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Finally, what surprises me is the great extent that these rude sculptures occupy, found in different places of South America. Whatever is attributed to these remnants of unknown antiquity, these figures will always be of interest, as witnesses of the common state of the civilization of peoples, who dwelt here in such a vast area.

Upper Amazon

(VI) The Rio Japura. Vegetation - In this basin, as far as I could see it, the vegetation preserves in general the same characteristics as the groves that line the banks of the Amazon. This refers, above all, to the lower part of the territory, in which the river runs from north to south; here, the grove has the same plants as those that grow along the great river Amazon.

Etching 25 Rio Japura in dry season

Towards the west, little by little, other plants are mixed with them, without, however, changing the shape of the whole.

Rio Japura

Only on the cliffs of Araraquara

was there a difference with more delicate, more beautiful forms, out of the high, tangled, inhospitable and disorderly virgin forest that overshadows the banks of the largest river, Amazon.

The forest itself, along the banks of the Amazon and Solimoes, is inundated with floods,

and the tree species, as well as the arrangement of the branches and the formation of the bark, distinguish this forest from the banks (caa-ygapo) that are situated higher in the continent (caa-ete). During the ebb, there are innumerable clumps of marreca and canarana grasses (Panicum and Paspalus),

which in the floods are covered again. Palm trees, especially those of spiny species, tucuma and maraja (Astrocaryum and Bactris),

the leaves of which generally provide yarn to the Indians;

large musaceae,

pacova-sororosa (Urania amazonica),

caete (Helicomiae);

fences of arborescent grasses, of tupe and others of citamineas,


boasting the most beautiful flowers; among them, the white log trunks and large lobed leaves: these are the forms that sailors most often find in the midst of the most extraordinary variety of floral patterns, that arch thick and high above the river. The trees of this grove disappear little by little, after the river turns from west to south, above the Maripi,

near Maripi

and further above the mouth of the Pureus and up to the Cupati waterfall. Then the forms of the forest of shoreline (ygapo) are becoming rarer, and those of the dry land soon appear on the banks a little high above the river, which are also adorned with the greyish-green bushes of the laurel trees

Laurus cinnamomum

and with the foliage of some mirtaceas .

Myrtus bicolor

The forest becomes lower, with a more equal, brighter tuft, and the parasites are particularly abundant in it. Above the Cupati waterfall the vegetation remains faithful to the same monotonous shape of the river, up to the Serra de Araraquara:

Cliffs of the Araracuara

the forest becomes a little lower, more regular with more rounded tops than in the lower basin of the river.

As for palm trees, we can observe here the high acai and pataua, whose pinnate leaves stand out above the solitary grove.

Acai palm tree

Batua palm

In the terrain of yellow marl on the sloping bank, the golden flower clusters of the beautiful grass (Paspalus pulcher) are hung here and there.

Vestiges of plantations are extremely rare in the groves of Japura. In any case, for the naturalist and traveler, the variety of this beautiful flora is seductive; but, for the inhabitant, the realm of plants here is threatening and oppressive. Between the dominating groves, the slightly built “palaces” of the Indians disappear, and the incessant twigs of the excessive vegetation, as well as the elements, deploy the works of the human hand.

(VII) Rio Japura. Geography and Geognosia - The Japura is born in the eastern slope of the plateau d'Iscance, one of the frozen wastelands of that branch of the Andes mountain range, which forms the watershed between the Madalena River and the Amazon. The river basin should measure more or less, 9,800 square meters. This great territory, not much smaller than Spain, offers, on its slope from west to east, a temperate and warm climate, and will at most be inhabited by a hundred families, in whose veins runs a mixture of European blood. This unknown basin is a mediocre contributor to such great rivers as