Long hanging roots of this tree climber are collected by the locals to make fish traps for fishing in local rivers. The fish traps are called ‘covo’.

My images of the plant are in the Araceae set on Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/plants_of_russian_in_brazil/sets/72157600110831842/).

Tournefortia bicolor Sw.

February 22, 2010

I thought I was saving this scandent shrub from destruction at the last Eucalyptus plantation tree harvest by transferring it to my back yard before it had a chance to bloom and not yet knowing its exact ID.  It spent there a couple of years before really establishing itself. This year it has bloomed and bore fruit, allowing for the identification as Tournefortia bicolor Sw., of Boraginaceae, a genus with two more local species and a family well represented here. However, it was only this morning when I was able to see it in bloom and not with the usual green fruit. The anthesis takes place early in the morning and lasts just for a couple of hours.

My collection of it, deposited at the HUEFS in Feira de Santana, is Popovkin 238.

At anthesis.

More of my images of the species are in the Boraginaceae set on Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/plants_of_russian_in_brazil/sets/72157594546918283/).

Tournefortia on Wiki, with its name etymology (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tournefortia).

Bufo marinus

February 6, 2010

Bufo marinus, or cane toad, is one of the amphibians frequently seen around my house, especially in the non-rainy season when it turns into a pest, jumping into a water bucket used by my three dogs for drinking and spoiling their drinking water overnight. The bucket is raised over 50 cm above ground, the height not sufficient to prevent toads from jumping into it, seeking a cool bath.

The specimen in the image is over 20 cm long and about 15 cm wide and is most probably female.

One use of Bufus marinus, not mentioned in the Wiki entry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cane_toad), is that of its adipose tissue (body fat) reportedly employed internally by local people for medicinal purposes.

Alibertia sp., Rubiaceae

February 5, 2010

This common small tree/shrub is called locally ‘marmelo’, a name given by the Portuguese who saw in its fruit the New World approximation of the familiar quince, ‘marmelo’ in Portuguese, and the source of the first marmelade, in our time made mainly of oranges.

It took me only two days to get an ID for this beautiful arboreal spider species, thanks to the ever help-ready people on the Taxacom list and the Brazilian entomologist from the UFMG (Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil) Adalberto Santos.  The genus has been recently revised by James E. Carico: “Revision of the Neotropical arboreal spider genus Syntrechalea (Araneae, Lycosoidea, Trechaleidae)”, Journal of Arachnology 36 (2008):118–130.

My images of the live specimen seem to be ones of the very few available.

The spider was discovered on Diospyros gaultieriifolia when I was checking out whether it has yet set fruit.  See my images of the latter in flower on Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/plants_of_russian_in_brazil/sets/72157623001764308/).

The generic ID has been confirmed by a Brazilian botanist, suggesting it could be Luehea ochrophylla Mart.

I now found in the same location a new population of the species, in flower, and it looks like it’s indeed Luehea ochrophylla Mart.

Some of my additional images of the species are on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/plants_of_russian_in_brazil/sets/72157622920308729/.

Someone not familiar with Serjania may have taken these to be its fruit.  I myself for a few moments thought so, before remembering the usual fruit look of this genus of  Sapindaceae.

This species, one of several of the genus, is a common local liana.

More of my images of  this sp. are available on Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/plants_of_russian_in_brazil/sets/72157623126534791/).