ON: We can deduce in your work that the sandbanks (or sandy coastal plains) of Espírito Santo are not uniform. The north sandbank is completely different from that in the south. And the relation between the sandbank/internal regions, did you also study it?

Cláudio: They sandbanks are different. I should conclude about it because I did not gather the information to show the connection between the sandbanks and the interior. I intended to show how was the distribution of the plants within the sandbanks. When I noticed the possibility of analyzing in this way, I could just do it by inference because I just noticed that after getting the information. Now, I will get bigger areas, the Tableland forest that starts at Rio Doce (Doce River) and goes until Salvador and the hillside Atlantic Forest that goes through Sao Paulo and so on, but I will stop at Rio de Janeiro. I will take two areas of similar size and internal ecosystem and comparing their plants with those from sandbanks.

ON: I noticed that the richer genus you found was Epidendrum with 7 species, then Pleurothallis with 6, Catasetum and Habenaria with 4, Cattleya, Cyrtopodium, Oncidium, Prescottia, and Sobralia with 3...

Cláudio: And more than 20 genera with just one species represented. This is an interesting thing which shows very well that the sandbank is not a very old ecosystem where there is not so much speciation nor many species spring up. What dropped here, grown and stayed there. So there are many genera with 2, 3, 4 species. There is no Pleurothallis as found in the Atlantic Forest, where I can list 30 Pleurothallis species in the same place. We have 6 Pleurothallis, 7 Epidendrum. There is not an environment that has perfomed an evolution with the Pleurothallis. Atlantic Forest and Pleurothallis are closely connected but the sandbanks and Pleurothallis, don't. Pleurothallis that dropped, lived, settled down, so I have many genera with few species in each one. This showed that not only the ecosystem is new but also it is an ecosystem without endemic species. Why? Because no one was born in the sandbank. They went there and are very recent. There should be just a very few species restrict to the sandbanks.
Due to fact that the sandbank is very recent, we believe that the process of evolution to form new species in that habitat didn't still happen. This is a conclusion that other researchers also got in other sandbanks, with other families. The Orchidaceae family behaves in the same way. I did a remark about it in my thesis.

ON: Why do you prefer Beadlea instead of Cyclopogon?

Foto/Photo:Cláudio Nicoletti  Foto/Photo:Cláudio Nicoletti
Baedlea elegans

Cláudio: My thesis didn't discuss taxonomy. Since the beginning, I decided to do the floristics, not a taxonomical floristics nor discussing the taxonomy of a group, just floristics. As we should adopt a nomenclature, I adopted Beadlea, Sophronitis.

ON: I was about to ask it, do you agree with this nomenclature, Sophronitis?

  Cláudio: I agree that this group is badly arranged and the option for this moment can be Sophronitis. It is a good strategic to use Sophronitis, mainly in the information about conservation.
I want call the attention to the fact that in a list of threatened species, the names can change.
I call the attention because a species can be presented for selling with another name but the species remains threatened.
It was worth to me. I adopted it. We
can use the nomenclatural changes as an advantage.
Foto/Photo:Cláudio Nicoletti
Sophronitis cernua
  ON: You can change the name of a threatened species but it remains threatened.

Cláudio: Yes, of course. The biological being remains threatened but the name has changed.
It is the same thing as your were condemned and change your identity number. So I use to show or, at least, to raise the curiosity of the people when they notice that a name has changed. One will say: "- My goodness, the guy found an endangered species or critically in danger in the sandbank". He knows by heart the 108 plants because he did an inspection but this name is not there. So, he has to get a conclusion, he realizes that the nomenclature has change and he is not updated. It worked to me but I didn't realize that when I adopted it, I just adopted. I didn't give the taxonomical explication for this.
Well, do you want to know if I like or if I don't like Beadlea, or Sophronitis? I think that both groups are complicated.
The Spirantineas are complicated in general, they are not cultivated, there are not alive collections of those plants. They are very softy plants, it is hard to see what is the rostellum, what is the pollinia which is upside down so those groups are not very well arranged. Garay tried to arrange and I can separate very well Cyclopogon from Beadlea. In fact, the name Cyclopogon is just for a Brazilian plant, described by Barbosa Rodrigues. This is a group of plants placed in another region. And my knowledge about foreign plants is not enough to effectively analyze it. So, I adopted Beadlea.

ON: And as for other species, they also are Beadlea?

Cláudio: No, there are another modifications

ON: Getting back to conservation, the pressure of collecting indiscriminately is a critical point of this question?

Cláudio: This point is one of the criterions of conservations I adopted in my thesis. Nowadays, the state of Espírito Santo is producing plants of very good quality. I hope that within 5 years, all orchidists will be conscious that the plant to have at home is the plant of good quality. Wladyslaw Zaslawki, for example, a friend of mine, produces plants of good quality from all those crosses, with good parents, he agrees with me. Wladyslaw's Cattleya schelleriana you can't be found in the nature, it is a selected plant, like a chester, which is no more a hen.

ON: It is another thing, isn't it?

Cláudio: The betterment of the species by the cultivation could bring the contempt for the wild plants. I hope so but there is the other question: Having the different. That plant which is reproduced by Wladyslaw, which is wonderful, everyone can by but the wild plant, no. It is happening and it greatly displeases me, however I gave many lectures to the people of the local society, in Espírito Santo. I have attend a lecture gave by Alex, Wladyslaw's son and I felt gratified because I planted a little seed. He thinks that, nowadays, with the technology we have and because of the plants we have in cultivation, no one needs to collect plants in the wood. He showed two photos, the wild plant and the selected plant. Cattleya loddigesii became round, the wild plant … homely. But it can be an alba, it means, it can be a diseased plant, can't it?

ON: Orchidophia is the great horror circus.

Cláudio: The big diseases, the imperfections are seen as differences. More than that, seen as rarity.

ON: And are reproduced. That deformity is reproduced.

Cláudio: Roberto Kaustky's tri-labellum Cattleya schilleriana is a faulty one.

  ON: In your thesis, you mentioned Bc. fregoniana as a synonym of Bc. Tramandahy, but this one is a cross of Cattleya leopoldii with Brassavola tuberculata and the first one a cross of Cattleya guttata with Brassavola tuberculata.
Foto/Photo:Sergio Araujo
Brassavola tuberculata
Foto/Photo:Sergio Araujo
Cattleya guttata
Foto/Photo:Cláudio Nicoletti
Brassocattleya tramandahy
  Cláudio: Who said that I don't considere Cattleya leopoldii and C. guttata the same thing? Since I accepted Cattleya leopoldii and C. guttata as just one species, this hybrid does not settle down because it has been done with the same species.
Mapa/Map:Sergio araujo
Something calls my attention, which is the known distribution of Cattleya leopoldii? Santa Catarina, Rio Grande do Sul, there and south of Bahia. And C. guttata?

ON: From Rio Grande do Sul until Pernambuco.

Cláudio: This kind of distribution can be considered as a cline of distribution, a clinal distribution where part of the distribution can be seen as extremity. Let us suppose that the distribution really finishes there, in the south of Bahia. I won't take this plant as an example, so let's take any plant that occurs from Bahia until Rio Grande do Sul.

A plant which occur in Bahia and the one which occurs in Rio Grande can't be crossed by themselves, do you agree?
  The plant all along its distribution has the capacity of reproducing by its own self. It is called rule of reaction, you take a plant from its habitat, it can survive and assures its reproduction even when crossed, intercrossed all along its distribution or all along its extremities. However we see that some plants were not able to reproduce with their extremities. The extremities were so different from the middle and when you take the plants from some place and put them anywhere, they don't reproduce but the genes from one place can get those from another place? They can because plants can reproduce with those from Bahia, Espírito Santo, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Santa Catarina, Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul. This wasn't the moment to separate those two things into two different species. leopoldii can just be the extremities of the distribuition of the guttata.

ON: To tell the truth, I look at both and stay in doubt.

Cláudio: So do I, mainly in the most beautiful area of sandbank I have ever known in Brazil, the Doce River's mouth (Rio Doce). You can see Cattleya guttata with spot, without spot, yellow, green, wide lip, narrow lip, rose, red, half opened lip, semi-closed lip. I have seen a lot of plants in Espírito Santo. It is very easy to see Cattleya guttata when it is blooming because it is abundantly distributed where it occurs. Where it occurs, it occurs with strength. Where occurs Cattleya harrisoniana, be careful because, perhaps, you can't see it. I consider the same hybrid because I considered the two plants as the same species.
Bc tramandahy has been described in an odd magazine, it could be considered, in the future, as not valid. In this case, the description did by Lou Menezes will be valid and so the name she gave. She described it because she considers as two different species of Cattleyas. I adopted the oldest name because considered them as the same species. How could two different species generate hybrids exactly identical? Bc tramandahy and Bc fregoniana are identical.

ON: How about the criterions of conservation you adopted?

Cláudio: They are many: the size of the area and amplitude of the distribution, the presence of a Unity for Conservation (Environmental Reserve), the distribution in sandbanks, environmental alterations in the habitats, variation of the population and the pressure of collecting between some others.
The orchidists find them very polemical because one of them is the pressure of collecting that the plants are suffering in their natural environment by the orchidists and commercial growers.
I hold my tongue about those habitat of C. guttata but one day I noticed that the associations had discovered them. There are good people but they collected a lot there...
Cattleya guttata grows on the ground, on the sand, forming bushes, 200 flowers in each bush, it is crazy.
Ah, Brassavola also grows on the ground. In the sandbanks, the growth of the orchids as epiphyte or terrestrial is not precisely defined. Many plants are facultative holoepiphyte.
They are found growing over a phorofyte or on the ground. It dropped, germinated, could live, it is happy.
You find plants, which are exigent concerning the substrate, growing in specific environmental conditions imposed by the phorofyte under which they pass all their existence.
You find hemi-epiphyte plants that established a temporary relation with the phorofyte, they can germinate on the trees and when they are growing, they settle down on the ground or they can germinate on the ground and climb the phorofyte, later.
There are the terrestrial species that live all their existence settled down on the sandy soil.
Turning back to the conservation, I put the criterions adopted by the international scientific community and finished by adopting my own criterions. So my thesis talked about ecology, phytogeography and conservation, besides measuring things, it created methodology for the others to measure too.
This is most interesting point of the thesis and it is the most successful. People want read, I should publish it because people want to use it in the status of conservation
Among the criterions, I created this one about the pressure of collecting with levels from zero to tree. A wonderful plant but unknown, for example, my Sobralia with almost 3m height with so big flower, does not suffer pressure of collecting because nobody knows about. Who will collect something that he even knows? This is one of the preponderant criterions to increase the level of threat of the plants.
  ON: Which are the most threatened plants?

Cláudio: The analyse of the criterions brought to the conclusion that:
   - 26 have low risk of extinction, practicaly they are not menaced of extinction, at least until know.
   - 24 are vulnerable,
   - 17 are threatened of extinction and
   - 4 are critically threatened of extinction.
  They are: Cattleya harrisoniana, Sophronitis (or Laelia) grandis, Cattleya duvenii (a hybrid Cattleya harrisoniana x Cattleya guttata and as hybrid has a restrict distribution) and Xylobium colleyi, poor Xylobium, I don't know why it is critically endangered.
As a matter of fact, I discovered the reason: this is the only one Xylobium that has just a leave. Every one collects Xylobium colleyi in the sandbank thinking that it is a Bifrenaria.
This poor ugly plant, in fact it is pretty, for being similar to Bifrenaria, has been suffering a terrible pressure.
Nowadays, I see this chapter of conservation in a most beautiful way comparing to my opinion when I was working. After scientifically publishing it, I will try to translate into a more accessible form for the non-expert public and publish it in a magazine such "Orquidário", CAOB bulletin.
Foto/Photo:Cláudio Nicoletti
Xylobium colleyi

  ON: You said that you came to the Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro, by mistake, what does it mean?

Cláudio: We wanted the transference of the Biology Museum Mello Leitão from Minister of Culture into the Minister of Environments. Sergio Bruni, the president of the Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro, Ney, the mayor of the Garden and Marli, the responsible for the researches went there to do a written report to be send to the Minister of Environments. Before going, they send a fax with some questions to be answered but the fax was a little faded but it talked about a report we had to do. The director of the Museum, Hélio de Queiroz Boudet Fernandes and I did the report in a weak. This report was concise but we indicated the documents we reported in an annex. When they arrived with the original document they sent to us, we realized the mistake because they would do the report, not us. They concluded that I was good in this kind of things and called me come to the Botanical Garden.

ON: What you do exactly in the Botanical Garden? What does it means, trustee of the alive collections of Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro?

Cláudio: This function has already existed here, some time ago. When the direction of the Botanical Garden went to Mello Leitão Museum to do the appraisal, they verified that we have organized the alive collection, in a year, with the trainees. It didn't concern only the orchids. In Santa Teresa, there are many new plants of different families, there a great number of gesneriaceas, bromeliaceae. There was a complete survey with the origin of the plants and every thing.
They recognized my capacity of doing a report, an official formal document to the Federal Government and the capacity of organizing a plant collection. And they called me to this function that needs those two features.
What am I doing here? Nowadays, the collection has at about 40.000 plants and we believe more than 8.000 species included everything.
Luiz Carlos Giordano is creating a data center. All information about the plants will get into this data center and someone will manage it. Managing it can signify many things: put at photographers disposal, researchers to do DNA, for example. How can we do the DNA with a dried plant? So the alive collections have another dimension nowadays. Before we were concerned just about conservation, reintroduction of the species, today there is the scientific question because I just need to get a small slice to know the genetic of the plant. So we have to manage our collection but we have some problems to do this because a garden with 193 years. Many directions, many generations passed here but they didn't assure the continuity of the scientific information. Concerning some collections, the origin is always questionable. We are trying to restore the past of many collections but there are others that we will never get a conclusion about them. So someone needs to organize and put all those things at the society disposal. Someone should accomplish the plan of management of the Botanical Garden, maintain those places pleasant for tourists and keep the plants healthy. We are really striving to accomplish the plan of management. The data center is not still ready to be at the public disposal and the plan of management is priority zero one.

ON: Is there a shock between the public and the plants?

Cláudio: There always is, it is too much complicated. In Mello Leitão Museum, there are just 7 hectares with three and half hectares visited. Here, there are more than 50 visited and cultivated. We have at about 600.000 visitors in a year. 300.000 pay the entrance fee. The others don't pay any thing to the Botanical Garden, they have free admission or they have a reduction such as students, schools...

ON: Associates...

Cláudio: Associates as those from the Society of Botanical Garden's Friends.

ON: So the associate is not interesting to the Botanical Garden?

Cláudio: No, the associate is not interesting to the Botanical Garden. He pays an annuity of R$ 90,00 and anyone of the family included the baby sitter who brings the children can come to the Garden. R$ 90,00 doesn't pay a month, if the person comes every day.


73 taxa with 71 species, 2 natural hybrids distributed by 41 genera and an intergeneric hybrid
(Bold = new citation to the state of Espírito Santo)
01- Beadlea elegans (Hoehne) Garay (Cyclopogon elegans Hoehne)
02- Brassavola tuberculata Hook ( Brassavola perrini (Rchb. f.) Lindl.
03- X Brassocattleya tramandahy Hort. (Sin. Brassocattleya fregoniana L. C. Menezes)
04- Campylocentrum aciculatum (Rchb. f. & Warm ex. Rchb. f.
05- Campylocentrum micranthum (Lindl.) Rolfe
06- Catasetum discolor (Lindl.) Lindl.
07- Catasetum luridum (Link.) Lindl.
08- Catasetum macrocarpum Rich. ex. Kunth
09- Catasetum purum Nees & Sinning
10- Cattleya x duveenii Pabst & A.
11- Cattleya gutata Lindl.
12- Cattleya harrisoniana Bateman ex Lindl.
13- Cleistes revoluta (Barb. Rodr.) Schltr.
14- Cochleanthes wailesiana (Lindl.) Schultes & Garay
15- Coryanthes speciosa (Hook.) Hook.
16- Cyrtopodium gigas (Vell.) Hoehne
17- Cyrtopodium holstii L. C. Menezes
18- Cyrtopodium polyphyllum (Vell.) Pabst ex F. Barros
19- Dimeranda emarginata (G. Mey. ) Hoehne
20- Dryadella obrieniana (Rolfe) Luer
21- Eltropectris calcarata (Sw.) Garay & Sweet
22- Eltropectris triloba (Lindl.) Pabst
23- Epidendrum coronatum Ruiz & Pavón
24- Epidendrum densiflorum Hook
25- Epidendrum denticulatum Barb. Rodr.
26- Epidendrum imatophyllum Lindl.
27- Epidendrum latilabrum Lindl.
28- Epidendrum rigidum Jacq.
29- Epidendrum secundum Jacq.
30- Epistephium lucidum Cogn.
31- Galeandra stangeana Rchb. f.
32- Galeotia ciliata (Morel) Dressler & Christenson
33- Habenaria fastor Warm.
34- Habeanria leptoceras Hook.
35- Habenaria parviflora Lindl.
36- Habenaria repens Nutt.
37- Koellensteinia altissima Pabst
38- Malaxis parthonii Morren
39- Mesadenella cuspidata (Lindl.) Garay
40- Notyllia pubescens Lindl.
41- Octomeria alpina Barb. Rodr.
42- Oeceoclades maculata (Lindl.) Lindl.
43- Oncidium baueri Lindl.
44- Oncidium ciliatum Lindl.
45- Oncidium pumillum Lindl.
46- Paradisanthus micranthum (Barb. Rodr.) Schltr.
47- Pelexia maculata Rolfe
48- Pleurothallis aquinoi Schltr.
49- Pleurothallis auriculata Lindl.
50- Pleurothallis grobyi Bateman ex Lindl.
51- Pleurothallis obovata (Lindl.) Lindl
52- Pleurothallis ramphastorhyncha (Barb. Rodr.) Cogn.
53- Pleurothallis saundersiana Rchb. f.
54- Polystachya concreta (Jacq.) Garay & Sweet
55- Prescottia oligantha (Sw.) Lindl.
56- Prescottia plantaginea Lindl.
57-Prescottia stachyodes (Sw.) Lindl.
58- Prosthechea fragran s (Sw.) W.E. Higgins ( Encyclia fragrans (Se.) Lemée
59- Prosthechea pygmaea (Hook.) W.E. Higgins ( Encyclia pygmaea (Hook) Dressler)
60- Pseudolaelia vellozicola (Hoehne) C. Porto & Brade
61- Rauhiella silvana Toscano (Rauhiella ornata Miranda)
62- Sacoila lanceolata (Aubi.) Garay
63- Sarcoglottis fasciculata (Vell.) Schltr.
64- Sobralia liliastrum Lindl.
65- Sobralia sessilis Lindl.
66-Sobralia sp. nova
67- Sophronitis cernua Lindl.
68- Laelia grandis Lindl. & Paxton ( Sophronitis grandis (Lindl. & Paxton) Van den Berg & M. W Chase.
69- Trichocentrum cornucopiae Linden & Rchb. f.
70- Vanilla bahiana Hoehne
71- Vanilla chamissonis Klotzsch ex Cogn.
72-vXylobium colleyi (Bateman ex Lindl.) Role
73- Zygopetalum intermedium Lodd.

Species also occurring in sandbanks of the state of Rio de Janeiro.

01-Brassavola tuberculata Hook. (Brassavola perrini (Rchb. f.) Lindl.
02- Campylocentrum micranthum (Lindl.) Rolfe
03- Catasetum discolor Lindl.
04- Catasetum luridum (Link) Lindl.
05- Cattleya guttata Lindl.
06- Cattleya harrisoniana Bateman
07- Cyrtopodium polyphyllum (Vell.) Pabst ex F. Barros ( Cyrtopodium paranaense Schltr.)
08-Dryadella obrieniana (Rolfe) Luer
09- Eletroplectris calcarata (Sw.) Goray & Sweet
10- Eletroplectris triloba (Lindl.) Pabst
11- Epidendrum denticulatum Barb. Rodr.
12- Epidendrum rigidum Jacq.
13- Habenaria leptoceras Hook. (Habenaria armondiana Hoehne)
14- Habenaria parviflora Lindl. (Cabo Frio e outras)
15- Habenaria repens Nutt. (Habenaria taubertiana Cogn.)
16- Oeceoclades maculata (Lindl.) Lindl.
17- Oncidium ciliatum Lindl.
18- Pleurothallis ramphastorhyncha (Barb. Rodr.) Cogn.
19- Pleurothallis saundersiana Rchb. f.
20- Prescottia oligantha (Sw.) Lindl. ( Prescottia micrantha Lindl. )
21- Prescottia plantaginea Lindl.
22- Prescottia stachyoides (Sw.) Lindl.
23- Sacoila lanceolata (Aubl.) Garay
24- Vanilla bahiana Hoehne
25- Vanilla chamissonis Kl. var. brevifolia Cogn

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