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An D Smith

Ptari Tepui 1

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Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to be able to fullfill one of my lifetimes' ambitions. To visit the Tepui region of Venezuela and observe Heliamphora growing in the wild. There were eight of us on the expedition, 4 Germans, two English, 1 Australian and an American. As well as touring the lowland Gran Sabana and observing various Utricularia, Genlisea and Drosera amongst others, we visited 5 of the Tepui mountains. ('Tepui' is the local Pemon Indian word for maountain) It is on the summits of these vertical-walled mountains that the Heliamphora abound.

This, the first of many posts I will write about this expedition is about Ptari Tepui. This mountain is situated towards the north of the Gran Sabana and is very isolated from any of the other Tepuis. At 2400 metres above sea level the temperature can drop to just a few degrees above freezing overnight but during the day it can be quite warm. It rains practically every day or night and I shall never forget lying in my tent while an incredible electric storm is raging outside and worrying that I was the highest point on the mountain, within my metal-poled tent! Ptari tepui is unusually flat on top, unlike the other Tepuis which have huge, fantastic and distorted rock formations.

Within 5 minutes of landing by helicopter we could see masses of Heliamphora heterodoxa. This is the type form, as opposed to the commonly grown lowland form found on the Gran Sabana. After pitching our tents, out came the cameras and we all went for a wander. Heliamphora sarracenioides was soon encountered, but not in anyway in the numbers of H. heterodoxa. A few hybrids between these two were also seen. Fluorescent pink flowers of Utricularia quelchii stood out like beacons amongst the low-growing grasses and Bonnetia trees. A third species of Heliamphora was discovered by Ch'ien Lee, using his incredibly huge carbon fibre telescopic lens on his camera. This new species was only seen growing on the vertical cliffs over the side and was thus completely unreachable.

Here are a few pics of the very variable Heliamphora heterodoxa.

Heliamphora_heterodoxa_1.JPG

Heliamphora_heterodoxa_2.jpg

Heliamphora_heterodoxa_3.JPG

Heliamphora_heterodoxa_4.JPG

Heliamphora_heterodoxa_5.JPG

Heliamphora_heterodoxa_6.JPG

Heliamphora_heterodoxa_7.JPG

And here is a near black form

Heliamphora_heterodoxa_black.JPG

And here is a pitcher with an absurd nectar spoon, practically starving itself with its size

Heliamphora_heterodoxa._Ptari_Tepui_14.JPG

Heliamphora_heterodoxa._Ptari_Tepui_15.JPG

Edited by An D Smith

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A fantastic dream come true. Wow!!! Congrats Andy!!

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An D,

Must be a very fantastic trip. Can you give us a breakdown of the cost involved for all the dreamers who also want to do a trip like yours.

Choong

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Hi Andy

I am very, very jealous.

Great pics and I look forward to hearing more about your trip.

Regards

Dennis

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Guest Andreas Eils

Some of the nectar spoons remind me muchly on H. folliculata. Well, will Ch´ien Lee do us the pleasure and show his discovered unreachable supposed new Heliamphora species? Or has the telephoto lens of his camera still been too weak to catch that mysterious new Heliamphora? :woot:

For me a trip to the Tepuis will remain a dream I´m afraid!

Regards,

Andreas

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Many thanks for sharing Andy - it must have been an amazing trip and I think you've made us all jealous now :D Great photo's of great plants - what more can I say!

Heather

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Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to be able to fullfill one of my lifetimes' ambitions. To visit the Tepui region of Venezuela and observe Heliamphora growing in the wild. There were eight of us on the expedition, 4 Germans, two English, 1 Australian and an American. As well as touring the lowland Gran Sabana and observing various Utricularia, Genlisea and Drosera amongst others, we visited 5 of the Tepui mountains. ('Tepui' is the local Pemon Indian word for maountain) It is on the summits of these vertical-walled mountains that the Heliamphora abound.

This, the first of many posts I will write about this expedition is about Ptari Tepui. This mountain is situated towards the north of the Gran Sabana and is very isolated from any of the other Tepuis. At 2400 metres above sea level the temperature can drop to just a few degrees above freezing overnight but during the day it can be quite warm. It rains practically every day or night and I shall never forget lying in my tent while an incredible electric storm is raging outside and worrying that I was the highest point on the mountain, within my metal-poled tent! Ptari tepui is unusually flat on top, unlike the other Tepuis which have huge, fantastic and distorted rock formations.

Within 5 minutes of landing by helicopter we could see masses of Heliamphora heterodoxa. This is the type form, as opposed to the commonly grown lowland form found on the Gran Sabana. After pitching our tents, out came the cameras and we all went for a wander. Heliamphora sarracenioides was soon encountered, but not in anyway in the numbers of H. heterodoxa. A few hybrids between these two were also seen. Fluorescent pink flowers of Utricularia quelchii stood out like beacons amongst the low-growing grasses and Bonnetia trees. A third species of Heliamphora was discovered by Ch'ien Lee, using his incredibly huge carbon fibre telescopic lens on his camera. This new species was only seen growing on the vertical cliffs over the side and was thus completely unreachable.

Here are a few pics of the very variable Heliamphora heterodoxa.

Heliamphora_heterodoxa_1.JPG

Heliamphora_heterodoxa_2.jpg

Heliamphora_heterodoxa_3.JPG

Heliamphora_heterodoxa_4.JPG

Heliamphora_heterodoxa_5.JPG

Heliamphora_heterodoxa_6.JPG

Heliamphora_heterodoxa_7.JPG

And here is a near black form

Heliamphora_heterodoxa_black.JPG

And here is a pitcher with an absurd nectar spoon, practically starving itself with its size

Heliamphora_heterodoxa._Ptari_Tepui_14.JPG

Heliamphora_heterodoxa._Ptari_Tepui_15.JPG

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Hi there,

you note that Ptari Tepui is very isolated from other Tepuis.

However some maps show that there are a Sororopan Tepui and a Carrao Tepui in the same area; some books state they are part of the same massif.

How far is Ptari Tepui from them?

LeeB

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Hi LeeB

I have had a look at my map this evening, a 2008 radar-generated image, and it shows one other tepui which is close to Ptari. This is Urariba Tepui and is about 7km to the north-east. Urariba Tepui is 200 metres lower in altitude than the 2400 metre Ptari. Sororopan, 11 km away to the south-east is not a tepui but a ridged hill with fairly gentle slopes, rising to a peak and dropping aagain to the savannah over 15 km. It is 350 metres lower than Ptari. The surrounding lowland savannah is about 1200 metres above sea level. I do not know if any Heliamphora are to be found on either of these two. There is no mention of a Carrao Tepui. Also I can't find an Angasima Tepui on the map either. The closest is Adankasima Tepui, 10 km to the south of Amuri Tepui in the Chimanta Massif. I wonder if they are one and the same.

Ptari Tepui is very small, almost circular and just 1km x 1km, you are never very far from the edge! According to my map, Urariba Tepui is almost twice the size of Ptari.

The next nearest Tepui group is the Lost Testigos group, comprising Murisipan, Kamarkawarai, Tereke-Yuren and Aparaman Tepuis and the home of H. folliculata. These tepuis are 25 km to the north-west.

Cheers

Andy

Edited by An D Smith

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Thanks Andy,

Angasima is also called Adanta and is to the south of the Chimanta Massif.

Carrao tepui is to the North East of Ptari tepui and is listed as c. 2200m so it appears that Urariba tepui is another name for it.

It would be interesting to know what if any Heliamphora grow on it.

And also if any Heliamphora grow on Sororapan.

Their altitudes make this a possibility as H. heterodoxa occurs at lower altitude on the Gran Sabana.

Perhaps someone will visit Urariba/Carrao and have a look.

LeeB.

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that last heli looks like it could be a forerunner of a S. minor!

thanks for the report, andy.

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Howdy all,

As the lone Aussie on the Ptari expedition I felt I had to add the following. Amar, because you asked for it, this is the most S. minor-est heli you're evr likely to see.

DSC04788_(Custom).JPG

It certainly was the most "grotesque", for want of a better word, of all the heterodoxa crosses I saw on Ptari.

Cheers!

DC

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