The Veredas Expedition: was it part 5??

From: Fernando Rivadavia Lopes (
Date: Mon Jul 05 1999 - 22:53:56 PDT

Date: Mon, 05 Jul 1999 22:53:56 PDT
From: Fernando Rivadavia Lopes <>
Message-Id: <aabcdefg2475$foo@default>
Subject: The Veredas Expedition:  was it part 5??

To all,


        Now onto the Lentibulariaceae. First, Genlisea.

        Maybe the strangest thing about this trip was the abscence of G.aurea. I
didn't see any, although I'd previously found it in highlands N, S, E, and W
of the areas we drove around during this 16-day trip. We also didn't see
G.pygmaea, but this wasn't much of a surprise since it is a rather rare
species anyways. I was hoping to discover a western extension to the known
G.violacea range, hopefully something new related to this species. But no
luck there either. The annual G.filiformis was the most common Genlisea
species on this trip, as expected, and it was abundant in sandy soils which
dry up during the winter. Two further species of Genlisea were found which
were complete surprises.

        One was G.guianensis. This large species is known from Guyana, Venezuela,
and a few rare collections in Brazil (Mato Grosso, Bahia, and Tocantins
states). It is probably more widespread in countries surrounding the Amazon
Basin. I'd first seen this species earlier this year at the Venezuelan Gran
Sabana and was fascinated by its long strap-shaped leaves which were a rich
wine-red color. The plants formed huge clumps and grew partially submerged
in a grassy seepage. The soil was pure muck and the traps were huge.

        I wasn't expecting to see it at all on this trip, but stumbled upon it in N
Minas Gerais, near the town of Arinos: the first collection of G.guianensis
for this state. It was growing submerged in shallow water, among tall
grasses, at the edges of a small lagoon formed by the damming of a stream by
a dirt road. I'd already found two interesting aquatic Utrics there \226
U.myriocista and U.breviscapa -- a few days earlier when first driving past
on my way to the Grande Sertao Veredas National Park. I decided to explore a
bit more on my way back and was amazed at how many more Utricularia species
I found there \226 including the minute U.olivacea \226 together with

        Comparing to the G.guianensis I'd seen in Venezuela, these in Minas Gerais
had smaller and lighter-purple flowers as well as longer narrower leaves (up
to 23cm in length!!) which were green in color or only slightly reddish. But
most interesting of all, that night while cleaning some plants to herborize,
I realized that many of the leaves had a small plantlet growing at their
tips! I didn't see this type of asexual reproduction in Venezuela, but maybe
I didn't pay enough attention there.

        The other Genlisea I found was actually a new species! Funny thing is that
I'd seen it before and even cultivated it for several months. I first saw it
at the Emas National Park in 1991, but back then I had practically no
experience at all with Genlisea in the wild and didn't know how to identify
them. At the time I was unsure if it was G.pygmaea or G.filiformis and over
the years this doubt persisted. I thought this was because my pictures
weren't clear enough in the necessary details, but now I realise it was
simply because it was neither species! In fact, this new species is the one
labelled as G.pygmaea on page 59 in CPN 21 number 3.

        Anyways, I saw this new Genlisea species again in March near the town of
Botucatu, S.Paulo state. But there was only one or two flowering specimens
growing in a seepage near G.repens (like at the Emas Nat.Park), so I decided
to ignore them, thinking it was maybe simply an absurd mutant. Then I began
finding this same "mutant" at several locations (most in Goias, one in Minas
Gerais) during this last trip and finally realised that it was in fact a new
species which had simply been overlooked by taxonomists until now. The
pubescence of the scapes is more similar to that of G.filiformis, but the
yellow flowers are larger, shaped more like those of G.repens or G.pygmaea.

        As for Utricularia, I saw maybe as many as 25 species. I'm not
        too sure
because the taxonomy of a few is a bit complicated. First of all, I
guess I should say that what I intially annouced as U.biovularioides
were apparently all U.olivacea. I thought I'd found three sites with
the smallest Utricularia in the world \226 but it was actually the
second smallest species! U.olivacea has similar tiny cream flowers and
reddish traps, with its stringy hair-thin stolons floating on the
surface of calm waters often mixed with green algae or other Utrics.
Two of the collections were in N Minas Gerais and another in E Goias.
I'm still not too sure though if the third collection wasn't in fact
U.biovularioides since it's hard to tell from herbarium specimens. No
matter how much you try to remove the algae before, it always looks like
a flat brown mess after it's dried! Either way, it would be an
important collection, since U.olivacea has never been collected in Goias
and U.biovularioides is still only know from three distant places in

        One of the commonest species on this trip was U.cucullata. Until this last
trip I still considered this odd aquatic species as something of a rare
treat, but now I know it's extremely common in areas of cerrado vegetation,
especially in vereda habitats. I saw more U.cucullata than I'd ever seen
before in my life, I think. The stolons are a translucent white, sometimes
greenish, but most often colored by the mud it grows over. Flowers are
usually a very bright pink, but may also be lighter shades of pink-lilac,
always with a whitish patch at the base of the lower lip often containing
some yellow too.

        I was extremely happy to find for the first time ever U.myriocista which is
a larger version of U.cucullata. I only saw it at one place and the scapes
were not as thick as shown in Taylor, but only slightly swollen near the
base. The flowers were pink with a large yellow mark at the base of the
lower lip.

        Other aquatic Utrics found on this trip were U.breviscapa, U.hydrocarpa,
and U.gibba. U.hydrocarpa was only seen at one hillside seepage habitat in
SW Goias where water accumulated in a shallow pool. This is one of those
rare free-floating aquatic species which doesn't have yellow flowers \226
they're pink with a yellow blotch at the base of the lower lip. U.breviscapa
and U.gibba were seen at two sites growing together with U.olivacea (and
U.myriocista at one of the two sites) in artificial ponds by roads in NW
Minas Gerais. Both have uninteresting yellow flowers, but U.breviscapa has
those curious star-shaped floaters on the flower scapes. I'd only seen
U.breviscapa and U.hydrocarpa twice before, at the Pantanal flood plain in W

        Several species of section Setiscapella were found, including U.subulata,
U.triloba, U.trichophylla, U.pusilla, U.nervosa, and U.nigrescens. Believe
it or not U.subulata was pretty rare, but it's twin U.triloba was all over!
U.trichophylla was rarer than I would expect in vereda habitats, since it
really enjoys soaking wet soils. U.nervosa is a widespread but rather rare
species and never flowers in much abundance. I saw around 5 sites with this
species, which is nearly as much as I've seen in nearly a decade of CP
hunting in Brazil! As for U.pusilla and U.nigrescens, they are very similar
and are sometimes difficult to tell apart in the wild, differing mostly in
size. U.nigrescens is the larger of the two and the spurs on the flowers are
surprisingly long, often longer than the upper and lower lips put together!

        Another yellow-flowered Utric seen on this trip was U.nana. This tiny
species is common in Brazil and for the first time I found a flower scape
with two flowers, instead of the usual single flower.

        And since we're talking about yellow-flowered Utrics, I'll talk about the
most common of all seen on this trip (together with U.triloba): U.simulans.
This species often grew in large numbers, covering the grasses with yellow.
It was very variable as to flower scape length, number of flowers per scape,
and flower size. Some were so robust I doubted for a while they were really
this species, thinking maybe it was U.fimbriata instead.

        The most headaches from Utrics were due to section Oligocista taxa, of
which five species are said by Taylor to grow in Brazil S of the Amazon
Basin: U.adpressa, U.erectiflora, U.laxa, U.lloydii, and U.meyeri. Of these,
I'd seen all in the wild except U.meyeri (which Taylor says is restricted to
W Goais and E Mato Grosso), although U.erectiflora I'd only seen in the wild
once in Venezuela. I find that these taxa are extremely difficult to tell
apart and suspect there may be more to their taxonomy than Taylor thought.
Therefore, I am not too certain which species I saw, but I believe it was
U.erectiflora, U.meyeri, and U.adpressa. The latter two had surprisingly
long spurs \226 like U.nigrescens.

        Talking about long spurs, there is apparently a long-tongued Utric
pollinator in cerrado areas which likes these golden-yellow flowers. There
is one more Utric to add to this list: U.amethystina. The
blueish/purplish/pinkish forms are more common to Minas Gerais, where there
is also a tiny white flowered form. The latter is probably the most
widespread of all and I saw at at several places along this last trip of
mine,including some which were white, but not so small.

        Then there is a golden-yellow form of U.amethystina native to S
        Mato Grosso
which \226 as you may have guessed \226 has exceptionally long spurs.
On this last trip of mine, I found this beautiful form growing at two
places in SW Goi\341s. If anything can be separated as a different
species from the taxonomically confusing U.amethystina-complex, this
yellow form is it. While all sorts of intermediates are found between
the other forms, this yellow one is always constant in its overall size,
shape of the flowers, and incredible spur length. Also, the traps are
relatively large and the leaves are usually found in small rosettes,
instead of spreading out along stolons.

        A close relation to U.amethystina is U.tricolor, another widespread and
variable species, although it was quite uniform at the several sites I saw
it in Goi\341s, Distrito Federal, and Minas Gerais. Comparing to the form most
commonly found in cultivation, these U.tricolor were more delicate, with
very long and thin scapes bearing smaller flowers. These grew among tall
grasses and the flowers were the closest shade to blue I'd ever seen in this

        U.hispida often grows together with U.tricolor, in similar tall grass boggy
habitats. It is very widespread and common, although I didn't see much of it
on this trip. Maybe it just wasn't the right time of year to catch those
whitish-yellowish-greyish flowers.

        A close relative of U.hispida is the rare U.huntii described by Taylor in
'86 and which he claims is known from only five specimens from N Mato
Grosso. Well you can now add four more! I found it in central and SW Goias,
showing that it's probably much more widespread and common than previously
supposed. The flowers were really not worth my build-up of expectation over
the past several years while searching for it: small and cream-yellow in
color with two darker yellow vertical streaks at the base of the lower lip.
The most interesting feature of this species was that the base of the scapes
and the leaves (arranged in small rosettes) were covered with a thick layer
of clear gelatinous mucilage, as in U.pubescens, G.aurea, and G.pygmaea.

        Curiously, several years ago, at the Chapada dos Veadeiros in N Goias, I
found plants covered with clear mucilage which I thought was this species,
but wasn't sure since there were no open flowers. When I later returned to
this site a few years later, I found only U.tricolor and thought that my
previous observation had been mistaken \226 which I believed more strongly
after finding U.tricolor with similar clear mucilage at the Serra dos
Orgaos, in Rio de Janeiro state. But now that I've found the real U.huntii
and know what it looks like, I once again believe those plants from the
Chap.dos Veadeiros were probably this same species. Another curiosity was
that I found U.huntii growing at the site I botanized most heavily at the
Emas Nat.Park in 1991! Either this species is an annual and it just wasn't
present in July 1991, or -- most likely -- I missed it due to my
inexperience in searching for CPs in the wild at the time.

           More Utrics soon........

Best Wishes,

Fernando Rivadavia
Sao Paulo, Brazil

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