Saturday 6th March

We set off, no breakfast again!, and headed to Tlaxiaco, stopping en route to take a look at these Dasylirions.  They were a mixed lot - some were clustering, some were solitary, some were glossy, some were matt, some had wide leaves, some not.  Looking on the map, these are just about exactly half way geographically between the small species we had seen the day before and Dasylirion serratifolium, found further north.  I can easily imagine these are a kind of intergrade.

The soil here seemed particularly fragile, and further along there was evidence of quite bad erosion.

We reached Tlaxiaco (that's Tlash-ee-AK-oh by the way) - a vibrant and colourful market town where, apparently, the indigenous mountain tribes have met to exchange goods, gossip and genes for centuries.

Now that's what I call pork scratchings.

Nopales, or opuntias pads.  Eaten as a vegetable, often seared and steamed, can be bought over here pickled.  Very nice.  Even better with the spines taken off.

Such variety - papaya, watermelon, cactus, a wheelbarrow full of strawberries...

... and grasshoppers.

Having explored the market to our satisfaction we ate a hearty brunch at Hotel del Portal then left town to meander slowly back towards Oaxaca.  Shortly afterwards I began to feel a bit queazy so Neil took over the driving.  We stopped to investigate this large stand of Taxodium mucronatum, which do extremely well in many parts of Mexico.  There is the mother of all taxodium - El Tule - in Oaxaca but we didn't get the chance to visit this trip.

We stopped again at the small town of Teposcolula and Neil explored this remarkable edifice - the ex-convent of San Pedro and San Pablo.  I just stood about feeling unwell.

But, nothing quite lifts the spirits like looking at plants - there are enormous stands of Brahea dulcis along the roadsides here.

And in amongst the palms are found imposing specimens of Dasylirion serratifolium.  Big, chunky plants with stiff, wide leaves that have the texture of sharkskin.  This spot is pretty well bang on the type location for the plant and it is the commonly seen dasyilrion in this area..

A bit further along the road we saw this Nolina longifolia - there are a load more just here that I looked at last trip but I didn't really feel up to wandering about much more.

So, we made our way back to Oaxaca, this time staying at Hotel Posada Del Rosario - a little further out, still with off-street parking but cheaper.

We wandered about, settled on somewhere to eat, though I didn't have much, then back to the hotel.



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