Tuesday 18 May

We leave the small farmstead and drive up the mountain road until it turns from concrete to cobble – each stone laid by hand who knows how many years previously.

First stop on the dirt track

The road peters out into a rough dirt track, with great runnels eroded where heavy rainwater had coursed down.

We suddenly stop as someone discovers the large lily Cardiocrinum giganteum down a deep gully, and we slither down the hillside for our first real find. Unfortunately it’s going over and not a good specimen, but we’re thrilled none the less.

Cardiocrinum

There are other interesting species along the track and we wander in all directions fascinated by this new flora.

Gordon is particularly interested in an arisaema growing on the bank. I’m familiar with the British native version, jack-in-the-pulpit, but not the “garden varieties” that enthusiasts grow which are much more elegant. It really is thrilling to see these plants growing in their native habitat.

Arisaema sp

Finally we ended in a grassy clearing – the start of an ancient stone path over the mountain and three days walk to the nearest town on the other side of the ridge.

We discovered many interesting species, hydrangea, iris tectorum (Iridaceae) – a native of China, growing on forest edges, meadows, sunny banks, at 500 to 3500 m – terrestrial and epiphytic orchids (sadly not in flower), many other herbaceous species and lots and lots of trees!

Gloxinia aeschynanthus

Other species weidentified:

The epiphytic Gesneriaceae, Gloxinia aeschynanthus (sp minutes ?): leaves 6.5 – 19cm long, 2-5cm wide. Flowers number 3-6 and are 1.2cmlong. Grows in Yunnan on trees in montane forests at 650-2,000m.

Camellia: Schima wallichii (Theaceae). Evergreen tree 7-12m high, cream-coloured flower, fragrant, solitary 2-3 clustered, 5 petals. Flowers April – May. In broad-leaved forests or mixed forests 300-2700m.

The path itself wasinteresting and reminded me of the old drovers paths in Devon, deeply cut into the ground with high banks and gnarled roots.

It was quite a steep hike and it was taking its toll on our knees on the way back especially as it started to rain and was becoming increasingly slippery.

Klaas navigating the deep cut path

When we got back to the farm hostelry, Hans had picked a sample which he hadn’t identified! I recognised the large white bracts as being similar to Emmenopterys henryi, and still had my research notes on the laptop from last year with an article about it flowering in Belgium.

Musseanda divaricata
I was thrilled to be able to identify Mussaenda divaricata from the Rubiaceae family for the botanists. It has tiny golden yellow flowers in clusters, like Eh but a leggy scrambler rather than a robust tree. Described as an evergreen climbing shrub, 2-4m high. Flowers April – June in open forest and margins 1020-1800m. he calyx tube is 5-lobed, with enlarged leaf-like, white bracts ovate or broad-ovate, 3-6cm long, 2-4.5cm wide.
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