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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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Papilioncea

of Papilionaceas. In this vegetation are included members of the family of the Anonaceas, Dileniaceas, Amarantaceas, Begoniaceas, Melastomaceas, Mirsineas, Stiracineas and Sapoticeas, from the field vegetation;

Anona palustris

 

others, however, among which are the Bignoniaceas, Rubiaceas, Caparideas, Nictagineas, Urticaceas, again approach the characteristic flora of the virgin forest.

Bignonia capreolate

Nictoginea family, Bougainvilla brasiliensis

If, traveling continuously for years in these fertile fields, it was possible for the botanist to make a rigorous comparison of the varied flora, science could count on interesting information for the history and geography of plants. The teachings about the primitive distribution of plants, and about the mutual limitation of special vegetation, about the parallelism and compensation of the various forms of plants, about the migration and diffusion of certain plants, corresponding to the influence of soil and propagation in the regions of the world, they can only be hypotheses until multiple experiments are done on a grand scale. In the solitude of the journey, surrendering myself to these considerations, it occurred to me that, without delay, investigations of this kind should begin before the destroying and transforming hand of man has cut short or diverted nature’s course. In this sense, it is only for few centuries that the activity of science can still be disposed of in complete freedom, and subsequent investigators will no longer obtain the facts in their purity from the hands of nature, for today the active civil development is transforming the country in many ways, excited by such noble aspirations.
  
The higher, drier regions were lined with thick, partly leafless scrub, and the floodplains had a carpet of fine gramineae, all in bloom, through which clumps of palm and thicket were scattered. The backcountry calls these covered fields var­redas (1).

We found here a fat, thorny palm, the carima (Mauritia armata, M.), the greatest charm on the ground; and beyond that a rarer one,

Mauritia vinifera

the noble buriti (Mauritia vinifera, M.). Buriti bravo does not offer, like that one, edible fruit with sweet pulp, whose juice is fermented like wine, but it is very suitable for the construction of the roof frame, in the huts of the inhabitants. In addition to these, here and there are groups of Indian palm (Attalea compta).

Attalea compta

They formed the first palm groves, in the shade of which we dared to walk dry, and sure that we would not run into boa or alligators. These large palm trees, with very oily coconuts, are the preferred landings of the great blue macaws, araraunas (Ara hyacinthinus, Lath.), which flew in

Ara hyacinthus

 

(I) In the original, var­redas. It is likely that this is the word varedas, of which there is still the vereas variant, (Rev. Note, Inst. Hist. and Geogr., Bras.).

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