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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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---continuation commentary #5b----

Etching 5 Campos Gerais from Martius's Flora Brasiliensis 1840. Thanks to Lehigh U., Special Collections ! Color by Alberto Chor

Near the road grows Bromelia Ananas (pineapple) in dense rows, which thrives in plenty here and whose delightful fruit offer sweet relief to the traveler, but must be picked with care, since prickly leaves armed with sharp needles do not just guard the fruit closely, but also often serve as a hiding-place for a small, poisonous snake the inhabitants call "Schiraraca-mirim" (Bothrops leucuro)

Bothrops leucurus from Spix and Wagler's Serpentum Brasiliensum 1824. Thanks to Lehigh U., Special Collections !

I also should mention that those fields, which are almost all such as we have represented in this etching, can be compared not so much to our meadows formed, as it were, by art, as rather to pasture-lands filled with a plentiful abundance of plants and grasses. For only where both moisture and the heat favor them especially do they produce a densely woven, evenly spread carpet of plants such as we generally find in our meadows that are reaped at regular intervals and usually cultivated by art; whereas to the contrary, the "Campos geraes" [broad fields] consist in many places of individual clumps of grasses, among which is mixed a considerable number of other plants that are either of the same height or rise up taller sometimes to three or four feet. These plants, often remarkable for beautiful, brightly colored flowers of no middling size, lend a certain decoration to the grasses' simple growth. Almost all the grasses themselves are firmly structured, a bit drier than those that occur in our meadows, of grey-green color, and often very shaggy; for this reason, the Brazilian calls these fields "Campos agrestes" (wild fields), distinguishing them from the more humid fields that are more like our meadows, which he calls "Campos-mimosos" (mimosa fields). Campos-agrestes are found especially in the provinces of MinasGoyazana, and Sao PauloCampos-mimosos are found, with a smaller scope, mostly in the northern provinces, such as Piauhyana.

#5b of 42 expedition commentaries