We left a heaving Purmamarca – it is the long weekend holiday for Carnival in Argentina and many people head for the mountains. We had a few stops planned to look of r special solanums, so stop we did, and find we did as well. From San Salvador de Jujuy we drove through low elevation areas where tobacco was being cultivated – it didn’t look very healthy though – but it was probably just ready to be harvested.
We entered the province of Salta and there we found Solanum zuloagae – an Argentinian endemic we found along the narrowest road I have ever seen – two lanes winding over the mountains in the space one lane of “normal” road. A very beautiful plant with tiny white flowers; Solanum zuloagae grows in yungas forest like that we had seen before in Calilegua.
Ever since San Salvador de Jujuy we had been trying to buy diesel for the trunk, but not only were there a billion cars on the road, not a single petrol station had any diesel… the queues at the petrol stations were amazing.
Since it is Carnival, parties abound – we found two young men who bought the entire ice supply of a petrol station where we finally found diesel – it was so hot I suspect it all melted by the time they got to their destination! The temperature was amazing – more than 40 degrees centigrade, and with the humidity, it was hard to get out of the truck to collect.
We searched for Solanum physalidicalyx at its type locality (where the original specimen used to describe the species was collected) in some brushy, prickly forest near a river at about 3 in the afternoon – the height of the heat – mad. Once back in the truck I felt a tickly sensation on my hand and discovered a huge tick…. I know I shouldn’t mind ticks, but…… Later on Tiina found one on my arm… we are madly checking all our clothes; Gloria found several on her socks…. I suppose they have to make a living somehow, ticks, and we were a nice meal just waiting to be eaten. I still don’t like them very much.
On our way out of Salta we bought buñuelos – a sort of doughnut with wild honey – a speciality of the province, from some women by the side of the road. Gloria is from Salta, so she knows all the best things to eat and made sure we tried them all.
Tomorrow we will be back in Cordoba – it is about 6 hours drive from where we are tonight (San Miguel de Tucumán); we don’t plan to collect tomorrow, but what do you bet we find something?