Dave Looks for Plants

Journal of a plant explorer

Archive for the ‘#09-Ecuador: Oct. 2009’ Category

Ecuador 2009

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

To Rio Nangaritza in the Southeast

In October 2009 I traveled with Carla Black, Angel Rodriquez and Bruce Dunstan in Ecuador on a long trip from one end of the country to the other.  My fellow travelers were interested in other types of plants – mainly bromeliads and heliconias. As it turned out, there were not many Costus in flower that time of year as it was toward the end of the dry season. Nevertheless it was a great trip and we saw a lot of the country of Ecuador.

We started out going to the southeast corner in the region of the Rio Nangaritza and cordillera del condor.  There we met with Marco Jimenez and his son Marco who I had met in 2007.   We went by boat across the river and explored that area for a while.  This was before they had build the bridge and the only way to cross was by boat or by the ferry barge shown in these photos.

Back across the mountains

Then we worked our way back north through Gualaquiza and had planned to go all the way north on the east side of the mountains, but we came to a major landslide north of Macas and decided to cut back across the mountains through the beautiful Sangay National Park, back through Quito to Santo Domingo.  Carla and Bruce found a number of very interesting heliconias, and finally on that side of the mountains I started seeing interesting Costus in flower.  I was able to take more detailed photos of the Costus leucanthus near the town of Pachijal that I had briefly seen in 2007.  Then as we continued north through the mountains near the Tulipe memorial I found another Costus that we have now determined to be a form of a new species to be published as Costus antioquiensis.

To Lita in the Northwest

We continued north, nearly to the border with Colombia near the town of Lita, and there I found several interesting Costus.  There was a beautiful solid red form of Costus kuntzei (f/k/a Costus laevis) that I later registered with the cultivar name ‘Lita Red’, a natural hybrid of Costus lima with Costus leucanthus, and another specimen of the new species I had seen in 2007 in the Bilsa reserve.