Vitorino Paiva Castro Neto and Marcos Antonio Campacci
Working together or alone, they have been studying Brazilian species since 20 years ago, always concerned about the correct identification and occurrence of our orchids. The genera Bifrenaria, Pabstia and Encyclia have deserved a special attention although other genera such as Oncidium, Promenaea and Pleurothallis are also object of their work.
Recently, they have described, together, more than 25 new Brazilian species.
In this interview they clarify some doubts about synonyms, talk about the way they do their researches and about the most recent works they have published, Icones Orchidacearum Brasiliensis I and Brazilian Flora, Orchids (1) (CD Room).
Orchid News: How did you start to be concerned about the study of orchids? First as orchidists and then as orchidologists?
Marcos A. Campacci: - It happened more or less like this. Around the eighties years, I was affiliated, as I am until today, to the Círculo Paulista de Orquidófilos and, after getting some experience with orchids, I noticed the big mess existing about those plants. So, the identification as well the vegetative habits, occurrences and so on, brought so many doubts that were not, in general, clarified by my companions more experienced.
I always had a good relationship with the staff of the Botanical Garden of São Paulo so they helped me when possible but often it was very difficult.
Our companion Eduardo L. M. Catharino, who was a member of this staff and frequently came with us (Him, my self, Vitorino, Pedro Vedovello, Artur N. Heger, among others) to the journeys into the woods, introduced me to Guido Pabst. After that I consulted Pabst very often and we became good friends.
In this way, I plunged deeply in this mad world of orchids...
When Pabst passed away, we felt as orphans and I started to work alone and also with others companions like Vitorino Paiva Castro Neto.
Vitorino Paiva Castro Neto: Well, it was due to a series of circumstances. First, the contact with the orchids that came from Ubatuba region (State of São Paulo), then I heard about and get in touch with the Circulo Paulista de Orquidófilos. There I met Eduardo Catharino, Marcos Antonio Campacci, Pedro Vedovello, Arthur N. Heger and other people.
At the beginning, I have been greatly encouraged by Eduardo Catharino, he also introduced Pabst to me. He studied Agronomy and had a great knowledge about species as well a good relationship with the staff of the Botanical Garden of São Paulo.
By this time, there was a great motivation to collect orchids in Serra do Mar and identify them correctly, this has been solved in a big part by Guido Pabst.
When he died, as said, we became orphans, thus, we felt compelled to start our own studies and with the others companions, like Marcos Campacci.
ON: Have you others activities or you just study the orchids?
MAC: I am graduated in fine arts (drawing, photography, engraving and painting) from Faculdade de Belas Artes de São Paulo (São Paulo Fine Arts College) and for long time, I used to work in a publicity agency.
Nowadays I mainly dedicate my self to study orchids and, to survive, I work on my own with computer and selling and cultivating orchids and bromeliads. Many years ago, I participated of the Projeto Caapora's foundation (see Orchids News # 5), however I went away some years after its establishment.
VPCN: I am chemist engineer with my second university degree in textile chemistry got in France. I have been professor at the Industrial Engineer School for 13 years teaching the chemistry of the textile treatments and the chemistry of the dyes.
I have worked for many years in similar industries and nowadays I am authorized engineer attached to Santos and São Sebastião's Customs.
ON: Although you both have deeply studied the species of the genus Bifrenaria, you have described many species of different genera and from different origins.
The list is big: Promenaea, Pabstia, Catasetum, just talking about Zygopetalum, you have two ( Z. silvanum and Z. sincoranum), Oncidium ( O. chapadense, O. ouricanense, O. silvanum, O. schunkeanum). How does it happen?
| Oncidium ouricanense
(click on the photo to see it larger)
| Zygopetalum silvanum
(click on the picture to see it larger)
| Encyclia dasilvae
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VPCN: The study about Bifrenaria started with the Stenocoryne section. By this time, Rolf Grantsau, renown ornithologist and naturalist, has really helped. He drew all species from this section.
The description of several species had many origins: Some came from the visits done to the habitats, others were send by, meanly, Edmundo Ferreira da Silva.
For my first description, Oncidium schwambachiae, done together with Antonio Toscano de Brito, the plant has been sent by Roberto Kautsky. The fact of having Oncidium pumilum and Oncidium morenoi in my collection made possible to do the necessary comparisons.
MAC: I applied myself to the genera Oncidium, Promenaea, Cattleya, Encyclia and more recently Pleurothallis. I started drawing every thing I could and I put them together to get the most clear conclusion about the species and I still do it. Occasionally, one or other plant appears and there is no doubt about being a new species. So I do a specific work about the concerned plant and often I work together with someone else.
It happened like this with the first species I have described with Pedro Luiz Vedovello (a late companion from CPO), Cattleya tenuis Campacci & Vedovello. This plant was so ordinary in the shows but nobody noticed that it was a novelty. It was usually called "Cattleya bicolor from Pernambuco", this was due to many and successive mistakes as it is native from Chapada Diamantina in Bahia and is not similar to Cattleya bicolor Lindl. not only in its vegetative aspect because it is very characteristic and easy recognized even without flowers. Then there were many plants described with Vitorino, mainly coming from the genus Encyclia. By the way, we have 2 news species for describing.
At the same time, there were some others described:
Roberto Anselmo Kautsky from Espírito Santo, there is
Eltroplectris assumpcaoana and
( Click on the picture to see it larger);
Eduardo L. M. Catharino, from Botanical Garden of São Paulo,
( Click on the picture to see it larger);
Carlos Espejo da Venezuela,
(Click on the picture to see it larger);
|and with Roberto Takase, Phragmipedium chapadense ( Click on the picture to see it larger).||
ON: Campacci, the occurrence of Phragmipedium chapadense is very curious, what can you tell about?
see it larger)
ON: Vitorino, you did a systematical study about the genus Pabstia, is there something that you could stand out in this study?
VPCN: Sometime, I ask my self if things happen by chance or if there is something guiding us.
It's been a long time since I applied myself and gathered information about the genus Pabstia, coping original descriptions found in the publications existing in the library of the Botanical Garden, keeping in alcohol the flowers of the plants I had or have gathered from other peoples, and then a series of events impelled me to get in the study of this genus.
At the end of the eighties years, when I was visiting the Orquidário Binot, I found a Pabstia in flowers that I have never seen, Maurício sold me the plant. At the beginning I thought it was a hybrid, however I could not associate it to any species I knew, thus, I put it aside until knowing if it was a species already described or a new one. The confirmation that it was a question of Pabstia triptera came with the examination of the holotype in Kew.
In December 1991, when I visited Vital Schunk's nursery, I came upon to many plants of Pabstia, I bought them, so that, when they flowered in my nursery, I could see that it was a new species, Pabstia schunkiana.
In Kew, I could analyzed all types existing there and came to the conclusions to finished my work.
ON: It means that you receive many plants to identify, from the whole country or you go often to the habitats?
MAC: Well, we receive plants coming from different places in Brazil as well we visit many habitats.
ON: Who would be those peoples? And which are those habitats?
MAC: Well, we receive plants coming from different places and people, mainly sent by João Batista Ferreira da Silva (from Pará) and Edmundo Ferreira da Silva (South of Bahia). There are some others who send sporadically as, for example, Roberto Kautsky (from Espírito Santo), Antonio Antonelli (from Sorocaba), Erwin Bohnke (from Alagoas and São Paulo), Antonio Prenholato (from Brasilia), Arnaldo Martinho (from São Paulo), Jaci Barbosa (from Ponta Grossa - Parana), Pedro Oseis Maifrede (from Rondônia), etc., besides our own search in commercial nurseries (Binot, Aranda, etc.)
First of all, the main habitats we visited concern Atlantic Forest itself for the very first place, then there are the rupestrian fields of the state of São Paulo de altitude (very little known), the high mountains of Minas Gerais, sandbank regions in many states, wood regions in the northeast, Chapada Diamantina (here, just Vitorino, I don't know this place yet), cerrado (woodland savannah) regions (in Minas Gerais, Goiás, Tocantins and even in the state of São Paulo). More than 20 years visiting those place which always give us big surprises...
ON: We noticed that Edmundo Ferreira da Silva is a personality "often evoked" in your descriptions. Could you tell something about him?
Has he found Zygopetalum silvanum? How many species did he find?
MAC: Edmundo is a friend from CPO, born in Bahia, who always shows up with novelties from that state, not just orchids. He really found many new plants, some of them, he sent to us (Vitorino and my self), we described and paying homage to him.
So, among others:
Zygopetalum silvanum , Oncidium silvanum , Oncidium ouricanense (described by Vitorino and I);
Maxillaria silvana (my description);
Promenaea silvana (described by Fábio de Barros with Eduardo L. M. Catharino);
Bifrenaria silvana (described by Vitorino);
Aspasia silvana (described by Fábio de Barros);
Epidendrum silvae (described by Eric Hágsater with Vitorino);
Rauhiella silvana (described by A. L. Toscano de Brito);
besides Encyclia fowliei , and Encyclia unaensis and
|Epidendrum successivum, that he found although not recognized as their discoverer.
I don't know if there is some one missing, I can not remember now.
ON: What is method of working, visiting habitats, herbariums?
MAC: The research is really complex and comprehends visiting habitats, herbariums (when possible, of course), consulting many herbariums abroad with the help of some (like Gustavo Romero, from Harvard) and specialized libraries, besides the subscription of many publications and acquisition of books concerning this subject. However the most important is the long and constant experience with the plants, the active participation on the shows, the visits to the nurseries e mainly, the attentive observation of the plants in the nature. I don't believe in researches just based on the literature, without steeping in the actual live of the plants, or to put it in other way, without getting a thorough knowledge of the habitats.
ON: You have a long way together in those studies. How does work this partnership?
MAC: We work together in some descriptions but in many occasions, our opinions are not the same, without hostility, of course. I do my researches for my own and just when there is a plant collected together or were sent to us or, even, when there is a positive intersection for the work, we do it together.
VPCN: I would add Gustavo Romero's statement "Only the joint work between the office botanist who has the means of obtaining the types and original descriptions and a local researcher can elucidate the confusion existing the world of orchids".
About this specific case of Encyclias, I have been collecting, since the beginning of the 80 years, original descriptions, books, material in alcohol of every species.
ON: You did an ample study about this genus and I noticed some interested details that is worth to be clarified. I mean, many of the species have been described more than once. For example, Encyclia advena (Rchb. f. ) C. Porto & Brade would be our well known Encyclia megalantha, so this name is not valid?
VPCN: Yes, after a carefully observation, after reading and reading again the original description and examining the drawing of the holotype from Reichenbach Herbarium sent by Gustavo Romero, no doubt remained.
Some points of Encyclia advena description, flower quite big, beautiful and dark veined petals, made me believe that it was a question of Encyclia megalantha.
MAC: I did not study the subject to give you a answer. In fact, everything goes back to what we have already talked. I think that an exact definition of all this nomenclature is still far way since as we said before, it is artificial so passive of change at any moment.
ON: And Encyclia piracanjubensis, perazolliana and meneziana would be Encyclia argentinensis (Speg.) Hoehne?
MAC: In my opinion, yes
VPCN: Yes, I always say that when we analyze a plant we found, having in mind a future publication of a new species, it is essential to know the area of dispersion, its size, leaves, pseudobulbs, inflorescence, flowers distribution, correlation among the parts of components of the flowers, season of blooming, etc. Some times, the flowers are not so important, since their own natural variation makes them vary from a year to another.
We should say that such species occurs in such region, with such climate, having such dispersion area. Two close species which bloom at the same season, certainly will have tendency to hybrid and the two species will disappear as separated species.
ON: And Encyclia euosma would be Encyclia flabellifera? Encyclia cardimii would be Encyclia oncidioides?
MAC: In my opinion, the correct nomenclature is Encyclia euosma not Encyclia flabellifera. Concerning Encyclia cardimii, I consider it as a valid name, at least until we have a better study.
VPCN: I received from João Batista F. da Silva, when he came back from Kew, some slides from Reichenbach Herbarium that well illustrated Encyclia euosma, I could notice that it corresponded to Encyclia flabelifera Hoehne, although I do not agree with many things in the book about the Encyclias by Carl Withner, I agree with him about Encyclia euosma.
Concerning Encyclia cardimii, I analyze the holotype from Herbarium Bradeanum and do not have any doubt about being Encyclia oncidioides Lindl.
Marcos thinks that inside the group of Encyclia oncidioides should exist two species, I am reserved until I do not find the essential elements which characterize the two pretended species, to me, they remain as a same thing.
ON: Some authors consider Encyclia patens a different species from E. odoratissima, nevertheless you both consider Encyclia patens as the valid name and Encyclia odoratissima as a synonym. What have made you came to this conclusion?
VPCN: Nowadays I have not doubt about the priority of Encyclia patens Hook. regarding to Encyclia odoratissima Lindl.
MAC: I do not have a definition about this subject although I am using the name Encyclia patens to designate this (which one?) species.
ON:I notice that some species recently described are missing in "Icones", for example, Encyclia tocantinensis V. P. Castro & Campacci and Epidendrum presbyterio-ludgeronis Gomes Ferreira. Why?
MAC: Encyclia tocantinensis V. P. Castro & Campacci is a synonym to Encyclia gonzalezii L. C. Menezes, described months before. Concerning Epidendrum presbyterio-ludgeronis Gomes Ferreira, we do not know very well this plant and there are doubts and complex questions about the species closely related to Epidendrum nocturnum Jacq., so we prefer analyze more that group in order to come to a conclusion. It is possible that exist more species from this group.
ON- By the way, talking about synonym reminds me the genus Bifrenaria which species are all included in your "Icones". The species of this genus have been already known as Epidendrum, as Maxillaria, then as Stenocoryne, sometimes as Adipe, as Lycaste and even as Dendrobium, I noticed that in "Icones" as well in the CD, you kept all species as Bifrenaria. What is your opinion about the nomenclature of this genus, you do not agree with the migration of Bifrenaria tetragona and Bifrenaria wittigii to Cydoniorchis (l994), don't you?
MAC: I think it is a nonsense of office. Some authors have not new material to research so sometimes they separate genera, sometimes they put them together, without define criterions or just by pure preciosity. In my opinion, very often, they use different weights and measures to reach a conclusion a little bit forced. We should not forget that the nomenclature of the plants is something completely artificial since in the nature there is no genus, no family and we could say, neither species, just individuals that man insists in putting them together, classifying and naming them according to rules that can be true under certain angles but, certainly, they are not natural. It is a more philosophical question than a scientific one...
This is a characteristic of the human vanity, the will of perpetuating himself anyway. So, we put our names in things, stones, gravestone, orchids etc. deceiving ourselves with those attitudes. When there will be no more plants to be described, someone will create a new way of classifying and the thing starts again.
ON: In an interview for Orchid News, n.º 7, Lou Menezes talked about the doubt existing concerning Laeliocattleya albanensis (hybrid from Laelia grandis and Cattleya warneri) and Cattleya silvana Pabst. She even found Laelia grandis and Cattleya warneri blooming at the same habitat and crossed them. After she send the capsule to Jorge Verboonen (Orquidário Binot) and when the plants bloomed, they were exactly as Cattleya silvana. In the CD, Campacci shows pictures of Cattleya silvana. This means that both of you consider them as different species? Do you agree that the appearance of Cattleya silvana really reminds the genus Laelia?
MAC: Well, the plants resulting of that cross I saw were not similar to those I knew as Cattleya silvana found in the nature by Edmundo, although Maurício Verboonen (Orquidário Binot), calls them Cattleya silvana. I think that he should call them Lc albanensis, at least, is what they are, many companions agree with me. Anyhow I do not have a definition about this subject. Perhaps it should be considered as a natural hybrid, but it can be a plant that, even if it is a cross made by the nature, is going on specializing itself and in this case, I think it should be considered as a species. That is what occurs with rupicolous plants from Minas Gerais belonging to genus Laelia. All of them are really species or there is a group not still defined? There is another interesting case concerning Cattleya x dukeana Rchb. f., which occurs in the south of the state of São Paulo, at the seashore. This plant is natural hybrid of Cattleya guttata Lindl. and Cattleya bicolor Lindl. There is no more progenitors in their original form, all existing population is compounded by this hybrid, some specimens tend to one species, some to the other. So, this plant is coming across to a full process of specialization? When this plant will be consider as a species and not a hybrid any more?
ON: Which is your more important discovery?
VPCN: Things are relative and the importance you give to one or another description is very subjective, however a case concerning Bifrenaria stefanae should be commented.
MAC: I considered all discoveries similar... May be I could mention Cattleya tenuis Campacci & Vedovello, because of being plant belonged to a genus so study and many researchers did not notice it. Then a natural hybrid of this plant has been described, Cattleya x tenuata V. P. Castro & Campacci ex Braem, about this description and publication, there is a little extravagant history to be told... Not now!
ON: Could you explained what does this "ex" which appears after the name Cattleya tenuata means ?
MAC: It is used mainly when a author does the research about a new species and does not complete the work and the publication is done by someone else.
So, we have Cyrtopodium polyphyllum (Vell.) Pabst ex F. Barros, because Pabst was near to conclude that Cyrtopodium paranaense was, in fact, C. polyphyllum. He did not publish this work which was later did by Fábio de Barros, who, very properly, maintained Pabst's name.
With our Cattleya x tenuata, it did not happen exactly like this, that is why there is a little history...
ON: That's right. How can be explained the fact that Bifrenaria stefanae V. P. Castro has just been described in 1991 when it has a quite big geographic distribution, states of São Paulo, Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro. And Catasetum x pohlianum, in Parati, state of Rio de Janeiro?
All those states have been studies since the XIX century. The plant and the flower are not so small. Concerning Bifrenaria silvana V. P. Castro, I consider it different because the habitat, at least where it has been found until now is quite limited. .
MAC: All problem is centralized in the fact that the most part of our plants has been named by foreigner researches and the access to all material and information concerning those works is a little bit hard. If we add the conflicting information which has been occurring for more then a century and the mistakes of identification made by many researchers, those mistakes are result of the most varied difficulties, we will have panorama of the confuse situation regarding our plants. During the World Conference, in Rio de Janeiro, Gustavo Romero: - "Imagine a file of cards of all orchids described all round the world. Open any drawer of this file. Put your finger on any point and, in this point, no matter which one, you will have many problems to solve. " Or to put it another way, the problems exist in any group of orchid you decide to study...
VPCN: As Marco said, the descriptions of the orchids species have been done in the last century, by foreigner botanists, they were, succinct, in general, and without the suitable illustration; There also were the difficulties of communication among them, as a result, species have been re-described.
Many times, when botanists did a general revision of a work, they did not realize this and represented drawings of a species as if it was another. And this is the case of Bifrenaria stefanae presented in Flora Brasilica F. Hoehne as Bifrenaria vitellina Lindl.
As both are yellow and similar, only a detailed analyze by someone who is studying the genus can show the difference.
And we are talking about quite big plants. Extend it to another genus, mainly to genera of small flower (Pleurothalis etc...) to have an idea of the mess that should exist.
ON: You have been described many species from the State of Espírito Santo, place already well visited. What is the raison for "this distraction" of the researchers?
Marco, in an article about Kautskya espirito-santensis, speaking about those subject, you said that the great quantity of new species is due to the peculiar geographical conformation and to the ideal climate.
Recent discovery of this species, including a new genus, is due to the fact that they were practically micro-orchids as Kautskya and
MAC: First of all, an information, Kautskya espirito-santensis is not a valid species, as it has been described few months before in Germany as Schunkea vierlingii Senghas. The story about this fact is lamentable, not for me but for other peoples involved with this. After all, this is another story for another occasion...
Espirito Santo is, as a matter of fact, a state with a interesting geography that allows the existence of many different ecosystems, originating many endemic species. However, nowadays, I consider the states of Rio de Janeiro more interesting if you talk about ecological matters than the state of Espírito Santo. Besides, the destruction of the environment in this last state seems to be out of control. It doesn't matter if they were small plants, as they are very (more and more) enjoyed by the researchers and collectors.
VPCN: I think Marco has already answered it.
Concerning the scientific discussion, I presented my disagreement during the World Orchids Conference which took place in Rio, in September 1996, and has been published in the Proceedings.
ON: Vitorino, once you told me something about Encyclia fowliei. Do you remember that?
VPCN: A Encyclia fowlie should be called Encyclia silvana, it was agreed with Francisco Miranda who would be in charge of describing, unfortunately, the time went out and some people taking advantage of the gap and did the description.
ON: What about the species Encyclia found by Alex Primão in the region of Casa Branca, in the state of São Paulo, could they be synonyms? There is no new species as he though?
MAC: No, there is nothing new in what he wrote. As a matter of fact I thought very how could I say.... odd!
VPCN: In fact, just to complete what Marco said, they were just citations because not even a Latin description is presented.
I thought it is even interesting because it came up in contributing to show the great variation of Encyclia argentinensis.
ON: Why Epidendrum begotii (boletim CAOB 04/12/95) has not been included in "Icones"?
MAC: Well, it is a synonymy to Epidendrum dentilobum Ames, Hubbarb. & Schweinf.
ON: Since the decade of 80, many new species have been described mainly in Amazon region, Bahia (Chapada da Diamantina), places not too researched, although in other places present some things. This a sign that there will still have surprise regarding the new species?
MAC: No doubt about. João Batista is doing hard research in Amazon region and has verified new occurrences in Brazil and also found unknown species. I think that Brazil on the whole still has many thing to offer to us regarding the new species and occurrences. The country remains, in spite of everything, a little known.
VPCN: I could say that perhaps there will still have 30% of new species to be found.
ON: Concerning the habitats you visited and the species you have studied, which ones are threatened of extinction?
MAC: All of them, unfortunately. However, it seems to have already, a general consciousness or at least, of a great part of Brazilian people, concerning the environment preservation.
VPCN: No doubt about, the devastation is big mainly in the south of the state of Bahia as denunciated by Edmundo Ferreira da Silva. I expect that the future generations will be, one day, more conscious about the entire preservation of those habitats which are the biggest Brazilian treasures.
ON: Marco, and about the CD-ROM "Flora Brasileira - Orquídeas de A a L" that you have just finished? Could you say something?
MAC: The CD-ROM is the result of long time of work and researches about orchids. The idea is to do a dynamical work. This is a kind of thing that only the computer allows us to accomplish without excessively high costs. Thus, this first presumes a second (with orchids from M to Z, if it fits in a volume) and later do the third with the modifications and additions to both.
Due to the way the work has been done, it is addressed to a diversified public, always in an easy language with basic or essential information about many species. I looked for showing the greater number of species and some varieties, emphasizing the mainly characteristics of the species without worrying about the "quality of the flower". In some occasions, the pictures can not have that quality but the idea is exactly not only to show them in the best way but also the greatest number species.
I consider it is better to show a mediocre picture, between other of good quality, than not to show a certain species just because the photo is not that good.
The resolution using a monitor configured for 640 X 480 has the same intention , or either, to make that in one same space fits much more material, because there is a limit of physical space inside the CD. If we made it with another resolution, the amount of photos would fall for 1/4 of the current one, what I do not find is worth for the work.
Besides information about species, I also show habitats, present classification of the Orchidaceae family according to the most recent concepts, pay to homage to some personalities connected with orchids, etc.
ON: By the way, talking about "Icones Orchidacearum Brasilienses I", could you tell something to us. How long have you spent on it? From principle did you start to gather those? How do you present this work?
MAC: The idea came up to us long time ago however it is the result of work done by Vitorino and I have just did some drawings.
VPCN: The work lasted for 2 years and half.
The idea came up due to the need to create a work that could, in part, continue with the survey of the Brazilian orchids did by Guido Pabst in "Orchidaceae Brasilienses".
With the purpose of using the extensive work I have already done and offer to interested people an ample information, I present a systematic study about some genera, Bifrenaria, Pabstia and Encyclia.
Concerning the genus Encyclia, I presented a compendium of 34 species that will make easier the recognition of the species.
However I intend, in the future, publish an illustrated and detailed book about this subject showing my ideas about the genus and how this genus should be analyzed and how to distinguish the several species.
It is suitable to emphasize that the work would not be possible without the great majority of Marcos's drawings and his cooperation concerning the whole proceeding.
I should point out the help I got from Gustavo Romero relating with the descriptive procedure and the great cooperation of Mr. Sr. George Carr who helped me correcting the translations of the descriptions to English.
There are many other species which have not been included in this "Icones" and should be included in the second or third "Icones".
ON: Thank you.