CP trips in Brazil II

Fernando Rivadavia Lopes (ferndriv@usp.br)
Tue, 8 Aug 1995 13:01:49 -0500 (CDT)

As I wrote on Friday, in July I went CP hunting in south-central
Bahia state and central Minas Gerais state, here in Brazil. In Minas
Gerais I visited the town of Caete, the Caraca (the last 'c' sounding like
'ss') Range, Cipo Range, the town of Diamantina, and I also climbed the
Itambe Peak (2044 meters high), just south of Diamantina, near the town
of Serro. In previous CP hunts, I'd already been to Diamantina, Cipo
Range, and Caraca too.
In Bahia I went to the village of Mucuge, then to a village called
Catoles, then I went the Cachoeira da Fumaca (the last 'c' in 'Fumaca'
also sounding like 'ss'), or Smoke Waterfall. These 3 are located on a
series of highlands generally called the Chapada Diamantina. Around 2 and
1/2 years ago I went to this area and visited various interesting
places, including the Fumaca Waterfall and what I thought was the highest
point in Bahia, the Almas Peak (1958m). Later on I discovered there was a
higher one, oficialized only in the last decade, called the Barbado Peak
(2033m), which is right next to Catoles. A few years ago there was a
botanical expedition organized by Kew and the University of Sao Paulo to
Catoles, due to the incredible diversity of the local flora. I was
supposed to have gone on this expedition, but was cut from the list a
few days before leaving, unfortunately. The Fumaca Waterfall is a bit
over 400m high, I think the 2nd highest in Brazil. This is surely one of
the most beautiful places I've ever been to. Not only is the waterfall
extremely high, but strong winds often push the water back upwards,
forming a 'U'! It's really unbelievable!
Anyways, on to CPs. D.graminifolia were seen at Caraca and
Diamantina, 2 separate populations which I believe should be different
ssp. While studying a group of D.graminifolia near Diamantina, I
observed something spectacular! On the narrow leaves, among the
tentacles, I found green larvae which were apparently living on the
leaves and feeding on the insects that fell prey to the plants! I'd
already observed these larvae last year on D.graminifolia plus D.villosa
var.graomogolensis (a fantastic new variety soon to be described) near
the town of Grao Mogol, over 100km farther north from Diamantina. At
the time I only saw a few larvae and wasn't too convinced. Anyways, it
seems to be the larva of some kind of Diptera. I found one of their
green cocoons and brought it with me, but it died and I never got to see
what the adult insect was like.
D.villosa was found at Diamantina and Itambe Peak. Strangely, the
plants at Diamantina were found on a single rock in a very disturbed
mining area. At the Itambe Peak, lots of D.villosa were found. At both
sites the plants were similar to the ones found on the coastal ranges of
SE Brazil (where the TYPE plants were collected), though the ones at
Itambe did have unusually wide leaves. These plants should flower in
about a month or two, which should help to determine if they really are
typical or not.
When I went to Bahia over 2 years ago, I discovered a new variety of
D.villosa. It has narrow leaves and very long petioles. I didn't return
to any of the 2 places where I'd seen this D.villosa last time, but I
found lots of it around Catoles. They prefer growing by streams,
especially next to small waterfalls where they form beautiful thick mats
of plants.
D.chrysolepis was described from the Cipo Range and was believed
to be endemic to this region, until it was discovered in the early '80's
in Catoles, a few hundred km farther north. At the Cipo Range they are
very hard to find, growing in small, isolated groups at around
There's a stemless form at the Cipo Range which is extremely
abundant in some areas and which I believe should be separated as a new
species. One curiosity about it is that it's the only species I know of
in the Americas which has bicolored flowers. The flowers are the
pink-lilac color typical to most Drosera here in Brazil, but the base of
the petals are usually a darker color. This is not always present on the
plants though and seems to be ecologically determined. I went to Caete
because of this species, following a herbarium tip, but unfortunately,
the mountains around Caete were extremely dry and I found no CPs.
D.chrysolepis was the main reason why I went to Catoles. They
weren't that easy to find, but 2 of the 3 sites I found had tons of
plants. They grew from around 1250 to 1800m and are very similar to the
TYPE D.chrysolepis, but seem to be smaller as a whole. They may deserve
to be separated as a different ssp. There's another D.chrysolepis
collection from Bahia, but this one, strangely enough, is from a town
just north of Salvador, on the coast of the state! I didn't have time to
go to this site, but the herborized plants I saw seemed to be the same as
the Catoles form.

Fernando Rivadavia
Sao Paulo, Brazil