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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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----continuation etching commentary #3b----

But otherwise here the botanist has a welcome opportunity to become Aristolochia cymbifera from Martius and Eichler's Nova genera et species plantarum…, Lipsiae 1823-32. Thanks to Lehigh U., Special Collections!acquainted with tree-flowers, since they do not anywhere hang higher than you might reach them. Frequently they are weighted down with the spreading tufts of parasitic plants -- I am speaking of Loranthum and Viscum -- or the large, black balls in which the astonished traveler discovers the dwelling-places of countless ants. Various woody shrubs running through the branches of these trees lend them their charm, since now they are covered with many small red or yellow flowers, such as various woody shrubs from the order of the Malpighiaceae, and now they bear very large flowers, such as various species of Aristolochia, which occur there often. Let enough be said of that region overall. 

Etching 3 Tableiro coberto from Martius's Flora Brasiliensis 1840. Thanks to Lehigh U., Special Collections ! Color by Alberto Chor

In etching #3 you will see to the left in front a group of the largest palm which appears in that arid region, Cocos flexuosa . It rises up in a sloped spot between shaggy clumps of Paspalum, and nearby is a small shrub of Gomphia. The tree that can be seen a bit farther back, mutilated and weighed down by a black ant-nest, is Erythroxylon suberosum, the thick, cracked bark of which is used by the inhabitants to dye wool darkly. If you turn more to the right, Aspidosperma macrocarpum, from the family of the Apocyneae, whose opened fruit can be compared to a conch, rises up among tall ant-hills. Myrmecophagae jubatae (ant-eaters) -- animals of quite an extraordinary appearance, which the inhabitants call Tamandua Bandeira -- pursue the builders of these ant-hills with their sharp tongues. In that tree luxuriates Aristolochia gigantea with its very large flowers, which are long at the base and sprinkled with dark spots. In the midst of these a Eupatorium is borne up high with its large clusters, and behind them is KielmeyeraPeridium and Cnestis. In right to the front Wittelsbachia insignis spreads yellow flowers, near which stands a small twisted and delicate tree with glaucous, bipinnate leaves Stryphnodendron Barbatimao, whose bark is frequently for medicine because of the very strong astringent it contains. The two tallest trees in front are Salvertia convallariaeodora, outstanding in the family of the Vochysiaceae, which these regions very often present to one's view, and Phaeocarpas campestris, from the family of the Sapindaceae.

Canes campestres indigenous to this wilderness and grouped together in large packs -- the inhabitants call them Guara -- bring battle to the rest of the animals which predominate here. Thus you see a number of them wandering across the mountain and pursuing ant-eaters. You will find more concerning this region in my "Travels in Brazil"(2)

Canis campestris from  St. Hilaire and Cuvier's  Histoire naturelle des mammiferes, Paris 1824. Tks to Lehigh U., Special Collections!

Canis campestris, the red fox 

#3b of 42 expedition commentaries

Wittelsbachia insignis