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A Cactus Odyssey: Journeys in the Wilds of Bolivia, Peru, by James D. Mauseth

By James D. Mauseth

This e-book offers the tales of 3 avid box biologists who over the process 15 years often traveled jointly looking for cacti in Bolivia, Peru, and Argentina. The conversational sort of this travelogue permits us to proportion within the authors' pleasure as they stumble upon vegetation that experience hardly ever, if ever, been written approximately. approximately 195 striking colour photos accompany the bright descriptions of bizarre cacti becoming along non-succulent vegetation, at altitudes of 8000 toes or more-and even in rainforests! A Cactus Odyssey will curiosity gardeners, tourists, and conservationists from worldwide who desire to research extra approximately those impossible to resist vegetation, and it's the wish of the authors that this booklet will motivate others to adopt their very own cactus odyssey.

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Additional info for A Cactus Odyssey: Journeys in the Wilds of Bolivia, Peru, and Argentina

Example text

Flowering plants may have arisen about 120 million years ago, and because the ancestors of cacti were sophisticated flowering plants, flowering plants must have been evolving for several tens of millions of years before cacti developed. The south Atlantic was probably wide enough to stop east-west bird flights somewhere around sixty to eighty million years ago, and that may be the time that cacti became distinct from the portulacas. Cacti must have been restricted to South America for several tens of millions of years before North America drifted close enough and became dry enough for them to migrate into Mexico.

If cacti really have been present for eighty million years, it is enough time for numerous mountain ranges to have formed and eroded away. But how would those ranges have affected the survival and spread of cacti and the animals they depend on to pollinate their flowers and disperse their seeds? There are still many research opportunities. CLASSIFICATION OF THE CACTUS FAMILY The processes of continental drift, natural selection, and evolution, together with the effects of plants, animals, climates, and geography interacting with one another, have combined to produce the cacti alive today.

If the roots fail, the cacti fall to the ground and quickly die for lack of light. Examples of epiphytes are Epiphyllum, Hatiora, Lepismium, Rhipsalis, and Zygocactus. Other rainforest cacti such as Hylocereus, Selenicereus, and Werckleocereus are scramblers. They are usually rooted in the soil with their stems lying against a tree that they then climb, attaching themselves to the tree with short roots that penetrate crevices in the tree’s bark. An interesting but not particularly convincing theory is that the branches of the host tree are basically a desert habitat: the cactus’s roots run along the surface of the bark, which is moist during a rain but dries quickly afterward, and the roots become stressed for water.

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