In January of 2000 I had the pleasure of showing my good friend Leo Song my favorite places in Oaxaca, Mexico. We visited the new ethnobotanical gardens in Oaxaca city and climbed some of the adjacent hills looking at the local flora. No trip to Oaxaca is complete without taking a bus along route 175 from Oaxaca City to Valle Nacional where my Chinantec friends live. This route starts in an arid area and climbs past Ixtlan de Juarez and other Pinguicula sites. Soon it passes through pine and oak forest at a higher altitude where it can get very foggy. Bromeliads, ferns and orchids cover the trees. Soon you pass the type location for Pinguicula hemiepiphitica where it grows on the north-facing road cut and adjacent tree trunks. Then the road climbs steeper and you see some magnificent views of the surrounding mountains. The road then descends into the Atlantic rainforest. Giant ferns and elephant ears cover the roadsides. We stayed a few days with my good friends who have Ďadoptedí me. They live in a paradise of tropical plants. My friend Javier gave us a ride to Vera Cruz where we visited the gardens of Alfred Lau, Las Camelinas. It was January and most of the Pinguicula were dormant but we were still amazed by what we saw. We did manage to see P.gigantea, P.agnata, P.ehlersae and a few others in flower. Unfortunately nobody there could tell us where the plants were collected so identifying most of them was hopeless. The great wall at the gardens was covered with Pinguicula hibernacula. I must go visit in July when the Pinguicula are in summer leaf and flower. DoŮa Ana kindly allowed us to browse the gardens with one of the students there. I thank both of them for their time and allowing us to photograph many of their beautiful plants. On our return trip we stayed a few days in Mexico City. A professor from UNAM graciously met us at the airport and showed us around. The highlight of our stay was looking at the Pinguicula herbariums at MEXU. I was disappointed that P. utricularioides was on loan, but I did see many spectacular specimens. What I remember most is the variation within species. I definitely will make another trip to MEXU and spend a few DAYS there. ER
Above Ixtlan de Juarez, Oaxaca.
Cloud Forest
Leo inspecting herbarium specimens. Ed by stack of over 50 Pinguicula herbarium vouchers.




Pinguicula from 

(Sierra Tamaulipas)


Las Camelinas -
Greenhouse where Pinguicula are grown.
Roadside full of moss
P. gigantea
Forms of P. agnata
P. ehlersiae
P. gigantea
Unidentified dormant Pinguicula
Dr. Lau's wall is covered with Pinguicula.
Ed Read, Leo Song Jr., Mrs. Lau, Javier
at Las Camelinas, Fortin de las Flores.

Field trip to Alfred Lauís Gardens

by Edward Read1

Ed's wold