Saturday, October 3, 2015

Dichaea hystricina Rchb. f. 1865 found with multiple blooms "in situ" in El Yunque forest, Puerto Rico.

Yesterday I went hiking in El Yunque forest, in the east of the island of Puerto Rico.  The weather was outstandingly horrid for macro photography.  Wind gusts at times seemed to reach tropical storm strength.   At times it was raining, then sunny, then raining again or drizzling or raining lightly and it changed all the time.  Then there was fog and 100% humidity.   But who says one has to go out to take photos only in nice weather?

For years now I had missed the peak blooming of Dichaea, but yesterday I hit the jackpot, I found several plants with flowers.  Unfortunately, taking photos of the flowers proved challenging due to the wind gusts and the constant rain.  Also I had to change lenses, a nightmarish thing to do under such conditions and only having the tiniest rain coat on.  Nevertheless I managed to snap a few acceptable photos.  

A thing saddened me, it is clear many of the plants succumbed to the long spell of unusually dry weather earlier in the year.  This species was very common near Mount Britton.  Now only a fraction of the previous population remains in the area.  Other species appear to have fared even worse.  I could not find Lepanthes in areas where they were quite common, not even a single plant.  

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