Dave Looks for Plants

Journal of a plant explorer

Tundayme and El Oso Road

The next day we went back to the Cordillera del Condor, to the northeast of El Pangui in an area called Tundayme.  The road goes far back into the cordillera where a Chinese company has been mining for gold and copper under an Ecuadorian government permit.  This warning sign was found several places along the road indicating that the Shuar people are not all that happy having this mining activity in their native lands.

 

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Translation:  Cascomi collective ownership. The person or company entering or doing damage to this property will be criminally prosecuted or subjected to the indigenous justice.

The Shuar have come a long way from their “shrunken head” past.  This community has a Facebook page at (Cascomi Comunidad Cordillera Del Cóndor Mirador) that includes many photos of their peaceful protests against the miners and the government, but the veiled threat is there none the less.

VIVA LA RESISTENCIA, LA UNIDAD Y DEFENSA DE LA CORDILLERA DEL CONDOR EN ZAMORA CHINCHIPE Y MORONA SANTIAGO, ESTA EN MARCHA NO SE DETIENE…NO MAS VIOLACION DE DERECHOS HUMANOS, NO MAS DESPLAZAMIENTOS DE LAS COMUNIDADES INDIGENAS EN LA CORDILLERA DEL CONDOR…GENERADOS POR LA MINERA CHINA ECUACORRIENTE S.A. CON MAS FUERZA ESTAREMOS PRESENTES EN LAS CALLES EL 01DE MAYO 2015.

 So at any rate, we made sure we stayed along the road and did not venture too far into the forests there.  We did see many beautiful Costus plants, including Costus amazonicus…..

 

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and Costus zamoranus,  in both a basal and terminal flowering form – all between 1000 and 1200 meters.

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Details of these plants are on this THUMBNAIL SHEET.  The differences between the two species were sometimes difficult to discern, but the clear C. amazonicus plants have broad, hairy, somewhat plicate leaves and the bract margins are distinctively fibrous.  The C. aff. zamoranus have narrower leaves, either glabrous or nearly so, and the bract margins are entire.  I suspect there is a good deal of natural hybridization going on between the two.

From Tundayme, we drove back to El Pangui for lunch then drove to the west along the El Oso Road.  I had been there before in 2009 with Carla, Angel and Bruce, but we did not stop to walk back into the few forested fragments that remain in the area.   This trip we did stop and sure enough, back under the heavy shade of forest we found more of the Costus zamoranus at 1300 meters. 

 

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