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Etching 4 Morro do Gravier from Martius's Flora Brasiliensis 1840. Thanks to Lehigh U., Special Collections ! Color by C. Miranda Chor

#4 A valley with tree-like lilies, in Morro do Gravier, province of  MinasGerais.

Latin translation by Ben Hennelly

The one who sets out inland from the sea-side and comes to that region of high mountains which is called Minas on account of its abundance of precious metals, will find a realm of plants which differs in appearance and character from those plants which occur in the ancient forests of the eastern region. Those thick, dark primary forests of lofty trees retire into deep valleys, and on the ridges, fields open to the sun surround the traveler, as well as naked hills and abrupt rock. And whereas, in those ancient forests he marvels as if stupefied at plants sublime in their magnitude, at the circumference of the tree trunks, at the thick, shooting fronds, at the extraordinary windings of different vines, by which the whole wood seems joined together into one densely woven arbor; here, to the contrary, it is the elegance of plants by comparison much smaller, the livelier and brighter color of the flowers, and certain remarkable differences in form which fill his heart with delight. 

Here, the more sparsely nature has scattered the vegetation, the better the Vellosia aloaefolia from Martius and Eichler's Nova genera et species plantarum…, Lipsiae 1823-32	Thanks to Lehigh U., Special Collections!traveler's opportunity for contemplating the plant life with attention and pleasure. But here I do not remember seeing any form of any plant which pleased or amazed me more than those remarkable forked trunks of the tree-like lilies from the genus of the Velloziae, to which the inhabitants have given the name Canella d'Ema. These lilies with their many high peaks are a true ornament, surrounded by several other plants and bushes as noteworthy for their delightful color as for their elegant and delicate form. 

The Velloziae love especially the pliable quartzose rock which the inhabitants usually call "itacolumite"

Etching 46 Oiro Branco from Martius's Flora Brasiliensis 1840. Thanks to Lehigh U., Special Collections ! Color by Alberto Chor

Serra de Ouro Branco, "white gold ridge" 

Thus they are found, as well as elsewhere, in the valleys of the gold-bearing Serra de Ouro Branco. Those making from the south for the capital of Minas, the city of Ouro Preto (1), surmount this beautiful ridge in the forest-pasture of Morro do Gravier. Many other lovely plants grouped with those tree-like lilies attract there the traveler's eyes. 

Etching 4 Morro do Gravier from Martius's Flora Brasiliensis 1840. Thanks to Lehigh U., Special Collections ! Color by C. Miranda Chor

Yet for him who cannot wander through those extremely beautiful regions in person, let our etching #4 be an aid, in which many of the plants that should be thought characteristic of the region are set before his eyes. Here you will see tall, remarkable clumps of grasses, such as Paspalum polyphyllum and Paspalum erianthum. Set scattered among these, plants and bushes decorated with magnificent flowers vie with one another in the beauty of their colors: Eryngium enchophyllumLisianthus amplissimusGesnerae tuberosa and Gesnerae rupicola on steps of rock, then Eriocaulon with its trunk of about two feet and its long peduncles, great bushes of Lavoisiera pectanada whose small branches are thickly pressed together, and, further, fully flowering Chaetogastra repanda and Rhynchanthera from the family of the Melastomaceae. There is also a shrub of Physocalyx major and Cinchona Vellozii or "remedy", whose bark, known by the name of Quina do Campo (field Quinine), supplies an effective antipyretic medicine. Towering trees are altogether absent from the region. Only Zeyheria montana is seen, adorned with its five-leafed fronds and thyrsi for pale yellow flowers, and, nearby, Lychnophora villosa and Kielmeyera coriacea -- called Pao santo or Pao de S. Joze by the inhabitants -- the branches of which are weighed down by triangular hanging capsules. If you turn your eyes to the left and toward the back, you will see a slender small tree of Rhopala ovalis and Luhea paniculata , the only of this region's very large trees.

Etching commentary #4 of 42