Today we followed the valley of the Rio Jequitinonha to Almenare. Marlon wanted to explore the Valley for new Coleocephalocereus locations. Some were Buiningia locations while some were of a yet to be described species. Marlon collected material for herbarium specimen and I took images of the pollinators: a solitary bee and a hummingbird that attacked me, as I was wearing a red shirt.
We stopped at any inselberg that we passed, but most were too steep to climb. Still, I managed to pick up cacti growing on the hills between the Bromeliads covering the hill with my 300 mm zoom lens. We assumed that any short yellow spined stems were B. aurea while taller, darker spined stems were Coleocephalocereus sp. nova.
S3731: the inselberg was too far away to take meaningful crops. There were some candidates for the dar spined ‘sp. nova’, but they could equally be the burnt stems of the tall Bromeliads. Inconclusive. There were some amazingly azure blue stems of a Pilosocereus sp. growing near the car.
At S3732 there was flat limestone terrain with similar looking plants but close enough to stroke! No doubt! Buiningia aurea!
It was another hot humid day, so I stayed in the car, kept company by a white horse for scale, why I took pictures of the Pilosocereus, while the others climbed up the hill (S3733). Marlon was the last to return to the car, holding a top cut of the new Coleocephaluscereus species in his hands. I could not resist taking a quick look. There were more of these plants here. They were about 150 cm or more tall and solitary.
S3734: we passed through a gate on to a farm yard where we parked the car. Walking up the hill – not too steep, we first saw and photographed Buiningia aurea and then, higher up, but still manageable, we found the sp. nova. I’m not quite sure where it fits in. It’s taller than any Buiningia that I have seen, there is only C. goebelianus in the Simplex group. The remaining taxa, as far as I have seen, all crawl up the inselbergs, again, unlike the plants here. Marlon’s description should clarify matters, I hope.
It was another hot and humid day, so I decided to sit the next stop (S3735) out. Marlon was late returning, and was reported to try taking image of the sp. nova pollinators. Taking images of hummingbirds is not the easiest thing to do, particularly with a mobile phone! I went to take a look and found Marlon with a flowering stem. I was wearing a red shirt, a hummer’s favourite colour, and had to step back as it tried to see me off.