I arrived in Mexico on the first September 2006, with a fried of mine. (Here I will always refer to 'a friend'. The reason is that I am no longer in contact with this person so I have no approval for mentioning his name). My friend was more interested in finding lizards and snakes while my aim was always to photograph cacti in the wild. He was opposed to hiring a car because he suffers from travel sickness and so we traveled on a coach to Tecamachalco, in the State of Puebla.
We arrived about 1.30am and there was little we could do but to book a hotel and wait till morning. At Techamachalco I had been before on a previous trip in 1993 where I had searched unsuccessfully for Mammillaria pectinifera (Solisia pectinata) . I was determined to search again for this rare cactus. I knew that the late Charles Glass had found it near an abandoned quarry. The problem was that here was several abandoned quarries so as soon as it got light we made our way to what looked like a promising site. We found several species of agave, one of them being A. potatorum while the others may be A. salmiana and A. ghiesberghtii. Corypahantha pallida one of which was a crest. Mammillaria karwinskiana, Ferocactus robustus and F. recurvus (now F. latispinus)
To be continued
Unable to find Mammillaria pectinifera we got down from the hill and crossed a road to explore another hill facing the first one. This one was steeper and we did not find M. karwinskiana as we had found on the previous hill but M. haageana.
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The next day was Sunday, so after hearing mass, we decided to walk towards km 60 which is another site reported for M. pectinifera. But we had to walk a long way and we got drenched in sweat and at the edge of town near the police station we saw another quarry with dilapidated adobe buildings. We decided to explore and found them. Unfortunately there was not many, as shortly before we arrived someone had bulldozed the whole area only leaving a short strip near the adobes.
That same day we left for Huajuapan De Leon in the State of Oaxaca to try our luck with Mammillaria solisiodes. It was raining as we traveled and our luggage was on the roof of the minibus. A taxi driver took us to the nearest hill the next morning. It was still dark and when we arrived we realised that he had brought us to a Mixtec temple ruin. After walking several streets and crossing a shallow valley we climbed another hill. There was no cacti here. This sometimes happens in Mexico more often then is reported. You go up a hill and you cannot fathom why there aren't any cacti. but rounding a corner we came to a most beautiful site. In another valley, hundreds of Neobuxbaumia mezcalaensis. Arguably one of the tallest cacti in existence, they grow in excess of 20m (66feet). They are called locally clavija or gigantes (giants)in Puebla.