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Archive for December 5, 2018

Wednesday, 5 December 2018 – Boicova to Diamantina

I admit it, I’m a collector! No, I don’t go out with a shovel to dig up cacti to come home with a case full cacti, but if there are x species in a genus, I’d like to have photographed them all. There was just one more species to complete the full set of Uebelmannia, U. horrida, to get the full set. Today was the day!

But first we visited another Arrojadoa that grows here, together with Discocactus placentiformis. There were some groups of young stems emerging from an underground tuber. Other plants were single stems with a prostrate growth habit. In 1999 we failed to reach the only location known at the time for this Uebelmanna taxon. Our attempt included ‘the original Dutch dismount’ as I demonstrated my only attempt of riding a horse on a cactus trip, necessary to cross a river, in 1999.

Rudolf Schulz and Marlon managed it on a second attempt after we had already returned to England. Marlon claimed that the plant’s name refers to the degree of difficulty of reaching the plant, horrible!

This time we would try a new location recommended by Gerardus Olsthoorn that was accessible by car. Marlon had not yet seen this location. We stopped at Gerardus’ coordinates. Great! No hills. Just a level rocky terrain that allowed us to keep our feet dry.

And so, I can claim having seen the full set of Uebelmannia in habitat!

But first we stopped for the Arrojadoa (S3760).

S3760: young stems of Arrojadoa sp. (A. dinae?) emerging from an underground tuber, now that the rains have returned.

Also here were large Discocactus placentiformis, Cipocereus minensis and Pilosocereus pachycladus.

Then on to S3761 with the same taxa as found at the previous stop, plus, on lichen covered rocks ‘Uebelmannia pectinifera with extra long spines’. But wait a minute, these looked very similar to the plants that we saw on day 1 of our trip and that Rudolf and Marlon called ‘the Inhai population’ of U. pectinifera. I have been looking for such long spined plants for sale at specialist nurseries and at ELK for the last 20 years, but never seen one offered for sale. There are such plants offered for sale on E-Bay and on similar on-line websites but these seem to be ‘steal-on-demand’ plants with all the images clearly taken in habitat. I would only consider buying plants that fit the description but were raised from seed in Europe.

S3761 Uebelmannia horrida
Gorgeous spines!
S3761 Uebelmannia horrida
These beautifully spined plants surely deserve to have more than one image here.

S3762 was for images of a row of ovens used to convert Eucalyptus trees to charcoal.

We were back in Diamantina in time for some touristy pictures for the colonial architecture. This time we were booked in to a hotel in the centre of town, to avoid the taxi fare for our night time drinking! Even here, prices were so cheap that we had a room each. The real cost was on our legs as we had a fair walk up the steep roads to and from the car park.