Sunday, 16 May 1999 – around Morro do Chapéu
[I was surprised to see that during this 30 day trip, I only recorded 60 Stops, no doubt due to having to ration our 36 exposures per day. However, yesterday I noted six photo Stops and I recorded another six Stops! Be prepared for pure driving days to follow!]
Today we set off for America Dourada and by 8:30 arrived at site (S0340) that during the wet season is often covered in a few cm of water. Some of the Melocactus azureus were covered by white scale insects, or were they merely stains left when the water evaporated? There was a Bursera sp. here that Marlon suggested might be B. umberana. This area has been earmarked as a future nature reserve. It lies right along the main road and there is a small football pitch across the road. Kids from the small near-by settlement use this site as a shortcut to the main road and the football pitch. There is a small stream (dry when we were there) that crosses the site. According to Joao, during the wet season this area is often flooded when the plants spend several weeks below water! I took slides of the Bursera, a Bombax sp., Chorisia speciosa and on the cactus front Cereus jamacaru, Melocactus azureus, Tacinga inamoena, Opuntia ficus-indica, Pereskia bahiensis and Pilosocereus gounellei – worth getting up early for!
Still around America Dourada we stop (S0341) to photograph an enormous bottle tree – Cavanillesia arborea, in flower and (saving film) also record seeing Bursera leptophleos and Stephanocereus leucostele. es
Next Joao took us to the farm of his cousin in Lapinha (S0342). We were guided through a forest of shrubbery with some impressively spiny Chorisia speciosa var. mulungi trees and reached a steep rock face overlooking a river, the Rio Jacare according to my notes, or the Ver. do Romao Gramacho according to our 1950’s topographical map. We saw two Melocacti: M. azureus and M. pachyacanthus ssp. viridis growing side by side as well as the usual Tacinga inamoena and Pilosocereus gounellei.
Still near Lapinha we stop (S0343) to photograph some impressive stands of Pilosocereus gounellei as wel as some orchids (Cattleya elongata ssp. labiata).
The next stop (S0344), back along BA 052, now heading back to Morro do Chapéu, was a real challenge for our limited film stock as here we found three different Melocacti (M. ernestii fa. erythracanthus, M. glaucescens and M. albicephalus (= M. erythracanthus x M. glaucescens), Cereus jamacaru, Micranthocereus flaviflorus ssp. densiflorus, Leocereus bahiensis, Opuntia ficus-indica, Tacinga inamoena, Pereskia bahiensis, Pilosocereus gounellei, P. pachycladus as well as numerous species of Velloziaceae, Euphorbia phosphorea and E. sarcodes but the undoubted star of this site was Discocactus zehntneri ssp boomianus. I recorded a total of 22 different taxa of cacti, succulent plants and other ‘plants of interest’. [PS this was a record that would take many years to better]
The last stop of the day (S0345) was east of Morro do Chapéu, at a bridge across a tributary of the Rio Jaquipe at the Ferro Doido waterfall. Sadly once again we had gone past the ‘best light’ point of the day (around 16:00 hrs) so long exposures with the camera on a tripod to get optimum depth of field were essential. Micranthocereus purpureus and Stephanocereus luetzelburgii towered over Melocactus oreas ssp cremnophillus.