Yunnan, China

November 21, 2016

Dr. Peter Fritsch, BRIT’s VP of Research and Director of the Herbarium, is on a visiting scholarship from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, based at the Kunming Institute of Botany in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province. Peter went on a brief (8-day) field trip in late October-early November to far northeastern Yunnan Province and the bordering area of Guizhou Province. Below are some photos from his trip.

Yunnan
The arrow on the map above shows the location of my field work, in Weixi and Yiliang counties.
2
Typical scenic shot in this region—limestone mountains blanketed with native forests in the least accessible parts.
z
One of my specialty groups, Symplocos of the Symplocaceae (sweetleaf family). It’s mainly a tropical family—we have one species in Texas, S. tinctoria. This one is S. setchuensis. Flowers resemble that of a small version of Camellia, but are usually white instead of pink.
4
Hazy but otherwise beautiful day. Overlooking a valley, with corn in the foreground (no rice grown in these parts).
a
Pass between Yunnan and Sichuan provinces. Apparently the weather is always like this here. So, unknown to us, it was one of the more brutal and rather dangerous “hikes” (actually climb) that I have done in a while. No real trail, average 70% slope. One false step in some places…
6
A real treat to see this, the Dove Tree (Davidia involucrata in the dogwood family Cornaceae), one of the only places left where it occurs in the wild. Spectacular when in flower.
8
Another rare treat: Rehderodendron macrocarpon, in one of my pet families, the storaxes (Styracaceae). Has one of the oddest fruits you’ll see, football shaped and ca. 2.5 in. long. Inside is a hard bony center surrounding the elongated seeds, with radiating parts to the edge, and in between is a corky material. I can’t imagine what disperses this, and we found all the fruits dropped right under the tree.
10
Low limestone hills. The beginnings of what farther east will become the bizarre landscape of Guilin. I guess Guilin will have to wait ‘til next time!
2
Field team, out of the cold—and onto those short stools (you need good knees in Yunnan). From left to right, Ren-Fu Lu, Hong-Hua Liao, our driver Ting-Xun Liu, and Dr. Lu Lu, my colleague from KIB. Ren-Fu Lu is Dr. Lu Lu’s father, and he’s a sharp-eyed plant collector and incredible mountain climber.
12
Colorful dinner—the plants in the upper left dish are grape ferns (Botrychium). Sorry, tasted terrible. Those in upper right are fungi—much better.
12
Me at the Kunming Institute of Botany herbarium in Yunnan, China, where I’ve just finished annotating their Styracaceae (storax family) collection. About half the specimens were mis- or unidentified—the family is a challenging one taxonomically, but I’ve been studying these plants for over 20 years and know them well. The annotated specimens extend in front of the image to all the way to the back wall behind me, and total around 800 specimens, including some rare and endangered species. The work took five days and was conducted as part of a visiting scholar fellowship gratefully received from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

 

Leave A Response

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.

Related Articles

Field Dispatch: Ireland, Day 1

Post writer Will McClatchey arrives at his first “field site” in Ireland Traveling to do field research is similar in some ways to our other experiences of travel, but in some ways peculiar. Field researchers are fond of checklists. When traveling, I keep checklists of: things to take care of in advance (e.g., passport, visas, permits, rental vehicle arrangements, and especially appointments with people) supplies to bring (e.g., plant press, knife, cameras, recorders, computers, backup drives, first aid, power adapters) personal stuff (e.g., medicines, toiletries, appropriate clothing) plans (overall trip plan, research design, questionnaires) and a list of objectives that need to be accomplished The most important rule of field research travel was articulated by a professor from Universit...
Read More >

BRIT's Cheerful Naturalist and His Exploration to Alaska

Dreamscapes abound Cold, foreign, and practically inaccessible, I think many people view Alaska as analogous to the end of the earth. There are few that brave the cold wildness of it to actually go out and make a life there. But now, our beloved colleague, friend, and BRIT research associate Dr. Tony Burgess has made the move. Driving 4,000 miles north, he has traversed the western United States and parts of Canada to pick up his life from Fort Worth, Texas, and replant it in Homer, Alaska. Although a larger move than he has previously been used to, this is the third time in Tony’s life that he finds himself living and contributing to a new place. A born and raised native of Texas, he first traded the woodlands and grasslands of Fort Worth for the mountains and desert of Tucson when he pur...
Read More >

A Month in the Field in Baja California Sur: Part I

Dr. Sula Vanderplank, BRIT Biodiversity Explorer Part I—“Bighorn Sheep Habitat, Sierra Tres Virgenes” Colleagues: Dr. Alan Harper, Benjamin Wilder, Rodrigo Rentería Guides and muleteers: Jesus “Chuyito” Arce Ojeda and wife María Marcial Morales Rafael “Falo” Lopez Arce Ignacio “Nacho” Arce Arce Juan Ojeda Arce Guillermo “Memo” Ojeda Arce Oct 21st, Day 1, Monday: ARRIVING We woke up early, ready. We took a turbo prop from Los Angeles International Airport to the town of Loreto, the oldest town on the peninsula of Baja California, on the western coast of the Gulf of California (the Sea of Cortez). The vegetation looked lush and green and as the plane lowered, our spirits soared. We were delighted to be reunited with our friends and trip companions (after a brief panic when one friend arrived...
Read More >

A Month in the Field in Baja California Sur: Part II

Part II — “ Rancho Chivato, Sierra de las Cacachilas ” Botany Team Colleagues: Dr. Jon Rebman (SDNHM, San Diego Natural History Museum ) John LaGrange (SDNHM) Dr. Alfonso Medel (CIBNOR, Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del Noroeste ) Dr. Jose Delgadillo (UABC Universidad Autónoma de Baja California ) Dr. Jose Luis Leon de la Luz (CIBNOR) Dr. Reymundo Domínguez Cadena (CIBNOR) and several others! (Also in photo: Dr. Gorgonio Ruiz (UABC), and Dr. Alan Harper and Jim Riley of Terra Peninsular ) These smiling folks comprise the botanical team of the Sierra de las Cacachilas – Binational Exploration. (Our Dr. Vanderplank is there in the middle!) (Copyright Alan Harper) Oct 27th, Day 7, Sunday: RENEWED ENTHUSIASM This morning Jon and John went early to the herbarium of CIBNOR (Centro de Inve...
Read More >