Adventures in Mexico part VII
4th November 2014
The hotel restaurant showed no signs of life as promised for 8am so we aimed for the busiest little place on the main square. There was only room inside, which was a bit scruffy and dirty but the food was excellent. Huevos a la mexicana all round, a huge bowl of frijoles and bottomless basket of steaming tortillas - plus some empanadas to take away for lunch - set us back just 165 pesos (£8) and set us up for the day.
A short distance from town we stopped off to hike up a gorge and almost immediately saw all manner of interesting plants including Oreopanax echinops and interesting fern (Blechnum sp?).
I couldn’t immediately pick this but closer inspection showed it to be a terrestrial bromeliad with ‘fairly’ soft leaves and axillary flowers. No firm idea of which genus, let alone species, but it reminds me of a softer version of Greigia sphacelata that I grow at home.
Dead tree absolutely smothered in epiphytes.
Agave atrovirens was dotted around here and there - surprisingly, as we weren’t that high at around 2200m. A tantalising brace of Araliaceae: Oreopanax capitatus and O. echinops.
Beschorneria yuccoides ssp dekosteriana, perched on a sheer rock face. Canyon narrowed, opened up, narrowed again. We turned back after a while with no new plants appearing in the mix.
We headed off to approach Pico de Orizaba from the north, driving along a sharp ridge of a mountain for several km, eventually stopping to eat our empanadas and having a stroll through some rather lovely woodland. We met our friend Oreopanax echinops again plus this imposing lipstick red-flowered thistle.
A tall Senecio sp (I think these should be Roldana now?) and beautifully coloured Pinguicula sp.
Further along the road and we encountered a large clump of Beschorneria yuccoides ssp dekosteriana by the roadside.
Further still and it was presented in a more natural setting. It is actually quite widespread and numerous, most usually found clinging to the side of a rock. Also interesting to see Dryopteris wallichiana (at least I think it is!) which seems to be present throughout much of Mexico.
A beautiful Psacalium sp – a handsome foliage plant that for some reason I obsess about and always take a picture of when I see them. Not in cultivation in the UK as far as I know but they are represented by various species throughout Mexico.
Further along still and we stopped to hike up a lane that proved impassable for our car. The soft suspension was becoming a bit of a nuisance, frankly, with each speed bump (tope – anyone who has driven in mexico will be all too familiar with these…) reducing us to a virtual standstil. We passed a few dripping rock cuts, saw some nice things including these Phlebodium, Pinguicula and a little Sedum which may or may not be Sedum decumbens.
At one point I was chased up the road by a large male turkey who evidently believed I was getting too close to his harem and chicks. Why he picked on me, and not the others, I don’t know, but I did feel a bit silly!
We headed into Huatusco for the night, staying at Hotel Victoria at 500 pesos a room. Ate in town, nothing special.