Madagascar November 2016

Habitat, nursery/collection and show tours.
Nick_G
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Madagascar November 2016

Post by Nick_G » Sun Dec 04, 2016 10:00 am

I've recently returned from a trip to Madagascar and here are a few photos. We saw plenty of Aloes, Kalanchoes (there seem to be a lot of Kalanchoes in Madagascar), Euphorbias, Cynanchums etc but these all bore me to tears so here are just the caudiciforms.

Our driver/guide was Christophe Quenel a very personable Frenchman resident in Madagascar who owns/operates Madabotanik specializing in botanical tours of Madagascar at very reasonable prices. He also has a liking for 1970s prog rock so if King Crimson isn't your cup of tea (it is mine) you might want to take your own CDs with you to play in his Land Rover. You can contact him at christophe.quenel@yahoo.fr and I thoroughly recommend him.

First Mount Ibity. Here we found a huge population of Pachypodium brevicaule. I had assumed as it's an uncommon plant in cultivation it would be rare in habitat. It isn't. My estimate of this population was 20 million plants. This was based on one plant per square metre (an underestimate, this only included mature specimens and ignored younger plants) over an area of 20 square kilometres, also probably a big underestimate. We walked for at least 4 kilometres through the plants and the hillsides for kilometres around were covered in them. It was very much the dominant species here. You couldn't help but tread on them. They only grow on quartzitic rock and there are two populations separated by a band of granite.There was no sign of any collecting going on and better still no grazing by goats or zebu. Grazing is a much bigger threat to the plants we grow than Mr Specks and his Hungarian friends will ever be. Burning is also a big problem in Madagascar but Pachypodiums seem to withstand it reasonably well.

We only saw 2 plants of Pachypodium densiflorum during the whole day on the mountain, too high up on a rock to photograph. Pachypodium eburneum is also reported from Mount Ibity but we didn't see any.

You'll have to excuse the standard of the photos, most of the time my camera is on the wrong setting.

The lower population.

A nice sized plant
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This would look good in a pot :)
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Flowers and seed horns.
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A smaller plant
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A particularly well hung individual.
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and a couple of poor habitat photos
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The higher population seemed to have a much harder time of it, the plants were much more rugged in appearance.
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More soon.
Last edited by Nick_G on Sun Dec 04, 2016 10:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Turbinicarpus, Lophophora, Ariocarpus, Lobivia and Gymnocalycium
Nick_G
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Re: Madagascar November 2016

Post by Nick_G » Sun Dec 04, 2016 10:22 am

Next Mount Saronara near Ambatofinandranaha. A mixed population of Pachypodium brevicaule and Pachypodium densiflorum. Hundreds, maybe thousands of plants here as opposed to the millions on Mount Ibity. Maybe a few hybrids as well.

P. densiflorum
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P. brevicaule
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P. densiflorum
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seedlings
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P. densiflorum
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P. brevicaule
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Re: Madagascar November 2016

Post by Nick_G » Sun Dec 04, 2016 10:48 am

Next an extraordinary mixed population of Pachypodium densiflorum and Pachypodium brevicaule at Angliasiango near Ambatofinandranaha. Christophe was unaware of this site but our local guide Jean-Baptiste insisted that we visited it. We were very glad that he did. Absolutely superb plants. Some signs of trampling by Zebu so lets hope that the site survives. Definitely hybrids here.

Some habitat shots.
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P. brevicaule
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P. densiflorum
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hybrid?
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more soon.
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Re: Madagascar November 2016

Post by Nick_G » Sun Dec 04, 2016 2:16 pm

Along the RN7 P. densiflorum continued to be present
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and then near Zazafotsy a Euphorbia worth looking at, Euphorbia didieriodes
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and only it's mother and me could love it, Adenia olaboensis
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At Voatavo more Adenia olaboensis and P. densiflorum
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At Ihosy above the airport Pachypodium lamerei and pachypodium horombense, entwined with a Euphorbia.
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Re: Madagascar November 2016

Post by Nick_G » Sun Dec 04, 2016 2:23 pm

At Isalo some stunning Pachypodium rosulatum gracilius
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BCSS no.33806

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Re: Madagascar November 2016

Post by Nick_G » Sun Dec 04, 2016 4:21 pm

Pachypodium lamerei ramosum from near Mahaboboka
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and a 10 foot tall Cyphostemma laza
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I've forgotten the name of these
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then around Toliara Delonix decaryi, Delonix pumila was also common but difficult to photograph. Operculicarya pachypus and decaryi were common as were Uncarina species.
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another Cyphostemma laza (I loved these)
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Trochomeriopsis diversifolia fruit
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Pachypodium mikea with a crows nest
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and without
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Adansonia rubrostipe (I think)
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Adansonia and Didiereacea sp.
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landscape
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Pachypodium geayi ( again I think, I really should keep notes)
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Last edited by Nick_G on Sun Dec 04, 2016 4:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
BCSS no.33806

Turbinicarpus, Lophophora, Ariocarpus, Lobivia and Gymnocalycium
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Re: Madagascar November 2016

Post by Nick_G » Sun Dec 04, 2016 4:34 pm

Finally probably the highlight of the trip for me Odosicyos bosseri. I can't say where as I've been sworn to secrecy. The villagers grow this as a medicinal plant and uncovered one for us in the village to show the caudex before giving us a reluctant quick peek at some plants in habitat. They eat the leaves and fruit.
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immature fruit, it grows to a foot long, this was a few inches
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this one must have been 3-4 feet across, they wouldn't expose any more of the caudex for me.
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Al Laius
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Re: Madagascar November 2016

Post by Al Laius » Sun Dec 04, 2016 7:01 pm

Sounds like a great trip, Nick. Thanks for posting the pictures.

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Re: Madagascar November 2016

Post by ChrisR » Mon Dec 05, 2016 3:35 am

Not my thing but something I can appreciate and happy to see. Thanks Nick.
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Re: Madagascar November 2016

Post by Liz M » Mon Dec 05, 2016 8:35 am

It has to be the place to go to see caudex plants, huge and fantastic. You have seen some amazing sights and although I would have appreciated seeing more of the plantlife, I can understand how difficult it can be to photograph everything, there is not the time or the inclination. The Pachypodium brevicaule I thought were magnificent, with their smooth grey trunks. Loved all your pictures whatever the quality. Thanks for showing us.
Obsessive Crassulaceae lover but also grow, Aloes, Agaves, Haworthias and a select number of Cacti
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