It’s Sunday, so we were going to take it easy. Only two locations to visit. Both close to Cajamarca, we should have been done before lunch. But of course, that didn’t happen. The first one was a site towards Cumbamayo, which according to everybody that I heard about it, is an absolutely stunning natural site. Unfortunately, Cumbamayo lies at over 3300 m and our plants don’t like that, so I’ll have to come back another time to visit it.
We drove, first the wrong road, that ended in a barrio (slum) and then the right one. We reasoned we would have to reach the outskirts of town. So, we zig-zagged through rows of houses upwards from Cajamarca, from 2600m to 3000. By then we left most houses behund us. The location should be approximately 5 km out of town and at 3000 m. Now these two things coincided nicely, but at that spot we found a eucalyptus plantation. We drove on, hoping to find something, but the next 10 km was filled with fields or eucalyptus, no rocky, cliffy semi-wet lime stone that we liked. When the soil turned red, we decided to turn. S habrochaites doesn’t like red soil.
On the way down I stopped at probably every yellow plant I saw. Philippe seemed to get a bit annoyed and so did the drivers behind us,. When we were at 2800 m well in between all kinds of houses, I suddenly saw a big tomato-like plant in a field. Right next to a pile of rubbish, but surrounded by 6 others. They were growing half on a ancient wall and close to some irrigation or drainage canal, so there’s your rocky, semi-wet lime stone site. 🙂
After this site, we headed down. We skipped lunch, because we didn’t see any proper restaurants and didn’t want to make a detour. Now we went to the other side of Cajamarca. The same direction as I drove with the lovely Toyota mechanic, so I know that there were at leats 3 plants. We collected those and headed back. On our way back Philippe spotted some yellow flowers in a maize field. They turned out not to be tomato. Shortly after he again saw yellow flowers, this time near a maize field. And this time they were S habrochaites. We walked towards them an a tiny teeth-less lady wanted to know what we were looking for. I tried to explain in my best Spanish, using the name that someone tried to explain to me a few days ago. Tocte Sepolla, or something like that. Whether this was the correct name or not, doesn’t matter. She frantically began to pick leaves and wanted to give them to me. When I explained that I only wanted leaves with ‘sintomas de tizon’ and showed her a nice blighted leaf, she looked particularly confused. Unfortunately, I still don’t have more phrases ready, so I had to leave her confused and we carried on picking samples.
By 14:00 we were back at the hotel. Plenty of time to prep and sort the samples. We had quite a lot, but I was finished in time to have a very sunday-like coffee with cake in a neat little cafe.
Last night it rained and you could really feel how the more bushy S habrochaites captured a lot of moisture. These were also the ones that had much more clear symptoms than the ones that were more exposed to the sun, like the ones directly along the road. Today, the city encountered more showers and periods of sun. Perfect blightweather. A shame we’re about to leave, because there will be more symptoms on the plants the coming days.