Another terrifying thing is Laelia perrinii, we came across in Sumidouro,
at about 300m altitude. Apparently it was common in Casimiro de Abreu.
We found Laelia pumila in an old railway, in Lumiar, this species is almost extinct in this place but in other side of Nova Friburgo we found it in a brushwood in a reasonable quantity.
ON: What do you point out concerning the species you came across?
David: Laelia perrini. Cattleya guttata at the anticline near by Santa Maria Madalena, it just occurs at the shore but we came across to a great quantity in an oasis, we catalogue this kind of place as an oasis. There was Oncidium baueri, literally in great quantities.
ON: Have you still found Cattleya warneri?
David: No. Another one that deeply astonished me was Oncidium walueva, in Teresópolis Park. Among a heap of Sophronitis coccinea, exactly with the same kind of pseudobulb.
Have you found many Cyrtopodium?
David: Yes, not in Macaé de Cima but in the other side of Nova Friburgo, in the anticline, in a drier area.
You have a Cyrtopodium which was former known as andersonii and another one very big, enormous. We also came across to a Gomesa sessilis with an immense floral stem.
ON: Have you came across to many terrestrial orchids?
David: Many but finding terrestrial orchids in an original forest is very hard. When you walk inside, you are looking for epiphyte, you are not examining the ground.
You should find them during the blooming season, that is the problem. Besides the leaves of many terrestrial orchids are similar.
Isabel: Sacoila lanceolata is like grass.
David: We discovered a new species of Sauroglossum, it is not a variety, there is no doubt about. Even Pabst mentions only one species of Sauroglossum, nevertheless Hoehne mentions two.
Prescottia nivalis, one of the smallest flowers of the entire family.
Saurgolossum nitidum and Sauroglossum elatum, however nowadays
they are as synonym.
Isabel: You should pay more attention to terrestrial orchids. Because everyone, included those former researchers just look up and, eventually, they look down to walk. Thus or they just found epiphyte or they were not concerned about terrestrial. There are wonderful things.
David: There are 173 species. There are pages of Epidendrum which are terrestrial. The problem is there are much more studies in Kew Garden about our orchids than here.
ON: However there are many people doing a good work that remains unknown because they don't have a sponsorship or financial help and don't have their competence recognized.
Back to your research, how was it structured?
David: We divided the mountain in sections numbered from one to eight. All pair sections are place on the hillside such as Tinguá, for example. Cachoeira do Macacu, section 6, where we found Cattleya dormaniana, has 50 km.
section 8 goes through Cachoeira de Macacu until Santa Maria Madalena, this
is an immense area where we found Laelia perrini, at 350m altitude.
Nearby Lumiar, we found Stanhopea.
Isabel: And also near Sumidouro.
David: An enormous quantity of Stanhopea guttulata and an immense colony of Phragmipedium vittatum
It is moving to cry, we can't believe...
ON: Have you got there during the blooming season?
David: Yes, it last from October until April.
Isabel: This has a very long period of blooming.
David: Really, an enormous colony with about three hundreds plants more or less.
Isabel: Much more.
The colony has 70m. Also in section 3, we found Bletia catenulata
together with Phragmepedium vittatum, in a very specific
environment, with much humidity.
ON: It is interesting because in Massamababa restinga (sandbank), Bletia catenulata grows on sand, in soil that doesn't hold back water or humidity.
David: However I've read in Orchid Digest, an article by Fowlie (by l978), where he told the discovery of Phragmipedium vittatum with Bletia catenulata, in Goiás, exactly in the same circumstances, in the same environment. We had those absolute fantastic surprises which make you to stay sat down staring at all those things.
There is also Epidendrum aquaticum, Epidendrum dendrobioides
which looks like wheat, this is the most beautiful thing. David: In a more
inclined area protected from cattle, suddenly, you can find Epidendrum
dendrobioides, yellow, just looking like wheat.
There was a Laelia pumila which we were not looking for (as a matter of fact, we never are looking for something specific. I think that we just searched for Cattleya dormaniana which took 4 years to be found and Cattleya velutina that we didn't practically found), suddenly, I saw going down the river, after a rain, a trunk so I got a colony of bulbs. I found strange, it was so small that I immediately thought it couldn't be Encyclia neither Cattleya because all of our species are bifoliate but I didn't think about Laelia. We went on a little more and discovered a capsule which was clearly a fruit of Laelia. By the capsule, I deduced that April could be the month of blooming.
Isabel: We came back by this time we have calculated and you can't believe. I wanted to take pictures e more pictures.
I just can sit down and stay looking. There is half dozen cases like that,
Phragmipedium vittatum, Bletia catelunata, Laelia pumila,
my favorite among all, Laelia perrini and Cattleya guttata.
Leaving section 6, it means, Nova Friburgo, Macaé de Cima, going down Cachoeiras, in section four, two more chocks: Cochleanthes candida, white with that bluish strip, it was a shock but the biggest was with Huntleya meleagris. We found it suddenly, in a sub-wood, it looked like bromeliad, I stayed absolutely crazy and started to look those supposed bromeliad, in fact, Huntleya meleagris. What a wonderful view.
saccata was another shock.
We also found Cirrhaea longiracemosa with 15 floral stems, all of them blooming at the same time, in section 6, near by Cachoeira de Macacu, at 400m.
The only one Cirrhaea grows over 400m is C. dependens, found at 1.200m.
What could you notice regarding to vegetative habits?
David: The best substrate to Oncidium is rotten wood but just until a certain degree, it should be rotting. To Laelia crispa, the first branch of the trees is fantastic and it can be near to the ground or 20m high. Place a Laelia crispa in a trunk of a tree, it survives but not exactly if you put it in the first bifurcation. The difference between the trunk and the first branch is really great.
ON: Coming back to the project of conservation. Your work speaks by itself however not even every one knows it, can you talk a little more about it.
David: Almost 30 years ago, we settled a scheme to defend the region which is not ours, it is called a Macaé de Cima reserve. To defend it, we need research. With the research of Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro named Forest Atlantic Program, for example, no magistrate will accept a condominium of 200 houses in this valley. That is why we need time to research and to plan very well the conservation, from the bottom to the top.
Isabel: The wood is intact there.
ON: Have you got any financial resources to carry out this project?
Isabel: When we tried to get resources to do the research, people just said to us that research is not culture. How can you do a book without researching?
ON: And this make the execution more difficult.
David: There are some difficulties. For example, we need a van, a second hand made by 98, or something like this.
Isabel: I am more practical, we need a better van, more tough, more modern, a jeep, a stronger car. We have a Gurgel and a Volkswagen van made in 86, we bought it adding our money to a donation from a client who wanted to help us. This van breaks down very often because the roads are very unsafe.
David: When we are researching in other region of the Serra, Trajano, Visconde de Imbé, it is hard to communicate, in those areas, there is no signal to use the mobile nor ordinary telephones. We had a telephone by satellite, but we sold it when we finished the project because it was very expensive.
Isabel: And we have bought on our own.
ON: The research concluded, how will you present the results, publishing a book?
David: The book is already ready, it will have at about 750 pages and 138 are colored. A4 size. The edition is by Richard Warren, there is at about 350 color photos by Isabel Moura Miller, about 200 drawing on Pleurothallidinae by Helmut Seehawer and 16 watercolors by Álvaro Pessanha concerning the most important genera such as Cattleya, Epidendrum, Habenaria, Sophronitis, Maxillaria, Oncidium, except the group drawn by Helmut. Besides there are drawings by Isabel and my self.
ON: Do you already have someone to sponsor the publication?
David: Let me explain the strategy: we found out that no one gives money to do researches. First you should have the product and as we have now, we will come back to this matter. Philipp Cribb, from Kew Garden, came here. He read the introduction, loved it and wants to publish there, in Portuguese as well in English. We have a project exactly as Kew Garden wants, an excellent editorial project. But I think that the this kind of book, in Portuguese, should be edited in Brazil.
Isabel: The book covers all the history about the Leopoldina Railway, Coffee, Gold and Sugar cycles
David: We show that, in the area of conservation, doing is not the problem, this is very easy, it is a politico-social matter. We know how to do.
Sell it as a need for the society, THAT is the problem.
All photos by Isabel Miller