overcast to take any good pictures. It was not much different here. Most of the buds had continue to develop but only two had opened to show the flowers properly. Mission successful! Alain and I will pass by here again at the end of our trip extension to see the States of Veracruz and Tabasco and will take another look for more flowers and perhaps the first, unripe, fruits.
On 15 February, we had also marched up the hill at the otherside of the road to ‘the shrine’. First we had walked along a paved road that was no longer in use. This time we decided to take the car up this road, but ended up along the railway line, with a failed attempt to turn up a track towards the top of the hill that we had climbed last time.
Back on the main road I suggested a side road that would seem to lead back to the ridge, or to an extension of the ridge where we had found F. haematacanthus. We parked the car and started our climb, but soon realised that we were not seeing the Coryphantha sp. and number of Mammillaria sp. that we had seen on the first stop. There were many more Echinocactus platyacantha, but no Feros. Jonathan noted that the rocks we were walking on were shale like mudstone, a different type than where the Feros were growing at S3613.
Alain showed that he was the keenest Fero-fan in our quartet by walking at least twice as far, being rewarded by finding one large but dying plant of Ferocactus robustus.
We made an early return, back to base, for early Margaritas. Being cactus explorers can be a hard life, but not today!