Loyd Wix in Brazil

From: Fernando Rivadavia-Lopes (fe_riva@uol.com.br)
Date: Mon Nov 22 1999 - 14:49:35 PST

Date: Mon, 22 Nov 1999 20:49:35 -0200
From: "Fernando Rivadavia-Lopes" <fe_riva@uol.com.br>
To: cp@opus.hpl.hp.com
Message-Id: <aabcdefg3973$foo@default>
Subject: Loyd Wix in Brazil

Dear friends,

            I haven't had much time to write, but I'm trying to catch up.
Over a month ago, in early October, my good friend from England, Loyd Wix,
was here in Sao Paulo for work. Unfortunately he was only here for around a
week and very busy too. But on Saturday and Sunday he was free and I took
him on a short CP tour of the S.Paulo region.

            I picked up Loyd at his hotel early Saturday morning and we then
met anotehr friend, Marcelo Fontana. We started out by visiting a road
called Caminho do Mar which goes right to the edge of teh coastal highlands
on which S.Paulo sits. It's almost always foggy around there, which prevents
one from seeing the magnificent view of the coast, but makes the area great
for CPs because of the constant humidity. The D.villosa were looking nice
and opening up their first flowers. Unfortunately not many Utrics were
anywhere in sight, but we did see U.subulata, U.nervosa, U.reniformis, and I
think some U.tricolor leaves too. Lucky Loyd was even blessed with the rare
(at that location at least) blooms of U.reniformis. What a beauty it is, I
never get tired of it! The area where those famous huge leaves grow was a
bit changed (man or erosion?) and because it wasn't flooded anymore, the
large specimens weren't as common anymore unfortunately.

        From there we went to a town called Paranapiacaba which also sits on
the foggy edge of the coastal highlands. Sadly, one of the oldest CP sites I
know of, which I've been visiting since 1991, is now CP-less! It was a
roadside ditch with D.villosa and D.sp."green giant", but apparently
ditch-clearing was responsible for 100% elimination of the Drosera at that
spot. I was a bit sad, but it really isn't such a big problem since there's
another site not too far away with both these species plus D.communis. It's
a large erosion area surrounded by rainforest. My friend Linilson Padovese
discovered it a few years ago and when he first took me there, D.communis
was by far the most common of the 3 species, while the other two were rather
rare. But I was really happy this time to find lots of both D.villosa and
D.sp."green giant" too, they're certainly spreading at that site. The latter
were flowerless, D.villosa had young flowerless scapes, while D.communis was
full of mature scapes. Unfortunately it was a bit cloudy (as usual there)
and so there were no open flowers on any D.communis. The petals were a
light-lilac, but what most caught my attention were the huge sepals often
covered with minute red hairs. This reminded me very much of D.hirtella
var.hirtella, which also has spatulate leaves, ascending scapes, and tons of
large red hairs all over its scapes -- and which my (unfortunately still
unpublished)DNA data suggest are closely related species. Before leaving
Paranapiacaba, we stopped by another D.villosa site by the railroad tracks.
It's funny that there is only one spot with this species, although the mossy
banks all along the railroad are apparently equally good CP habitats.

        After Paranapiacaba, we drove to the town of Mogi das Cruzes to
visit a friend called Mauro Peixoto, who has a beautiful collection of
native plants, including CPs. His greenhouse was bursting with orchids in
flower, a magnificent spectacle! We spent several hours there and had a
great time. In fact just before his house, there is a pond full of the
aquatic U.foliosa and U.gibba. Neither was in flower however. But I like
that site a lot because U.gibba grow "epiphytically" (is this term is at all
applicable to water plants). You see, while U.foliosa prefers growing in
deep water, U.gibba is usually only found in very shallow water, especially
on mud at lakesides. Well at this pond, they grow on the stems of a floating
aquatic fern, Salvinia sp., and therefore are found all over the pond, and
not just at its edges as is more common.

        The following day I picked up Loyd again at his hotel and then we
met Marcelo and Mauro at Mogi das Cruzes. We headed to Campos do Jordao, a
city way up on the Mantiqueira Highlands, at about 1600m altitude. It's
about 3h from S.Paulo and is a famous holiday spot during winter, where
people go to when they wanna freeze their buns off, eat cheese fondue, and
pretend they're in the Swiss Alps. Loyd was even surprised to see fields
with many familiar flowers from his homecountry.

        Anyways, before we arrived in the city, we stopped to explore a wet
rock wall by the road. The place was really great for CPs, but all we found
was U.hispida. This is only one of the most common Brazilian species, so I
wasn't too thrilled. Yet Loyd is a Lentibulariaceae fan and was really
please with it. And I have to admit it was a very colorful form of this
plant, with red sepals and a brighter-than-usual yellow flower. Yet the most
interesting thing about that U.hispida in my viewpoint was that the long
scapes were growing directly on the rock wall. I had never seen it in this
sort of habitat before. It's always found in boggy seepages growing among
tall thick grasses.

        Our next CP stop was just at the entrance of Campos do Jordao, where
many years ago (1991?) I had seen D.communis and D.montana var.montana. I
wasn't really expecting to see the latter since it was late in the dry
season and it usually goes completely dormant. But we did find several small
rosettes, wine-red in color as usual. Southern and southeastern Brazil are
not as dry as central and northeastern Brazil (where D.m.var.montana also
occurs), and apparently it goes dormant less often in the south and hangs on
a bit longer into the dry season too. We also saw some D.communis in the
area, but not nearly as much as I had seen earlier in the decade, which was
strange since it doesn't go dormant at all.

        From there we went to Itapeva Peak, the highest in the area at
2030m. On the road to this peak, there is a great CP site which was the
single reason why I had chosen to take Loyd to Campos do Jordao. It is the
closest place to Sao Paulo city where one can see wild Genlisea. And not
just any species, but G.aurea, one of the most magnificent and unique in the
whole genus! As we got out of the car and headed for the Genlisea site, we
first stopped briefly by a small patch of D.villosa with only very young
scapes. And then I realized that Loyd was truly a very lucky CPer indeed. A
bit further on, I could already see numerous bright-yellow G.aurea flowers
among the short grasses! This is usually a rare flowerer, and yet we seem to
have accidentally been there at just the right time of year. It was really
beautiful!!! Loyd was truly thrilled and took tons of pictures. In fact I
got some nice shots of Loyd with the G.aurea blooms -- and a huge smile on
his face too! But to his frustration, there were really no mature seed pods,
only tantalizingly nearly mature ones. The rosettes at this site are not big
for G.aurea standards nor covered in too much of the usual gooey mucilage.
The flowers are also not the largest I've seen for this species and are a
bright-yellow, instead of the more attractive golden-yellow found further
north. But nonetheless, the G.aurea at Campos do Jordao are still more
beautiful than even the more robust forms of most other Genlisea species!
This is the only D.villosa and G.aurea site I know of in that general
region. In fact it's the only G.aurea site I know of in all Sao Paulo state!

        On the Itapeva Peak we searched around for more CPs, but found
nothing new. I had seen some U.reniformis leaves there a few months ago and
was hoping there'd be some flowers, but no such luck. On our way back to the
city, we found some small D.montana var.montana growing on dry banks by the
road. We'd stopped to admire a large population of beautiful Sophonites
(sp.?) orchids with dark pink-red flowers growing epiphytically. The whole
region is one great cloud forest! Before leaving Campos do Jordao, we
stopped by another U.reniformis site I knew, but there were also no flowers
there either.

        And that was it! Brief, but intense. We had lots of fun, saw lots of
CPs, and were extremely lucky to catch both U.reniformis and G.aurea in
flower. Hopefully Loyd will be able to return to S.Paulo for work in the
near future and have another free weekend so we can show him some other
interesting sites around S.Paulo or farther away. Right Loyd?!?!

Best Wishes,

Fernando Rivadavia
Sao Paulo, Brazil

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