CPs in Sao Paulo state

From: Fernando Rivadavia Lopes (fe_rivadavia@hotmail.com)
Date: Mon Mar 22 1999 - 21:37:08 PST

Date: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 21:37:08 PST
From: "Fernando Rivadavia Lopes" <fe_rivadavia@hotmail.com>
To: cp@opus.hpl.hp.com
Message-Id: <aabcdefg902$foo@default>
Subject: CPs in Sao Paulo state

To all,

        I took two weekends this month to go out exploring for CPs in areas
relatively near S.Paulo city, inside S.Paulo state. It was also an
opportunity to meet several Brazilian CPers I only knew through e-mail.

        First I went with my friend Fabio Pinheiro to Mogi das Cruzes, a town
just east of S.Paulo city, located near the edge of the coastal
highlands on which S.Paulo sits. This is prime habitat for several CPs
which like the constant fog which forms as the humidity rises from the

        There we met Mauro Peixoto, who I'd recently contacted over e-mail. He
took us in his jeep along a dirt road to the base of the Morro do
Garrafao, a tall granite dome similar to the Sugar Loaf in Rio de
Janeiro, with lots of large bromeliads forming mats on the steep
cliffsides (unfortunately no U.nelumbifolia though, I checked!).

        It was a short climb to the top, maybe 1/2h, through eucaliptus
plantations. Once on the summit, I was stunned with the great view! As
for CPs, we found D.villosa, U.reniformis, and U.subulata, all 3 very
common on the top (around 1000m alt.). The D.villosa had already
finished flowering and releasing its seeds, but we were lucky enough to
catch an open flower of U.reniformis.

        Later Mauro took us to his nearby ranch. On the way we passed a pond
full of the aquatic U.foliosa and U.gibba. I was surprised at first to
see U.gibba out in the middle of the pond with U.foliosa. U.gibba only
grows in shallow water, usually terrestrially on mud at the edge of
ponds and lakes. But then I noticed that it was only found growing
"epiphytically" on Salvinia sp.! The green strands of U.gibba grew
thickly imbetween the dead leaves at the backside of the floating stems
of Salvinia and even among the green leaves too.

        After showing us around his beautiful greenhouse full of fantastic
orchids and Gesneriaceae, Mauro showed us another nearby pond with
U.foliosa and U.gibba, as well as a seepage with D.sp."communis green
giant". These were growing among grasses on white clayish soil, very
wet. Mauro said he'd seen some D.communis there previously, but we
couldn't find any. Maybe the grasses had grown too much.

        This was three weekends ago. This last weekend I left home on Saturday
at 6:30am and picked up Marcelo Karklin Fontana at the main bus terminal
of the city. Marcelo is the one responsible for putting up that page
with Brazilian CPs on the web (which we hope to add MANY pictures to
soon...). Although we've been in contact for a while now, we had never

        We drove to the city of Rio Claro, about 2h to the NW, where we met
Vitor Oliveira de Miranda, who I also only knew through e-mail. He is a
biology undergrad student at Rio Claro and has been studying Drosera
germination. He showed us some of his drawings, which left us
wide-mouthed in awe. Fantastic stuff!

        He then took us to a nearby site where he'd found some CPs. It was a
large grassy bog at c.750m alt. by a road where we walked around in for
about an hour or more, sinking in mud nearly to our knees. There we saw
some D.communis growing under heavy shade of grasses, and thus green. No
flowers or seeds unfortunately. The most common CP there was
U.trichophylla. This affixed aquatic has nice yellow flowers and offered
some good shots for our cameras where many were in flower together. We
also found some U.triloba, the near idetical twin of U.subulata. I was
most interested in the rare aquatic U.cucullata, which, at this site
(it's quite variable), had large purplish-pink flowers. Vitor told us
that there are three other Utric species, but I forget what they were.
I'm sure one was U.tricolor and I imagine the other two may have been
U.subulata and U.hispida.

        After lunch, Marcelo and I said goodbye to Vitor and we drove around 2h
SE to Botucatu, where another e-mail acquaintance lives: Alessandro
Tomazini Dias. Although we arrived there around 4pm, we already went out
to search a nearby CP site. He took us to a large seepage on a hillside
where we saw an amazing 10 species of CPs! They were all growing at
c.800m alt. among grasses in sandy to peaty soil, except for the aquatic
U.foliosa which was found in a stream at the base of the hill, where
there was a small pool.

        D.communis was all over, many of the plants in flower. I was extremely
surprised to see Genlisea, I think for the first time in Sao Paulo
state. And not only one, but two species. One was G.repens, growing as
an affixed aquatic as usual. The other was found in humid sandy soil and
I'm not sure what it was. It was either a large(and weird)-flowered
G.filiformis or a not-so-pubescent G.pygmaea. I'll have to check the
herbarium specimen in more detail.

        As for Utrics, we saw U.subulata, U.triloba, U.trichophylla, U.gibba,
U.hispida, and U.amethystina with small white flowers. The latter was
also a surprise, something I wouldn't expect to see in interior S.Paulo
state. I'm sure we would've found more species if we'd only had a few
more hours of sunlight to explore that site. But it started getting dark
and we soon had to escape from the clouds of starving mosquitoes.

        Marcelo and I spent Saturday night at Alessandro's house, where I
entered a deep, but short coma, dead tired as I was from having slept
only 2h the night before and then driving all day in a total of over
600km. Nonetheless we all woke up early the next day for more CP
hunting. Alessandro wanted to show us a place where he'd seen
D.sp."Emas", but it was a bit far away and of difficult access, so we
decided to leave it for another occasion.

        We ended up exploring a large hillside seepage next to a railway, where
the CPs grew at c.800m alt. in wet sandy-lateritic soil. There we found
TONS of D.communis, many of which in full bloom, with light-lilac
petals. I'm not sure I'd ever seen so many open flowers of this species
before (we were very lucky to get fantastic weather that weekend).
D.communis usually has a few flowers per scape, mayeb 3 or 4, but at
this site near Botucatu, I found one specimen with 10 flowers and
another with 11! Alltime record!

        Also present at this site were U.subulata, U.triloba, U.tricolor, and
U.laxa. We only found a single flower of U.tricolor (large
purplish-blue). We saw several U.laxa flowers, all on short scapes only
a few cm tall. It seemed they were just beginning to develop -- the
scapes of this species are usually much longer.

        After this site, Alessandro took us to his university to show his
endless flasks of in vitro D.communis. He's working on his master degree
with D.communis biochemistry. I was surprised that he was getting good
germination of D.communis, since almost everyone I talk to says they can
never get the seeds of this species to germinate. Alessandro told me he
always gets best results when the seeds are freshest. After a month they
already begin going bad according to him. So that may be the problem,
the seeds of D.communis may only viable for a very short time!

        Although none of the species I saw in these two weekend trips are
exceptionally rare here in Brazil, it was nonetheless exciting to visit
new CP sites and also very important to better establish distribution
patterns for each species. Furthermore, I was very interested in
visiting CP sites in the interior of S.Paulo states, since I had
practically no records of CPs in this region. S.Paulo is the most
developed state of Brazil, and by developed you should also read
"devastated". Not much of the original rainforest/ savanna vegetation is
left and unfortunately it all became coffee plantations well before any
of it could be studied. So it is actually a sad and unsolvable botanical
mystery: what was the original vegetation like in S.Paulo state?

        I'm not sure which, if any, of the CPs we found grew where we found
them say 200 years ago, or even if they grew in S.Paulo state at all
until recently. They've sure had plenty of time -- over a century -- to
colonize those areas, and we all know what good colonizers of disturbed
habitats CPs are.

        So that was it! It was great to finally meet Mauro, Marcelo, Vitor, and
Alessandro. I had a great time and both trips were well worth it, if
only for the company. It's great to see that the number of CPers in
Brazil is steadily on the rise and I sure hope they'll all help me
explore better this immense country for CPs! So to finish off, I'd like
to thank Mauro, Marcelo, Vitor, and Alessandro for their company and/or
hospitality and especially for showing me new CP sites! Thanks guys and
hope we can go CPing together again soon!

Best Wishes,

Fernando Rivadavia
S\343o Paulo, Brazil

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