CP Trips in Brazil IV

Fernando Rivadavia Lopes (ferndriv@usp.br)
Sat, 12 Aug 1995 19:44:08 -0500 (CDT)

On to the Utricularia now. In Minas Gerais it was already pretty
dry and no annual Utrics were seen. I was hoping to see what I believe is
a new species at Caraca, one similar to U.parthenopipes with larger,
purplish flowers. But there were no more signs of it, nor U.laciniata
(which has purplish-pink flowers), nor U.triloba (an almost a twin of
U.subulata, but easy to tell apart by the calyx lobes).
U.amethystina was found at all the places I passed by in M.Gerais.
This is probably one of the most variable species in the genus. Their
flowers are usually purplish, but I've found violet, light-lilac, white,
cream, and even golden-yellow populations. Sizes and shapes also vary
incredibly. U.amethystina is capable of growing both as an annual and as
a perennial.
It was also too late in the season to see annuals like U.simulans
(a yellow-flowered species with calyx lobes which look like a VFT trap),
which is rather common both at the Cipo Range and Diamantina, and
U.purpureocaerulea (a species similar to U.laciniata), which Taylor
mentions as rare, but which is very abundant around Diamantina. The
perennials U.nana (a tiny yellow-flowered species) and U.tricolor (which
usually has purple-blue flowers, well-known among CP'ers) were seen at
Diamantina and Cipo. Both are usually found by streams or in boggy areas
(U.tricolor among thick grasses and U.nana in the open, sunny spots).
U.pubescens grows at Caraca, usually in shady streamsides. These have
large violet flowers.
There were signs of U.subulata all over, as usual and its
larger cousin U.nervosa was seen at Caraca growing on the sides of a
pond, where it's usually flooded. On the sides of this same pond, I found
U.gibba, a species I'd never seen at Caraca. Though I've been to Caraca
6 times, I always seem to find something new. At Diamantina I found the
beautiful and rare U.cucullata, an annual aquatic with pink to light
purple flowers (though I've received plants which were said to have
red flowers). Though widespread, I've only seen this species at 2 other
places here in Brasil. Another species found both at Diamantina and
Cipo is U.tricophylla, an affixed aquatic with yellow flowers, very
commonly found in boggy areas and by streams here in Brasil.
The rheophytic U.neottioides is very common at Caraca, Cipo,
Diamantina, and was seen at one stream at Itambe. For those of you not
familiar with this species, rheophytic means it grows in streams,
clinging to rocks submerged by the flowing water. They often form mats
with hundreds of peduncles bearing thousands of creamy-white flowers.
Caraca is the TYPE location for the large U.reniformis and I've
found flower scapes there over 100cm in length! The purplish flowers can
also be very large, up to around 5X4cm. It grows mainly on the Itambe
tops, beere the vegetation was acatually very similar to that found on
the Caraca Range. The Itambe site is now becomes the northernmost location
know for this species.
At the Chapada Diamantina, Bahia state (where I visited Mucuge,
Catoles, and the Fumaca Waterfall), the dominant Utrics are U.blanchetti
and U.flaccida, which are endemic to this region. U.blanchetti has
already made its way to a few CP collections around the world. In nature
it's usually annual, but apparently grows as a perennial in cultivation.
This species is very variable in the wild, having many shapes, sizes, and
even colors. They may be from pure white all the way to deep purple,
always with a yellow-orange stripe on the base of the lower lip. It
grows in all sorts of habitats and can often be found as beautiful
mats covering the ground.
U.flaccida is another large cousin of U.subulata, though prbably
closer to U.trichophylla, and seems to be usually perennial. It's often
found by streams and waterfalls. At Mucuge I found this species densely
covering a large humid area. It was amazing! Not to mention that
U.blanchetti were abundant all around this U.flaccida patch, forming a
ring. At Catoles I found a single scape of U.purpureocaerulea. It's
probably not that rare, but its flowers are very similar to those of
purple U.blanchetti and are easily confused unless you pluck out the
peduncle and have a look at the calyx.
U.subulata was probably the 3rd most common species at the
Chap.Diamantina. U.nana was found at Mucuge and U.tricolor was seen both
at Mucuge and Catoles, always by streams. Tiny U.amethystina with
light-lilac flowers were seen in Catoles. U.longifolia occurs all over
the Chap.Diamantina but is not easy to find. On my previous trip there I'd
only found 2 places where it grew and now I only found it along a single
stream at Catoles. In a boggy, 1/2-shaded area near this stream I found
this species growing among tall grasses and located 2 peduncles with
flowers. Now the leaves at this spot reached.....80cm IN LENGTH!! That
was quite a scare, though I'd read in Taylor's book that there are
records of leaves 115cm long!
Another species endemic to the Chapada Diamantina is the tiny
U.parthenopipes, which usually grows in the cracks or small islands of
vegetation on rocky cliffs dripping with water. The flowers are white to
light purple. I found this species at all 3 places visited.
At Catoles, together with U.parthenopipes, I discovered what
appears to be U.nephrophylla! Taylor mentions that there is a collection
from the state of Bahia, but doubts that it's correct, saying the
collector must've gotten confused as to the correct location, since he
spent some time in Rio de Janeiro, where this species is quite common. I
only found it at 2 spots on a rocky hillside and, strangely enough, the
flowers were a nice purple, instead of the usual white.

Fernando Rivadavia
Sao Paulo, Brazil