Neblina Expedition part 6

From: Fernando Rivadavia Lopes (
Date: Sun Feb 28 1999 - 19:44:45 PST

Date: Sun, 28 Feb 1999 19:44:45 PST
From: "Fernando Rivadavia Lopes" <>
Message-Id: <aabcdefg620$foo@default>
Subject: Neblina Expedition part 6


        The following day we took a car to Luepa, a military putpost
200km N of Sta Elena, a place suggested to us by Andreas as one of the
lowland sites for Heliamphora, more specifically H.heterodoxa. The only
problem is that Andreas had last been there 12 years ago and his
instructions on how to reach the site seemed to be a bit outdated. So
we just left our big backpacks with the army men and headed out into the
field, hoping we\222d stumble into the plants sooner or later.
        The first place we explored was a giant seepage on a hillside
all the way down into a boggy valley. We found LOTS of CPs, including
many large yellow B.reducta, flowering D.kaieteurensis, D.roraimae, and
D.intermedia, numerous Utrics, and G.repens -- but no Helis. One of the
Utrics we found had long obovate dar-green leaves and fantastic flowers:
one dark pink and another dark-purple with a dark-pink patch at the base
of the lower lip. At first I thought it was U.schultesii, which I\222d
seen a few pictures of in the past. But now I\222m reading in Taylor
that this species has not been recorded from that area and that the
leaves are much smaller. The only name it seems to fit under is
U.hispida, which I\222m very familiar with from southern Brazil, where
it\222s always yellowish or greyish-white in color and with long
filiform leaves. Yet Taylor actually mentions that the flowers of this
species are usually \223shades of violet or lavender\224. Maybe this is
more common in the northern part of its range, although we saw plenty of
the yellowish-whitish U.hispida in the Gran Sabana.
        We soon gave up on this area and decided to head in the opposite
direction, in hopes of finding H.heterodoxa, and after a long walk
stumbled on an interesting area full of large Stegolepis. Squinting
because of the sun, holding my hand above my eyes for protection, I
scanned my surroundings like a radar, swiveling from side to side,
searching for Heli flower scapes, which would be much easier to spot
than the leaves because of the waist-deep vegetation. There was one! A
30m hurdle dash over Stegolepis \223bushes\224 quickly brought me to a
beautiful H.heterodoxa clump with fantastic large red lids! Searching
around, I soon picked out a few more scapes sticking above the
vegetation and while walking between these, I found a few more clumps of
Heliamphora. It was a small population with less than 10 clumps spread
around a small area. Some clumps were very large, but with many dead
leaves and few live ones -- these looking ugly, green, often without
lids. The few flower scapes found had no seeds and the flowers were all
semi-devoured by insects.
        We also found plenty of D.cayenensis(?) in the semi-shade of
all around H.heterodoxa as well as several other large CP populations
nearby. There was lots to see, but the clouds of tiny mosquitoes known
as \223la plaga\224 or \223puri-puri\224 have a cumulative effect and we
just ahd to get out of there. All of a sudden you just can\222t take
one more second of those millions of itsy-bitsy bugs buzzing around your
head while you\222re trying to take pictures, forcing you to move your
body and head around constantly to keep them out of your ears. So we
finally gave up and surrendered, heading back to Luepa to catch a ride
to Sta Elena. We had to wait there for 3h...
        We saw so many CPs during those 3 days on the Gran Sabana that
didn't have time to concentrate on Utrics as much, especially all the
yellow-flowered species, unless they were very bizarre. I'm sure we
missed a few, even though many of the species were familiar to me from S
Brazil. For people not familiar with plants like U.triloba, U.pusilla,
U.trichophylla, and U.subulata, I'm sure they all look the same.
        I\222m very used to dealing with those small, dificult to
rosetted Drosera in S Brazil and I don\222t think I missed any species
at the Gran Sabana, especially because I had the help of Gert, who
compensated for my partial colorblindness which often makes it a bit
difficult for me to spot small red rosettes. Yet one species may have
escaped us: D.felix. We might have confused it with D.kaieteurensis,
but I actually believe that it\222s more likely we either didn\222t see
it or that D.felix was in fact described from single-flowered specimens
of D.kaieteurensis -- which were very common in the sites we visited
\226 and therefore should be a synonym of the latter. BTW, the
D.roraimae from the Gran Sabana were slightly different from the ones we
saw at Araca, and both of these were in turn VERY different from the
ones on Neblina. The latter probably deserves to be separated as a new


Fernando Rivadavia
Sao Paulo, Brazil

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