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Etching 33  View from Serra d'Estrella  from Martius's Flora Brasiliensis 1840. Thanks to Lehigh U., Special Collections ! Color by C. Miranda Chor

#33 Prospect from the ridge of Serra d'Estrella into the bay of SebastianopolisGuanabara Bay, in the city of Rio de Janeiro.

Latin translation by Ben Hennelly

I should doubt that any place in all the lands might be found which moves the lover of nature with a happier stirring than the ridge which foreigners have given the name Serra d'Estrella, in memory of the name of the mountain tract among the Portuguese. Even today, though my hairs are already greying (1), I grow young again, as it were, when I recall the pleasant memory of the time when, setting out from the estate of my dear friend George von Langsdorff, Fazenda Mandiocca,

I climbed up from the fertile valley through the steep mountain defiles, in order to see the examples of delightfulness which nature gives to be seen near at hand, the beauty of the prospect over the boundless expanse of the regions. The path leads now through the shadows of densely woven forest, now through open 

View of Villa Rica from Serra d'Estrella by Thomas Ender 1825. Thanks to

Road through Serra d' Estrella toward Minas Gerais 

fields to the ridge of the mountain where the easiest entrance into the province of Minas is frequently traveled. A great fullness of things presents itself to the botanist here. Let us ascend together, dear reader, from the bottom of the valley up to the very summit of the mountain. Let those things which we shall presently try to depict be in the manner in which a botanical investigator conveys to another what he himself perceives and feels, instead of a purely scientific description. 

A very green meadow covers the mountain's roots, and not, as it seems, a meadow born from forest that has been chopped down in the usual way, but rather a primary meadow. Here and there fairly robust trees rise up from the meadow, such as JequetibaCouratori legalisPaineiraChorisia precious St. HilaryTecoma flavescens M., which is along with others of the same genera called Ipe by the Brazilians. Different kinds of hedges -- composed of GouaniaCombretum gracileDoliocarpus sessiliflorus and Davilla rugosa, then of Bougainvillea spectabilis, some species of ComespermaCrotonSolanumCordiaSeriana cuspidata and Seriana communis St. Hilary, and some Paulliniae that give off the most pleasant smells from their flowers, SchmideliaEchites atroviolacea M., Bignonia venusta (called Bellas by the inhabitants because of the fiery beauty of their flowers), VanillosmaeMikaniaeVernoniae, and species of Eupatorium -- are scattered through the field, noteworthy for the peculiarity of the form with which they rise up with their "versatile leaves" (2) among those scattered trees, here and there letting their full foliage hang down to the ground. 

From these open fields you at last will reach the mountains' roots, which are composed of granite and foliaceous granite, and which here leap straight up in an steep mass, and there are broken up into rock fragments which block one's path, and through which the clearest of springs wander. Under the shadows of these rocks are cushions of mosses, clumps of  Cladoniae noteworthy for their crimson apothecia and of various ferns, Begoniae with peculiarly shaped leaves, DorsteniaeCacteae and Bromeliaceae that delight with the spectacular colors of their flowers (which compare to the variety of Orchids), from among which I will mention Sophronitis grandiflora, which reaches up to the highest peaks, and Cattleya labiata.

Etching commentary 33