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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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goodwill and generosity of the indigenous neighbors, with a contract, for the cutting of the forests, the planting or sowing of ipecacuanha, etc., for a salary or modest pay.

Carapichea ipecacuanha

The director of the villages of the Coroados does not inhabit the Presidio de Sao Joao Batista himself; Although he has a house here, he lives in a small village, far away, from where he came to visit us the next day. The habit of living most of the year on farms, away from inhabited places, dominates throughout Brazil. There are disastrous consequences for morality and domestic happiness, from the fact that there are husbands and wives living apart, sometimes for months, which gives rise to many problems. The director informed us that few Coroados are currently in the neighboring villages, and that most of them were drawn to the Ribeirao Buhahe, a dozen leagues to the east, where they are harvesting ipecacuanha. However, to satisfy our desire to observe many Indians on the spot, we brought to our abode those who were still present, making many promises to them.

Many came and sat at the door of the house, where we offered them rum. They were all glum, suspicious and in a bad mood; they were probably afraid that we wanted to entice them for military service. Neither with gifts, kindness, nor music, did they rejoice; they were only interested in sneaking into their bush at the first opportunity. As they disappeared, one after another; we were therefore obliged to postpone our interviews with these primitive men, so when we reached the director general's farm, five leagues south-east of Sao Joao, situated in the middle of the Indian villages, we took advantage of the delay here, taking walks in the nearby bush. These virgin forests of intertwined branches in whose interior eternal darkness reigns are terrifying to the soul; We dared not enter without the accompaniment of well-armed soldiers, always staying together. Even in the vicinity of the farms, one is in danger, needing to be on guard for defense, both against guard dogs and against wild beasts. A host of wonderful insects, especially beautiful horned beetles (butterflies), butterflies, new wild birds, and several rare mammals, such as the giant anteater, were rewarding for the zoologists.

Ant-eater, Tamandua dactyla

For the botanists, these forests are very important, especially for the richness in medicinal plants, although the constant humidity does not favor the harvest of the plants. The real poaia is found here in abundance. They come from a low shrub (Cephaelis ipecacuanha Rich.), which usually grows in most of the Serra do Mar, from Rio de Janeiro to the north, in the captaincy of Bahia, in humid forests, in dark and always accessible places. Now, in the month of April,

Cephaelis ipecacuanha

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