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Full text of "Notes of a botanist on the Amazon & Andes : being records of travel on the Amazon and its tributaries, the Trombetas, Rio Negro, Uaupés, Casiquiari, Pacimoni, Huallaga, and Pastasa; as also to the cataracts of the Orinoco, along the eastern side of the Andes of Peru and Ecuador, and the shores of the Pacific, during the years 1849-1864"

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1 .i to the wintry winds the pilot yields 

His bark careering o'er untrodden fields ; 

\nvv mi Atlantic waves he rides afar 

Where Andes, giant of the western star, 

With meteor standard to the winds unfurl'd, 

I. 'inks from hi^ ihnme of clouds o'er half the world. 


The sounding Cataract 

Haunted me like a passion; the tall rock, 
The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood, 
Their colours and their forms, were then to me 

An ;>] ipeiilr, a feeling, and a love. 

\YoHHs\\oK I II. 



H'\l l:\KU \ IHI Kin M.i.kii id TARAPOTO, i 

Voyage up the Solimoes Floating trees Ki\ei Tunis s 
I'aulo The forest Notes on vegetation Talutin-a 
l.oreto Novel vegetation Coclnquma Iqnitos Nauta. 
\\heie detained two \\eeks San l\e-is r.irinaii A 
Zambo Governor I'rarmas A peccary hunt Filter the 
Iliialla-a I .a l.a-una First \iewol the Andes Vuri 
ma-nas described An CM client pi iest The ot'ti. i.iU 
Industry I 'p the 1 1 ualla-a Hot-water Streams KapiiF 
("mi \acn Chasnta Detained two da\s Ditlnull 
iapu|s Picturesque scenei\ Ne\\ plants^! "hapaja 

i I I 

Filter the Ma\o n\er The ('ninl).isa rivei Juan GuC! 
the poll l.n larapoto I.eltci to Mi. I Ca ,, a p. i -onal 
and social a. . omit ol" the \ o\ ag( Ll r to Mi. 

Bentham, a tragic incident To Mr, Peasdale, end of the 



RESIDENCl \ i I Al< VPOTO : EXI'Ll >i-: \ rh>\ . <i nil E^ 

VNDES Ol ii 

Spiuie's lioiisi .i.nd Balden Indian \illa. ;i ol i Lini 
plea-. Mil 31 cue I'he . oiinti y aioimd ParapOtO 
trees and shrill)-. The hanks ol the Slnlli. 

hloomin- nees Situation of the town 

toun \lo\ol. anil'a I 111 Noithein p 1 the 

inonntaiiis I.etterto \l i. I'.cnihani I 




Rocky stream and ravines Fine ferns No roads or paths 
to travel on Excursion to La Campana Hill of Lamas 
The Inhabitants An intelligent padre Tabalosos Over 
the pass to Lirio-pampa The Indian Chumbi bitten 
on the wrist by a venomous snake Terrible effects death Spruce's remedies succeeded in saving the 
Indian's life And probably his own ! Effects of stinging 
caterpillar -- Letter to Mr. Bentham, difficulties of a 
botanical collector Hauxwell the bird-collector Later 
letters to Mr. Bentham Revolution described in letter to 
Mr. Teasdale The chief botanical excursions, compiled 
from notes, by the Editor . . . -37 



By road to Chasuta Canoe in a whirlpool Dog driven mad, 
had to be shot Delay at La Laguna Self-flagellation of 
Indians Up the Maranon Deserted villages Enter the 
Pastasa Another dog shot! Deserted pueblo of San- 
tander Continuous rain in a deserted river Pinches 
nuevo At Andoas, delayed five days Indians described 
A kind Governor Andoas to Sara-yacu on the Bom- 
bonasa Indians' morning toilet- Pass mouth of the 
1'uca-yacu Passed the Sara-yacu Pueblo of Sara-yacu 
On to Puca-yacu village A dangerous flood Descrip- 
tion of Puca-yacu Detained three weeks for men 
The Spaniards leave with the only men A grand view 
of the Andes On to Canelos . . . .102 



Enter the Forest of Canelos Nightly shelters described 
Along ridges and precipices Delayed by a swollen torrent 
A Jibaro Indian's hut Delayed three days On to 
Mount Abitagua The mossiest spot in the world And 
the rainiest ! Crossed the flooded Shuna river On to 
the Topo Delayed two nights Perilous crossing 



Goods all left in the forest ! Sugar-mill on Rio Verde 
-Reached Barios General account of the forest of 
Canelos Second visit to Mount Abitagua Notes on 
the vegetation of the forest of Canelos . '35 



List of Excursions Letter to Mr. Bentham Spruce's sad 
position at Barios awaiting his goods from the forest H<>\\ 
he collected mosses on the road New ferns in abundance 
Description of Banos Grand cone of Tunguragua 
Paper unobtainable European genera of plants Letter 
to Mr. Teasdale Banos, its hot baths, visitors, and earth- 
quakes To Ambato Its situation and surrounding 
Manners and customs of the people Effects of sand 
storms To Riobamba- -Dr. James Taylor Views of 
Chimborazo -- Mountain tra\cl Market-day -Great 
mountains round it Great cataract of Guandisagua 
Society in Ambato Botanical letter to Mr. Benthain 
To Sir \V. Hooker, mostly about Kerns To Mr. I'.cn- 
tham on probable number of species in the Ama/on 

-Spruce's grief at passing new plants ungathered To 
Sir \V. Hooker, about mosses, etc. To Mr. Benthain. 
about the Venezuelan collections and its rich rivers un<-\ 
plored -His great indebtedness to Mr. Benthain T<> Mr. 
Teasdale about his journeys in the high Anclc^ r.c.uitiful 
Gentians -Why they cannot be grown in England An 
escape from a condor Wi>h<-> England p- tin- 

Ama/on valley . 



Letter to Mr. Benthain War with I'cru 

forest of Pallatanga The v.arm fmc^- (.. 
botanically than the mountain- Lettei to Mr. : 



about Indian-, and Christianity A severe earthquake 
The Cinchona forests of Alausi Explorations for "Bark" 
trees and descriptions of the vegetation The Revolution 

Sanitation in Ecuador 221 



List of excursions Report on the " Red Hark :! expedition 
Journey to the forest On the I'aramo The Arenal 
Its curious Alpine vegetation Flower-clad mountain 
side -At (iuaranda delayed some days Over another 
ridge of Chimborazo A dangerous descent Fine Mela- 
stomacei-c At Limon saw first "Red Hark" trees- 
Occupy a trapiche (cane-mill) A fine forest The 
"bark" supposed to be a dye How the bark is 
collected The Cinchona siiccirubra a most beautiful 
tree The mammals and birds of the forest Insects 
Large forest trees The vegetation of the Red Bark 
forests Arrival of Air. Cross Preparations for gather- 
ing, drying, and raising seeds and cuttings Difficulties 
to overcome Troubles from the war Spruce takes the 
dried seeds to C.uayaquil Bark to Aguacatal to build a 
raft Letter to Mr. Teasdale describing Guayaquil- Con- 
struction of raft -Waiting for the young plants -The 
dangerous raft-journey to C.uayaquil Success of the 
pi. mts in India . . . 258' 



-in iRES or i in I'M ii n 

iM of excursions Letter to Mr. Bentham Spruce's mode 

of botanical work Botanical notes The climate of the 

(oast The loss of his property To Mr. Daniel Hanbury 

-To Mr. John Tr,is,|,ile Journey to Piura The 

clim.ite and the inhabitants Notes on the vallcvs of 


Piura and Chira Topography and mineralogy Indig- 
enous vegetation To .Mr. Bentham To Mr. Daniel 
Hanbury (after his return to England) . 312 



Spruce to Hanbury On the winter sun and leafless trees 
Spruce's account of Santander Santander's letter to 
Spruce Spruce to Hanbury Santander to Spruce- 
Essay on the Characteristics of Amazonian Vegeta- 
tion The relations of Plants and Animals Some cases 
of insect migration Migrations of birds and mammals 
Concluding remarks . ... 343 



Introductory remarks Letter from Darwin Letter from the 
Secretary of the Linnean Society The paper Of Sac- 
bearing Leaves Of Inflated Petioles Of Inflated 
tranches Of Elongated and Fistulose Stems and Mi am lies 

< >ther evidence, with some remarks by the Editor . 3X4 



MY I 111- IN I >l \\> 

Remarkable narcotics of the Aina/on and <>iinoco '1 

and effects of caapi Niopo -miff and the mode of usi 
it Medicine-men and their custom- < >n spirit- 
demons among the Indian-, A strati 
its explanation Rarity of < mam e dm Indi- 

genes Nerve- stimulants used by the Indian- 
^uaran;i as a toni* Guay6sa, a tonii n th< I tern 

Ande- < 'on< Iu-i<>n 




i A. * 

Orellana's report to Charles Y. Confirmatory statements- 
Historians agree in their reality Condamine's testimony 

-The green Amazon stones Yelasco's testimony 
Raleigh's statement Yan Heuvel Acuna's conclusion . 456 



Indian picture-writing The Laja de Capibara What the 
figures mean Figures at the Cario Calipo The Paa- 
puri's figures and their history At Jauarite Discussion 
of their origin and purport . . . 474 



The story of Yalverde and his riches --The "Derrotero"' 
or Guide to Llanganati Don Atanasio Guzman, the 
botanist His map of Llanganati Lent to Spruce and 
he copies it Description of it Spruce obtains a copy 
of the " Derrotero " and translates it The translation- 
Spruce's account of the attempts to rind the treasure by 
means of the ' Guide ;; Their failure Explanation of the 
Quichua terms on the map Editor's Critical Note con- 
firmatory of the accuracy of Yalverde's "Guide," and 
-uggesting another expedition .... 489 


INDEX . -5-5 



1. Yurimaguas, on the River Huallaga. (R. S.) . 15 

2. Tarapoto, from the South- West. (R. S.) 41 

3. Lamas, looking North-Eastward. R. S.) ;; 

4. Mountains north of Tarapoto. R. S. . 

5. Yie\v from Tabalosos, looking across the Mayo. (R. S. 

6. Yegetable Ivory Palm . 

7. Tunguragua, from the North 

8. Ambato, Chimborazo in the distance 

9. Chimborazo, from the Paramo of Sanani. 
10. Riobamba and* the Eastern Cordillera . 

i I. Chimborazo and Carguairazo, from near Riobamba 

12. Quito, on South-East Slope of Pichincha 

13. Plan of a Priest'- House. (R. S.. 

14. Indians of Province of Quito four Portraits) 

15. Indian Sacred Drum or Trum 

i 6. Croup of Rock-Picture? on Casiquiari. 



20 - - 48 2 




1. Sketch Map of Tarapoto District To face page 100 

2. Map of the Central Andes of Ecuador . ,, ,, 220 

3. Map of the Red Bark Forests of Ecuador ,, ,, 310 

4. Map of the Mountains of Llanganati . End of Volume 



(March 1 4 to June 22, 1855) 

[THIS chapter consists largely of a full and very 
descriptive Journal, which required comparatively 
little pruning ; and this is supplemented by letters 
to Messrs. Teasdale and Bentham, giving to the 
former vivid sketches of scenery and of the pass- 
engers on the steamer, and to the latter an account 
of one of the numerous personal dangers of which 
Spruce had his full share, though from all of them 
he escaped with his life.] 


March 14, 1855. Embarked on the J/<w<mw, 
an iron steamer of 35 horse-power, built at Kin (It- 
Janeiro. We left the port of Barra at six the next 
morning, and I enjoyed much the rapid run up the 
Solimoes, contrasting strongly with the painful way 
in which we crept up in a canoe in [851, when 
took a week to reach Manaquiry. In the steamer 
we spent but ten hours. The river appears more 

VOL. II i 


than half full, and the current is strong. There 
are numerous floating trunks and small grass-islands. 
At night it was very dark, and we frequently struck 
against these trunks, sometimes with a considerable 
shock which made us all run on deck, but no damage 
was done. On the afternoon of the i jth we passed 
the mouth of the large river Puriis, which enters 
from the south. It is not wide but brings down 
a large volume of white water. 

Between Coary and Ega there is a long range 
of cliffs, which are much bored by kingfishers and 
by a small white-bellied sand-martin, scarcely larger 
than a humming-bird. . . . 

On the 25th we reached Sao Paulo d' Olivenca 
about noon. It stands on very high land, rising 
abruptly from the river about a hundred feet, but 
the site is flat and the village contains several 
regular streets, though the houses are mostly 
miserable. The great concourse of people here 
is owing to its being the residence of a padre 
who suits them excellently and conforms in every- 
thing to their way of life, i.e. he is a gambler and 
indulges in every other vice of the country. 

I took a turn in the forest. The soil is a deep 
clay, in hollows scarcely passable in rainy weather. 
The valleys are all traversed by streams of clear 
water, and abound in tree-lerns, but apparently all 
of one common species. The caapoera vegetation 
is very luxuriant and comprised much that was 
new to me, especially a shrubby papilionaceous 
climber with delicate pinnate leaves (resembling 
Abrus tenuifolius] and largish scarlet flowers, which 
hung in large masses from the lower trees and 
bushes. Also a low Nonatelia (Cinchonacese) with 



large corymbs of pretty purple flowers. On one 
clayey slope was a large bed of Umiri (Humirium 
sp.) with ripe fruit, which the numerous cattle 
(belonging chiefly to the Padre) pick up as they fall. 
Two Monimiaceae, one with very large Melastoma- 
like leaves and large fruits, I have not seen before. 
The other is very near a Uaupes species. 1 


The sloping banks clad with long grass form a strong contrast 
to those of the Rio Negro. On the islands the chief vegetation is 
Sa/ix Humboldtiana and a Cecropia, with a rather inelegant 
bamboo supporting itself on them. The white trunks of the 
trees are very remarkable actually white with a crust of rudi- 
mentary lichens, especially those of Cecropia. The foliage at 
this season is rather ragged and scanty, but when the rising or 
setting sun illuminates the white skeleton, the dots of green on 
the extremities of the branchlets have a pretty effect. This is 
particularly noticeable in places where the winds have broken 
off the tops of the trees. 

Of palms the Murumuru is abundant. An elegant Bartris 
(probably B. concinna, Mart.) about 18 feet high grows in broad 
patches. It is abundant at Yurimaguas on the Huallaga. 

A Loranthus with large red flowers tipped with yellow gro\\s 
on many different trees very often on Imba-uba and a species 
of Madura. Several Ingas are in flower, and Triplaris sitri- 
namensis (Polyonacese) is frequent. The Arrow-reed abounds 
on low coasts and islands, and in similar places there are often 
IOW T trees whose trunks are draped with a species of Batatas. 
Here and there in the gapo is to be seen a Nutmeg tree 50 
high or more, its branches nearly horizontal, but often bent up 
abruptly into a vertical position about midway. 


Very frequent in clumps is the line 1'ao Mulatto, 50 to 70 feet 
high, with lead-coloured bark and large umbels of white ll' 

1 [Readers of Bates's Xalnnilist on /' 
his farthest station on the river, that lie stayed her.' !i\ 
than Spruce's visit), and that he speaks of it- luxurum 
of natural history with the greatest enthusiasm, adi 
not be sufficient to exhaust its treasures in zoolog) and 
the numerous pebbly streams, and the ma-nil 
surpassed anything he had seen during hi- 


thickish Imba-iiba (Cecropia) has the bark mottled with red and 
white as in the Bread-fruit tree. In some places is an Anonaceous 
tree, about 30 feet high, with a profusion of flowers in small 
axillary clusters on the upper side of the long branchlets. The 
solitary tall Assai palm is very scarce, occurring only towards the 
mouth of the Coary. 

A remarkable tree occurs below Coary, 50 feet high, the top 
spreading, the lanceolate pale green leaves clustered on the ends 
of slender twigs, the flower-stalks long, descending then ascend- 
ing, growing on the main branches and trunk nearly to the base, 
fruits pendent, globular, size of an orange, but said when ripe to 
be much larger, having a hard shell with four seeds. It is probably 
a species of Couroupita (Lecythidere). 

Much wild Cacao is seen on the margins and as far within as 
the inundation extends conspicuous from its young red leaves. 
There is generally much Castanha (Brazil-nut) in the forests. 

At T.butinga I gathered flowers of a small Composite tree 
growing 6 to 15 feet high and looking very like a willow. It is 
the Tessaria legitima, DC., and had been noticed from the mouth 
of the Japura upwards. 

A Serjania (Sapindaceae) with large masses of red capsules is 
now very frequent, and a low Copaifera in flower grows here and 
there by the water's edge. The Pao Mulatto continues very 
abundant and our firewood consists wholly of this species. There 
is no handsomer tree in the gapo. It sometimes reaches near 
100 feet high. It is branched from about the middle, and the 
tup forms a narrow inverted cone. The surface of the trunk and 
branches is somewhat wavy or corrugated, but the bark is quite 
smooth and shining. When I went to Manaquiry in June 1851 the 
trees were shedding their bark, the process being a longitudinal split- 
ting up in one or more places, and a rolling back from both edges of 
the rupture. The young bark thus exposed is green, but it speedily 
assumes a deep bronze or leaden hue, and finally a chestnut 
colour hence its name. 1 Some small Rubiaceous trees have the 
same property; for instance, Eicosmia corymbosa and a tree in 
the forest at Yurimaguas, with leaves resembling those of a Nona- 
telia, but the bark is greener than that of the Pao Mulatto. With 
this latter tree, on the Solimoes, frequently grows the Castanheiro 
<1 > Macaco, with globular brown fruits, probably a species of 

JOURNAL (continued] 

March 27. At 4 P.M. we reached Tabatinga, 
the frontier town of Brazil, situated on the north 

1 [This tixx- \\is, later, collected by Spruce, and 1 icing new was named by 
Mr. llemliain Enkylisla Sprite ana. It belongs to the Cinchonacece.] 


bank, a miserable place containing scarcely any 
houses but those of the garrison, though a little 
to the eastward, across a small valley, is a village 
of the Tucano Indians. The barracks consist of 
two small, low ranches, and there is no fort, though 
I saw two or three pieces of cannon laid on the 
ground. The soil is clayey and the vegetation 

Early on the 2Qth we reached Loreto, the first 
town in Peru and decidedly better than Tabatinga, 
having some good houses. The white inhabitants, 
however (even the Governor), are Portuguese. 

March 30. Coasting the south bank of the 
river, the land being somewhat high and settlements 
more frequent. The vegetation here was more 
new and striking than any I had seen during the 
voyage. A little inland grew a very handsome 
palm (Attalea), resembling the Palma Yagua of the 
Orinoco, but rather smaller and with pendulous 
bunches of small hard red fruits. 

Here I first saw the Bombonaji, a palmate-leaved 
Carludovica. It grows on steep red banks, and is 
submersed when the river is at its height. S'-vrral 
other trees in flower and fruit were quite new to m<-. 

In the afternoon we reached Cochiquinu on the 
south bank, inhabited by Mayironas, that is, Indians 
from the Rio Mayo. At this season tln-n- is 
small lagoon between it and the river \\huli muk<- 
it difficult of access. The Indians are num'-mus 
and apparently very submissive to the Gobernador 
(the only white inhabitant) and to their Oir.icas or 
chiefs, who go about with polished \\alking-stic 
headed with silver. Then- are plentj of pigs 
fowls. The houses arc kept in better n-j.air anc 


the weeds kept down more than in Brazilian 
villages. About 1000 sticks of firewood were 
embarked here in two hours. 

On April i we reached Iquitos, a considerable 
village on the north bank at the mouth of a small 
stream of black water. It contains many people 
of mixed race, besides a great many Iquitos Indians 
who inhabit the western portion of the village, 1 
Here I first saw the fruit of a remarkable palm-like 
Pandanaceae (Phytelephas) allied to the plant that 
produces the vegetable ivory. 

On April 2, reached Nauta, on the north bank, 
a few miles above the mouth of the Ucayali, which 
enters from the south a river equal in size to the 
Maranon itself. Nauta stands on rising ground 
from 30 to 60 feet above the river. The soil is 
sandy with some mixture of clay near the river. 
At the back the ground goes on gently rising for 
a considerable distance, only interrupted by rivulets. 
In the second growth on old clearings, the most 
curious feature is the absence of Selaginella, so 
constant in such places on the Amazon and Rio 
Negro. There is, however, a common Adiantum 
and a low tree-fern. 

[As the steamer went no farther, Spruce had to 
wait a fortnight at Nauta before he could hire two 
canoes with the necessary Indians to take him and 
his goods up to Yurimaguas on the river Huallaga. 
In the intervals of this work he collected such 

1 I(|iiiui> is Mown town of about 10,000 inhabitants. It is the capital of 
the Peruvian province of Loreto, and the centre of the rubber trade of the 
1 : ! Napo, ;m 1 nil (he higher tributaries of the Amazon. There is a 

monthly communication with l';ira by river steamers, while at longer intervals 
steamers make the through journey from Liverpool to this inland port within 
sight of the lower ranges of the Andes. 


plants in flower as were new to him, and noted 
several others, but as he does not seem to have 
reached the virgin forest these were not very 
numerous. He notes generally that the river-bank 
vegetation was here identical in its main features 
with that of the river below. In a small side- 
channel near the village he noted a twining Bigno- 
niacea with long white flowers in axillary clusters 
resembling those of a Posoqueria ; a sweet-smelling 
Calyptrion ( Violaceae) ; a Madura laden with pendent 
catkins, like those of a hazel ; a spreading tree 
with clusters of winged fruits, apparently one of 
the Ulmacese, and several others not in llowcr 
which were quite new to him. 

The Journal of his voyage (now in canoes) con- 
tinues : 

April 1 6. Left Nauta at noon. Passed along 
low shores. Besides the Salix Humboldtian& } 
two other willow -like trees were noticed for the 
first time. At 8 P.M. reached four low huts or 
tambos, where we stopped for supper and for 
the night. I went back to the canoes, but the 
zancudos w r ere terrible and I got no sleep. Next 
day the river continued rising, but last year's llood- 
mark is still 6 feet higher. 

April 1 8. At 8 P.M. reached San kr^is, one 
of the most ancient pueblos (villages) on the river. 
I slept in the convent, which dates Ironi tin- 
missionaries. The roof was of very neatly \\<>ven 
Irapai (a species of Pandanaceae). 

April 19. Just before 6 P.M. we reached some 
dry ground, where among lofty trees a -pace 
been cleared sufficient to accomm>dat<- a [Mini- 
leaf shelters. Under one of these I slung 



'I 1 








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April 25. Stopped to cook our breakfast this 
morning on a bit of dry land (inundated only in 
the highest floods) where the forest was lofty and 
not much obstructed by twiners. One very fine 
Pao Mulatto, perhaps not less than 100 feet high, 
had a mass of broad strips of shed bark at the base. 
I picked up a piece of this, and while examining 
it heard a rattling in the place whence I had taken 
it. Stooping down, I saw that I had uncovered 
a large rattlesnake, who was raising himself up and 
poising his head for a spring at my leg, which was 
not more than two feet off. I retreated with all 
speed and fetched my gun from the canoe, but on 
returning the snake had disappeared. 

On the 26th we reached Urarinas, a small pueblo 
about the size of San Regis, and already referred to 
as having a common origin. 

April 28. About noon to-day we spied a band 
of peccaries crossing the river towards our side, and 
already beyond the middle. With considerable 
difficulty we secured nine of them by the use of 
our guns and cutlasses. One of the largest boars, 
when wounded, was very fierce and tried to climb 
into the canoe, and had he not been speedily 
killed might have wounded some of the men seri- 
ously with his -large keen tusks, of which, as is 
well known, even the jaguar is afraid. As we did 
not reach a place where we could prepare and cook 
them till early the following afternoon, the meat 
had already become too tainted for salting, but we 
had a meal of it, and the remainder was all cooked 
and eaten during the succeeding night by my 
Indians and the villagers. 

We had entered the Huallaga river during the 


1 1 

night and the village was La Laguna, so called 
from a large lake a little behind it, but not visible 
from the village, which is reached by a very narrow 
side-channel. There are perhaps a hundred families 
in fifty houses built irregularly around a square 
open space. There is a very large church dating 
from the time of the Jesuits. The walls are of 
adobe and the roof is supported on pillars formed 
from large trees. The Cura was absent at Moyo- 

May 4. --This day (about 4 P.M.) we passed some 
rather high land about 12 feet above the highest 
floods, and the first uninundated land I had seen 
on the banks of the Huallaga. It had been very 
wet, but after 5 P.M. it cleared up and I enjoyed my 
first view of the Andes. The part seen is called 
the Serra de Curiayacu, and in form and extent 
reminded me much of Duida as seen from the Casi- 
quiari, showing a table-like summit with several 
outlying peaks on the right. Yurimaguas was 
reached the next day at 10 A.M. 

\Ve were very kindly received by tin- priest ( Dr. 
Don Silverio Mori), and as I had decided to wait 
here until I could get Indians from Chasm. i to 
take us up the pongo, he installed us in the cuartel, 
a commodious building of three rooms, In it much 
infested by rats. 

Yurimaguas is a small place (about equal to San 
Regis), but is pleasantly situated on -round rising 
abruptly but to no great height. It is one ol the 
most ancient missions in Maynas, and according 
to information derived from the priest, it 
founded in 1709 by Spanish Jesuits, 
panied by a few armed whites, descend 


Amazon as far as Parinari, a little above Ega. 
Thence they ascended the Yapura river, where 
they found a tribe of Indians called Yurimaguas, 
and after a time persuaded these to return with 
them up the great river and the Huallaga to the 
present site, where they have remained. They 
were induced to do so the more readily on account 
of the constant enmity of a neighbouring more 
powerful tribe. At present these Indians all use 
the Inca language, and only a few of the older 
ones have an imperfect knowledge of their original 

The church here perhaps is the most ancient, 
and is certainly the best built of any I have seen 
in Maynas. It is built of adobes in a style very 
similar to that of churches in Lima, having a very- 
high -pitched roof. The floor is of tiles. The 
priest's house seems to be of the same date, arid 
has been much ornamented within by cornices, etc., 
painted in various colours the work of the last 
priest. Over one of the doors is inscribed in Latin 
the verse of Proverbs : " Give me neither poverty 
nor riches." 

[During Spruce's stay here he made a very care- 
ful pencil-drawing of the church, with its well- 
designed entrance of the simplest native materials. 
The figures on each side of the door are those of 
St. Peter and St. Paul, executed in coloured earths, 
while on the left is the belfry with its ladder the 
campanile of South Europe reduced to its simplest 
elements. The figures of an Indian man, woman, 
and boy, with the priest going to the church, are 
characteristic ; while the background of forest, with 
its various forms of trees, completes the picture. I 

. ! -., 

' ^f-*^ 

s 3 
^-*- j ^ 







am indebted to my friend Mr. Young, a good artist, 
for strengthening the shading, denning the outlines, 
and putting in the foreground, so as to render the 
drawing suitable for reproduction to half the original 

Don Silverio makes an admirable priest for the 
Indians, as indeed he would for people of any 
colour. Low in stature and not stout, but firmly 
knit, with a rather dark but ruddy complexion ; a 
small well -formed mouth, which even in its most 
severe expression speedily relaxes into a benevolent 
smile ; a sonorous and untiring voice ; added to 
this an irreproachable conduct very unusual in 
South America, and an untiring vigilance over the 
moral and physical condition of his parishioners. 
Every day, both morning and afternoon, he has in 
his house all the boys, both Indians and Mestizos, 
whose parents will allow them to be taught, and 
takes all possible pains to teach them to read ami 
write, with such success that nearly all can do 
both intelligibly. Their writing-books are mostly 
nothing but slips of plantain-leaves, on which when 
fresh the ink- strokes are very distinct. He is 
much put about to find them reading- books, in 
lieu of which old newspapers, letters Irom his 
friends, and, in fact, any scraps of MSS. or print 
are made to serve. lie finds it, however, 
difficult to get them to speak Spanish, as out ol 
school they speak only Lingua Inca \\ith their 
families and playmates. Every -v<-ninjr. except 
Sundays, all the young girls present tip 
the corridor of his house, when- tln-y repeat to 
the " Doctrina " at length. 

At feast times there is mass every morning 


at other times every Wednesday and Saturday 
morning. On Saturday evening nearly the whole 
population assists at vespers the Litany to the 
Virgin when the altars are decked with small 
vases filled \A*ith flowers of Poinciana pulcherrima 
(called Uaita-sissa, i.e. swimming flower), and at the 
conclusion the patron saint, mounted on a stage, is 
carried in procession round the streets, the Padre 
and his people chanting as they march. After 
each mass in the morning, and after the Ave Maria 
in the evening, the chief officials of the town pre- 
sent themselves to the Padre to receive his orders, 
and he is fortunately not trammelled by the presence 
of any interested white man under the name of 
Gubernador, this office being filled by an intelligent 
old Indian. 1 His rule is strict without being severe, 
and I have nowhere seen the Indians so docile. 
True, they are a rather sluggish race poor oars- 
men and many of them have the skin disfigured 
by black and red blotches from the leprous disease 
called purupuru in Brazil. 

Outside the pueblo is the cemetery, surrounded 
by an adobe wall, with gates under a porch. It is 
usual to bury a man in his old canoe, cut up into 
something like a coffin. The houses at Yurima- 
guas, as in most other places on the rivers of 
Maynas, are built of Cana brava a stout reed- 
stuck close together in the ground and crossed by 
others near the top and bottom. The doors are 
made of the same material. 

Stages (called barbacoas), on which the inmates 

The officials nt Yurimaguas, in the order oi their rank, are Curaca, 
.ui, Alferes Alcaide, 1'mcurudor, Regklor, Algun/il major, and t\\<> 
Alguaziles minor in all nine. 



sleep, are made of the Tarapoto palm (Iriartea 
ventricosa] split and flattened out into slabs. These 
beds are raised about 3 feet from the ground. A 
mat of one or more layers of Tururi (bark cloth) 
is laid on the barbacoa, and the whole is enclosed 
in a quadrilateral bag of Tocuyo (a coarse native 
cotton cloth), supported on a framework of reeds, to 
serve as a mosquito curtain. It effectually keeps out 
insects but is very hot. Benches, both inside and 
outside the houses, are made in the same way, but the 
latter sometimes of an old canoe, the bottom form- 
ing the seat and one side the back, like a settle. 

The industry of Yurimaguas, besides the salting 
of fish, which is clone during summer, is chiefly the 
fabrication of painted ollas and cuyas (pots and 
calabashes), and numerous old calabash trees scat- 
tered about the pueblo form one of its most 
picturesque features. 

The Padre's house is much better than the rest 
-built as in Brazil on a framework of rods filled in 
with clay, and painted white, outside and in, with 
gypsum. It contains several tables, the tops of 
which are single slabs, one 4 feet across. The 
rooms are ceiled with Cana brava, closely laid 
across the beams and covered above with a thin 
layer of clay. 

A peculiar utensil seen hen- and elsewhere in 
Maynas is a large flat shallow dish, of the form of 
the tin vessels used by gold-washers ; it is made ol 
the sapopema of some light- wooded tree, ami I 
have seen one above 5 feet in diameter. 
used chiefly for crushing maize with a stone tor the 
fabrication of chicha (native beer), but is 
for grinding coffee, etc. 



The animal food at Yurimaguas, besides pigs 
and fowls raised on the spot, is chiefly fish, game 
being very scarce. In the summer many large 
fish are obtained, but when the river is full only 
small ones can be had. 

About a quarter of a mile below Yurimaguas a 
deep valley enters on the west side called Parana- 
pura, which is the route to Balsapuerto and Moyo- 
bamba, and thence by Chuchapoyas and Truxillo 
to the coast. The navigation of the river is 
uncertain and perilous, not on account of rapids, 
of which there are hardly any, but because of its 
often rising a great height in a few hours (or even 
minutes) from the sudden swelling of mountain 
streams consequent on heavy rains. When in its 
best state the voyage from Yurimaguas to Balsa- 
puerto takes six days, but when full the current is 
very strong, and when low channels have to be 
dug through sandbanks, so that several weeks are 
sometimes required. 

A little way within the Paranapura there is 
a village a little larger than Yurimaguas called 
Muniches, which may be reached by a good track 
through the forest in four hours. This track 
crosses several elevations and valleys, each of the 
latter with a stream running in a sandy or pebbly 
bed. Along this track the land has been almost 
all formerly cultivated and there are still several 
fields of Yucas and Plantains. 

About the same distance above Yurimaguas 
there is a very similar but smaller stream called 
Chamusi, which affords a route to Tarapoto and 
Lamas, occupying usually six days, of which three 
are by water. But the Chamusi has the same 


impediments to navigation as the Paranapura, and 
the road overland is more elevated and very 



On Tuesday, June 12, at 7.30 A.M., we left Yurima- 
guas for Chasuta, myself and goods occupying two 
ubadas (large dug-out canoes), one with nine, the 
other with eight Indians. The river had been 
sinking for some time, but for four days much 
rain had fallen and the river had risen again. 
When we started it was 8 feet below high-water 

On the next day at 4.30 P.M. we reached the 
mouth of the Cainaiuche, up which there is a way to 
Tarapoto when the Huallaga is so full as to render 
the pongos of Chasuta impassable. As rain seemed 
coming on, we remained for the night on a sand- 
bank, where it took us near an hour to erect some 
twenty tarnbos (shelters) of palm-leaves, under 
which we hung our mosquito-nets, and so many 
green tents scattered over the sand had a pretty 
appearance, the picture being completed 1>\- t\\o 
fires blazing in the midst, around which croudcd 
the Indians until rain compelled them to turn in. 
After the rain a very strong and cold south wind 
sprang up more searching than any I h,i\e |elt 
since I left England. A good many \\atei1o\\l 
begin to appear on the beaches as the receding 
waters gradually expose them. Amon^ them we 
had numbers of Jabirus and (iarnas (cranes and 
herons), and one day two majestic Tayuyns (th- 


giant stork Mycteria Americana] were seen, but 
were too wary to be shot. 

June 1 5. --The river now reminds me of the 
Upper Rio Negro similar banks sloping steeply 
to the water's edge, inundated in winter and clad 
with black rootlets. In many places the perpen- 
dicular cliffs of earth are speedily covered with 
rudimentary mosses. The little Oxalis also re- 
appears accompanied by patches of a grass and a 
small Composite herb. The wind has been very 
cool these two days, and in the morning actually 

June 1 6.- -This morning we passed, on the 
north bank, a line of cliffs about a quarter of a 
mile long, the upper 12 feet being red earth in 
scarcely distinguishable horizontal layers, while 
the remaining 20 feet were in distinct layers in- 
clined about 30" to the horizon. These were also 
of red earth, but in two places a few beds of 
greyish sandstone occurred. A little below the 
entrance to the pongo we came to a large clearing 
on the north bank, partially planted with Yucas 
and Plantains. 

June 17. Soon after starting this morning we 
reached the pongo, where the river is much 
narrowed and confined in one channel by steep 
hills on each side. The margins were at first 
rocky, with large blocks irregularly scattered, soon 
changing to low walls of thick rock-strata. 

An hour and a half within this channel we came 
to streams of hot water, pouring in four or five 
slender rivulets from a black cliff perhaps 20 feet 
high and 20 or 30 yards from the river's margin. 
Each tiowecl in a slight hollow marked by vapour 


2 1 

that constantly rose from it. The cliff itself was 
draped with a curtain of twiners which I had not 
time to penetrate. The water was quite clear and 
destitute of taste or smell, but so hot at 20 
feet from the source that I could not bear my 
finger in it. 

About noon we entered a long narrow channel 
between loftier rocks and steeper hills above them, 
where the currents and whirlpools gave us some 
trouble. At its upper entrance stands a steep 
cerro where the rock is only partially clad with 
vegetation, and is stained in bare places with 
blotches of red or dull purple. It is called Uamar- 
uassi or Eagle's house, from having been once the 
habitation of an immense eagle which guarded the 
pass, and the purple patches are blood-stains the 
blood being of those who were so rash as to 
attempt the pass in its guardian's despite. The 
scenery throughout this pongo is beautiful, though 
the enclosing mountains do not exceed 500 to Soo 
feet in height. The strata are sometimes almost 
vertical, and are then partially naked, the seamy 
vegetation being upheld (as I have noticed in other 
places) by masses of Bromeliaceous plants. 

The next mal paso is called "Arpa," because 
just above it there is a rock supposed to resemble a 
harp. The current round the rocky point was .so 
strong that the canoes had to be dragged aloni; by 
stout creepers. Afterwards we came to LM" (i y 
friable rock in very thin layers, and this was 
succeeded by a slaty-looking dark rock, and then 
the friable grey rock again appeared. 
are all Triassic, and produce salt. 
rapids of less importance were passed !><-|ore dark 


1 8. We slept in a chacra (shed) just 
below the worst fall, called Yurac-yacu (white 
water), because the water here bursts into foam 
over rocks strewed in the river at a narrow curve. 
An hour farther there is another similar mal paso 
(called Curi-yacu), where a stream comes in on the 
left bank, said to contain gold. Some way below 
Chasuta we passed, on the left bank, a considerable 
ravine with still black water called Yanacana-yacu 
(Ladder River), from its running over steps in its 
upper part as it comes down from Curi-yacu. This 
mountain, whenever we came in sight of it, had its 
summit wrapped in mists and showers, from which 
it is said to be never free. 

After passing the rapid of Curi-yacu the river 
gradually opens out wider, but still in many places 
runs rapidly over sharp gravel. Mountains appear 
on every side Curi-yacu on the right, the low, 
rounded, acute-edged cerros of Chasuta nearly in 
front, and the lofty Morillo (yielding only to Curi- 
yacu in height) in front and rather to the left. On 
our left, directly across the river, are only lower hills. 

Alligators, turtles, and pirarucu exist in the 
Huallaga as far as the rapids of Yurac-yacu. The 
small alligator is found all the way up to Huanuco, 
as is also the fresh-water dolphin of the Amazon. 
Electric eels are frequent in the Huallaga and 
Ucayali, and still more in the lakes connected with 
these rivers. 

June 23. \Ve reached Chasuta on the evening 
of the 1 8th. It is a considerable village on the 
lett bank of the Huallaga, at the mouth of a rather 
large ravine, and from being situated at the very 
foot of abrupt rocky hills, while loftier ones appear 



on every side, it .is one of the most picturesque 
places I have seen. Its population is entirely of 
Indians, though many show evident traces of white 
blood, and they are among the tallest and hand- 
somest I have met with especially the women. 
Even the Governor is an Indian an old man, 
formerly a soldier, in which profession he learnt his 
Castilian. The pueblo numbers less than 300 
married men, and about 1500 souls. All speak the 
Inca language, and very few have a smattering of 

Our Indians from Tarapoto were paid to take us 
up as far as Juan Guerra a small pueblo at the 
junction of the Combasa and Mayo rivers above 
the pongos of the Huallaga. We found it, how- 
ever, impossible to persuade them to proceed 
beyond Chasuta, the reason given for deserting 
us being that the Indians of Chapaja, a pueblo in 
the pongo, were awaiting their arrival to fall on 
them unawares and kill them, as there had been a 
quarrel between them a short time before and 
serious wounds had been given on both sides. It 
was plain, however, that they also wanted to escape 
the labour, as there are three of the worst passes on 
the Huallaga a little way above Chasuta, when- the 
whole cargo has to be carried overland among lar^i- 
blocks of rock for some hundred yards or more, 
and we had found the Tarapotinos much disincline.! 
to work hard. There being no authority at Chasuta 
able to make them fulfil their contract, we had n> 
alternative but to engage other Indians at Chasuta 
for the rest of the voyage. \\'e had already pai-i 
dollar apiece to our men, and we now had to -f\ 
cutlass to each man of our new crews. 


Most of them were half tipsy, as they had been 
preparing rum for the feast of their patron saint on 
June 29, and it was with some difficulty we got 
them embarked on the afternoon of the igth. The 
actual distance from Chasuta to the mouth of the 
Mayo river could be passed in three or four hours 
were it not for the rapids, which are at about equal 
distances apart. The second of these is difficult 
to pass all the year round, the first is worst when 
the river is rather full, and the last when it is 
nearly dry. We found the first the most difficult 
of approach and ascent, and the last the easiest, but 
in all of them it is difficult and dangerous work for 
the Indians who carry the cargo across the rocks. 
The empty canoes are dragged up with stout 
creepers, and though they fill with water they suffer 
no injury. 

The falls resemble in some respects the first 
fall of the Uaupes, but with less water and on 
a rather smaller scale, while the whirlpools below 
are much less dangerous. The scenery of the 
falls of the Huallaga is, however, far more pic- 
turesque, from the steep and lofty mountains 
which rise on each side of the river, and the dense 
tapestry of mosses on the moist rocks and inundated 
branches at the very edge of the water. There is 
much similarity in the shrubs and trees growing 
about both, though the species are, I believe, 
entirely different, and the palm of botanical novelty 
must perhaps be given to the Uaupes. The most 
striking difference is perhaps the vast abundance of 
Neckera disticka (or an allied species), forming a 
dense beard to branches of trees hanging into the 
water, as Hydropogon does on the Upper Rio 


Negro and Casiquiari, while I only saw in one or 
two places scraps of a Selaginella a genus which 
is represented by several beautiful species growing 
in great quantity about the falls of the Uaupes. 

Night came on immediately after we had passed 
the first fall. We slept on a sandbank shaded by 
overhanging trees, which did not prevent our 
feeling the strong and cool south wind which blew 
all night. Our men worked well in the morning, 
and by 10 o'clock we had got the cargo carried 
safely up above the last fall, and we then set on 
to cook our breakfasts with light hearts. Into all 
the falls there enters a stream of clear cool water 
tumbling down among mossy rocks, in the first and 
last fall from the left, and in the second from the 
right. In all these falls stones which have 12 
feet or more of water over them in tlood are often 
coated by a black varnish, as in the cataracts of the 
Orinoco, but those higher up the slope, and there- 
fore under water for a shorter period, rarely show 
this peculiarity. 

Above Estero-yacu (the highest fall), the 
Huallaga is again broader and stiller, though 
running rapidly at points; the mountains recede 
from the river-margin, and the vegetation puts on 
the same aspect as below the pongo. About an 
hour more brought us opposite Chapaja, an Indian 
village of a few scattered huts, whence then- i 
track leading to Tarapoto, occupying about thn ' 
hours with mules. Another hour and we 
entered the mouth of the Mayo, a .omc\ 
smaller stream than the Huallaga, \vln\h it quite 
resembled. Here were banks of mud and 
sometimes covered with pebbles, as on the I I nail,: 


from Yurimaguas to the pongo, and on banks grow 
abundantly the Gynerium, Enkylista, Lythracea, 
and other species frequent also on the Maranon 
and Huallaga. It was a tedious navigation up the 
winding Mayo to the mouth of the Cumbasa. 
There were, the Indians said, twelve turns, and we 
had expected but two or three, and it was accord- 
ingly near sunset when we got to that river. To 
our great annoyance we found that it had fallen so 
much that there was no possibility of our getting 
our laden canoes up to the pueblo of Juan Guerra, 
which is nearly a mile within. We slept therefore 
at the mouth, and the next morning had the cargoes 
carried overland to the village. 

[A letter to his friend Teasdale describes the 
more personal and social aspects of the voyage up 
the Solimoes, and will supplement the purely 
geographical and botanical notes in the Journal.] 

To Mr. John Teasdale 

TARAPOTO, July 1855. 

I had a long and wearisome voyage from the 
Barra to this place, lasting from March 15 to June 
21. I was eighteen days in getting up to Nauta- 
a distance of some 1500 miles -- in the steamer 
Monarca ; a wonderful difference this from the 
sixty-three days spent in getting from Santarem to 
the Barra, a distance scarcely one-fourth so great. 
When we were going smartly along by day it was 
really delightful, though the coasts are exceedingly 
flat much more so than those of the Amazon below 
the Barra. I was, however, never tired of admiring 


the ever-varying forest-panorama the broad beaches 
densely clad with Arrow-reeds growing 20 or 30 
feet high, behind which extended beds of slender 
and graceful willows (Salix Humboldtiana), their 
yellow -green foliage relieved by the occasional 
admixture of the broad white leaves of Cecropia 
peltata (a tree of the Mulberry tribe), while beyond 
rose abruptly the lofty virgin forest, composed of 
trees of the most different types growing side by 
side. Add to this the noble river, the innumerable 
islands (fixed and floating), the cranes and herons, 
the never-failing alligators, the fresh-water dolphins 
chasing one another and turning " summersets," 
besides numerous other sights and sounds which 1 
cannot here enumerate the whole viewed leisurely 
and ociosamente (" at one's ease "), free from any 
tormenting recurrence of mosquitoes, and you will 
understand that a voyage up the Amazon in a 
steamer has enjoyments peculiar to itself, although 
one's nerves may be occasionally shaken by the 
vessel scraping on a snag, or by the sudden assault 
of a violent thunderstorm. Oh that these had been. 
the only troubles ! But as we were only about half 
the time under way the other half being spent in 
embarking firewood, a cargo of mosquitoes always 
coming on board, uninvited, along with the latt T 
(and I think the higher you ascend the Amaxon the 
more numerous and voracious they become) you 
may say that we were half the. voyage in paradise 
and the other half in purgatory. 

The Monarca is a small but strongly-built iron 
steamer, with low-pressure engines <>! ^5 horse- 
power which occupy so much space as t<> leave 
little for cargo. The firewood also look up 


of room, and, besides what could be stowed down 
below, had generally to be piled to an inconvenient 
height on deck. We used to embark as much as 
would last us from thirty to thirty-six hours, and we 
consumed on an average seventy sticks an hour, the 
sticks being a Portuguese vara (five spans) long and 
three or four inches thick. Piles of firewood are 
established at convenient distances all along the 
banks. The wood which is most largely consumed 
is that of the Mulatto tree, so called from its shining 
bark, which is sometimes of a leaden-coloured hue, 
at others verging on red. It is one of the most 
abundant and at the same time handsomest trees all 
along the Amazon, growing often to 100 feet high, 
and in the spring-time bearing a profusion of white 
flowers which may be compared to those of the 
hawthorn for size and odour. The tree, however, 
belongs to a very different tribe, and is closely allied 
to the Cascarilla or Peruvian Bark tree. It was un- 
known to botanists until I sent specimens from 
Santarem, and Mr. Bentham has called it Enkylista 
Spruceana. The wood causes a good deal of flame, 
and burns nearly as well when green as dry. . . . 

Imagine the cabin passengers of the Monarca 
stretched in their hammocks under an awning in 
the poop eagerly listening to one of their number 
reading from an old black-letter copy of the fabulous 
history of " Carlos Magno," and amongst those 
listeners were a Juiz de Direito, a Procurador 
Publico, two military Commandants going to take 
charge of garrisons at Ega and at the mouth of the 
river lea, and an English botanist whom, at least, 
one would have supposed far in advance of such 
old-world fooleries. When I reached San Carlos in 


Venezuela the only books in the Spanish language 
existing there were " El Sepulcro, por Anna Rad- 
cliffe," and a translation of one of the Duchesse 
d' Abrantes' novels. They are scarcely more 
numerous at Tarapoto, where one of the most 
famous books is " Waverley d ahora sesenta anos, 
por Sir Gualterio Scott." In short, so far as I can 
judge of South America from having seen only 
the most thinly-inhabited portions of it, I can truly 
say that Mrs. Radcliffe, Walter Scott, and Alex- 
andre Dumas are far more popular there than 
Cervantes and Camoens. To the credit of the 
Brazilians, they are far more familiar with the 
Liisiads than the Spanish Americans are with Don 
Quixote. . . . 

Well, we reached Nauta, beyond which the 
Brazilian steamers do not proceed. Nauta is an 
Indian village established about twenty years ago 
just above the mouth of the Ucayali. It is a good 
way within the frontier of Peru, but is at present 
the seat of the frontier garrison (of twenty-five 
men) and also of the government of a department 
with provisional limits and a provisional name 
(Dept. del Literal do Loreto), nearly conterminous 
with the ancient province of Maynas. Two steamers 
were got out here two years ago from the United 
States where they had been purchased for two or 
three times their value. They were intended to 
navigate the Huallaga and Ucayali; but provec 
such trashy things slightly built of pine wood, 
and containing large, coarsely-made, high-pres 
engines that were continually shaking the 
leaky that the Peruvians could make nothing of 
them, and they are at this moment lying rotting in 


the port of Nauta, manned by a crew of rats and 
mosquitoes. The state of these steamers was a 
great disappointment to me, as I had calculated on 
getting up as far as Yurimaguas on the Huallaga in 
one of them, and I had now no alternative but to 
continue my voyage in canoes, in the rainy season 
and with the river full. I got a couple of canoes, 
and after a fortnight's delay in putting them in 
order and getting crews of Indians to navigate 
them, I took my weary way up the Maranon. . . . 

[Part of a letter to Mr. Bentham carries on the 
narrative by describing an incident at Nauta that 
might have had very serious consequences, or 
even caused the death of the traveller.] 

To Mr. George Bentham 

YURIMAGUAS, PERU, May 27, 1855. 


I left the Barra on March 15 in the steamer, and 
reached Nauta on April 2. Had it not been for the 
delays in taking in firewood every day or nearly 
so, the voyage might have been made in half the 
time. At Nauta I was detained a fortnight getting 
together Indians and a couple of canoes to continue 
my voyage. From Nauta to Yurimaguas took me 
till May 5 a voyage made sufficiently uncomfort- 
able from abundance of mosquitoes by day and night, 
and rendered perilous by frequent falling in of the 
banks of Maranon and Huallaga, and by the risk of 
upsetting when the deeply-laden canoe struck on 
some hidden stump, which happened every day. 

My repose in the Barra had been of great 
service to my health, but I reached Yurimaguas 


pretty nearly done up, and on the very day I arrived 
I was seized with diarrhoea caused probably by 
drinking the saline waters of the Huallaga. I had 
scarcely shaken off this when I was taken with 
influenza, which still holds me. To these inoppor- 
tune bodily ailments have been added no small 
mental trouble. You will perhaps have heard in 
England of the number of adventurers of all 
nations, but principally English and Americans, 
who, misled by a false report of gold on the Upper 
Maranon, went thither seeking it. Many of these 
had passed the Barra before I arrived there, but I 
still met several, and amongst them an English 
sailor who seemed a very quiet fellow, and whom I 
engaged to accompany me to Peru, thinking that a 
stout companion like him would be invaluable to 
me in a country where, as report truly said, there 
was no law but that of the strongest, and acts of 
atrocity were of frequent occurrence. I might, with 
a little more forethought, have considered that a 
man who had once become imbued with the idea of 
acquiring riches by some sudden fortune (for I 
knew he had been a "digger" in Australia) was 
never likely to take steadily to any work which 
brought him in but small, though certain, gains ; 
but I could not tell beforehand what I know now, 
that my companion had marked by violence 
course through Peru, and had been in prison at 
Lima for murder. When we readied Peru, and 
had consequently passed the limit of any efficient 
police, his nature began to show itself, and I had 
proof that he sought occasion to murder me and 
decamp with the money I carried with me. On tin- 
way here from Nauta he ill-treated tin- Indians, and 


being rather deaf and understanding scarcely any- 
thing of Spanish, he fancied that every one whom 
he saw laugh was ridiculing him. A few days after 
we got here an old Indian, who officiates as sacristan 
to the Padre, was conversing with other Indians in 
the square, when my man went up to him, seized 
him by the neck, and with his right fist broke his 
mouth in. On the following day, when we were at 
dinner with the Padre, where was also a Portuguese 
who had travelled along with us nearly all the way 
from Nauta, the latter was telling some tale about 
the students at Coimbra which set us a-laughing ; 
my man thought the laugh was directed against him, 
got up from table and challenged the Portuguese 
to fight him with his fists. Attempts at explanation 
only infuriated him more, and seizing a pickaxe he 
aimed a blow with it at the Portuguese, which I 
happily averted by lifting up the handle. The 
Portuguese then, at the Padre's request, entered an 
inner room and fastened himself in, the other still 
attempting to burst open the door in order to wreak 
his vengeance. It was, of course, quite impossible 
for me to excuse or palliate such conduct as this to 
the good Padre, who had treated us most kindly, and 
as it is equally impossible for me to follow my 
pursuits without keeping on good terms with all, my 
separation from such a companion became impera- 
tive. I do not trouble you with a detail of the 
reason I had for concluding that he contemplated 
violence towards myself, and which for several days 
had induced me to sleep always with a revolver 
under my pillow. Suffice to say that with much 
trouble and no small sacrifice on my part we 
succeeded in getting him sent off. I paid him 


three months' wages and the passage from the 
Barra and back in all 140 milreis and on the 
whole I am some 20 out of pocket by the 
speculation. 1 

Many of the gold- seekers marked their way 
through Peru by violence, and some of them came 
to violent ends : an Englishman was killed in 
Chasuta by the Indians, an American was drowned 
in a stream which enters the Huallaga within 
sight of Yurimaguas, and many others perished 
miserably in one way or another. All were known 
to the natives under the generic name of " Ingleses," 
who are consequently by no means in good odour. 

You will perhaps not be surprised to hear, after 
what I have above stated, that I am inclined to 
repent having come on this expedition, which is 
proper only for a person enjoying the best bodily 
health and strength. I have still considerable 
expense and risk before me to get to Tarapoto 
will cost me fifty dollars, though it is so near in a 
straight line that I can nearly see it from a little 
way down the river. But the delays always annoy 
me more than the expense, especially when I can- 
not work. The great bulk of my baggage is paper, 
which it is of the first necessity to bring, as I 
understand I could not procure any from nearer 
than Lima, where I have no funds and no corre- 

1 In a letter written shortly before he quitted Tarapoto, Spruce gh 
termination of this man's career as follo\\, : 

" In my letter from Vui iin;i^uas I spoke of an Kn 
with me from the Barra, and whom 1 \\:is obliged to 
conduct. He has lately been cruelly mui< 

his canoe a little below th.- uih of the I .lyali, much in the 

Count D' Osery was, some disl -er. Though 

confession to me, I have no doubt th -asurc 

him as he had meted to others, I am nol il K 'hat! 

been set at liberty without punishment." 




spondents. At Nauta I collected scarcely anything, 
for fear of adding to my already unwieldy baggage, 
and I could not leave any dried plants there, where 
they would be wasted. The same reasons, added 
to illness, have limited my gatherings at Yuri- 
maguas, for I cannot hope to gather sufficient to 
make it worth while sending a collection from here 
direct to England. Towards the sources of these 
rivers it would be easier to collect in descending 
than in ascending were it practicable to remain a 
few days in the promising localities ; for in coming 
down the size of one's canoe may be as large as one 
chooses, but in going up one must necessarily use 
the smallest canoes, and even then be content to 
get on at a very slow rate. 

[The letter to Mr. Teasdale now takes up the 
narrative again : ] 

The banks of both Maranon and Huallaga 
continue flat all the way to Yurimaguas, but at 
about two clays below this place / enjoyed my 
first view of the Andes \ It was on the 2nd of May 
-we had had terrible rain from midnight to noon, 
and it still kept dropping until 5 P.M. About hall- 
past five the sky cleared to N.W., distinctly revealing 
a line of blue mountains which might be some 4000 
feet higher than the river. They are called the 
Curi-yacu (Mountains of the River of Gold), and 
extend along the western side of the pongos of the 

You are, I daresay, aware that the Maranon, the 
Huallaga, and their tributaries have the peculiarity 
of issuing from the mountains into the plains 
through deep narrow rifts called pongos. From 


the steep perpendicular walls which confine these 
narrows, the Peruvians say very expressively that 
the rivers in such places are boxed in ("encajonado"). 
The pongo of the Huallaga commences a little 
above Yurimaguas, and it takes two days to ascend 
it when the river is pretty low when it is high the 
pongo is impassable. Above the pongo are three 
of the worst malos pasos (rapids and falls) in the 
whole river. . . . 

The principal inhabitant of Tarapoto is a 
Spaniard (a native of Mallorca) named Don Ignacio 
Morey. We had known each other by name some 
years, and he had signified to me that if I would 
visit Tarapoto he would assist me as far as lay in 
his power. From Yurimaguas I had advised him 
of my approach, and he was kind enough to send a 
couple of mules to meet me at Juan Guerra. 
When you consider the amphibious life I had led 
for six years, during a great part of which period 
I had not so much as set sight on a horse, and that 
for several years before leaving England I had 
discontinued equestrian exercises, you will under- 
stand that I found the transition from a canoe to 
a horse rather abrupt. I am, however, too old a 
traveller to be taken aback by anything, and 
immediately made choice of one of the two animah 
sent me a large white macho, whose stride was as 
long as that of a racehorse, and whose caparisons 
were altogether strange to me, especially the large 
wooden stirrups, in form of a square pyramid, 
a hole on one side for inserting the foot ; the whole 
curiously sculptured. An Knglish hors 
have felt weary with such trappings, but he 
have stared in dismay at the road, though one 


the best in the country. At the commencement it 
was pretty level, though very muddy in places, and 
much obstructed by roots of trees and even by 
fallen trunks stretching across the path ; while 
overhead the branches and twiners hung so low 
that I was compelled every now and then to duck 
my head to avoid a fate similar to that of Absalom. 
They who opened the road had never calculated 
that a long fellow like myself would have to 
traverse it. Farther on were ups and downs 
strewed with stones and often skirting declivities. 
We traversed three considerable streams, tributaries 
of the Cumbasa. The track invariably led straight 
down to the water without any winding, and the 
mules partly slid, partly walked down. 



( June 22, 1855,^ March 22, 1857) 

[DURING the period comprised in this chapter 
Spruce appears to have kept no regular Journal, 
and though there are many scattered notes referring 
to his various excursions, they are so imperfect, and 
sometimes so condensed and enigmatical, that I 
was at first in despair as to how I should find 
materials for an account of what was, to himself, 
one of the most enjoyable and interesting portions 
of his travels, as well as one of the best districts for 
a botanical collector which he met with during his 
fourteen years' residence in the equatorial regions of 
South America. 

Fortunately, his letters to Mr. Bentham and 
to his friend Mr. Teasdale were so full as, to some 
extent, to supply the place of Journals, while one 
of his most interesting botanical excursions was 
described in some detail in an article he contributed 
to the short-lived periodical the 
Magazine of July 1^73. With these materials, 
and by making use of some of the descripti 1 
mentioned above, and greatly assistec 



rough sketch-map of the district which I found 
among his papers, I have, I hope, succeeded in 
giving a tolerable idea of this interesting locality, 
which forms the most important centre of population 
in North-Eastern Peru, and which seems to be still 
very little known to European, and certainly to 
British scientific travellers.] 

To Mr. John Teasdale (continued] 

March 23, 1856. 

On reaching Tarapoto about sunset, Don Ignacio 
placed his well-furnished table at my disposal, and 
he had already secured me an unoccupied house in 
a situation exactly corresponding to my wishes. 
It is away from any street, in the midst of a garden, 
and only a dozen yards from the edge of a declivity 
which barely allows the canes and plantains to take 
root on it ; at its base the turbulent Shillicaio seeks 
its course among rude masses of rock, its sparkling 
waters appearing only here and there, because 
hemmed in by a dense hedge of low trees and 
twiners. It much reminds me of the Pyrenean 
" gaves." There is no other house nearer than 
fifty paces, and this, though conducing to my more 
perfect quiet, may be a disadvantage if it should 
happen that I have come among ill-disposed folk. 
The garden is planted with sugar-cane, yuca-dulce, 
cotton, sweet potatoes, frijoles (beans), and calabash 
trees. There are also several clumps of herbs (in- 
cluding at least three distinct species of Capsicum), 
and two or three young trees of Yangu'a tinctoria. 

Across the stream is the pueblo of Cumbasa- 
a sort of suburb to Tarapoto, inhabited chiefly by 



descendants of two powerful tribes of Indians who 
occupied the same site when the first whites came 
from Lamas, about seventy years ago, to found Tara- 
poto. Looking over the pueblo from my house, I 
am reminded by the general aspect of an English 
village in some agricultural district, though the 
accessories are different. Here and there in the 
forest (which is mostly low, though there are a few 
lofty relics of the old primeval woods) are verdant 
spots whereon pasture various domestic animals : 
horses, mules, cows, pigs, turkeys and other fowls. 
On their margins, or from amid the forest, peep 
out the straw roofs of cottages, often accompanied 
by plantain gardens and by orange and other fruit 
trees. Beyond the pueblo stretches a plain towards 
the S.E. and S., while towards the E. and N.E. 
the ground gently rises, to fall again into the deep 
valley of the Aguashiyacu. The plain is bounded 
by a low ridge of Lamas shales, whereon a red 
loam predominates and gives to the ridge the 
appellation of Piica-lama. A broad red road is 
seen winding over it which leads to the fields and 
gardens of Aguashiyacu. 

The track leading to Chasuta passes through 
the village of Cumbasa in an easterly direction. 
After crossing the Aguashiyacu it emerge? 
very wide plain of loose sand, covered chiefly 
coarse grasses and low scattered trees. 1 
pajonal (open campo) is not visible from Tarapoto, 
but it extends nearly to Pura-yucu. Immediate 
across this stream and a littl<- more than two 

1 Among these are Curatcllii <//< ;/'.. /;/,/. I 'ina with 
a strange-looking Tiliacea, and a prickly Xanth"\ 
abominable odour of bugs when brui 

CHAP, x 


leagues from Tarapoto begin to rise the abrupt 
ridges of Guayrapurima (" where the wind blows "), 
which are crossed to reach Chasuta. 

More to the north is a rather lower ridge whose 
top, bare of trees, gives to it the name of Cerro- 
pelado (the bald hill). Over this passes the track 
leading to a noted fishing stream called Tiracu, 
whose sources are near those of the Aguashiyacu 
in the high mountains N.E. of Tarapoto. From 
this mountain come more storms than from any 
other quarter. A long day of painful ascents 
and descents brings fishermen to Tiracu, where 
they sometimes remain a week, exposed to almost 
daily rain and barely sheltered at night in a rude 
rancho of palm-leaves. Some way lower down the 
Tiracu are cliffs of white salt. The inhabitants of 
Lamas make frequent visits there, and when I 
visit the Guayrapurima mountain I never fail to 
encounter one or more troops of them. 

[The accompanying view of Tarapoto from the 
southern entrance shows the straggling suburbs 
backed on the north-east by the grand mountain of 
Guayrapurima, to which Spruce made many excur- 
sions. The conical peak on the left is probably the 
same as that shown in another drawing (at p. 94) 
as the singular Cerro Pelado when seen from a 
different point of view, perhaps from the village of 

The sound of the waters of the Shillicaio generally 
reaches my ears in a soft murmur, often mingled 
with the less musical sounds of a cane-mill on 
its opposite margin ; the squeaking of the cane- 
crushers ; the shouts of the men who goad along 
the poor oxen or mules in their painful round ; 










the grunting of pigs, which chew the crushed 
canes as they are thrown out ; and very often the 
laughter and playful screams of boys and girls 
bathing in the stream. But when heavy rain falls 
on the hills to the northward, the swollen stream 
comes rushing down with a roar which drowns 
every other sound, bearing along with it logs and 
trunks of trees, and sometimes tearing loose from 
its banks a large mass of rock which falls with a 
thundering crash. At such times all communica- 
tion is suspended between the town and the 
village. The poor people who are returning from 
their farms on the opposite side, with their load 
of plantains or other vegetables, have then to wait 
perhaps a couple of hours shivering on the bank 
ere they can cross. Their natural apathy prevents 
the people from obviating this inconvenience by- 
throwing a bridge across the narrow stream, which 
would be easily done, as the channel is in many 
places scarcely ten yards across, and the banks are 
so high that the adjacent ground is never inundated 
by the highest Hoods, which always subside a few- 
hours after the rain ceases. A bridge was indeed 
commenced in 1856, but the foundations were 
ill-laid that the first flood swept them away. 

At some seasons, especially during the rains 
scarcely any colour but green, of various 
can be discerned in the landscape, save that 'in the 
morning the lower part of the course of the 
and Cumbasa are marked by a line of hovering 
mist, and that a tall column of grey 
be seen rising in the forest from some ne\ 
clearing; but a few sunny days after rain < 
the forest here and then- with the (lowers 


several trees and twiners, and the colours are 
gayest and most varied in the months of July 
and August. Then are scattered over the plain, 
especially where the soil is sandy, dense posies of 
the " Purple flower," a species of Physocalymma 
(Lythraceae), and the less conspicuous ones of the 
" Yellow flower" (Vochysia sp.) ; more sparingly is 
seen mixed with these a larger mass of the orange 
flowers of Vochysia ferruginea, and these are every- 
where set off by white bunches of Myrtles and 
Melastomas. Near the Shillicaio rise here and 
there magnificent trees of Ama-sisa (Erythrina 
amasisa, Sp.), which have been spared by the axe 
of the first settlers some of them as much as 
80 or 100 feet high, and twice in the year, at 
intervals of six months, clad with large flame- 
coloured or vermilion flowers, sometimes with no 
accompaniment of leaves and sometimes with 
young leaves of a most delicate green just 
appearing. I have been delighted to walk by the 
Shillicaio at sunset and observe the tracery of the 
crown of the Ama-sisa, with its copious red tassels, 
projected on the pale blue eastern sky, when the 
flowers of almost every tree showed a different 
shade of yellow-red, not, however, paling to yellow 
on the one hand or deepening to scarlet on the 
other. It continues in flower nearly two months, 
and before it has well done flowering the ripened 
follicular pods splitting up on one side only, and 
with the two or three seeds still adhering, begin to 
strew the ground. The trunk is more or less closely 
beset with shortly conical, sharply cusped prickles. 1 

1 On this account it is constantly selected by the sagacious troopial (Cassiats 
iftcronotus] for its long pensile nests ; though, as ,if doubting that this were 


On the declivities sloping to the Shillicaio and 
too steep for cultivation there are other trees of the 
primeval forest which flower along with the Ama- 
sisa, especially the Lupuna (Chorisia ventricosa], a 
Bombaceous tree with prickly trunk swollen above 
the base, producing abundance of large rose- 
coloured flowers, and a tree of moderate growth 
bearing large panicles of rather small white odori- 
ferous flowers (allied to Loganiaceae or Gentianese). 
Some two months later a low spreading Bauhinia, 
abundant on the rocky margin of the stream, 
appears every morning sprinkled with large white 
flowers resembling a Prince's feather in form. 
I know not at what hour they open, but it is 
certainly before daylight, as I always see them fully 
expanded at earliest dawn. A Capparis which 
often grows near it has large white inodorous 
flowers which begin to open at sunset, and at 
daybreak the stamens and petals are falling awa\ . 
It flowers more or less all the year round, and tin- 
Bauhinia does not go out of flower for full eii;ht 
months. 1 

Tarapoto is situated in a large pampa or plain 

sufficient to render them inaccessible, it hangs them on the very points of tin 
outermost twigs. All the species of troopial I have seen on the Amazon ami 
Rio Negro show similar foresight in selecting a place where lo rear their 
infant colonies; and the robber \\ln>, "I/serving no impediment from 1 
ventures to climb to their eyrie finds to his cost that it i 
large wasps' nest, or \>y hordes l stinging ants. 

1 [It is interesting to note ho\\ often Spruce mentions white flo 
night-blooming, but these t\\o cases are especially interesting bccausi 
opens in the evening, the other apparently during the night or 1 
da\\n. This accords with the fact, communicated to me by 
the Tring Museum, thai their moth-colld tor in South Americ 
besides the species of moths ili.n come to light or to flo 
principally up to about midnight, lie > spei 

probably an hour or .so before dawn till n< 
moths are those which fertili early llo 

and shrubs observed by Spruce. A. K. \\ . | 


of such dimensions that London might be set down 
in it entire, and so completely encircled by moun- 
tains as to form a vast natural amphitheatre. It is 
about 1500 feet above the sea, while the encircling 
ridges are 2000 or 3000 feet above the plain, and 
some of the peaks one or two thousand feet more. 

The town dates only from some seventy years 
back, yet according to a census made since my 
arrival it numbers nearly 12,000 souls, including 
two small hamlets which form a kind of suburb to 
it. The dominion of the Incas does not seem to 
have extended much to the eastward of the central 
ridge of the Andes, and the Spaniards found this 
part of the montana occupied by independent 
Indian tribes, of which considerable remnants still 
exist, both pure and mixed. The first town estab- 
lished by the conquerors was Lamas, which stands 
on the top of a curious conical hill five leagues 
(seventeen miles) westward of Tarapoto and 1500 feet 
above the pampa. From my house I can, with the 
telescope, distinctly see the white houses glistening 
in the morning sun. I have also visited it, and 
may have something to tell you of it in a future 
letter. It numbers now only from 6000 to 7000 
inhabitants, but Tarapoto and several villages on the 
Mayo and Cumbasa rivers are all colonies of Lamas. 
Moyobamba, more to the westward, among the 
mountains, has about 20,000 inhabitants ; it is the 
great centre of the manufacture of those beautiful 
straw hats sold extensively in Brazil under the 
name of " Chapeos de Chile," and of which the 
finest sell for an ounce of gold, or even more. 
They are made from the same plant as the Panama 
hats. All these places are inhabited by the same 


mixed (and I must say very degenerate) race, who 
have nothing about them of the European but 
a whitish skin ; their ideas, modes of life, and 
language being still entirely Indian. 

Tarapoto is regularly built, and covers a good 
deal of ground, as the houses mostly stand in 
gardens. . . . They are all of a single story with 
thick walls of adobes and palm-thatch roofs. 

The climate is much drier than that of the 
Amazon, but this depends entirely on the peculiar 
position of the town, for while heavy rains are 
frequent on the hills, they are very rare at Tara- 
poto, and we see and hear almost every day violent 
thunderstorms skirting the pampa, but only occa- 
sionally giving us a slight taste. Fogs, however, 
are frequent in the mornings, and no doubt make 
up for the deficiency of the rains. 

As to temperature, I have once had the pleasure 
of seeing the thermometer at Tarapoto down to 6f 
at daybreak. The sensation of cold was so great 
that had I been in England I should have looked 
to see the mist deposited on the trees in the shape 
of hoar-frost. More commonly at that time of day 
the thermometer marks from 72 to 75. At two 
in the afternoon it gets up to 84 to 87, and in my 
house to 95 to 98- -on one occasion to 100 . 
On the hills it is much cooler, and even here we 
have generally a strong northerly breeze from 
10 A.M. to sunset, which tempers the heat. In 
the months of November and December, I spent 
three weeks on the Cerro de Campana, at three 
days' journey to the west of this, and two d.. 
from Moyobamba. Here I got nearly 4000 feet 
higher than the Pampa of Tarapoto, and the cold 


was sometimes sensible enough, but I could not 
take my thermometer in my excursions to the 
highest points. . . . 

I have been much interested to meet here 
several tribes of plants which I had not seen since 
leaving England. I have got, for instance, a 
Poppy, a Horsetail, a Bramble, a Sanicle (exceed- 
ingly like your common wood Sanicle), some shrubs 
of the Bilberry tribe with edible fruit similar to 
that of the English species, a Buttercup (very like 
the minute Ranunculus hederaceus which grows by 
Ganthorpe Spring), a Hydrocotyle rather smaller 
than the Hydrocotyle vulgaris whose round shining 
leaves you must have noticed in boggy parts of 
Welburn Moor, a Chaffweed like the minute 
Centunculus minimus which grows rarely on Stock- 
ton Common, and some others. In a deep dell on 
the way to Moyobamba I was delighted to find a 
few specimens of that rare plant the Chickweed : 
its seeds had most likely been brought in the dung 
of mules which travel that way. . . . 

[The following letter now takes up the narrative 
from the point of view of the botanical collector : ] 

To Mr. George Bent-ham 

TARAPOTO, PERU, Dec. 25, 1855. 

... I did not get away from Yurimaguas till 
the 1 2th of June, and on the 2ist reached the end 
of my long voyage. Yurimaguas has the most 
equable temperature I have anywhere experienced, 
the thermometer sometimes not varying more than 
8 in twenty-four hours, but I have found no place 
so relaxing, and the addition of a severe attack of 


diarrhoea and catarrh had reduced me pretty low 
when I left. Periodic returns of this diarrhoea, and 
ulcerated feet caused by walking in the cold waters 
of mountain streams, are the chief inconveniences I 
have experienced at Tarapoto. In other respects 
I am more agreeably placed than anywhere pre- 
viously in my South American wanderings. I am 
among magnificent scenery and an interesting 
vegetation, and there are a few pleasant people 
with whom to converse. The pampa or plain of 
Tarapoto is a sort of amphitheatre entirely sur- 
rounded by hills ; its position is in the lower angle 
of the confluence of the Mayo and Huallaga, and 
the town itself is about three leagues (ten miles) 
from the latter river. The hills are an offshoot 
from the main ridge of the Andes, and from being 
watered by the Mayo and its tributaries I must call 
them, for want of a better name, the Mayensian 
Andes. The ridges rise to some 3000 feet above 
the pampa, and some points are probably much 

Good botanising ground is unfortunately rather 
distant. The pampa either is or has been wholly 
under cultivation, with the exception of the pre- 
cipitous banks of the rivulets, and it is a long way 
across it to the foot of the hills. The summits ot 
the hills have most of them never been reachec 
and they are clad with the same dense forest as the 
Amazon, showing rarely scattered bald grassy 
places (called pajonales or pastes), 
are no tracks one must ascend by the 
the streams, all of which, including the 
have the peculiarity of being, as the Peruvians 
boxed in (" encajonado ") between steep 



rock, where they issue from the hills. These 
steep narrows are called pongos, and often include 
falls and rapids. They are rich places for ferns, 
but it is both difficult and dangerous getting along 
them, now and then scrambling over large slippery 
rocks which block up the passage, or wading up to 
the middle through dark holes with the water 
below 70. An exploration of one of these places 
generally costs me a week's suffering in the feet. 
I have at last got into a fern country, and I have 
already gathered more species than in all my 
Brazilian and Venezuelan travels. Mosses also are 
more abundant, and there is a greater proportion of 
large species. 

Among the flowers I believe you will find a good share of 
novelty. I expect I have two new genera of Rubiaceae, both 
very fine things, one of them allied to Calycophyllum but with 
large flowers almost like those of Henriquezia. There are new 
things also in several other tribes. The general character of the 
vegetation is, as might be expected, intermediate between that of 
the valley of the Amazon and of its alpine sources. As evidences 
of an approach to cooler regions, and to a flora more European 
in its affinities, I may mention having met here, for the first time 
in my American travels, a Horsetail, a Poppy, a Bramble, a 
Crosswort, and a Ranunculus (a minute species, trailing over moss 
by mountain streams, and looking quite like a Hydrocotyle). 
The ferns may possibly include some new species, especially 
among the larger ones, which are likely enough to have been 
passed over on account of their bulkiness. The fronds of one of 
these are 22 feet in length, though it never shows more than a 
rudimentary caudex : its affinity seems to be with Cyathea. In 
my collection are a good many species of Grammitis, Meniscium, 
Davallia, Diplazium, Litobrochia, Aneimia, etc., together with 
several pretty SeJaginellas and an Adder's -tongue. A small 
species of Grammitis growing on trees in the mountains is very 
odoriferous when dry, and the Indian women put it in their hair, 
calling it Asinima. 

These things have not been got together with- 
out greater trouble than I had calculated on. I 
expected to find roads on which I could take long 



journeys with mules, but though there are a few 
mules there are no roads on which they can be 
taken with cargoes. Between Moyobamba and the 
Huallaga all cargoes must be carried on Indians' 
backs, and indeed throughout the eastern slope of 
the Cordillera the roads rarely admit of any 
other mode. The number of Indians is constantly 
diminishing, and barely suffices for the ordinary 
traffic of the district. I have ridden a few times 
across the pampa to the hills, but for longer excur- 
sions this mode does not suit. The journey 
alluded to at the opening of my letter was to visit 
a mountain lying beyond the Mayo, at two days 
from Moyobamba and three from Tarapoto. It is 
called the Campana, from some fancied resemblance 
to a bell, and the road crosses it at about 3500 
feet l (by barometer) above the plain of Tarapoto ; 
but there is a peak to northward of the pass rising 
a thousand feet higher. It differs notably from 
the adjacent mountains by being nearly all pasto, 
only the valleys and ravines towards its base being 
filled with forest, in which abundance of palms are 
conspicuous. The only habitation there is a chacra 
on the side next Moyobamba, at 1500 feet below 
the pass, and with no other dwelling nearer than ;i 
day's journey. Here I established myself with a 
stock of paper, and with provisions for three weeks, 
which I had taken the necessary precaution <>l 
carrying with me from Tarapoto. My cargoes 
loaded five men on the way thither and six on the 
return. I have reason to be satisfied with my 
success at the Campana, and 1 should probabl) 

1 Perhaps 5000 feet ;I!M>VC tin- sea, I'm I havi 
below the mouth of the Kin V 


have brought away more specimens had not my 
host, a few days after my arrival, been severely 
bitten by a snake, the cure of whom prevented my 
lea'ving the house for several days. 

[An exceedingly interesting account of this 
whole excursion, and of the special incident above 
referred to, forms part of a lengthy article in 
the short-lived and long-extinct periodical, the 
Geographical Magazine. It is unfortunately almost 
the only portion of his Tarapoto journal that he 
wrote out in full, and I therefore insert it here.] 

After exploring the most accessible hills and 
gorges within a day's journey of Tarapoto, I 
decided to devote a month to a mountain called 
La Campana or the Bell, three days' journey away 
to westward. It was just visible from Tarapoto, 
and was described to me as abounding in ferns and 
flowers, and having on its flanks large pajonales 
or natural pastures, embosomed in virgin forest. 
As all loads must be carried on men's backs in 
that region, I had first to get together a sufficient 
number of cargueros, as they are called, for the 
transport of my baggage, which included salt beef 
and fish, as I did not calculate on finding much 
beside vegetable food on the mountain, and I 
intended to give up my whole time to plants, and 
not to waste any of it in hunting game for my 
dinner, as I had often had to do on the Rio Negro. 
I started therefore on the 2Oth November (1855), 
accompanied by my assistant a young English- 
man named Charles Nelson 1 and by six Indian 

1 ["Nelson" is here mentioned for the first time, and I can find nothing 

L O 

more about him except that he \vas English, and stayed with Spruce till he 
left Tarapoto. ED.] 


cargueros. Our first day's journey, of about 15 
miles, brought us to Lamas l a town of 6000 
inhabitants, near the top of a conical hill, that 
reminded me of similarly situated towns and villages 
in Valencia, as they are depicted in Cavanilles' 
History of that province of Old Spain. 

The Hill of Lamas is plainly volcanic, although 
there is no evidence of eruptions in the shape of 
lava, or any obvious crater, unless certain small 
lakes without inlet or outlet a little below the 
summit may be considered such. The fertile soil 
which covers its flanks, and yields abundant crops 
of every esculent that will bear the climate, espe- 
cially of the indispensable poroto (a kind of 
kidney-bean), consists almost entirely of decom- 
posed shales of divers colours sulphur-yellow, 
vermilion, purple, slate-blue, and black. These 
shales belong to the Triassic series near Tarapoto 
I found ammonites of immense size in them and 
have apparently been broken up by the protrusion 
of a columnar jointed trap-rock, which is here and 
there exposed in the shape of a sloping floor, 
divided with much regularity into squares, rather 
less than a foot on the side, and called by the 
natives ladrillos or bricks. The slope of the 
floors is always towards the apex of the mountain, 
and is inclined to the horizon at from 10 to 30. 
Overlying the shales there has been a soft white 
sandstone, in thick strata, great part of which has 
been decomposed and carried into the hollows, and 
even into the plain below, by the torrential rains 
leaving only a few scattered blocks of more tena- 
cious material than the rest. 

1 Lamas: lat. 6 5' S. ; alt. (convent) 25(14 I-:, ft., (hill-top) 2849 fl 


The town occupies a series of terraces, from 200 
to 300 feet below the hill-top ; but except in what 
is called the plaza, where the church, convent, 
and government house the last appropriated to 
the lodging of strangers occupy three sides of a 
square, scarcely anywhere is there the semblance 
of a street or square. The nature of the ground 
is partly the cause of this, for the rains have 
worn narrow zigzag ravines, called zanjas, 40 feet 
or more deep, and with perpendicular sides, that 
radiate from the convex summit in all directions ; 
so that two houses only a few paces apart may 
be separated by an impassable gulf, and even in 
the daytime it is necessary to take heed to one's 
steps, while by night the town is actually impass- 
able for a stranger. It should be added that a 
bridge, even in the shape of a simple plank, is a 
luxury unknown in the land of the Motilones. 
The scanty clothing worn for decency's sake in 
that warm region is soon dried up by the sun and 
wind after wading through one of the streams, 
even up to the neck. The zanjas widen down- 
wards, and from their sandy bed distils a deliciously 
cool and clear water, which is made to collect here 
and there in little wells, covered in with a fiat 
stone, and is used by the inhabitants for all 
domestic purposes. 

[The drawing here reproduced was made by 
Spruce during his two days' stay here (as stated on 
p. 60). It shows the plaza from a slight elevation, 
the irregular houses around it, the two- towered 
church and convent, with a detached bell-tower at 
some distance, as at Yurimaguas ; the whole backed 
by the forest-clad Tarapoto mountains. This was 

*F -- 





delicately outlined by Spruce and the shading added 
by Mr. Young under my directions. A. R. W.] 

The river Mayo a broad, shallow stream, 
whose sources are in the summits of the Eastern 
Cordillera runs half round the base of the hill of 
Lamas, first from north to south, then eastward to 
unite with the Huallaga. 

The inhabitants of Lamas are a mixed race, 
descended partly from Spanish colonists, partly 
from the ancient Indian inhabitants, of the tribe 
of Motilones or Shaven Crowns ; so called by the 
first Europeans who visited them from their custom 
of cutting off the hair close to the head, with the 
exception of a fringe left hanging in front to the 
level of the eyebrows. The custom is still common 
among the Indians and half- Indians throughout 
that region ; but nowadays the barber's tools are 
scissors anciently they were sharp-edged mussel- 
shells. In 1541, only a few years after the con- 
quest of Peru, Felipe de litre (or Von Huten) set 
out from Coro in Venezuela, in quest of El Dorado 
and the Omaguas, and after travelling southwards 
ten years, reached the province of the Motilones in 
Peru, by way of a large river that flows thence to 
the Amazon. That large river we now know to 
be the Huallaga. Some years later (in 1560) the 
famous expedition headed by Pedro de Ursua, and 
numbering many hundred men, reached Lamas, 
described as a small village of Motilones, on the 
banks of the river Moyobamba, where he delayed 
to build vessels for navigating the Amazon, 
his train was the infamous Lope de Aguirre, whose 
name synonymous with "traitor 1 throughout 
that region is still given to one of the malos 


pasos in the rapids of the Huallaga, two days' 
journey below Lamas. It was not there, however, 
that he assassinated his patron, Ursua, but on the 
Amazon itself, at some place not well made out, on 
New Year's Day, 1561. 

Ursua has not been the only adventurer whose 
miscarriage dated from Lamas. When I embarked 
at Liverpool, in June 1849, for the mouth of the 
Amazon, I was shown by the Messrs. Singlehurst 
great piles of a spurious Peruvian Bark, which had 
been found to contain no particle of quinine or ol 
any cognate alkaloid, and was therefore quite un- 
saleable. Its history, as I made it out many years 
afterwards, was as follows : A certain Don Luis 
-, a young Peruvian, of good address and figure, 
energetic but restless, and sadly deficient in know- 
ledge and prudence, whilst occupied as intendant 
of a mine near Cajamarca, had heard reports of the 
abundance of bark-trees in the lower part of the 
valley of the Huallaga, and having obtained speci- 
mens of the leaves and bark, he rashly pronounced 
them identical with true Cascarilla, such as he 
had seen at Huanuco. Forthwith he persuaded 
several other young men some of them of good 
family to join him in an expedition in quest of it. 
They found it in greatest abundance on the hill ot 
Lamas, where they collected what they considered 
would make a shipload of it, embarked it on the 
Huallaga in rafts, and thus conveyed it all the way 
down the Amazon some 2000 miles to the port 
of Para. In all the towns on their route their bold 
venture created a great sensation. At the city of 
Barra (now Manaos), at the mouth of the Rio 
Negro, they delayed long enough for Don Luis to 


win the heart of and actually marry the daughter 
of the oldest Portuguese colonist, Senhor Brandao, 
who (as he himself has told me) considered him- 
self of the same race as our ancient Dukes of 
Suffolk. Arrived at Para, the resident merchants 
and druggists, deceived by the appearance of the 
bark, and probably at that epoch unable to test it 
chemically, offered to buy the whole cargo at a 
price that would have amply remunerated the 
adventurers, who, however, now thoroughly per- 
suaded of the genuineness of their bark, and be- 
lieving they could obtain a far higher price for it in 
England, determined to proceed with it to Liver- 
pool. They accordingly freighted a vessel of 
Singlehurst's, partly on borrowed money and 
partly on credit of the proceeds of the sale they 
hoped to effect. It must have been a sorrowful 
moment for them when their bark, having been 
analysed at Liverpool by competent judges, was 
pronounced to be utterly worthless, and not Peru- 
vian Bark at all. When ulterior analysis only 
confirmed the sentence, nothing was left for them 
but to abandon their hoped-for source of wealth 
and return to their own country, which they were 
only enabled to do by the beneficence of the mer- 
chants of Liverpool. Mr. Singlehurst had the 
unsaleable bark left on his hands, in lieu of ^400 
due to him on freight from Para, and for expense- 
incurred in England. 

At Lamas I was shown the spurious bark-tree, 
still growing in tolerable abundance, and recognised 
it as one I had gathered in llower and fruit on hill 
sides at Tarapoto. It is the Condaniinc 
bosa of Decandolle, and belongs to the same family 


as the Cinchonas, some of which it sufficiently 
resembles in both leaves and flowers, but differs 
generically in the seeds being wingless ; and the 
bark, although slightly bitter, has none of the febri- 
fugal and antiperiodic properties of the Cinchonas. 
There had not been wanting people on the spot who 
warned Don Luis of his mistake ; but he was too 
opinionated to listen to them, and persevered to his 
disastrous overthrow. 

My host at Lamas was the venerable vicar, 
Padre Antonio Reategui, and he must needs have 
me stay all the following day with him ; but the 
time was not lost to me, for I botanised the whole 
hill-top, made a sketch of the curious town, and on 
the two evenings of my stay profited by the intelli- 
gent conversation of the Padre. It was from him 
I got the first trustworthy account of the mountain 
I was bent on visiting. A small colony had recently 
been established on the flanks of the Campana, con- 
sisting of an Indian named Chumbi and his family, 
and of his two sisters, their husbands and young 
children. To Chumbi the Padre gave me a letter 
of recommendation, and assured me I should find 
in his hut at least good shelter, and store of plantains 
to eat along with my charqui. 

Having lingered so long at Lamas, I must 
hasten over the remainder of the journey. On the 
22nd we reached Tabalosos, a small Indian village 
on the opposite side of the deep valley of the Mayo, 
and at about the same distance from Lamas as 
Tarapoto. At Tabalosos I passed the night in the 
house of some relations of Chumbi, my bed being 
merely a hide spread on the earthen floor, like those 
of the other inmates. The next day's journey was 


a very long one, and when I returned, with heavier 
loads, I found it expedient to divide it into two. It 
would take several pages to describe the savage, 
rocky and wooded gorges, with rugged ascents and 
descents ; and the torrents that traversed them, and 
must be crossed and recrossed, as the cliffs rose 
from the water's edge, first on one side, then on the 
other. A turbid saline stream of considerable 
volume, called Cachi-yacu (Salt River), had to be 
waded through eleven times in the space of half a 
mile. When we reached the grassy rounded summit 
of the pass of the Campana, at about 5000 feet, the 
sun was fast declining, and we had still a long and 
devious descent on the other side of the mountain 
to Lirio-pampa 1 (as Chumbi had called his chacra), 
which we reached about nightfall. On receiving 
the Padre's missive, Chumbi, with a profound bow, 
begged permission to open it, and when he had read 
it and applied his lips to the signature, he placed 
himself, his house, his wife, and his little ones at 
my entire disposal. 

Lirio-pampa was a nearly level strip of fertile 
land adjacent to a considerable stream (the Alan) 
that ran not into the Mayo, but into the Sisa, the 
next river entering the Huallaga to southward. It 
was all forest, save where Chumbi's colony had 
made their little plantations of plantains and other 
esculents, including a plot of thriving sugar-cane, <>! 
which the first crop was expected to be ripe by the 
time the mill they were putting up with wooden 
machinery should be ready in j^nnd it. At a short 
distance a spur of the Campana ran down into ill 

1 Lirio-pampa: lat. 6 25' S.. [on] 
alt. (pass) 5144 E. ft., (nmuntain-topi <><* 


valley, partly bare of wood but clad with natural 
meadow, where Chumbi had placed a few young 
cattle. The dwelling-house, being at a little more 
than a thousand metres above the sea, was in a 
very pleasant climate. The temperature at sunrise 
was usually from 64 to 68 J -- once down to 6i^- 
and the maximum rarely exceeded 81, though it 
once rose to 87. The weather was fine and dry 
during the three weeks of our stay, except one day 
of heavy rain with thunder. When we had been 
there a few days, incessantly occupied from earliest 
dawn till nightfall in collecting and preserving 
specimens of the beautiful plants that everywhere 
abounded, I began to grow tired of the salt beef 
and fish which, with plantains and yucas, were our 
only fare ; and as Chumbi told me there was plenty 
of game in the woods, I sent him out one morning 
before daybreak to shoot paujiles (curassows or 
wood-turkeys). At 5.30 A.M. Nelson and I had 
our coffee, and then set off to herborize. Fortu- 
nately I indicated to Chumbi's wife the direction we 
should take, and we had been gone but a little 
while when her son came running after us to beg 
that we would return instantly, as his father had 
been stung by something in the wood and had 
reached home in a dying state. We hurried back, 
and on arriving at the house found Chumbi sitting 
on a log, looking deadly pale, and moaning from 
the pain of a snake-bite in the wrist of the right 
arm. He told us in a few broken words that he 
was creeping silently through the bush to get 
within shot of a turkey, when, on pushing gently 
aside an overhanging branch, he felt himself seized 
by the wrist, and was immediately attacked with so 


terrible a pain that he ran off in the direction of his 
house as fast as he could. He judged an hour 
might have elapsed since he was bitten, and the 
hand and arm as far as the elbow were already 
dreadfully swollen and livid, while the pulse even 
in the left arm was scarcely sensible. We bandaged 
the arm above the elbow, and as Mr. Nelson averred 
that his mouth was perfectly sound I allowed him 
to suck the wound, which was merely two fine 
punctures in the wrist on a line with the little 
finger ; but the time was evidently past for either 
suction or bandaging, for Chumbi declared he felt 
excruciating pain in every part of his body. I also 
made him swallow three wine-glasses of camphorated 
rum, and we bathed the arm with the same spirit. 
Then we got him on his feet, and, one of us holding 
him on each side, we walked him up and down by 
the house. After a few turns he declared he could 
walk no more, and begged us to let him sit down ; 
but after sitting a few minutes the pain returned 
with redoubled violence, and the pulse, which had 
beat a little stronger with the stimulant and the 
exercise, again became imperceptible. So we forced 
him up again, and made him walk as long as we 
could ; then wrapped up the wrist in cotton soaked 
with spirit, and every now and then gave him a 
glass of the same, into which I threw a quantity 
of quinine. At short intervals we also gave 
him strong coffee, which evidently enlivened him. 
Still, with all we could do, and although we con- 
trived to keep up the circulation, the 
gained on us, and by night the whole arm up to 
the shoulder was so much swollen and discolourec 
as more to resemble the branch of a tree than 


anything human, and the hand was most like a 
turtle's fin. 

Whilst this was going on, the relatives of the 
poor man kept up a continual wailing, as though he 
had been already dead ; and he himself, although 
he submitted patiently to our efforts to procure him 
relief, had lost all hope of living. He indicated the 
spot where he wished to be buried, and gave what 
he considered his last directions to his wife about 
his children and property. He also sent off a 
messenger to his mother and brothers at Tabalosos, 
telling them that he was dying, and offering them 
his last adieux. 

Towards evening, although the pain was still 
intense, the beating of the heart had become fuller 
and more regular, so that I felt sure the progress 
of the poison had been arrested, and I was now 
only afraid of mortification supervening in the c.rm. 
I therefore set Chumbi's wife and daughter to grind 
a quantity of rice, and enveloped the hand and 
wrist in a thick poultice, and had the rest of the 
arm fomented with an infusion of aromatic herbs at 
short intervals throughout the night. When the 
poultice was taken off in the morning, it was satur- 
ated with blood and putrid matter from the wounds, 
which had become much enlarged. The swelling 
was sensibly diminished, and the arm had become 
covered with pustules containing bloody serum, 
which we evacuated by puncturing them. A ready- 
made rice-poultice replaced the one taken off, and 
we kept up the fomentation and the poulticing 
until, at the end of forty-eight hours, the swelling 
had entirely subsided. The blood, besides break- 
ing out at the skin, had also got mixed with the 


excretions. To remedy this, I prepared a decoction 
of an aromatic pepper (a species of Artanthe) that 
I had seen growing close by, and knew to be a 
powerful diuretic, and made him drink largely of it. 
In twelve hours the skin and the excretions were 
restored to their normal state. 

On the second day he could take a little broth, 
and on the third he again ate heartily. For a 
month afterwards he had occasional acute pains in 
the arm and about the region of the heart, but at 
the end of two months he was quite restored, and 
avowed that his arm was as strong as it had ever 

Chumbi had caught a glimpse of the snake, and 
recognised it as the Urrito-machacui or Parrot 
snake, so called from being coloured like the com- 
mon green parrot, and thus rendered scarcely dis- 
tinguishable from the foliage among which it lurks. 
It grows to a yard or more long, and its bite is con- 
sidered incurable. Several fatal cases had occurred 
in the country adjacent to the river Mayo. 

It may well be imagined that until Chumbi was 
fairly out of danger I felt no small anxiety, and it 
was not lessened by gathering from the whispers 
of his relatives that they considered me responsible 
for the accident that had befallen him. 
him into the forest, and had wished that the 
might bite him. If he had died, my life 
been in imminent danger. Nelson and I could 
probably have defended ourselves against any open 
attack of the few inhabitants of Lirio-pampa, 
we could hardly have made head against Chumb 
numerous relatives at Tabalosos. 

When I reached Lamas on my way back, 



warmly received by the worthy Padre, who had 
heard of what he considered the wonderful cure of 
the snake-bite ; but when I told him all the circum- 
stances, and especially that Chumbi had been bitten 
when on my errand, he looked very grave. "If 
Chumbi had died," said he, " I should never have 
seen you more. Chumbi's relatives would have 
poisoned you. I in vain preach to them," he con- 
tinued, " of what the Bible tells us about the 
entrance of sin and death into the world, and 
appeal to their reason to note how the body wears 
out wich age, and how it is constantly exposed to 
accidents which may suddenly bring its machinery 
to a dead stop ; they still in their inmost hearts 
believe as their pagan ancestors believed that 
death is in every case the work of an enemy." 

Chumbi himself was very grateful to me, and 
during the remainder of my stay at Tarapoto often 
sent me little presents, especially of cakes of 
chancaca or uncrystallised sugar, the produce of 
his chacra ; and he told to all the passers-by the 
story of his narrow escape from death by a snake- 
bite, through the skill (as he was pleased to say) of 
an Englishman. 

Venomous snakes become rarer in the Equatorial 
Andes when we ascend beyond 3000 feet, and at 
about 6000 feet disappear altogether at least I 
never saw or heard of one above that height. The 
natives believe the snakes of the sierra to be just 
as venomous as those of the plains, and that it is 
the cold that renders them bobas (stupid) - - of 
course a mistaken notion, like most other popular 

The superstition that it is unlucky for a woman 


to kill a snake I have found among the native races 
all the way across South America, but nowhere so 
strong as in the roots of the Andes. A woman 
must never kill a snake when she can get a man or 
boy to do it for her. In some places it must not 
only be killed but buried. When among the wild 
Jibaro and Zaparo Indians in the Forest of Canelos, 
I have sometimes had to kill two or three snakes 
a day for the women. How is it that the woman 
and the serpent are in mysterious relation in the 
early traditions of many civilised nations, and in 
the actual customs of savage nations even at the 
present day ? 

[It may be as well to continue here Spruce's 
experience of the results of the bites and stings of 
venomous insects, especially as they include one 
during his residence at Tarapoto which had results 
as bad as those of his Indian host above described.] 

After snakes, the venomous animals most to be 
dreaded are the large hairy spiders, especially the 
species of Mygale, of whose bird-hunting propen- 
sities Mr. Bates and others have told us. I never 
saw a case of their sting, and all I ever heard of 
proved fatal except one, and that was of a woman 
at San Carlos, who was bitten in the heel and im- 
mediately dropped, with a shriek, as if shot, 
lay at the point of death for ten days, but finally 
recovered. I have been bitten by spiders, but 
never seriously. At Tarapoto a smallish green 
spider abounded in the bushes, and would 
times be lurking among my fresh specimens 
bit furiously when molested, with an effect al> 
equal to the sting of a bee. At the 
cockroaches were a great pest in the 


bored holes in the wall, which looked as if some 
one had amused himself by thrusting his finger into 
the adobes while still fresh and soft. They had a 
great enemy in the large house-spider, which springs 
on its prey from concealment, but spins no web. I 
had a tame spider for above a year, which used to 
come every evening for its supper of cockroaches. 
When I lighted my lamp, it would be waiting 
behind and upon the open door for the cock- 
roach, which dazzled by the glare- - I had no 
difficulty in catching with my forceps. Sometimes, 
after an hour or two, it would come back for a 
second cockroach. Once, as I offered it the cock- 
roach, I suddenly substituted my finger, which it 
seized, but immediately released without wounding, 
although this spider can bite severely when irritated. 
Next to snakes and spiders come the ants, which 
are so numerous, and so ubiquitous, that no one 
escapes them. Their stings are of all degrees of 
virulence, but rarely prove fatal. Many ants bite 
fiercely, but not venomously. I could fill many 
pages with my experiences of these pugnacious and 
patriotic marauders, and of the nearly-related wasps. 
I once sent an Indian up a tall laurel, a hundred 
feet high, to gather the flowers. At half-way up 
was the first branch, and a large paper wasps' nest 
in the fork, hidden from view by the ample leaves 
of an Arad. As he passed it, the angry insects 
swarmed out, but he gained the top of the tree 
without a sting, broke off some flowering branches 
and threw them down. Unfortunately, there was 
no friendly liana by which he could slide down or 
pass to a neighbouring tree, and he must needs 
descend the way he ascended. He did so, through 


a perfect cloud of wasps, and got horribly stung. 
When we had got away from the foot of the tree, 
and had beaten off the wasps that followed him, I 
saw that his face and his naked back and shoulders 
were covered with knobs from the stings. He 
staggered and looked wild, and was evidently in 
great pain. I took out my flask, and was about to 
pour some spirit into my hand to bathe the stings, 
when he said, " If it's all the same to you, patron, 
I'd rather have it inside." I gave him the flask, 
and he took a good pull. No doubt he preferred 
the remedy that way because he liked the taste of 
it. Anyhow, it was the right way, and he went on 
through a long hard day without a word or gesture 
of disquiet, and when we reached home declared 
himself quite well again. 

I have been stung by wasps I suppose hundreds 
of times once very badly, having above twenty 
stings in my head and face alone. Yet I have 
always admired their beauty, ingenuity, and heroic 
ferocity ; and I have twice in my life lived on good 
terms with them for months together. At 
Carlos I had several little colonies of the large 
brown house-wasps, which hung their nests- 
inverted goblet-glasses from the rafters, and out- 
side the house under the eaves. They never once 
stung me, not even when they had so multipl 
to become troublesome, and 1 poked down ami 
swept out several of their nests. They seemed t<> 
recognise me as the real owner of the house;, where 
they existed only on sufferance, 
who should imprudently linger in the 
would be sure to be attacked by them, 
in his Expedition to Surinam, gives 


account of an impertinent intruder on his dormitory 
who was ignominiously tumbled down the ladder by 
his house-wasps. They serve to keep down the 
pest of large flies and cockroaches, and it is amus- 
ing to watch them at work, both as butchers and as 

On the Casiquiari, when we were one day hook- 
ing along my piragoa against the rapid current, one 
of the hooks caught a branch on which was a large 
wasps' nest. The wasps sallied out in thousands, 
and the men threw down their hooks and leaped 
into the river. I \vas at work in the cabin, and had 
just time to throw myself flat on my face, when the 
fierce little animals came buzzing in, and settled on 
me in numbers, but not one of them stung me. 
The boat drifted down the stream, and in a few 
minutes all the wasps had left it, when the 
men clambered on board and pulled across to the 
opposite bank. Another day I had got on the top 
of the cabin to gather the flowers of a tree over- 
head, and the first thing I hooked down was a 
wasps' nest, which I kicked into the river, and then 
went on gathering my specimens battling all the 
while with the wasps and getting severely stung- 
for I saw the tree was new (it is Hirtella Casi- 
qniarensis, n. sp. hb. 3196), and was determined 
not to leave it ungathered. 

Scorpions and centipedes are formidable and 
repulsive enough to look at I have seen the latter 
ii inches long- -but their sting or bite is rarely 
fatal. When it is so, the last stage of suffering is 
always lockjaw ; and it is the same in death from ant 
and wasp stings. I have been a few times stung 
by scorpions, but only once badly, in a finger which 


was benumbed for a week afterwards. That was 
at Guayaquil, where the scorpions are of different 
species from those of the Amazon, and more virulent. 
It is a common thing there for a person stung by 
a scorpion to have the tongue paralysed for some 
hours. This property suggests a new version of 
The Taming of the Shrew, much to be commended 
to Guayaquilian Petruchios. 

The stinging properties of the large hairy tropical 
caterpillars are well known. The venom resides in 
the long fascicled hairs, and the pain of the sting 
is so like that of a nettle although often far more 
acute, and extending far beyond the surface stung 
-that it is presumable the hairs are hollow, with 
a poison-bag at the base, like the stinging hairs of 
nettles. But an hour's careful examination of the 
hairs in the live animal would settle this question, 
so that it is useless to theorise about it. I have had 
rather too much experience of mere mechanical 
stinging by vegetable hairs, which are usually 
minute or scabrous bristles, closely set on the 
leaves, pods, or other parts of a plant, and 
deciduous that a touch brings them off. The pocli 
of Mucunas (i.e. Co witches), the spathes of some 
palms, the spathe-like bracts and stipules 
Cecropias and some other Artocarps 
with this sort of pubescence, and I hav 
considerably punished in collecting and preparing 
the specimens. In all these the bristle:- 
least their points, remain sticking in the 
it is this that causes the. irritation ; but alt 
sting of a caterpillar nothing is visible 
beyond the inllained surface. 

Leguminous trees are peculiarly 


infested with stinging caterpillars. Children who 
play under the Tamarind trees at Guayaquil often 
get badly stung by hairy caterpillars that drop on 
them. I had always made light of caterpillars' 
stings until one evening at Tarapoto, in gathering 
specimens of an Inga tree, I got badly stung on 
the right wrist, at the base of the thumb ; and 
when the pain and irritation at the end of half 
an hour went on increasing, I applied solution 
of ammonia pretty freely, and it proved so strong 
as to produce excoriation. The next morning the 
wound (for such it had become) was inflamed and 
very painful, but I tied a rag over it and started 
for the forest, accompanied by three men. We 
were out twelve hours, and had cold rain from the 
sierras all day ; and when I reached home again 
my right hand was swollen to twice its normal size, 
and the swelling extended far up the arm. That 
was the beginning of a time of the most intense 
suffering I ever endured. After three days of 
fever and sleepless nights, ulcers broke out all 
over the back of the hand and the wrist they were 
thirty-five in all, and I shall carry the scars to my 
grave. For five weeks I was condemned to lie 
most of the time on a long settle, with my arm 
(in a sling) resting on the back, that being the 
easiest position I could find. From the first I 
applied poultices of rice and linseed, but for all 
that the ulceration ran its course. At one time 
the case looked so bad that mortification seemed 
imminent, and I speculated on the possibility of 
instructing my rude neighbours how to cut off 
my hand, as the only means of saving my life. I 
attributed my sufferings almost entirely to the 


/ O 

ammonia or rather to my abuse of it --and to 
the subsequent chill from exposure to wet ; for 
had I not ibeen impatient of the pain of the sting, 
I have little doubt it might soon have subsided of 

[A few more passages from the letter to Mr. 
Bentham, illustrating the difficulties a collector has 
to encounter, are now given. It is probable that 
the same condition of things still exists there.] 

TARAPOTO, Dec. 1855. 

I have been most put about here for materials 
of which to make boxes, as such things as boards 
are not to be had. The only use the inhabitants 
have for a board is to make a door, and this is 
either cut out of some old canoe or they cut down 
a tree in the forest, roughly carve out a door from 
it on the spot, and bring it home on their backs. 
For other purposes, such as benches, shelves, 
bedsteads, etc., the never- failing Cana brava (Gync- 
nuiu saccharoides] is all they require. After trying 
in vain to buy boards, I went to two ports on the 
Huallaga and in each of them bought an old canoe. 
I had then to go again with a carpenter to cut 
them up into pieces of convenient size, which had 
to be conveyed to Tarapoto on Indians' backs, and 
afterwards laboriously adxed down into something 
like boards. All this, with the trouble of looking 
up Indians, the making of two boxes and prepar- 
ing boards for other two, left me little leisure for 
anything else for the space of near a month. 

I propose extending my stay at Tarapoto 
little over the twelvemonth say to some 



August. I shall thus be able to gather a few 
things which illness and fatigue obliged me to 
leave at the time of my arrival. I have been on 
the top of three mountains, and their vegetation 
is so nearly identical, that I should hardly find 
work at Tarapoto for a second year. . . . 

[The next letter from Tarapoto to Mr. Bentham, 
dated April 7, 1856, is chiefly personal and botanical 
gossip relating to his work and future travels. 
After describing how a box from England was 
damaged and nearly lost by the boat being wrecked 
in the rapids of the Huallaga, he adds : " The diffi- 
culty, risk, and expense of getting plants from here 
all the way down to the mouth of the Amazon are 
so great, that I see my Tarapoto collections are 
not likely to repay more than the expense of 

The letter concludes with a reference to the 
news he had just received of the ravages of yellow 
fever at the Barra, and then gives a short bio- 
graphical note about a bird- collector, whose name 
and specimens must be well known to most English 
ornithologists. I therefore give it.] 

" I am sorry to say that Hauxwell is about per- 
cliclo (lost) as far as natural history is concerned, 
which is a pity, as no one has come here who puts 
up birds so beautifully as he does. He has got an 
Indian squaw and a child, and is turned ' merchant.' 
I am surprised he writes English (with a small 
taste of 'Yorkshire') so well as he does. His 
parents removed from Hull (where he was born) 
to Oporto when he was a little boy ; thence he 
came out to the coast of Brazil as merchant's clerk, 
and anon turned naturalist." 


[The next letters to Mr. Bentham are nearly a 
year later, and from these I give a few more extracts 
of general or botanical interest.] 

To Mr. George Bentham 

TARAPOTO, PERU, March 10, 1857. 

I am still a prisoner here, what with revolutions 
on the one hand which render the Sierra very unsafe 
to pass, and with the swollen rivers on the other ; 
as soon as the latter abate we hope to be off. 

... I cannot collect more, because excursions 
to be profitable would be long and expensive, and 
I want to save my money for my Ecuadorean 
expedition ; so I am ruminating on dried herbs, 
and working off arrears in my Journal. 

To Mr. George Bentham 

TARAPOTO, PERU, March 14, 1857. 

I believe I told you some time ago of my inten- 
tion of proceeding to Guayaquil in company with 
two Spaniards (Don Ignacio Morey and Don Victori- 
ano Marrieta), who are going thither to purchase 
hats. . . . We had made our arrangements 
going overland, but the revolution which has 
come almost general throughout Peru, and which 
nobody thinks can be closed in less than six months, 
renders the roads impassable. We have therefore 
reverted to our original project of proceeding up 
the Pastasa. . . . The advantage of thi. 1 - 
that one thus avoids the yellow fever of the 
of Peru and Ecuador, and its disadvantages 


chance of being killed and eaten by the " Infieles ' 
on the Pastasa, or of being prostrated by ague. 

I think that on the whole my Maynensian col- 
lection may contain as many new genera as that of 
the Uaupes, but proportionately fewer new species. 
I have been much interested in it, because to many 
plants of Amazonian type it unites a good many 
characteristic Peruvian. Such are Weinmannia, 
the ivy -like Cornidia (three species), an arbor- 
escent Boccinia, the curious Proteaceous genus 
Embothrium (one or two species), and several 

[The " revolution " just mentioned in the letter 
to Mr. Bentham is more fully described in the 
following letter to Mr. Teasdale written a few days 
later. This letter also contains an account of some 
of the industries of Tarapoto, and serves to com- 
plete the rather meagre narrative of Spruce's 
residence at this place. There are, however, a 
considerable number of "notes" on various aspects 
of the town and its inhabitants, and there is even a 
list of headings for chapters, showing that he had 
the idea of some day writing a very complete account 
of the district which was at that time the most 
easterly outlier of civilisation in Northern Peru, and 
one of the places least known as it still seems 
to be to European, or at all events to English 

To Mr. John Teasdale 

TARAPOTO, PERU, March 16, 1857. 

I have been waiting here to proceed to Quito 
since November last. Money which I had been 


expecting for months from Para did not come till 
the end of the year, and by that time nearly all 
Peru was in a state of revolution. The first wave 
of insurgency rose in this very province, but was 
soon stilled. The Governor (Colonel Ortiz) was 
on his way from Tarapoto, where he had been so- 
journing a while, to Nauta, his usual place of abode. 
He went by way of the river Ucayali, and ere he 
could reach Nauta, the garrison of that place had 
deserted, and set off for Tarapoto by way of the 
iluallaga. From Nauta he pursued them, but 
they reached Tarapoto before him and took it 
without resistance. They got here by night, made 
the Commandant prisoner in his bed, and the small 
garrison left here by Colonel Ortiz deserted to the 
insurgents. It was festival time at Tarapoto, and 
the town was full of people. As day broke they 
were preparing to resume the festivities for the 
insurrection had been accomplished so quietly that 
few but the actors knew of it when all at once 
the cry arose " Viene el reclntamicnto \ The 
horror of that word to a Peruvian may be compre- 
hended when I add that " recruiting ' in Peru is 
something like what the pressgang used to be in 
England, only much more barbarous. Somebody 
had caught sight of the soldiers' uniforms 
once concluded it to 1)" a recruiting party, 
mediately all was panic and confusion, and in 1<- 
than an hour nearly the whole population 
lull Might. As I sat with my door open, (jtiii.-tl; 
working at in}' plants, I could see a continu* 
stream across the pampa l people laden ' 
household gods, as it emigrating; and the drum 
fiddles, and guitars which had been 


three previous days were all silent. Two men ran 
by my house to hide in the sugar-canes on the hill- 
side, but so terrified were they that they could not 
reply a word to my inquiries. I got my breakfast, 
and about noon walked into the town to see if I 
could make out what had happened. The hot sun 
beat down into the streets, in which no living thing 
was to be seen save a few lazy dogs and pigs lying 
under the projecting eaves, and the houses were 
all closed as if some inmate had died. I walked 
on and on till I came to the house of Don Ignacio 
Morey, who I knew had gone down to the Amazon 
some weeks previously ; but I found his wife and 
trembling children, naturally full of anxiety. From 
them, however, I learnt that it was probably no 
recruiting force, but a revolutionary one, that had 
arrived. I returned to my house, and shortly after- 
wards news was brought me that the insurgents 
had sacked the Commandant's house, not leaving 
therein so much as a cup, and that they were pre- 
paring to sack other houses. I loaded my six- 
shooter and my double-barrelled "Nock," and 
prepared to defend my house ; but at this junc- 
ture a report reached the insurgents that a mes- 
senger had arrived from Colonel Ortiz, to warn the 
local authorities of what had occurred ; and, armed 
with bayonets, they proceeded to search the houses 
where they supposed he might be hidden, but with- 
out finding him. Then, fearing on the one hand 
the arrival of Colonel Ortiz in their pursuit, and on 
the other that news of their uprising should reach 
Moyobamba before them, they began to prepare 
for departing, and at nightfall started for Moyo- 
bamba five days' journey away at the least where 


they calculated their numbers would be swelled by 
all who were disaffected towards the Government. 
But as soon as they were gone the loyal people of 
Tarapoto sent off a courier who passed them on 
the road, unseen, that very night, and reached 
Moyobamba long before them ; so that the sub- 
prefect of that city, warned of their approach, placed 
an ambush in the way, which poured in a deadly 
fire on the insurgents, killing or wounding all the 
leaders. The rest fled into the forest, but after 
several days' chase were all captured. Among the 
slain was a young lieutenant, Don Domaso Castaiion, 
who had been my particular friend at Tarapoto a 
man of some talent, but of an ardent, impatient 
spirit. I had lent him two numbers of the Illus- 
trated London News, and when he left Tarapoto 
in hot haste, he still found time to make a roll of 
them and write on it, " Esto es de Don Ricardo " 
-the last words he wrote in this world, poor 
fellow ! 

Thus ended this ill-concerted attempt at revolu- 
tion. Its originators proposed to place < .cneral 
Vivanco in the presidency, in the room of the 
actual president General Castilla ; and they e> 
pectecl that in all the towns on their route to the 
capital they would be joined by numbers who desire 
a change of government, so that by the time they 
reached Lima their forces would exceed anything 
Castilla could bring against them. 

After this, there was an uprising throughout ill 
south of Peru with the same object in vie 
this moment it has become nearly general in 
country. Those who adhere to Yivancc 
numerous that it is thought Castilla must ultimate 


fall, although no one expects the struggle will be 
over in less than six months. [No ! Castilla proved 
too strong for them.] Meantime, an innocent 
traveller, who may be supposed to possess any- 
thing worth robbing, runs the risk of being accused 
as a partisan, either of Vivanco or of Castilla, 
according to the colour of the revolutionary band 
he falls in with ; so that even Peruvians, who have 
anything to lose, put off their journeys to an inde- 
finite date. I had lately a dispute with the present 
Commandant of Tarapoto a presumptuous, ignorant 
young fellow wherein he propounded the doctrine 
" En tiempo de revolucion todos los bienes sou 
comunes \ ' I told him the intent of such revolu- 
tions was simply indiscriminate plunder. 

On the last day of the carnival (Shrove Tuesday) 
we had an uprising of the Indians, and there was a 
struggle between them and the soldiery in the 
square. Several Indians received bayonet-wounds, 
and one died of his wounds the second day. 

A few days ago a tiger 1 was killed within forty 
paces of my house. I was sitting in the doorway 
at daybreak, sipping my chocolate, when I heard a 
multitude of people running down the valley and 
uttering the most infernal cries, among which I at 
length distinguished the word "puma" many times 
repeated. I seized my pistol and ran to the edge 
of the barranco, where I saw the puma coming 
straight for my door ; but he missed the narrow 
track among the canes the only practicable ascent 
and got to the foot of the barranco, where it rose 
in a perpendicular wall 30 feet high. There he was 

1 [This term seems to be applied to both the puma and the jaguars very 
distinct animals. ED.] 



speedily dispatched with bullets and lances. He 
made indeed no sign of resistance, and seemed 
stupefied by the savage shrieks and cries of his pur- 
suers, who must have been near upon a thousand. 
They then carried him out to a piece of open 
ground, skinned, roasted, and ate him. This un- 
fortunate tiger had been surprised while quietly 
breakfasting on a fat turkey. Tiger-skins both of 
the red puma and the spotted jaguar may be 
bought here for the merest trifle a knife or a 
handkerchief. They serve me for cushions and 
mats, and my dog's bed is usually a tiger's skin- 
stretched across the doorway by night, for I 
generally sleep with the door wide open on account 
of the heat. The dog amuses himself by gnawing 
at them, and in this way has eaten me up three 
tigers' skins. 

In a box of plants I am dispatching to Mr. 
Bentham I have enclosed a small parcel for you 
containing two " monteras," which are broad- 
brimmed cloth hats of many colours, worn by all 
the women of Tarapoto in out-of-door work. It 
they reach you safely, will you keep one of them for 
Mrs. Teasdale and keep the other for my sister 
Lizzie. Although they may never be worn, they 
will serve as memorials of the usages of a strange 
land, and of a friend whom you may never 
again. They will probably seem to you out- 
rageously gaudy and harlequin-like, but somehow 
they harmonise excellently hen- with everything 
around them. They arc worn by the 
chiefly when spinning cotton yarn in the 
or in the open grounds near the town, 
of spinning is this. A little child 



projecting roof of the house, or anywhere in the 
shade, turning a wheel with one hand ; and as he 
turns he gaily sings, or now and then munches at 
a truncheon of inguire (boiled green plantain) he 
holds in his other hand. An upright piece attached 
to the frame of the wheel carries one or several 
spindles, and from each spindle a woman spins 
away in a right line, all she has to do being to draw 
out the cotton (which she carries in little rolls in 
her girdle) to a uniform thickness. Here and there 
forked sticks, 6 or 7 feet long, are stuck up, over 
which the lengthening thread is passed, so that 
pigs and other animals running about may not get 
entangled in it. The work of spinning begins at 
daybreak, and as the morning mist rolls away 
hundreds of spinners are to be seen on the pampa 
each crowned with her gay montera drawing 
out their long gossamer lines. As the sun rises 
higher, and even the broad montera cannot wholly 
shade the spinner's face from the intense heat of his 
rays, the task is laid aside, to be resumed towards 
evening, and sometimes, when there is a bright 
moon, continued till a late hour. 

Cotton-spinning is the principal industry of the 
women of Tarapoto. The thread is remarkably 
strong, and is woven by the men into a coarse cloth 
called " tocuyo," which used formerly to be much 
exported to Brazil ; but latterly English and 
American unbleached cottons (called " tocuyo 
Inglez") have come hither so cheap that the 
native manufacture has greatly fallen off. 





[Among Spruce's MSS. are a number of loose 
sheets (about sixty or seventy) in a stiff paper cover, 
inscribed " Notes for Description of Tarapoto, in the 
Andes of Maynas or Eastern Peru." These are 
grouped under twenty - five headings, including 
topography and geology ; the inhabitants, their 
industries, customs, amusements, etc. ; the climate 
and natural history of the surrounding country ; 
languages, government, etc. etc., evidently showing 
that he intended writing a full account of the 
interesting and little known district. But the 
" Notes " themselves are very fragmentary, and 
quite unfitted for any one but a person with full 
local knowledge to make any use of. Some are 
mere headings of subjects to be treated, others are 
very brief memoranda of facts or figures, while 
wherever there is any consecutive description this 
has been often utilised for some of the letters or 
extracts already given. 

Besides these loose memoranda, there is 
small " Note-book " already referred to, ' 
a list of all his more important botanical e> 
generally a mere bald statement that such a < 
or mountain was visited on such a day, 
month, with, very rarely, a note added ol 
special feature of the excursion. a suppl 

to this, we have a few scattered 
"notes" of some of the more interesting*, 
but these, too, are quite fra^mrntury and 


break off in the middle, and appear never to have 
been finished. 

I have also a rude sketch-map of the plain of 
Tarapoto, and of the chief villages, streams, and 
mountains around it, drawn from his own compass- 
bearings taken from various elevated spots and 
mountains, and by a few latitudes and longitudes 
from his own astronomical observations. This I 
have endeavoured to fill up from the notes and 
descriptions so as to include all the chief places 
he visited during his explorations. This will, I 
hope, enable the reader to follow more easily the 
references to places in his letters, and the short 
sketch I may be able to give of his botanical 
work in this very rich and then almost unknown 

Among the notes for his account of Tarapoto 
there is a rather full description of the roads, where 
there were any, along which he had to pass to and 
fro in various directions. This is not only instruc- 
tive and interesting in itself, but is essential to a 
proper comprehension of the difficulties under which 
his collections were made, even in this outlying 
portion of the Andes, where the mountains were 
very little higher than those in our own country. I 
will therefore give it in full.] 


The roads between the towns mostly occupy 
ancient Indian tracks, and it is easy to see how 
they were originally made out. Some bare grassy 
summit which will admit of a view being taken 
ahead, and which is nearly in the direction of the 


place to be reached, has been sought to be obtained 
by following a ridge separating two streams. The 
summit attained, another similar one has been 
picked out and reached in a similar manner, often 
no doubt with much trouble, and after considerable 
entanglement in the valleys. Thus the roads here, 
like the first-made roads in all parts of the world, 
go straight over the tops of hills, instead of winding 
around their base. The dense forest makes the 
finding of a way among hills infinitely more difficult 
when no compass is used, and though it would seem 
more feasible to have sought out a passage along 
the watercourses, a very little practice shows the 
impossibility of this. Besides that the vegetation 
is much ranker .near water, the course of the streams 
-not merely their bed, but the whole of the narrow 
valley in which they run is so obstructed by large 
masses of rock and stones as to be all but impass- 
able, and completely so when the valley narrows to 
a gorge with perpendicular sides which merely 
admits the passage of the stream in an alternation 
ot cascades and deep still pools. To avoid a 
pongo as these gorges are called one must 
climb a mountain-side and then go down again, and 
perhaps steep cliffs render descent impossible for a 
long distance. Hence it may be seen how, 
seeking out the sharp ridge of a mountain, when not 
too steep, we really avoid invincible obstructions, 
although we have to ascend and descend great 
heights. It is true that a little previous survr\ 
and a little good engineering would smooth down 
most of the difficulties that offer themselves, and 
have no doubt that good winding mule-road.* 
slight inclination, might !>< made in any part i 


mountains I have yet seen ; but here, where not 
even spade or pickaxe are used, much less has it 
ever been attempted to move a rock by gunpowder, 
what can be expected ? All that is generally done 
is to clear away the forest with axe and cutlass, and 
that often imperfectly, stumps of trees being often 
left some inches above the ground, while the 
branches and twiners overhead are cut away only 
to such a height as may be reached by an Indian, 
so that a tall horseman has to look out continually 
to save his head from entanglement. Rarely is any 
attempt made to level the road with a rude hoe, and 
the tropical rains are left to smooth or furrow it 
according to the locality. In steep hollow ascents 
logs are sometimes laid across, against which sand 
accumulates with the rains, and thus'a sort of stair 
is formed. The idea of a cutting along the face of 
a declivity, or even the rudest bridge over the 
streams, never occurs to any one. No one is 
charged with the repair of the highways, and it is 
only once a year that the inhabitants of the pueblos 
clear the portions allotted to them, cutting away the 
brush that has accumulated. When a tree has fallen 
across the track, those who next pass that way make 
a fresh track through the forest around the fallen 
mass as best they may, for they rarely carry with 
them axes, or have time to spend an hour or two 
in clearing the road. Those who follow enlarge the 
track with their cutlasses, and thus one is continually 
coming on narrow and difficult turns. 

The principal road in Maynas is that leading 
from Tarapoto to Moyobamba,. and thence to 
Chachapoyas. As far as Moyobamba it is just 
practicable for horsemen, who, however, have to 


pass some dangerous places on foot, but laden 
beasts cannot traverse it. From Moyobamba to 
Chachapoyas it is said to offer still greater natural 
obstacles, but to be kept in better order, so that 
mules can be used if carrying a single burden of five 
arrobas (160 pounds). Thence to the coast there 
is a good broad road on wKich mules can pass 
carrying ten arrobas, divided into two equal 
portions one on each side. 

From Tarapoto to Tabalosos two short days' 
journey the road is good enough to allow mules to 
pass, and the latter part of it (from Lamas to 
Tabalosos) is especially well kept, which is due to 
the Cura of Lamas having often to traverse it, and 
as the people hold him in great respect they take 
care that he shall find everything as smooth as 
possible. All the brush is kept down and no 
stumps are left sticking out. 

But from the first stream beyond Tabalosos the 
road is in a deplorable state, and the natural obstruc- 
tions are very great. To avoid a ravine on the 
Cachi-yacu, a steep ridge (the Andarra) has to be 
crossed, in many parts by climbing high natural 
steps which are very dangerous on horsebacl 
the other side of the Andarra the channel ot the 
Cachi-yacu has been followed for about an hour, 
sometimes on one side, sometimes on the other, 
here and there a cliff has to be scaled by the aid ol 
roots spreading over it. The crossings ol tin- river 
are the worst, for the water is always turbid, 
runs rapidly .over and amongst slippery 
that on stepping into the water one rarel 
one is going to tread on. The water is 
knee-deep, and sometimes more ; indeed, 


stream be swollen it is quite impassable, and 
travellers have to wait till it abates. The whole 
number of these crossings is twelve, and after 
leaving it a tributary stream of scarcely less size 
has to be crossed thrice in ten minutes. 

Many attempts have been made to find a way 
which shall avoid the gorge of the Cachi-yacu, but 
hitherto without success. Beyond this there is a 
long painful ascent to a spring of clear water called 
Potrero, where the traveller begins to emerge on 
the grassy plateaux and declivities of the Campana. 

In imitation of the tambos or houses of rest and 
refreshment placed by the Incas along their great 
roads, the modern Peruvians have erected sleeping- 
places wherever the pueblos are at too great a 
distance to be reached in one day. To these also 
they give the name of tambos, but they are as 
inferior to the ancient ones as are the modern roads 
to the solid structures of the Incas. They consist 
of a roof supported on four bare poles, without 
walls, but when large and well-made such shelters 
answer their purpose tolerably well. Of course 
they have no permanent occupants, and the only 
thing a traveller can calculate on finding when he 
reaches a tambo is fire, which is rarely allowed to 
become extinguished, as it is the custom for those 
who have last occupied it to leave their fire well 
heaped up with rotten logs. A slight channel 
is made round the tambo to carry off rain-water, 
and the soil taken out serves to heighten the floor- 
ing, which, being spread with palm-leaves or with 
fern, the traveller extends thereon his mattress or 
his blanket, and wrapped up in his poncho and 
another blanket, may calculate on passing the night 


without suffering from mosquitoes, though a snake 
may creep to his side for warmth, or he may be 
disturbed by the invasion of a jaguar, especially if 
he has allowed his fire to get low. Tambos are 
always placed near good water, and as every 
traveller carries his coffee-pot and provisions, he 
has it in his power to enjoy one of the greatest of 
earthly pleasures a cup of good coffee after a long 
and fatiguing walk or ride. Pans for cooking can 
rarely be carried, but meat and plantains can easily 
be roasted. 

The inhabitants of Tarapoto have often good 
broad roads to their farms and cane-mills, especially 
when several of these lie in the same direction. A 
great obstacle to the use of these, and indeed of all 
other roads, is in the swelling of streams and the 
improvidence of the people in making no bridges ; 
and though the waters generally fall as rapidly as 
they have risen, several hours must sometimes be 
passed on the banks, at great inconvenience or loss, 
awaiting their abatement. 

[Besides this main western route to Moyobambu, 
two other roads or mule-tracks lead out of Tarapoto 
to the south and east. That to Juan Guerra has 
been referred to in Spruce's letter to Teasi 
describing his journey to Tarapoto. Another goe 
nearly due east till, after crossing the rivers Shillicaio 
and Aguashiyacu, with their intervening hill 
ridges, it sends a branch south-westwards, and then 
again eastward to Chapaja on the Huallaga river, 
while the main route continues over a high : 
of Mount Guayrapurima to Chasuta, at th 
entrance of the pongo of that river, 
these roads Spruce collected assiduous! 


also made numerous expeditions to the mountains 
which surround Tarapoto, especially on the north, 
east, and west, as well as along the banks, up the 
valleys, and through the gorges of the numerous 
streams and rivers that issue from them into the 
pampa of Tarapoto. If the difficulties along the 
beaten tracks \vere often great, it may be imagined 
what they were when he had to penetrate these 
almost untrodden mountains and valleys, densely 
covered with virgin forest, and for the most .part 
rarely or never visited by any of the inhabitants oi 
the surrounding country. Owing to the almost 
complete absence of any account of these various 
journeys, I can only give a bare enumeration of 
them, with a few scattered notes on some of their 
features where such exist. 

During the first month of his residence (June to 
July 1855) we have only the note --" Collecting 
near Tarapoto." This no doubt means within the 
limits of a day's walk, which would take him over 
nearly the whole surface of the pampa. From 
various notes and scattered remarks we learn 
that although this pampa had been more or less 
completely cleared of its original virgin forest, and 
cultivated for more than a hundred years, yet strips 
and patches of the original vegetation remained 
along the steep banks of the numerous rivers and a 
few other precipitous or rocky portions, while con- 
siderable tracts had reverted to second - growth 
woods, mostly of shrubs and low trees, thus furnish- 
ing work for the plant-collector at the flowering 
seasons of the various kinds of plants. We accord- 
ingly find a similar note for the month of Sep- 
tember, then in January 1856, again in July and 


in September 1856, and in November of the same 
year. 1 

After the first month he began the more difficult 
excursions to the pongo of the Shillicaio, to the 
river Aguashiyacu, and to Mount Guayrapurima. 
This latter mountain he visited twice afterwards- 
in January and in June 1856, staying some days, 
or perhaps even weeks, each time. Of the second 
of these excursions there are a few notes. 

This mountain, whose highest summits lie about 
12 to 15 miles due east of Tarapoto, sends out spurs 
to the Huallaga, while to the north-west it extends 
till it mingles with the more prominent mountains 
north of the town. It consists of many steep 
ridges, which from some aspects give it a serrated 
appearance, while from Tarapoto it has a pyramidal 
outline with much-broken sides. It is penetrated 
by deep and almost impassable ravines and valleys. 

The meaning of the name is " Where the wind 
blows," and Spruce says that on the high ridges 
(over one of which the road to Chasuta passes) 
the wind seems to be almost constant, and 
strong as in precipitous parts of the track to be 
dangerous. They blow always from the north, and 
where Spruce slept, a few hundred feet below the 

1 [Among the miscellaneous " notes " on Un- 
interesting remark : "doing out of Tarapoto in different direc 
the soil may be the same, there is much difference in the 
accounts for the large amount of time he devoted to this pampa 
instructive as showing that differences of conditions quiU 
determine the presence or ab^-ncx- of certain species at 
no doubt in some cases their absolute extinction or preservr 
the same phenomenon occurs everywhere around us, as 
but they sometimes forget what a striking proof such 
of the struggle for existence, even undei what appear t 
favourable conditions, and the rigidity of the 
mines the result. Ki>. 1 


ridge on the eastern side, he heard it blowing all 
night. On the top of the narrow ridge of crum- 
bling sandstone covered with a dwarf herbaceous 
and shrubby vegetation, it is hardly possible to 
walk on account of its violence. Spruce here 
remarks : " The descent on the east side of this 
col, towards Chasuta, is very abrupt ; the trees 
are mostly low; they, like the rocks and the 
ground, are densely clad with Hepaticae (especially 
Mastigobryum, Lepidozia, and Plagiochila), among 
which grew several ferns, especially some inter- 
esting arborescent species of small size. In places 
where the road has been cut or worn down, 
so as to form deep hollows, the walls (red sandy 
clay) are clad with mosses and ferns, especially a 
pretty little Lindsaea and three species of Tricho- 

Later, in the Journal of his voyage from 
Tarapoto to Ecuador, he speaks of this descent 
from the ridge of Guayrapurima to a clear stream 
called Carana, as being " the richest bit of fern 
ground I had seen in the world " ; while, after 
another hour's journey and a steep descent, he 
reached the Yacu-catina, which he describes as 
"a most picturesque rivulet with a magnificent 
fern and forest vegetation." 

His next expedition was to Chapaja, on the 
banks of the Huallaga, in October 1855 ; but of 
this there are no notes. 

Early in November he took a two days' expedi- 
tion " to the head of the Cumbasa river and Mount 
Canela-uesha, on the way to the stream Cainarache, 
down which canoes pass to Yurimaguas." 

In November and December 1855, he took his 

' Jritf> PfA*; Hi ' * kTT Vw I "X 

318? f ^> 

lEf ; Vi 

















first expedition to the Campana Mountain and 
Lirio-pampa, already described at some length. 

In February 1856, he made an excursion to the 
head of the Puca-yacu, on the western slopes of 
Mount Guayrapurima. 

In March he went to the Upper gorges of the 
Shillicaio river. 

In May he went to the top of Cerro Pelado, and 
to the upper gorges of the Aguashiyacu, Uchulla- 
yacu, etc. There are a few notes on Mount Pelado, 
which consists of bare sharp ridges running about 
S.E. and N.W., the N.E. side being very pre- 
cipitous but sloping more gradually towards the 
plain of Tarapoto. The rocks are covered with 
lichens, a few ferns, some rigid-leaved Liliacea?, and 
a few dwarf shrubs. From the S.E. the ridges dip 
abruptly to deep ravines, which form the sources 
of the streams of the pampa, as well as of some 
tributaries of the Huallaga. Lower down the 
slopes are clad with low forest which is densely 
mossy. The summit of all the ridges is a white, 
friable, coarse-grained sandstone, in thin layers, 
inclined at a very high angle. The Cumbasa rises 
to the north of this group of mountains, and many 
of the deep ravines above mentioned are some <>t 
its tributaries. 

(The accompanying beautiful drawing ol 
mountains north of Tarapoto is the only one of 
large size which was carefully shaded by Spruce 
himself. With the one exception of the immediate 
rough bit of foreground, it has been photograpl 
from the drawing as he left it fitly years 
curiously ridged mountain to the right exactl; 
responds to his description of it above gn 


we can well understand the difficulties of the ascent 
of such a mountain through many miles of tropical 
forest, among deep ravines and impassable gorges, 
along a track used only by Indians crossing the 
mountains to a good fishing stream which Hows 
directly into the Huallaga, as described at p. 40.) 

In July 1856, Spruce went for a month to Lamas 
and Tabalosos, making the latter place his head- 
quarters for the exploration of the eastern slopes 
of the Campana Mountains, where, at about 4000 
feet elevation, is a natural pasture called Potrelo, 
" around which is low forest with many interesting 
flowering plants, palms, tree - ferns, ferns, and 
mosses." The position of Tabalosos is picturesque, 
being situated in the midst of mountains. On the 
opposite side of the Mayo (to the N. and N.E.) 
there is a very bold and lofty peak, at no great 
distance, whose rocky slope seems to be nearly 
perpendicular. Those who go from Yurimaguas 
to Moyobamba by way of Balsapuerto have this 
peak on their left. The inhabitants are nearly all 
Indians, with very few half-breeds. Hardly any 
speak Spanish. They grow large quantities of 
vegetables, and are much employed as carriers on 
the route from Tarapoto to Moyobamba. 

(The drawing here given of the rude clock-tower 
of Tabalosos shows this remarkable mountain im- 
mediately to the left of it, and nearly in the centre 
of the picture, while the Indian ringing the two 
very small bells gives life and character to the scene.) 

From the summit of the Pingulla mountain there 
is a splendid view of the whole lower course of the 
Mayo, with Lamas, Tarapoto, and all its surrounding 
mountains, to Chapaja on the Huallaga river. 




, i4 - 

w i 

-'t 1 1 



|rt :-- V 

-'J si 



T a 








The ridges and peaks are of white sandstone, as 
are those of the Andarra farther up the river. 
Both are very bare of vegetation, being burnt 
almost every year and overrun with the common 
fern Pteris caudata. The ascent to Potrela up the 
rocky valley of the Cuchi-yacu is, however, through 
luxuriant forest especially rich in ferns and mosses. 

To conclude this sketch of the Tarapoto district 
investigated by Spruce, I will give a few passages 
translated from his "Precis d'un Voyage" pub- 
lished in the Revue Bryologique for 1886 : 

" The first thing that strikes the eye of the 
botanist at Tarapoto is the abundance of ferns. 
These plants are by preference, as we know, either 
maritime or subalpine. On the hills of Brazil a 
tolerably large number of species are found, but in 
the interior of the continent and in the great plain 
of the Amazon valley, although ferns are not 
wanting, yet the species are never numerous and 
several of them repeat themselves at every step 
even up to the roots of the Andes. One may 
therefore judge of the riches of the Eastern 
Cordillera of Peru in ferns by the fact that there, 
within a circle less than fifty miles in diameter, 
the author found 250 species of ferns 
allies, of which many were new, especiall 
the tree-ferns." 

Among the most interesting plants in this 
region, next to the ferns, may 
Rubiace:e, of which Spruce collected 98 specie 
small number of these were already known throu 
the researches of Ruiz and Pavon, Poeppig 
Matthews, but the majority 
" Precis " then continues : 


' Some genera of mosses, absent in the plains, 
began to appear in the lower forest zone of the 
Andes. For example, those splendid mosses of 
the genera Phyllogonium, Rhacophilum, and Hypo- 
pterygium, all of which, by their primary leaves 
arranged in double rows, and in the latter- named 
genera accompanied by stipulated folioles, appeared 
at first sight to be Hepaticse rather than true mosses. 
Among other mosses which are met with in the 
Andes of Peru, but which are never found in the 
plain, are Helicophyllum, Disticophyllum, Cryphaea, 
Pterobryum, Entodon, Fabronia, etc. The Tortulse, 
represented along the banks of the Amazon, but 
very rarely, by the single T. agraria, begin to be 
less scarce ; also the genus Bryum, of which the 
B. coronatitin and a barren form of B. argenteum are 
the only species found on the Amazon. 

"With regard to the Hepaticse, while the Lejeuneae 
are almost as abundant as upon the banks of the 
Amazon, and still show the same preference for the 
living leaves of trees, the Frullanise, of the sub- 
genus Thyopsiella (which are related to our F. 
tamarisci\ appear there for the first time. Among 
other genera of the Eastern Andes which are 
never seen in the plains may be named Porella, 
Herberta, Mytilopsis, Adelanthus, Leioscyphus, 
Jungermannia, Scalia, Marchantia, Dendroceros, 
and Anthoceros. Lepidozia, which is represented 
in the plain by a microscopic species (and that 
found only once !), is met with in the mountains of 
Tarapoto in the form of large and elegant species." 

On examining Spruce's descriptive catalogue 
of the plants which he collected, and which are 
numbered consecutively, I find that there are 


1094 species of flowering plants and ferns, to 
which must be added several hundred species 
of mosses and Hepaticae his favourite groups 
which here for the first time formed an important 
part of the vegetation. It must be remembered 
that this by no means affords any near approach 
to the whole flora of the Maynensian Andes (as he 
termed the district of which Tarapoto formed the 
centre), because, both by inclination and necessity, 
he limited his collections as much as possible to 
species which he had not met with before, and 
especially to such as he believed to be unknown to 
European botanists. We know from his Journals 
that often he could not possibly collect all he saw, 
especially among the forest trees, and that he was 
accustomed often to leave ungathered many new 
species in favour of others which he believed to 
constitute new genera. These Tarapoto plants were 
the result of about eighteen months' collecting ; for, 
although he resided there a year and three-quarters, 
at least three months were lost by illness and in 
the preparations for his journey to the Ecuadorean 



(March 23 to June 14, 1857) 

[THIS journey up the little-known Pastasa and 
Bombonasa rivers in small canoes for a distance 
of perhaps 500 miles, following the curves of the 
rivers, was a very painful and tedious one, owing to 
the whole country being almost depopulated, and 
provisions not to be obtained. It occupied nearly 
three months, of which Spruce kept a very full 
account in his Journal, and as the whole route is 
almost unknown to English naturalists, I have 
selected all the more interesting portions (about 
one-half) for presentation here. It is full of 
details which may be useful to future travellers, 
and contains a good deal of curious information as 
well as several rather strange occurrences. Some 
German botanists who descended the rivers from 
Canelos in 1894 found the villages rather better 
peopled on account of the increasing rubber-trade, 
but otherwise just as Spruce described them.] 




[As stated in the letter to Mr. Bentham of 
March 14, Spruce arranged to make the difficult 
and costly as well as dangerous journey from 
Tarapoto to Banos in Ecuador in the company of 
two merchants of the former place, Don Ignacio 
Morey and Don Victoriano Marrieta. Each party 
had its own canoe with a crew of seven Indians, 
and Spruce was accompanied by a youth of twenty 
years, named Hermogenes Arrebalo, probably an 
Indian, as his servant. I cannot find either in the 
letters or journals any further reference to his 
assistant at Tarapoto, the young Englishman, 
Charles Nelson, and we are left in darkness as to 
where Spruce first met with him or why Nelson 
did not accompany him to Ecuador. 

On this journey the travellers first went over- 
land to Chasuta, occupying two days, and the latter 
portion of this route was so full of obstructions 
and mud-holes, the weather being continually 
wet and stormy, that in order not to lose 
shoes Spruce was obliged to walk barefoot and 
arrived at Chasuta both lamed and suffering from 

The canoes in which they descended the river 
were entirely open, in order to pass the tall 
safely, and the travellers were therefore expos< 
the rains, which were almost continuous, 1 
passage of the cataracts was difficult, and the 
narrowly escaped being s\vump-<l. 
with one of its rather singular results, is 


scribed in his first letter to Mr. Bentham from 
Bafios, and is as follows : ] 

I arrived here on the ist of July, after a voyage 
of exactly a hundred days from Tarapoto. Such 
a journey ! I can hardly bear to think of it, much 
less to write at length of what I saw and suffered. 
In a postscript to my last letter written at Yurim- 
aguas, I mentioned that my canoe had been nearly 
swallowed up in a whirlpool in the pongo of the 
Huallaga. That the peril had not been slight you 
may have some idea from the following circum- 
stance. I had with me a large handsome dog 
whom I had reared from a pup. There was not 
such another dog in all Maynas, and latterly he 
made my house respected by the drunken cholos, 
who, instead of pestering me as formerly, took care 
to give us a wide offing. In one of my last walks 
about Tarapoto, he pulled me down a fine deer. 
When my canoe was caught in the whirlpool, the 
horrid roar of the waters, which drowned our 
voices, and the waves, which splashed over us, 
so frightened the dog that he went mad ! From 
that hour he would drink no water, and after the 
first day would take no food. Six days I kept him 
by my side, at great personal risk, hoping to cure 
him. When we went on shore in the villages he 
ran straight off, uttering the most unearthly sounds, 
and putting to flight dogs, pigs, and cows, some- 
times biting them severely. At length he began 
to snap at the people in the canoe, and being worn 
almost to a skeleton, I saw all hope of saving him 
was vain, and was obliged to shoot him. 

Respecting the voyage, I may say in brief that 
from the first clay to the last my progress has been 


impeded by swollen rivers and steeping rains. 
. . . Join to this a monotonous river whose flat 
shores rarely rose 2 feet above water, almost desti- 
tute of settled inhabitants (we once passed fifteen 
days without meeting a soul), and you will have 
some idea how heart-sickening such a journey must 
have been. From embarking on the Huallaga till 
entering the mouth of the Bombonasa (which is 
now the frontier of Ecuador), we had the usual 
accompaniment of mosquitoes by day and zan- 
cudos by night. 

[A few details of this portion of the voyage will 
now be given from the Journals and letters. At 
La Laguna, near the mouth of the Maranon, the 
travellers stayed three days in order to get fresh 
men and make toldos (thatched cabins) in the stern 
of the canoes. They also had to collect provisions 
for the voyage up the Pastasa to Andoas at the 
mouth of the Bombonasa river, the greater part of 
the shores of those rivers being without inhabitants. 
At La Laguna Spruce witnessed a curious example 
of voluntary flagellation which he thus describes :- 

The Indians of La Laguna have a custom of scourging them- 
selves in the Holy Week. We were setting out a fortnight before 
Luster, so that there would he no opportunity of performing this 
at the proper time, our Indians therefore determined on 
going their "penitencia" on the Saturday evening, 
purpose whips of a most barlurous description had 
cylinders of pitch six inches long were stuck full of bits of 
broken glass, pn>je< -ting ubout half an inch. About four in the 
afternoon the penitents began to promenade the streets, giving 
themselves smart blows on the n iked shoulders with thongs 
thick skin of cow-fish, that the blood Mil-lit flow more fre< 
application of scarifies, which was done by thcmsi 
manner when all assembled in .1 house, 

they sallied forth to the church, \\ulking by tw 
one mass of gore and their \\hite trousers (their only 
soaked and dripping with blood. I h.i\e never 


horrible sight. They unceasingly applied the cow -skin straps, 
making the blood spurt in all directions and sprinkling my 
clothes, though I took care to keep at a respectful distance. In 
the church a little below the altar was extended a mat, and on 
the mat a crucifix laid on a cushion, with a cup by its side 
to receive contributions of penitents. As the latter advanced in 
their turn they knelt down and kissed the crucifix, beating them- 
selves with redoubled energy. At the same moment their wives 
or mothers, who walked by their side, dropped each an egg into 
the cup. Whilst this was doing, the Sacristan chanted a 
Miserere. Each Indian, after kissing the crucifix, walked out 
of the church, in the order he entered, nor suspended the 
flagellation until reaching his own house. The value of an act 
of penitence like this may be estimated by the fact that every one 
of the penitents was intoxicated. They believed, however, that 
it would ensure their safe return from the perilous voyage, or, at 
any rate, should they be killed by the Infidels, their souls would 
be immediately received into glory. Many white men would 
have kept their beds for a month after such a punishment, but 
our penitents sat down to their oars before noon on Monday (the 
next day but one) without showing any inconvenience from their 
wounds. They have an idea that the beating after the application 
of the scarifiers drives out the coagulated blood from the wounds 
and prevents any formation of pus. 

[On April 6 they left La Laguna, and on the 
7th entered the Marafion, and though the distance 
up that river to the mouth of the Pastasa is only 
about 25 miles, they did not reach the latter 
till the iith. On the afternoon of the /th they 
came upon a small village of six huts, where the 
remnant of the pueblo of Santander on the Pastasa 
had established themselves. Here they learnt that 
five men of San Antonio (a village just above 
the mouth of the Pastasa) went into the forest to 
cut palm-leaves, and never returned, but remnants 
of their clothes had been found, showing that they 
had been murdered by the savage Huambisas. 

On the morning of the Qth the travellers came 
to the deserted pueblo of Shiruri, half a day below 
the mouth of the Pastasa. There were about a 


dozen cane houses standing on level ground scarce 
a foot above the highest floods. Spruce thus 
describes what he found : ] 

The exodus appears to have been very hasty, for pans and 
tinajos of all sizes are left scattered about, and even several 
arrobas of rice in pots and baskets. The neat beds made of 
stems of bamboo opened out into sheets and laid side by 
side are mostly in their places, but the termites are everywhere 
and will speedily complete the destruction of everything vegetable. 
The ground is fertile, and the colonists had made their plantations 
of plantain, sugar-cane, yucas, etc., not omitting several sorts of the 
necessary Capsicum and the flowers used by women for adorning 
their hair (cockscombs, African marigolds, etc.), nor the verbena 
which is a panacea for every disease. A few Crescentias had 
been planted and in another year would have begun to yield 
cuyas. What a picture of disappointed hopes is suggested by 
the view of such desolation ! With what lamentation must the 
poor women have deserted the spot where they had just com- 
pleted preparations for rearing their young families, and had 
calculated on growing old amidst plenty and tranquillity ! 

[Thenceforward when sleeping on shore Spruce 
and his companions took turns to keep watch 
during the night, allowing the Indians to sleep. 
The latter, however, usually stuck their lances and 
bows and arrows at the head of their mosquito 
nets, so as to be ready in case of an attack. 
Journal continues : ] 

Just above the point where we got into the 
main' channel were three houses in the midst o! 
large platanales on the left bank, probably remains 
of the new pueblo of Santander, though our Indians 
refused to tell us. It is impossible to get from them 
any information about places and distances, as the) 
are afraid we should want to go ashore at the desert r 
pueblos, where the Infieles mi^ht be in ambush 
fall on them. Even when- we have cut plantains 
in deserted chacras (which are frequent along 
shores, though generally hidden by a 


forest and not reaching the river margin as on the 
Maranon), it has been necessary to go ashore 
ourselves first with our firearms. 

A little before sunset we reached the upper point 

of an island, clad with a willow-like Composite, and 

rapidly becoming covered with water. Here we 

made fast, intending to pass the night, but shortly 

the Indians took alarm at seeing how easily an 

enemy could approach our encampment concealed 

by bushes which, although growing pretty close, 

admitted an easy passage ; so we moved off to the 

middle of the river, here very broad and shallow, 

with several prostrate dead trees sticking out which 

the rising waters had not yet liberated, though they 

were beginning to move them. I was not sorry for 

the change, for zancudos were very numerous and 

fierce on the island, though not entirely wanting 

on the river. The nocturnal zancudo is a small 

slender gnat with spotted wings rest of body a 

uniform black. It is called birotillo (the little dart) 

because its puncture is so cruel, often leaving pain 

and swelling. When the days are dull we have 

them in the canoes at all hours, and the small 

mosquitoes are as abundant as on the Maranon. 

My skin has been in a very sensitive state since 

the journey from Tarapoto to Chasuta, and some 

of the mosquito wounds are beginning to ulcerate. 

In the woods I have made acquaintance with a 

minute and very active tick, which sucks a little 

here and there, and does not, like the other species, 

hang on to one place till it gets full ; its bites 

cause an intolerable itching, and if one scratches, 

ulcers ensue. 

April 12- Don Victoriano's dog, which had 


been ill for several days, was now unable to stand, 
and excessively bloated. . . . 

We took it on shore where we made our break- 
fast this morning, and, as it was evidently in a 
dying state, before we re-embarked its master put 
an end to its sufferings by a couple of pistol-shots. 
Thus our two handsome dogs, on whose services as 
sentinels we had so much calculated, had been left 
as food for beasts and birds of prey my poor 
" Sultan " in the forests of the Huallaga, and Don 
Victoriano's " Muchacho " in those of the Pastasa ! 

At sunset we reached the ancient pueblo of 
Santander on the left shore. Standing on a steep 
bank of red earth, it reminds me, by its position, 
of Barraroa on the river Negro. I invited our 
Indians to go there to sleep, but they shook their 
heads and could not even be induced to take that 
side of the river. There are still two large houses 
standing possibly church and convent. 

[During the next fortnight the journey was 
wearisome and monotonous, with almost continuous 
rains, rarely any dry land to sleep on, and not a 
single village or settlement of any kind. The only 
break to the monotony of the succeeding days i 
an occasional success in procuring game, such as 
curassows or wild clucks, once an armadillo, and 
once by great good fortune a tapir. Only once the 
met a solitary canoe with a young Indian man and 
woman who said they came from Andoas, 
reaching that place they learnt that the man 
the son of the chief, and that he was running a\\ 
with the girl to somewhere; on the Maranon. 

On the evening of th<- 251!!, to 
delight, they saw a fire on shore, and fount 


farm where three men and two women were cutting 
palm -.leaves and preparing the fibre to make 
hammocks for the Governor of Andoas. The 
Journal now continues : 

April 26 (Sunday]. - - Starting at four this morn- 
ing, about seven we reached a playa where we found 
three families of inhabitants of Pinches encamped. 
We bought of them part of a very large tapir they 
had killed the previous night, and some pieces of 
baked agouti in very fine condition. Here we 
breakfasted, and then proceeded ; but our men were 
completely at a loss in the broad shallow river, and 
were continually running us aground, so that we 
did not reach the village till 3^ P.M. Pinches 
Nuevo stands on the left bank on a barranco 20 feet 
above high -water mark. It is reached by rude 
steps cut in the cliff, which is of tenacious red earth, 
without the least mixture of stones or gravel. 
There are but some ten houses, including church 
and cabilclo (guests' house), all of Caiia brava, or of 
strips of palm-stems, roofed with palm-thatch. Very 
few inhabitants were present, and we had some 
difficulty in procuring five heads of plantains and a 
basket of yucas, especially as their chacras are new 
and they still bring the greater part of their 
plantains from the site of the old pueblo. The 
inhabitants are ill-looking, and some are affected 
with caracha (leprosy). They are the remnant of a 
nation of Pinches Indians, and still speak a peculiar 
language, though all understand the Ouichua. 

April 2.7. Navigation now gets more difficult, 
hardly anywhere is there sufficient water to float our 
canoes. Beaches appear in different places from 
last year, and our guides can hardly pick their way. 


Several times the men have had to leap into the 
water and drag the canoes by hand a good distance 
over the shallow bed before finding again sufficient 
water to float us. . . . 

[Early on April 29 they reached the much- 
desired Andoas, situated on the left bank of the 
Pastasa, where they had to engage fresh crews to 
take them up the Bombonasa river to Canelos. 
The village stands on a low ridge, on each side of 
which is a little stream, the mouths of which are 
about a quarter of a mile apart. The soil is loamy 
and very fertile. Spruce was only able to take one 
short walk in the forest during his five days' stay 
here, and noted that while the trees seemed mostly 
familiar to him, the shrubby and herbaceous plants 
were nearly all new. The following rather char- 
acteristic incident is noted in the Journal :- 

At Andoas it was necessary that some one 
should sleep in the canoes, to take care of their 
cargoes, and I and Don Ignacio, as being most 
interested, undertook to do it, although we must 
thus deny ourselves the pleasure of sleeping under 
a roof, which the rest of our party took advantage 
of. Our salt fish was stowed in the fore-part of the 
canoe and covered over with palm-leaves, on which 
were laid logs of wood, so that the fish coulc 
easily be got at by the dogs who visited the canoe: 
every night in a troop. Nevertheless, they found 
out some part not so well secured as the rest 
they one night introduced their muzzles and gna\\ 
at the fish, and on the following night I lay 
until I heard them at work, and then seizec 
and rushed out of the cabin ; but the) 
quickly for me and disappeared over the top 


steeply-sloping bank. One dog, however, turned 
round when he reached the top and barked at me. 
I fired (with shot) at his legs, intending only to 
wound him, but his shattered legs failing him, he 
rolled howling down the bank into the river and 
was drowned. His body was retained in an eddy a 
little lower down, and there it was found by the 
women when they went to fetch water at daybreak. 
The Governor had told me to shoot those pilfering 
dogs, for they were vagabonds who had no owners ; 
but this one chanced to belong to an old woman, 
who made an outcry about it, and the Governor told 
me that if I did not succeed in pacifying her we 
might have some difficulty in getting our com- 
plement of mariners, so I sent for her and asked her 
how much she wanted for her dog. She said ten 
needles ! I was glad to give her an entire packet 
of the best I had, with which she went away content, 
having therewith enough to buy three dogs such as 
the one she had lost. 

Andoas differs from Pinches only in size, as it 
contains some twenty houses and about sixty 
married couples, but the aspect is equally miserable. 
The walls of the houses are of wild cane or palm, 
while the church is of bamboo stems opened out 
into boards, and in a very dilapidated state. The 
church divides the town into two nearly equal 
portions or partidos, that to the south or down 
the river being inhabited by Indians of the Andoas 
nation, and that to the north by Indians of the 
Shimigai tribe. ... In external appearance the 
two tribes inhabiting the village of Andoas show no 
difference. The men are of lowish stature, not 
robust, mouth w r ide, but lips not disproportionately 


thick, nose straight or slightly Roman, forehead 
lowish, rather receding, and with the bump of 
locality universally strikingly developed. Their 
hair is cut off straight just over the eyes, and 
allowed to hang down long behind, usually reach- 
ing the middle of the back. They streak their 
faces daily with anatto, and sometimes pour the 
juice of jagua over their bodies, but this is not done 
(as by the inhabitants of Tarapoto) to hide spotted 
skins, as they are quite free from caracha. 

The characteristic dress is a sort of poncho called 
a cueshma, which is a long narrow rectangular piece 
of cloth (coarse cotton, the manufacture of Anito or 
Tarapoto) with a slit in the middle through which 
the head is passed ; as it is narrow it covers the 
body before and behind to below the knees, but not 
at the sides, so that the arms are free. The legs 
are encased in breeches of the same material, tight, 
but not fastened at the knees. ... A few of them 
who have been down to the Amazon wear shirt and 
trousers. The women are none of them pretty, 
though there are some countenances not unpleasing. 
They cut their hair like the men, and as the latter 
are of slender make the two sexes can scarcely be 
distinguished at a distance. Generally a pollena 
constituted the article of dress of the women, the 
body from the waist upwards being naked, but they 
hang a profusion of beads (white, red, ami 
round their necks, and sometimes use armlets ot 
the same. . . . 

The forests on the opposite side ot the river 
abound in animals, and those who go in search of 
the tapir rarely fail in killing one. 
and I paid two men to one three yards of 



calico, to the other a Rondin to seek us each a 
tapir. They brought us two fine animals with quite 
as much flesh on them as a Tarapoto cow, and we 
had charqui (dried meat) made of them for the 
voyage. The weapon used in chasing tapir is a 
lance with large well-tempered iron head, brought 
from Quito or Riobamba. The dogs used in 
tracking the animal are a small breed with little 
triangular heads and curled bushy tails colour 
usually iron-grey or fawn colour. One of our 
hunters went alone with his dogs ; the other took 
two companions. . . . Like most Indians who have 
been brought to " Christianity," they have no manu- 
factures of any kind. Their canoes, hammocks, 
blowing-canes, matiris, etc., are all bought from the 
" Infieles"! 

The present Governor of Andoas is Don Benito 
Sumaita, a native of Moyobamba, who treated us as 
kindly as his means would allow, and aided us much 
in procuring men and food for the voyage. He is 
subject to the recently-created and probably not 
very permanent Prefectura del Alto Marafion. 
The head-quarters of the Prefect are at Jeberos or 
Xeberos, on the Aipena river which enters the 
Huallaga near its mouth, which, though much 
larger than Andoas, is quite as miserable a place. 
Don Benito has been two years in this banishment 
alone amongst the Indians save his son, a little boy 
of ten years ; and he told us he slept more securely 
the few nights we were there than he had ever done 
before in Andoas, for he knew not on what night 
the Infieles might break into the village and murder 
him in his bed. He was almost in despair, poor 
fellow, for he has no salary from the Government, 


and has not even received pay for cargoes of wax 
and other products of the country which he had 
taken or remitted to his superiors in Jeberos at 
their request. 

May 5 (Tuesday).- -This day at noon we got off 
from Andoas. Our crews were eight men to each 
canoe. Eighteen bunches of plantains were 
embarked in each, for we calculated on fourteen 
days to Sara-yacu (about 100 miles farther up the 
Bombonasa), and the existence of plantains on the 
route was uncertain. Besides plantains, we took a 
great store of yucas, sweet potatoes, and pine- 
apples ; and the Indians so filled the canoe with 
their pots of masuto (fermented yucas), beds, etc., 
that they had not room to work. . . . 

May 6 ( Wednesday).- - ... This morning at three 
we got off and shortly afterwards entered the mouth 
of the Bombonasa, which was about 60 yards wide, 
winding, muddy because nearly full, with vegeta- 
tion exactly the same as on the Pastasa, where the 
shore was fiat grasses (Panicum aniplcx, etc., 
Gynerium, and other genera and species with 
Cecropias, Ingas, etc.). On the steep loamy bank 
there were ferns, especially a Mertensia, and the 
forest trees of Pastasa, with Iriartca vc 
and a stout tall palm near the CEnocarpus P 
In some respects it reminds me of the Casiquiari 
towards the upper mouth. The muddy, shallow 
water winding considerably the dense, intricate 
vegetation of the shores where low are the 
but the Bombonasa is much smaller. 

May 7 (Thursday).- -The river went down ncarl; 
i j- feet in the night. 


Several small streams of black water were 
passed to-day. There was no perceptible current 
in them, and when the river is fuller it evidently 
enters some way up them. . . . The river winds 
much, and reminds me of the Upper Pacimoni. This 
morning we passed one reach due S. (i.e. where the 
course of the river is N.), and towards evening we 
made much easting. 

May 9. When our Indians have been an hour 
or two on their way in the morning they proceed 
to take their chicha. From the mass of crushed and 
fermented yucas which they keep in a monstrous 
jar in the prow, they take out handfuls and mix 
with water to a drinkable consistency. The drink- 
ing-vessels used are wide shallow basins varnished 
and painted, whose use is general amongst the 
Indians of Maynas. Each Indian will drink one 
of these full twice or thrice equivalent to about 
half a gallon. In the process they occupy at least 
half an hour, and are as merry and noisy (but not 
so quarrelsome) as a lot of navvies over their beer. 
At the same time they make their toilet, which 
consists in carefully combing out their hair with 
cane combs of their own manufacture, then tucking 
up the back hair with a liana passed round the 
head, while the narrow strip of long hair at the 
sides is allowed to hang down over the ears, and 
that on the forehead has been cut short, as already 
mentioned. After this comes the painting. Each 
man carries in his bag a slender bamboo tube, a 
little larger than one's finger, filled with anatto or 
chica ; from this he extracts a portion with a small 


stick, and with the point of his forefinger makes 
three broad red streaks from ear to ear, one below 
the eyes, another along the base of the nose, and 
the third below the mouth. This done he no 
doubt considers himself dressed for the day, and holds 
his head a full inch higher. 

May ii (Monday). After a gloomy but dry 
night, we got under way this morning at 3 o'clock, 
the river having abated 4 feet. The history of 
to-day varies little from that of preceding days. 
The same winding turbid river in no place more 
than 80 yards wide, and sometimes narrowing to 
40 yards, when the current is stemmed with 

May 14. --The banks now begin to be pictur- 
esque : cliffs clad with ferns and mosses, a Helicomia 
with distichous leaves and pendent scarlet and 
yellowish spikes; a Calliandra like that at the Pongo 
of the Huallaga, etc. ; tiny cascades falling over the 

We breakfasted at the mouth of the Puca-yacu, the 
most considerable stream we had seen entering the 
Bombonasa. It comes in on the left bank with a 
strong current --water muddy, reddish, 
the mouth of this the water of the Bombonasa 
is sensibly clearer, depositing very little earthy 
matter when allowed to stand ; it is whitish, like 
the Upper Orinoco. 

May 15.- Yesterday at 5! P.M. we reachc 
Palisada-Zipishko, and remained all night on an 
island, where there was the broadest beach we 
seen on the Bombonasa. Pebbles begin to 


and more numerous ; they are chiefly quartz and a 
compact blue stone. . . . 

Coasting along a low shore, our men spied a 
small white alligator basking in the sun by the 
margin, and ' killed him with their lances. His 
stomach was distended by some food he had taken, 
and on piercing it, a snake's tail protruded. I laid 
hold on it and drew out the snake, which was 
closely coiled up ; it was still alive (!), though so 
much crushed below the head as to be unable 
to move away. It was a terrestrial species, not 
venomous yellow with black spots on the back. 
The body thick, passing abruptly into a short 
slender tail full 3 feet long, and its destroyer no 
more. Thus we go on preying on each other to 
the end of the chapter. This poor snake, while 
watching for frogs among the moist stones and 
roots, little dreamt he was about to serve for an 
alligator's meal ; nor the alligator, while devouring 
it, that he himself would soon be eaten up by 

May 1 6 (Saturday].- . . . The aspect of the 
river is unchanged, save that there is more rarely 
any low shore. We have passed some strong currents 
to-day, but the water is fortunately low. Beaches 
are now covered with large pebbles, and where we 
breakfasted it was like a mosaic pavement, stones 
of so many colours formed our seats and table. 

May 17 (Sunday}. Near 8 o'clock A.M. we spied 
a tapir a little ahead, making his way up-stream. 
On perceiving our approach he took to shore, 
where from a narrow margin rose a steep barranco, 
which he was unable to ascend ; he therefore again 


entered the water and attempted to pass down- 
stream. At this moment we poured in shots upon 
him from musket and pistol, which, however, did 
not disable him, and he dived out of sight, but on 
coming up near one of the canoes, an Indian 
planted a lance in his breast. Several Indians then 
leaped into the water, which was scarcely breast- 
high, and speedily dispatched him. When swim- 
ming he had only his head above water, and his 
mouth wide open displayed a formidable set of 
teeth. At the first reach we went ashore and cut 
him up ; he was a fat, well-grown male ; few of the 
shots had gone much beyond his thick skin. The 
finest pieces were salted down and the rest partly 
consumed on the spot and partly roasted for the 

May 19 (Tuesday].- ... We stopped to break- 
fast at io|- A.M., in the mouth of a stream called 
Sara-yacu, which enters on the left bank. It is 
of considerable size, with clear water and pebbly 
bed. Here was a house and chacra with several 
people. ... In the canoes moored here I saw 
several bateas (wooden dishes) for gold-washing; 
they were made of some light wood, and 
about I. 1 ,- feet in diameter either in the form ol a 
meniscus or of a very low cone- and two projecting 
pieces had been left on the margin for handles 
The gold found here is only in small quantity and 
in very minute fragments. My companions 
two or three pans of gravel, and in each 
three or four grains of gold ; but it wouk 
necessary to go to a considerable depth to 
with any chance of success, for the grav 


loose and wet, so that the fragments of gold sink 
into it by their weight. 

At 4^ P.M. we reached the pueblo of Sara-yacu, 
on the left bank. It stands on a steep ridge 15 feet 
above the high-water mark of the river and distant 
perhaps 200 yards. On each side of it and at a 
short distance is a deep ravine with a rivulet ; at 
the mouth the streams are barely 30 yards apart, 
but the space between them widens higher up. 
The track leading up to the pueblo has in one place 
a steep slope on each side, with barely room for one 
person to pass another. A barricade across this 
strait would render it defensible by two men 
against a hundred. This position has no doubt 
been selected for the pueblo with an eye to its 
defence from attacks of Infieles, and it is far 
stronger than that of Andoas, though there is some 

May 20 (Wednesday]. Our Indians from Andoas 
should have returned home from Sara-yacu, but 
as we found there neither Governor nor Curaca, 
we persuaded them to go on with us to Puca-yacu, 
where the Governor was at present residing, and so 
paid then each 2 varas of Tocuyo for the additional 
labour all save two who could not be persuaded 
to go farther. This day was passed dully enough 
in the port of Sara-yacu, waiting till the Indians 
should stuff themselves with masuto; enlivened only 
by disputes about the payment to Puca-yacu, such 
as are unavoidable in all traffic with Indians. 

May 21 (Thursday].- . . . We left at an early 
hour, and the slight rise of the waters gave 
us more depth in the rapids, so that we got on 


capitally, and at 4 P.M. reached the port of Puca- 
yacu. Here we found that the village was nearly 
a mile from the river and elevated 250 feet above 
it, the ascent being very steep and slippery. 1 We 
climbed up to pay our respects to the Governor, and 
then returned to sleep in the port, I and Don 
Ignacio in our canoes, and the rest on a narrow 
beach scarcely elevated 2 feet above the water. 
The beach was margined by a bank of earth 6 feet 
high, densely clad with overhanging trees and 
bamboos, and then after a narrow strip of nearly 
level ground rose a gentle acclivity. As we 
supped at sundown, thunder was heard at no great 
distance, and the heavens gradually became entirely 
obscured by a dense mantle of clouds. The Indians, 
who had gone up to the pueblo to take chica, now- 
rejoined us and also prepared to pass the night 
on the beach. We had scarcely resigned ourselves 
to sleep, at about 9 o'clock, when the storm burst 
over us, and the river almost simultaneously began 
to rise ; speedily the beach was overflowed, the 
Indians leaped into the canoes ; the waters con- 
tinued to rise with great rapidity, coming in on us 
every few minutes in a roaring surge which broke 
under the canoes in whirlpools, and dashed them 
against each other. The lianas by which the 
canoes were tied had to be moved every now 
then higher up the trees, and finally broke. 
Indians held on by the branches, and fortunately 
found two contiguous lianas of Bignonia, which 
having cut below, they fastened to the prow of eac 
canoe, their upper part being securely entv 

1 [By baroinctriiMl observation, Spi I tin 

village to be 425 metres = 1394 feet. I 


in the branches overhead. Here we held on, the 
Indians using all their efforts to prevent the canoes 
from being smashed by blows from each other or 
from the floating trees which now began to career 
past us like mad bulls. So dense was the gloom 
that we could see nothing, while we were deafened 
by the pelting rain, the roaring flood, and the 
crashing of the branches of the floating trees, as 
they rolled over or dashed against each other ; but 
each lightning-flash revealed to us all the horrors 
of our position. Assuredly I had slight hopes of 
living to see the day, and I shall for ever feel 
grateful to those Indians who, without any orders 
from us, stood through all the rain and storm of 
that fearful night, relaxing not a moment in their 
efforts to save our canoes from being carried away 
by the flood, or dashed to pieces by swinging 
against each other, or against the floating timber. 
As the waters rose higher, the stern of my canoe 
got entangled in overhanging prickly bamboos, 
which threatened to swamp it, and which we with 
some difficulty cut away. Every hour thus passed 
seemed an age, and the coming of day scarcely 
ameliorated our position, for the flood did not abate 
until 10 o'clock. About an hour before this, the 
river began to fall a little, and as soon as the rain 
passed we got the cargoes out and carried up to 
the Governor's house. It was past noon ere we got 
breakfast wearied to death, and myself in a high 
fever, which happily passed off in the following night. 
The river is only 40 yards broad in that place 
(indeed L before the flood there had not been more 
than 25 yards of water, nowhere 3 feet deep), and 
the rise during the night had been 18 feet. I 


have not yet mentioned that our companion Don 
Victoriano and the two muchachos, when the rising 
waters drove them from the beach, thinking that 
it was merely a brief thunder-shower which had 
caught us, gathered up their beds and climbed the 
barranco, where they set up two palm mats belong- 
ing to the canoe, and sheltered themselves under 
them as well as they could ; but scarcely had they 
accommodated themselves here when the llood 
reached them and burst on them so unexpectedly 
that several articles which were loose, trousers, 
handkerchiefs, etc., were swept away. They retired 
in all haste, and in the dense gloom, ignorant of 
whither they were going, the only guide to their 
position being the roar of the river. They wished 
to enter the canoes, and called out at the top oi 
their voices, which were drowned by the 
conflict of the elements, and the cries of the Indians 
in the canoes were all unheard by them, 
they wandered about all night, the flood continually 
obliging them to retreat farther inland, and when 
day broke it found them half dead with cold, and 
their clothes and bodies torn and wounded 
prickly bamboos and palms. To reach the canoe 
they had to wade with the water to their waists 
As we were unloading the canoes, the barranco 
which we had at first been moored fell into the 
river with several large trees on it ; another peril 
which we happily escaped by having had to move 
lower down. 

Puca-yacu consists of but eight house* 
the convent and church ; they are in the 
as those of Ancloas, and there is 
near them, though most have an od 


Wingo, another of Anatto, and some roots of the 
twining Bignonia (Carajaru) planted by the door. 
The Governor resides in the convent, which is 
remarkable for having an upper story, the flooring 
of which is of bamboo planks resting on rafters of 
Tarapoto palm. The ground floor is scarcely made 
any use of, for the kitchen is a low shed standing a 
few yards apart ; but the upper story is divided 
along the middle by a bamboo partition, the 
northern half being open at the sides, so as to form 
a wide veranda, where the family pass the day ; 
and the southern half is divided into two dormi- 
tories, where they keep their household gods and 
pass the night. The whole is very light and 
cleanly, with superabundance of ventilation ; but we 
have not yet experienced any high winds, the force 
of the squalls being broken by higher ground across 
a valley to north and north-east. We live with 
the Governor, who has given up one of the dormi- 
tories to us. 

From the village there is a track in a northerly 
direction which continues all the way to the river 
Napo. At half an hour from the village it crosses 
a stream called Baha-yacu, whose mouth is a very 
little below the port ; there are a few chacras on it, 
and the gold-washings are said to be the best of 
any of Bombonasa. The banks are steep and fall 
in with every flood. The water runs over beds 
of indurated clay, such as most of the rock on the 
Bombonasa ; though easily broken by the foot, it 
resists remarkably the action of water. Pebbles 
of quartz and blocks of compact blue stone are 
evidently alluvial deposits. 

In something under half a day the track brings 


us to the head of the river Rutuno, a considerable 
stream whose mouth we had seen below Sara-yacu. 
All the way along it there are tambos of inhabitants 
of Sara-yacu, Puca-yacu, and Canelos, who go 
there to wash gold. 

After the Rutuno the head of the river Tigre is 
passed ; this river holds its course nearly midway 
between Pastasa and Napo, and falls into the 

A large stream, the Villano, is next passed ; this 
runs into the river Curaray, whose junction with the 
Napo is not far from the mouth of the latter. 

From the Villano we come to its tributary, the 
Giguino, on which there is a largish pueblo of 

Next to this is another tributary of the Yillano- 
Callana-yacu, and then we come to 

Ananga-yacu, which runs direct into the Curaray. 

The Curaray itself is now reached. On this 
also are several Zaparos. 

The Noshiiro, to which we now come, has a 
pueblo of Zaparos ; it runs direct into the Napo, as 
does also the Washka-yacu. 

Passing these, we reach the Napo, at a small 
pueblo called Aguana, not far from Santa Rosa ; 
whence there is a route over the Cordillera to Quito 
which is impassable from June to September on 
account of the streams being swollen by the melting 
of the snows on Cotopaxi, as also by the depth <>l 
snow on the highest point of the pass. 

The Governor, Don Gabriel Cordena, is 
elderly man of about fifty, with quiet and 
devout manners. He has been twelve years 


the Bombonasa, but his native place is Quito. 
Canelos, Puca-yacu, and Sara-yacu are all under 
his rule, and he divides his residence equally among 
them. It should be observed that his title is 
Lieutenant -Governor, the Curaca of each pueblo 
being considered its real governor. The labour 
of the Indians is entirely voluntary, nor is there 
any tariff of prices strictly adhered to. In conse- 
quence, the Indians are sufficiently impertinent 
and difficult to treat with. The pueblo of Puca- 
yacu contains some nine men accustomed to carry 
cargoes to the Sierra ; and after more than a 
week's delay, Don Ignacio and Don Victoriano 
have with much difficulty persuaded five of these 
to accompany them ; the rest excuse themselves 
from pretended sickness or some other motive, so 
that I, who need seven cargueros, am still waiting 
to see if I can induce the Indians of Sara-yacu to 
accompany me, as they are much more numerous 
than those of Puca-yacu. The Indians of Canelos 
are away at their tambos on the Rutuno, etc., with 
licence of absence for three months, which does 
not expire till June 20. 

Don Gabicho (as he is familiarly called) presented 
himself to us with shirt outside trousers (Amazon 
fashion), so that it stood for jacket as well, and his 
head adorned with a broad-brimmed hat of tamshe, 
similar to those woven by the Indians of Maynas 
of the same material ; well ventilated but affording 
no protection against rain ; so, to render it water- 
proof, he had stuck it all over with the feathers of 
small birds, the points all directed to the brim. 
I have rarely seen a gayer or stranger head-gear. 


Puca-yacu is a colony of the still considerable 
pueblo of Canelos. It contains also four or five 
Jibaros, who are married to women of Canelos. 
The Governor has in his house a Jibaro girl whose 
history is singular. It seems that among those 
Indians when a man of note dies it is the custom 
to put his wives to death, in order that their spirits 
may accompany him, as they did while in the body. 
An old chief died two years ago, leaving four wives, 
whereof one was scarcely nine years of age. This 
poor creature, knowing that they would seek to 
kill her, fled into the woods, and though pursued, 
succeeded in reaching Sara - yacu, where the 
Governor then was, and placed herself under his 
protection. Her "friends" have since reclaimed 
her, but the Governor refuses to give her up, and 
she still remains with him, and is an excellent 
servant to his wife. She has been baptized by the 
name of Magdalena, the Governor and his wife 
standing sponsors. She looks little like a widow, 
with her slender, girlish figure and smart chitty 
face. The Jibaro Indians still abound on the 
Pastasa (above the mouth of Bombonasa) and on 
its upper tributaries. There is a settlement of 
them, commonly called the Jibaria, at three days 
from Canelos, near the river Pindu, on the route 
to Banos. . . . 

There is a magnificent view looking west from 
the plateau of Puca-yacu, but I saw it only once, 
for about a couple of hours, in all its entirety, 
takes in an angle of about 60 , bounded left and 
right by forest on adjacent elevations. 
feet stretched the valley of the I'.ombonasa, taking 
upwards a north-westerly direction, its waters not 


visible, and audible only when swollen by rains. 
Beyond the Bombonasa stretched the same sort 
of boldly undulating plain I had remarked from 
Andoas upwards, till reaching one long low ridge, 
perhaps a little higher than Puca-yacu, of remark- 
ably equable height and direction (north to south) ; 
this is the water-shed between the Bombonasa and 
Pastasa, and the latter river flows along its western 
foot ; a little north of west from Puca-yacu, the 
course of the Pastasa is indicated by a deep gorge 
stretching west from behind the riclge. This gorge 
has on each side lofty rugged mountains (5000 to 
6000 feet), spurs of the Cordillera ; one of those on 
the right is called Abitagua, and the track from 
Canelos to Banos passes over its summit. All this 
was frequently visible, but it was only when the 
mist rolled away from the plain a little after sun- 
rise that the lofty Cordillera beyond lay in cloud- 
less majesty. To the extreme left (south), at no 
very great distance, rose Sangahy (or the Volcan 
of Macas, as it is often called), remarkable for its 
exactly conical outline, for the snow lying on it in 
longish stripes, and for the cloud of smoke almost 
constantly hovering over it. A good way to the 
right is the much loftier mountain called Los 
Altares, its truncated summit jagged with eight 
peaks of nearly equal elevation and clad with an 
unbroken covering of snow, which glittered like 
crystal in the sun's rays, and made me think how 
pure must be the offering on " altars " to whose 
height no mortal must hope to attain. Not far to 
the right of Los Altares, and of equal altitude, is 
Tunguragua, a bluff irregular peak with rounded 
apex capped with snow, which also descends in 


streaks far down its sides. To the right of Tungu- 
ragua, and over the summit of Mount Abitagua, 
appeared lofty blue hills, here and there painted 
with white ; till on the extreme right was dimly 
visible a snowy cone of exactly the same form as 
Sangahy but much more distant and loftier ; this 
was Cotopaxi, perhaps the most formidable volcano 
on the surface of our globe. Far behind Tungu- 
ragua, and peeping over its left shoulder, was 
distinctly visible, though in the far distance, a 
paraboloidal mass of unbroken snow ; this was the 
summit of Chimborazo, so long considered the 
monarch of the Andes, and though latterly certain 
peaks in Bolivia have dethroned it, for ever im- 
mortalised by its connection in men's memory with 
such names as Humboldt and La Condamine. 
Thus to right and left of the view I had a volcano. 
Cotopaxi I never saw clearly but once, but Sangahy 
was often visible when the rest of the Cordillera 
was veiled in clouds, and on clear nights we could 
distinctly see it vomiting forth flame every few 
minutes. The first night I passed at Puca-yacu I 
was startled by an explosion like that of distant 
cannon, and not to be mistaken for thunder. It 
came from Sangahy, and scarcely a clay passed 
afterwards without my hearing the same sound 
once or oftener ; my ignorance of its origin at first 
amused the people of Puca-yacu, to whom it was 
a familiar sound. 

[During his twenty days' delay at I'uca-yacu, 
besides making notes on the in-m-i-al botanical 
features of the district and collecting all the nc 
Mosses and Hepatics he could find, Spruce also 
made, as he states in his /'/rV/\ d'nn Voyage, 



collection of the beautiful Coleoptera (beetles) 
which were to be found there in great abundance." 
No doubt these were obtained in some of the 
newly-cleared plantations of the natives on the 
road to the Napo river, which he explored for 
some distance.] 

June 10 ( Wednesday].- -This day at 8 A.M. I got 
off from Puca-yacu, where I had been waiting three 
weeks. My companions had started on the last 
day of May, and after their departure the Governor 
went to Sara-yacu and with much trouble found 
cargueros for me, as they had been frightened at 
the large size of my trunks when I passed up. I 
again lightened them as much as I could by selling 
and giving to Don Gabriel and his family every- 
thing not absolutely necessary, and for one trunk 
in which I had deposited my drugs, barometer, and 
some other valuables I paid two cargueros. The 
pay to each was 3 D. 2 Rs., with three varas of 
bretana (English calico), and to one who carried 
a long but not heavy trunk I paid 4 D. and a 
red handkerchief. They arrived at Puca-yacu on 
Monday, but Tuesday being very rainy we could 
not get off; the canoes, however, were put in readi- 
ness for the following morning. There were four 
of them, one lent me by the Governor and the rest 
furnished by the Indians themselves, and intended 
to be left in Canelos till their return. We started, 
sixteen in number, for each of the seven cargueros 
took with him a boy or young woman to carry his 
food. The canoes are small, light, flat-bottomed, 
not capable of carrying more than two of my 
trunks. . . . 

[ June 1 2. Reaching Canelos in the morning, 


Spruce found there only two Indians, from whom 
he was able to buy some fowls and other provisions 
to complete what was needful for the long journey 
through the forests. Here all the elaborate pack- 
ing of the baggage by the Indian carriers had to 
be done, and the straps carefully arranged in a 
peculiar manner, so as to be suitable for a route 
where they are liable to be entangled by creepers 
overhead and other difficulties. Then there was 
food for the whole party of sixteen persons to 
be carried by the boys and girls brought by 
the Indians themselves, so that they were not 
ready till late the next day. Then a heavy 
storm came on which caused the actual start to 
be put off till the morning of the i4th, at which 
date the Journal continues the story in the next 

The region described by Spruce in the last three 
chapters is characterised by the presence of the 
singular plant usually called the Vegetable Ivory 
palm, but which is now considered to form a distinct 
natural order intermediate between true palms and 
Cycads. Its very hard albuminous seeds, nearly 
the size of hen's eggs, are contained in compound 
fruits as large as a man's head, which are concealed 
among the leaves close to the ground. These 
seeds are largely exported and used to make buttons, 
umbrella handles, and other small objects. The 
plants occur thinly scattered from the mouth of the 
Napo to Tarapoto and the Forest of Canelos on the 
lower slopes of the mountains up to about 2500 feet, 
and on the river-banks. 

Spruce only once collected ripe fruits, and then 
unfortunately lost them, as he describes in his 


Memoir on the Equatorial American Palms. I 
here quote the incident :- 

" On my voyage up the Huallaga in May 1855, 
I gathered one morning some fully formed fruits of 
Yarina, and as they were infested by stinging ants, 
I laid them near the fire, where our breakfast was 
being cooked, to disperse the ants, and then plunged 
into the forest in quest of other objects. During 
my absence the Indians, not knowing I wanted to 
preserve the fruits, struck their cutlasses into them, 
and finding the seeds still tender enough to be 
eaten, munched them all up and thus destroyed my 
specimens. I never again saw the Yarina in good 
condition, except when I and my attendants were 
already laden with specimens of other plants." 

Two species very closely allied (Pkytelep/ias 
macrocarpa and P. microcarpa) are spread over the 
Eastern Andes, and Spruce described another 
species (P. equatorialis] from the Western Andes 
of Ecuador, which differs in having a trunk some- 
times reaching 20 feet high. The leaves, of a fine 
deep green colour, are from 30 to 40 feet long. 
The plate here given is from a photograph taken 
on the river Ucayali.] 


(June 14 to July i, 1857) 

[THE Journal of this portion of Spruce's travels 
is so full and interesting, and the district passed 
through is in many respects so remarkable, that 
I have no hesitation in printing the account of it 
almost entire. In the half-century that has elapsed 
since it was written no other English traveller has, 
I believe, passed over it. Two German botanists 
made the return journey from Banos to Canelos in 
April 1894, when they had better weather than 
Spruce ; but they describe the forest between the 
Topo and Canelos as being quite uninhabited, and 
the track so seldom traversed and so ill -defined 
that even the guides lose their way !] 

( fonrnat) 

finic 14, 1857. It was about 8 A.M. when we 
got off. We had a steep slippery descent to the 
Bombonasa, which was crossed with difficulty and 
risk, as the turbid, swollen waters careered violently 
among and over rocks and stones. We crossed 
near where it is joined by a large stream (Tinguisa), 



by the side of which our course lay for above an 
hour, sometimes crossing it, sometimes plodding 
among stones and mud on its margin. At length 
we turned away to the right and began to ascend 
to a ridge, which gradually runs higher and sharper, 
like many such in the Andes, whence they are 
called cuchillas (knives). It separates the valley 
of the Tinguisa from that of the Bombonasa. As 
we ascended it, we had often on our left a steep 
bare barranco of sand -rock and pebbly alluvium, 
quite like what I had remarked along the Bom- 
bonasa. At 2 r.M. we had come out on high ground, 
nearly level, but still with steep declivities left 
and right where a cool wind was blowing. Though 
so early, our men declared that there we must pass 
the night, because it was the accustomed stopping- 
place on the first day from Canelos, and they set 
to work to clear the ground and to collect materials 
for ranches. Here, as in most other places on the 
way, we occupied four ranches, one for myself and 
my servant, and the other three for the cargueros, 
who generally chose a site a little retired say, 
thirty paces or more from our rancho. The ranchos 
were merely a fall-to roof, resting on the ground, 
and were erected in this way. Two stout sticks 
about 9 feet long were stuck sloping into the 
ground, about 4 to 6 feet apart ; across these were 
tied palm -fronds, after the fashion of large tiles, 
till the roof had reached the required width, and it 
was then secured at an angle of about 45 by 
a forked stick stuck in front of each of the two 
whereon the roof was framed. The palm-fronds 
used were those of two species of Iriartea and of 
Wettinia Maynensis. Of the Iriartea, the fronds 


were split along the middle and the two halves 
placed alongside, with the point of one to the base 
of the other ; but of the Wettinia, the pinnae of one 
side were doubled over so as to fall between those 
of the other side, and as they are remarkably 
canaliculate -concave, a series of alternate convex 
and concave surface was thus obtained, resembling 
remarkably well the tiled roof of a house. Several 
entire fronds with their pinnae in the natural posi- 
tion were fastened along the top of the roof, so as 
to throw the rain both ways. On the ground 
beneath other palm-leaves were extended, and on 
these were placed our beds and boxes. The fire 
was made midway, under the ridge of the roof. 
A stick set up on each side, to sustain a cord 
stretching across the fire, was essential for hanging 
up our wet garments through the night to dry and 
smoke. Two of the cargueros were considered my 
personal attendants on the way, viz. the one who 
carried my bed, the necessary changes of linen, and 
other things likely to be needed, in a waterproof 
bag ; and the one who carried the provisions in a 
saparo, a nearly cylindrical basket 3 feet long and 
2 feet in diameter, covered by a lid made of an 
outer and an inner framework woven of the liana 
Tamshe, with two or three layers of leaves of Vijao 
securely packed between them so that no rain could 
enter. The duty of these men was to erect my 
rancho, and collect me firewood sufficient to 
burn through the night. When we had got our 
house set up and the necessary fuel and water 
brought to it, my first care was to prepare coffee 
-the greatest consolation a traveller can have after 
a day's work in the wet forest. After coffee a salt 


fowl was boiled and plantains roasted for supper. 
Then, wrapped in my blanket and stretched on my 
mattress, with my feet near to a good fire, I pre- 
pared to pass the night, and I may say that how- 
ever much I might have suffered through the day, 

1 generally slept tolerably well and rarely suffered 
from cold. 

June 15. We had heavy thunder-showers from 

2 to 4 A.M., and wet dripped from the roof on to the 
foot of my bed. The day was cold and drizzling 
throughout. Our course was still mostly along the 
top of the ridge, gradually ascending, rarely descend- 
ing a little to pass slight rivulets. About noon we 
reached the highest part at a place called the 
" Ventanas " (windows), where the track ran along 
the edge of a steep barranco to the right, down 
which we looked into a tremendously deep valley, 
whose bottom was obscured by rolling mist, though 
we distinctly heard the murmuring of the nascent 
Bombonasa along it. Travellers and cargoes arrived 
pretty well soaked at the end of this day's journey, 
and the same was the case through nearly all the 
rest of the way. The ground to-day was mostly 

June 1 6. Again heavy showers before daylight 
which left the forest soaking wet for our journey. 
There was a little sun till 9 o'clock, then came on 
showers, which, with very short intervals, lasted 
till 4 P.M. Our cargueros were accustomed to 
breakfast at daybreak, I and my muchacho at the 
same hour made our coffee and cooked a fowl to 
be eaten on the way by some stream of cool water, 
whenever hunger should invite us. On reaching 
the first stream from our sleeping-place, the women 


prepared large draughts of masato for the men, as 
they said, to give them force, and the process was 
repeated once or twice during the day. They had 
also generally their marked resting-places, where 
they made long halts after carrying their loads an 
hour or an hour and a half together. On reaching 
one of these, the women used to cut palm-leaves 
and spread them on the ground, and the men, after 
depositing their loads, threw themselves on the 
leaves at full length. This day they had made 
very long halts, so that although we went along 
very slowly, and I often delayed to pluck a moss 
from the branches, we had got far ahead of them. 
The day was wearing away, and the clouds and 
rain made the forest so gloomy that night seemed 
nearer than it actually was. We waited a good 
while at a place that seemed convenient for the 
ranchos, till I began to shiver with cold, and I 
actually turned back to see what had become of 
them. The Indians from the first had been com- 
plaining, more suo, of the heavy cargoes, then of 
the rain and the wet forest, and of the long dis- 
tance they had to go. They might at any instant 
leave their cargoes and return to Canelos, without 
giving us a hint. Such a thing had happened many 
and many a time. Even these very Indians on 
their last journey towards the Sierra conducting 
the Padre and his cargoes left him and his goods 
at the Rio Verde, a day's journey from Barios. 
The night is generally chosen for these elopements, 
and when day breaks the unfortunate traveller finds 
himself alone. Fortunately, my misgivings in this 
instance were without foundation, and after I had 
gone back a good distance I heard the voices of 


my people advancing, and conducted them to the 
site I had chosen for our resting-place. 

The road had been gently descending for most 
of the day and was not so gravelly as yesterday, 
while much sloppy ground had to be passed. 

June 1 7. A shower at 3 A.M. At daybreak rain 
again came on and continued without intermission 
till near noon, when we set off. We had gone for 
scarcely two hours when we reached the large 
stream called Piiyu, a tributary of the Pastasa, and 
found it so swollen that there was no hope of crossing 
it ; we must therefore again set to and construct 
ranchos, and there await the river subsiding. My 
chagrin at this delay was somewhat lessened by the 
circumstance of finding myself in the most mossy 
place I had yet seen anywhere. Even the topmost 
twigs and the very leaves were shaggy with mosses, 
and from the branches overhanging the river de- 
pended festoons of several feet in length, composed 
chiefly of Bryopterides and Phyllogium fulgens, in 
beautiful fruit. Throughout the journey, whenever 
rains, swollen streams, and grumbling Indians 
combined to overwhelm me with chagrin, I found 
reason to thank heaven which had enabled me to 
forget for the moment ail my troubles in the con- 
templation of a simple moss. We had hoped to 
reach the Jibaros settlement this day. The 
chacras were said to be near, and two of our men 
swam across the river Puyu and before nightfall 
returned with plantains. 

June 1 8. Slight showers before daybreak, but 
the river had sufficiently abated to allow of our 
passing it, and at 6 A.M. \ve started. On the 
opposite side we were not long in coming on large 


plantations of yucas, plantains, yams, etc., and 
about nine we reached a house where we found an 
old man and several women. Here we remained 
an hour, and I bought a cock of the old man, 
though I must needs shoot it with my gun, as it 
was wild and would not allow itself to be caught, 
he said. After a short chase among the wet 
yucas, I brought it down and we bore it off in 
triumph. It took us two hours more to reach the 
centre of the settlement, where are the Curaca's 
and two other houses. The way was very muddy, 
and in that short distance traversed by above 
twenty streams, with steep slippery descents to 
them. It was noon as we reached the Curaca's 
house. We had had drizzling rain for some time 
this morning, which with the heavy rain of yester- 
day and the soft muddy nature of the earth had 
put the track in very bad order and we reached 
our halting-place in pitiable plight. A good many 
years ago, it seems, some missionary had induced 
these Jibaros to become Christians, and to erect a 
church and convent, after the fashion of those of 
Canelos and Puca-yacu, but they have long ago 
renounced Christianity and the church has fallen to 
decay. The convent was still tenantable and we 
took possession of it that is, I and my servants, 
for the Indians installed themselves in the Curaca's 
house. The Curaca was absent in the forest and 
did not return till evening, when I bought a couple 
of fowls and some plantains of him. His name is 
Hueleca a young man of middle stature, slender in 
body, but with remarkably muscular arms and legs. 
Compared with our " Christian ' Indians from 
Sara-yacu, we found him a person of gentlemanly 


manners and with none of the craving selfishness 
of those people. I had therefore quite a pleasure 
in offering him such little presents as I had kept in 
store for that purpose. His wife was a tall young 
woman with pleasing features, and they had four 
small children, all ill of catarrhal fever. The 
Curaca and every one about him were complaining 
of illness, especially of rheumatic pains, which was 
not to be wondered at from the wet and mud 
among which they live at this season. 1 In dry 
weather the site must be rather pleasant ; the 
ground is highish, rising from the Puyu, which 
furnishes water, though it is a good ten minutes' 
walk to the river and back. When the sky is clear, 
Mount Tunguragua, with its cope of snow, and the 
lower wooded ridges in front of it are seen very 

The afternoon of the day we arrived was nearly 
fair, though cloudy and cool ; but at two of the 
following morning it came on to rain heavily and 
continued without intermission till midnight. 

Next day (2Oth) drizzling rain from sunrise till 
nightfall. The sloppy ground, the soaked forest, 
and the unceasing rain kept us close prisoners. 
My Indians had been occupied in preparing chicha 
for the remainder of the journey ; this task was 
completed, but the weather and the road were so 
dreadful that we could not think of starting. They 
declared they were quite out of heart, and they 

1 Shortly after I passed by the Jibaria, Hueleca removed with his family U> 
Sara-yacu, to consult some noted medicine-man ; there his wife and one of his 
children died, and I have since learnt that he has burnt down his house and 
the convent, and that he has removed to some other part of the forest where 
the whites never pass, for to their contamination he believes that he owes his. 


absolutely refused to stir a step further unless I 
would lighten my cargoes. They had received 
their pay beforehand and I was therefore com- 
pletely in their hands. I had brought from Tara- 
poto a boxful of drying paper, and on our way up 
the rivers I had dried a sprig or two of everything 
accessible, and especially of Cryptogami, by placing 
them in paper under my mattress in the canoe. 
At Puca-yacu, fearful of increasing the weight of my 
cargoes, I limited my collections to mosses. The 
only way of lightening my cargoes was to throw 
away all the paper not occupied by plants, and then 
divide the remainder of the effects nearly equally 
among my five boxes. This I did with a heavy 
heart for I knew I should have much difficulty in 
replacing the paper when I got out into the Sierra. 
The savages made a bonfire of my precious drying- 
paper and danced round it ! 

Sunday the 21.57'.- -The sun shone out in the 
morning, and we were gratified by the day holding 
out dry and hot. We waited, however, till the 
following morning to give time for the forest to dry 
a little. Early on the 22nd we resumed our 
journey. I had gathered small quantities of many 
interesting mosses in the Jibaria, chiefly on logs 
in the platanal by the convent, and on trees in the 
forest by the Piiyu ; of these I made small bundles, 
putting alternate layers of Mosses and Hepaticae so 
that there might be no confusion of fallen lids and 
calyptras, and dried them in the sun and by the fire. 
The same plan I followed through the remainder 
of the journey, depositing such mosses as I could 
snatch from the branches in a bag hung at my side, 
when we halted for the night tying them up in 


bundles, and then hanging them up through the 
night to smoke along with our soaked garments. 

Monday was also happily a sunny day. The 
way was mostly along level ground, often through 
beds of tall prickly bamboos, and lodales (muddy 
places), the mud being, as might be supposed, con- 
genial to the bamboos, and often hiding fallen 
prickly branches of the latter which wounded our 
feet. I wore throughout the journey a pair of 
india-rubber shoes which I had fortunately bought 
off the feet of a wandering German I met in La 
Laguna. They were slippery in the descents, 
where I required to step cautiously in them, and 
they were easily pierced by thorns and stumps, but 
they were uninjured by mud and wet, and so long 
as I kept in movement my feet were never cold in 
them, even when they filled with water. In fording 
the streams I kept them on my feet ; on reaching 
the opposite bank I slipped them off and poured 
the water out, then in an instant slipped them on 
again and resumed my march without experiencing 
the least inconvenience. We had got off about 
seven, and it was near ten o'clock when we reached 
another Jibaro hut, and the last of the pueblo of 
Pindo. Here we rested awhile, and my Indians 
partook of chicha which was offered them. I con- 
sidered myself fortunate in buying a couple of 
fowls and the leg of a tapir. Shortly after we 
crossed the Pindo, a considerable stream with a 
broad white beach strewn with blocks and much 
resembling the Cumbasa below Tarapoto. This 
stream receives the Piiyu (which also we crossed 
this day, quite near the Jibaria), and the two 
united are navigable for small canoes to the 


Pastasa, which is at no great distance. We were 
gradually approaching the Pastasa, and we slept at 
night on a plain where the rushing of its waters 
was distinctly audible. 

June 23. About 10 A.M. we reached Allpa-yacu, 
a stream of clear cool water about the size of the 
Pindo. This also was low and we got across it 
without accident. There were steep cliffs of gravel 
on the east bank just above the ford. Our way to-day 
was almost entirely across a plain, bounded on the 
left by a very steep alluvial cliff (which gives the 
name of Barrancas to the site), at whose foot ran 
the Pastasa. There is a great contrast between 
the aspect of this river here leaping and foaming 
over 'rocks with a din which throughout the rest 
of our journey we heard more or less distinctly- 
and in the lower part of its course, where it spreads 
out into a broad placid river. The track in places 
ran along the very edge of the cliff, and the pro- 
jecting bushes menaced thrusting us over. At 
about 2 P.M., on the top of a low hill, we came to a 
rancho, but as our Indians were still disposed to 
proceed we determined to sleep at a more advanced 
post. From this place we descended into a deep 
ravine, and crossed a narrow clear stream with 
some peril, as the ford was over slippery stones on 
a steep declivity. To our right the water came 
down from a lofty hill in a cascade. To climb out 
of the ravine we had to use hands as well as feet, 
but a winding path might be easily made, for the 
soft sandstone admits of being cut by a spade. 
We slept about half-way down the descent of the 
other side of the mountain, but were wetted by a 
shower ere we could get our nmchos put up. 



June 24.- -This morning in less than an hour we 
reached a narrow but rather deep rocky stream, 
remarkably like so many others in the Montana of 
Canelos for its crystalline water. We crossed it 
near its junction with the Pastasa, on the banks of 
which and above its mouth rise lofty cliffs from the 
river's edge, to avoid which it is necessary to 
climb over the most formidable mountain on the 
whole route, named Abitagua, and perhaps 6000 
feet high. It was near midday when we reached 
the summit. At something more than half-way 
up is a puesto (resting-place) called Masato, 
whence there is a view down the valley of the 
Pastasa, extending, it is said, in clear weather 
even to the Maranon. I could distinguish the 
water of the river Pastasa apparently a little below 
Andoas, but beyond this the sky was too hazy to 
make out anything. From Masato upwards the 
ascent is painful steep, rugged bits alternating 
with flats of mud, sometimes over the knees. On 
the top is a long narrow plain, where the intervals 
between the trees are occupied by loose mud. At 
the western extremity of the plain is a small open 
dryish space where a cross has been erected. 
From this site the heights of Patati and Guay- 
rapata in the Sierra are visible, as are also the 
much nearer ridges running from Llanganati 
between the Topo and the Shuna. From the 
cross there is a steep short descent, and then 
another long muddy level, about midway of which, 
and a little to the right of the track, there is a 
hollow filled with clear cold water in fact, it may 
be called a lagoon, though there are mounds here 
and there on it with trees, true Vaccinia, etc., on 


them. Perhaps never a day passes without rain 
on this mountain, and its summit is nearly always 
enveloped in mist, which looks as if it were per- 
manently hung up in the trees. The trunks and 
branches of the latter, and often even the upper- 
most leaves, are densely enveloped in mosses. 
Various species of Plagiochila, Mastigobryum, Phyl- 
logonium, Bryopteris, etc., hang from the branches 
to the length of i to 3 feet, and in such thick 
bunches that when saturated with rain they often 
break off even green branches by their weight. I 
have been told by the cargueros of Bafios that 
when they pass with cargoes through the most 
mossy parts of the Montana after much rain has 
fallen they step with constant dread of being 
crushed by some ruptured branch. I examined 
hastily such mossy branches as had fallen across 
our path, and often found on them a Holomitrium 
and a Bryum, which I never got in any other 

We had fortunately fine weather until reaching 
the cross of Abitagua ; after passing this we had 
smart rain all the way down. The descent was 
long and rugged and took us two hours and a half. 
At the base was a stream of beautiful water quite 
like that on the eastern side. On a hill of small 
elevation, called Casha-urcu (" Prickly Hill," because 
of the ground being strewed with thorny twigs of 
bamboos), rising from the opposite bank of the 
stream, we drew up for the night. 

June 25. We had heavy rain from midnight ; 
when day broke we prepared for the journey, 
hoping that the rain would pass, but in vain, tor 
it abated not till two in the afternoon, when it was 


too late to start. This was a most dismal day, 
and filled us with anxious thoughts for the passage 
of the Shuna and Topo, which rivers the Indians 
began to predict would be swollen. They, how- 
ever, were consoled by meeting near our ranchos 
a band of large monkeys, several of which they 
brought down with their blowing-canes. 

June 26. Rain again from midnight, but about 
nine in the morning it abated so much as to allow us 
to get under way. Road dreadful, what with mud, 
fallen trees, and dangerous passes, of which two in 
particular, along declivities where in places there 
was nothing to get hold of, are not to be thought 
of without a shudder. In three hours we reached 
the Shuna, a larger stream than any we had pre- 
viously passed ; it comes from the north-east in a 
steep rocky course, and can only be forded after 
long-continued dry weather, and even then with 
danger. Now we found it much swollen, but as 
the tops of the rocks on which it is customary to 
rest the bridge were out of water, though we had 
to wade in 3 feet of water to get to them, we 
set to work to get materials for the bridge. These 
were merely three long poles, not of the straightest, 
laid from rock to rock and lashed together with 
lianas. An Indian posted on each rock held up the 
opposite ends of a fourth pole to a convenient 
height to serve for a hand-rail, by means of which 
one could cross the narrow slippery bridge with 
some degree of security. We all got safely across 
the Shuna, but it had again come on to rain, and 
we bent our steps towards the Topo with mis- 
givings that we should find it altogether impass- 
able. On the west side of the Shuna there is a 


steep cliff, perhaps 150 feet high, of dangerous 
ascent. In some parts of it on projecting ledges 
poles are set up with notches cut in them wherein 
to step, but they were very slippery, and in clam- 
bering up them I trusted more to my hands than 
to my feet. Beyond this the ground is nearly 
level to the Topo, \vhich we reached in an hour 
more. Here our worst fears were realised. The 
Topo, as far as w r e could see up it, and downwards 
to its junction with the Pastasa, was one mass of 
foam, and the thunder of its waters against the 
rocks made the very ground shake to some distance 
from the bank. The Topo is perhaps the largest 
tributary of the Pastasa on the north side ; its 
course is much shorter than that of the Bombonasa, 
but more water seems to come down it. Its 
source is in the snowy mountain Llanganati the 
fabulous El Dorado of the Ouitensians. . . . This 
mountain and its offshoots occupy nearly all the 
space between the head of the Napo and the Rio 
de Patate, both which rivers rise in Cotopaxi. . . . 
The Topo is never low enough to be fordable on 
foot, and though numerous explorations of its 
banks have been made for some leagues up, no 
place has been found practicable for a bridge save 
the accustomed one, which is about 200 yards 
above its junction with the Pastasa. Here, on 
each side of the river, which is perhaps TOO feet 
wide, stands a large rock, nearly flat-topped, and 
rising some 12 feet above high water; they arc 
rather difficult of access, but can be clambered 
up. ... 

In the middle of the river, and in a line with 
these two rocks, is a smaller one of equal height, 


to which bridges could be thrown, and a third 
short bridge to the right bank of the river (where 
is a narrow channel, sometimes dry), between the 
large rock and the actual margin, rendered the 
crossing of the river complete. Ordinary floods 
did not reach these bridges, but after long and 
heavy rains they were carried away, the rocks 
supporting them being laid deep under water. 
Yet they sometimes lasted so many months that 
the bamboos began to decay, and have given way 
under people who incautiously attempted to pass 
them. In one of these high floods, some eight 
years ago, the intermediate rock was toppled over, 
and as it now lies it is so much lower than the 
others that it no longer serves to support the 
bridges. From this cause, the Topo has now to 
be passed by four bridges, thrown from the sides to 
three rocks in the water, about 20 yards higher 
up than the ancient site. These rocks are all 
smallish and uneven-topped, and the middle one is 
so low that a very slight flood suffices to render it 
inaccessible. When we reached the margin, this 
rock was barely visible at long intervals, and then 
came surging waves which laid it i to 2 feet under 
water, and would have swept away instantly the 
poles attempted to be laid on it. The Indians 
declared that until this stone should be left un- 
covered there was no hope of getting across ; we 
therefore cast about to make the preparations neces- 
sary for passing the night in this place. So many 
travellers have been detained here by the swollen 
Topo, that the narrow isthmus between the Topo 
and the Shuna has been ransacked of everything 
available for food or shelter. Not a palmito is now 


to be met with, nor even a palm-leaf wherewith to 
thatch a rancho. Our Indians therefore made the 
roofs by tying long slender sticks across each other, 
so as to form small squares, and then overlaying 
them with such large leaves of terrestrial and 
epiphytal Aroideae (chiefly species of Anthurium) 
as they could meet with. Roofs so constructed 
are not proof against heavy rains, and the leaves 
soon begin to shrivel and rot. Our huts being put 
up, we cooked our humble supper and lay down to 
sleep. At 9 r.M. heavy rain came on and continued 
without intermission till daybreak (5 A.M.) of the 
27th. When we looked out in the morning we 
saw that the river had risen still higher, and there 
was no hope of getting across this day. Our pro- 
visions began to run low. The Indians had drank 
their last chicha, and they had all along kept 
robbing me of such eatable things as I could not 
keep under lock and key, so that my stock of salt 
fowls was reduced to three, and I had only besides 
a few dried plantains in a tin secured by a padlock ; 
with their usual carelessness for the morrow, 
they had already eaten up the large monkeys killed 
at Casha-urcu, and all their provision consisted ol 
a few baked plantains. 

The day continued gloomy, but no more rain 
fell. I sallied forth along the river-bank to see if I 
could meet with anything eatable. Rude granite 
blocks, often with quartz veins, and here and there 
small masses of pure quartz, were so heaped up as 
not to be passed without difficulty and clanger. 
Among them grew scattered plants of a small 
Cardamine, of which I gathered all I could find to 
eat as salad. I then struck into the forest and 


anxiously scrutinised all the trees and the ground 
beneath them, in the hope of meeting some edible 
fruit ; but it was not the proper season, and I could 
only find a single tree of a Miconia (Melastomacese) 
about 20 feet high, with small insipid black berries 
about the size of swan-shot. This I decided to cut 
down the following day, should we be unable to get 
away, and boil up the berries with about a handful 
of sugar which I had still left. Neither I with my 
gun nor the Indians with their blowing-canes could 
meet a single living thing save toads. 

At about four in the afternoon the sun shone out 
among the clouds, and though the river fell not, 
there seemed some chance of its abating before 
morning ; so, that all might be in readiness for this 
desirable contingency, I set the Indians to work to 
get out the bamboos and lianas required for the 
bridges. About a quarter of a mile back from our 
ranchos, and on moist rising ground, are large beds 
of bamboos affording abundant materials for bridging 
the Topo. The old stems are so inwoven to one 
another and to adjacent trees, by means of their 
arched thorny branches, that, though cut off below, 
it is impossible to get them down. On this account, 
stems of a year's growth are chosen ; these are as 
tall as the older ones, but have no branches, only 
'spiniform pungent branch-buds at each joint, which 
must be lopped off, or they would wound the hands 
and feet. About 40 feet of the stems is available 
for the bridges ; above this height they are generally 
so much thinner as to be easily broken off. When 
cut down and trimmed, each man drags one to the 
river's brink, which is no easy task over ground 
where there are so many obstructions ; and in the 


bamboo- flats so many dead thorny branches are 
strewed that the feet do not fail to be sorely 
wounded. When a dozen bamboos had been 
dragged out the Indians fell tired and could not be 
induced to fetch the four more which were needed 
to make the bridges sufficiently strong, so we had 
but three instead of four for each bridge. 

At nightfall the river seemed to be falling 
slightly, and we retired to rest not without hope of 
seeing it passable when day broke ; but after mid- 
night heavy showers came on and continued till 
near 5 A.M. (June 28), so that the morning light 
showed us the river as much swollen as ever. The 
sun looked out on the wet forest for a brief interval 
and then was hidden by clouds, which speedily 
overspread the whole heaven, so that we could not 
doubt more rain was coming. The Indians had had 
long consultations amongst themselves the previous 
day, the purport of which I could not doubt was the 
expediency of deserting me and returning to their 
homes. I also had proposed to them that two or 
three of their party should return to the Jibaria, 
and from thence bring plantains for the rest, as I 
had been tolcl by the Governor of Canelos that 
such a thing was sometimes done. But they shook 
their heads and said that if one went they must all 
go, that they were weary and famished, and that 
the women would die if they returned not soon to 
their own country ; so that I plainly perceived if 1 
once sent them away I should see their faces no 
more. On the 28th, however, they began to talk 
openly of the necessity of returning, seeing, as they 
said, that before the river could abate we must all 
perish of hunger. And in truth our state seemed 


desperate, our provisions altogether would not 
suffice for more than a couple of meals, say to keep 
body and soul together for two days. Of the painful 
thoughts that passed through my mind at this 
critical juncture my rough notes contain no record, 
and writing now, after six months have elapsed, I 
shrink from recalling them. The conclusion of my 
cogitations was to remain by my effects till death 
or help should arrive ; and my lad, who promised 
not to desert me, was of the same opinion. We 
calculated that we should be able to keep alive for 
a week, and in that time perhaps some trader might 
come from the Sierra on his way to Canelos. The 
Indians also were loath to turn back for this reason 
that they had received their pay in money, with 
which they hoped to buy great store of calico in the 
Sierra, where it would cost them but a real the vara, 
whereas if they took the money back to Sara-yacu 
they must give four reals the vara for the same sort 
of calico to some trader who should by a rare chance 
go thither. I called a council by the river-side, in 
order to consult on the possibility of throwing the 
second bridge to a rock a few yards higher up the 
stream than the one that was under water, but so 
much higher out of the water than the first stone 
that the bridge resting on it must necessarily slope 
considerably, and so far apart that it was doubtful if 
the bamboos would span the distance. I had pro- 
posed the same thing to them yesterday, when they 
had declared it impossible, but now they seemed to 
think that if the bamboos would only reach the 
upper rock the plan was feasible. There was no 
time to be lost, for heavy rain was coming, and it 
was probable the river would speedily rise, so to 


work at once we went. Though the crossing these 
frail bridges is a ticklish operation, it may well be 
supposed that the fixing them is far more perilous. 
A bamboo was placed resting towards the base on 
a stone by the margin ; its point was then elevated 
considerably by two or three men weighing down 
the end by their united force ; in this position it 
was swung round till it hung over the rock on 
which it was intended to rest, when the point was 
gradually lowered till the bamboo lay as it was 
required. By the same process a second bamboo 
was placed alongside the first, and then a man at 
the imminent risk of his life crawls along them till 
reaching the rock whereon they rest. He carries a 
liana rope attached to the root - end of a third 
bamboo, which he now, with some help from those 
on shore, draws after him and places alongside the 
other two ; the bridge is thus stronger than if all 
the points were laid the same way. Finally, the 
bamboos were lashed tightly together by lianas at 
about every 2 feet, and stones laid on them at 
each end to keep them firmer. So deafening was 
the roar of the waters that all these operations were 
carried on through the medium of signs. A move- 
ment by the hand to imitate chopping was the 
signal that a knife or cutlass was wanted, and the 
hands twirled round one another asked for a roll of 
liana. The first bridge was short and completed 
without difficulty, but when they came to throw the 
bamboos to the second rock, which, as I have said, 
was much more distant and higher out of the water, 
it was found that their points merely reached the 
sloping side of the rock and not to its summit, and 
that the surging waves every now and then washed 


-over them. Four bamboos were laid side by side 
before any of the Indians would venture to pass to 
the other extremity, though one of them was after- 
wards drawn away to enter into the composition of 
the third bridge. They were at length securely 
lashed together, and then the third bridge was 
completed with more facility, being somewhat 
shorter though sloping from a high to a low rock. 
The fourth and last bridge was short and speedily 
constructed. It was near noon when the bridges 
were ready for crossing. It had been raining 
heavily for some time, and the river already began 
to show signs of a further rise ; our safety depended 
therefore on getting over as speedily as possible. 
And now became evident what I had all along 
feared, namely, that the second bridge was so long 
and so weak, and bent so much when a man went 
over it, that a very little addition to his weight 
would plainly either cause it to break or the farther 
end to slip off the rock whereon it rested but too 
insecurely. To get across my heavy boxes would 
be plainly impossible; the Indians indeed flatly 
refused to risk themselves on the bridge under the 
weight of any one of my boxes. 

It was doubtful if an additional bamboo would 
make the bridge strong enough, and there was now 
no time to get one out. I had therefore no alter- 
native but to leave my goods where they were, and 
trust to be able to send from Banos to fetch them 
away. With some difficulty I got across my bed 
and a change of linen and what little money I had, 
and left my boxes as well protected as I could 
from the moisture both above and beneath. 

We were a good while in all getting across, for 


we must pass one by one with slow and cautious 
steps, where one slip might be fatal. Though the 
bamboos were scarcely so thick as one's leg and 
completely wetted, the natural asperity of their 
cuticle rendered passing along them less insecure 
than I had feared ; but the longest bridge bent so 
low when we reached the middle that beyond this 
it was like climbing a hill, and in this part a surging 
wave wetted me to the knees, but I stood firm and 
allowed it to pass. The river was obviously rising 
and our bridge must soon be swept away. 

Those who have escaped from death by hunger 
or drowning may understand what a load was taken 
off my heart when we had all got safely across the 
Topo, although I had been obliged to abandon so 
many things which to me were more valuable 
than money. On the following clay we might 
hope to reach the Rio Verde, where is a hacienda 
for the fabrication of cane-brandy, and the first 
habitation on the skirts of the Montana. The rain 
came down heavier than ever, and the forest was 
like a marsh, but we dashed on as quickly as we 
could. The track lay mostly along nearly level 
ground, with a high cliff to our left, and the Pastasa 
roaring along its base. In one part we had to wade 
for nearly a mile though fetid mud in which grew 
beds of gigantic horse-tails 18 feet high, and nearly 
as thick as the wrist at the base. At length we 
came to where we had to descend to the beach of 
the Pastasa, or " Arenal" as it is called. Here it 
might truly be said " C'est le premier pas qui 
coute," for the descent began by a ladder merely 
a notched pole down a rock which overhung the 
very Pastasa at a height of 1 50 feet above it ; and. 


it may well be supposed how each as he descended 
the pole clung to it like grim death. We all got 
safely down to the beach, where we could get along 
more pleasantly. 

When the two Spaniards left me at Puca-yacu I 
sent by them a tin box asking them to return it full of 
bread from the Sierra, when they should send back 
their cargueros. I had hoped to meet the bread 
about the Jibaria, but I afterwards learnt that my 
companions had had a long disastrous journey 
through the Montana, and that the swollen Topo 
kept them waiting three days. However, when we 
got down to the Arenal, we saw some Indians 
advancing and recognised them for our friends of 
Puca-yacu. They brought my bread, which thus 
came very opportunely, and I immediately shared 
out a loaf to each of my hungry companions, 
reserving enough for other two rations. 

The Indians of Puca-yacu, on learning the state 
of the Topo, did not delay a minute, but started off 
at the top of their speed. I afterwards learnt that 
when they reached the Topo the bridges were 
beginning to move, that they crossed with some 
peril, and that immediately afterwards the longest 
bridge was carried away. We continued along the 
margin of the Pastasa till the sun began to get low, 
indeed the rain did not clear away so as to allow us 
to see his face until 2 o'clock, and at about 4 P.M. 
came on a rancho thatched with leaves of Arrow- 
reed, where we drew up to pass the night. 

We were still a good way from the end of the 
Arenal. Whilst my supper was preparing I had 
leisure to examine it a little. The gorge of the 
Pastasa, though still bounded on the north side by 


the same high cliff as we had seen from Barrancos 
upwards, opens out here to a considerable width, 
and here and there the river forms islands. The 
broad sandy beach, strewed in some parts with 
gravel and in others with angular blocks, bears 
marks of having been at some epoch permanently 
under water, but much of it lies now above the limit 
of the highest floods, and is in some parts covered 
by a dense but not intricate vegetation, among 
which the Laurel is the most conspicuous plant. I 
was also much struck by a Diosmeous shrub with 
sarmentose pinnate branches, and small flowers of 
which the petals persist after flowering and become 
distended by a purple-black fluid which I afterwards 
found to be the universal substitute for ink at 
Banos. On the sand grew a pink-flowered Polygala 
9 inches high, and some other herbs, but especially 
Melilotus officinalis, which must have been brought 
down from the mountains ; and amongst the under- 
shrubs a bushy digitate -leaved Lupin was very 
frequent. These plants were all new to me, but 
along with them, and especially in places which the 
floods still reach, grew abundance of Gynerium 
sac char ilium with the same tall Gymnogramme and 
the same Composite tree as were so abundant on 
the beaches of the Mayo and Cumbasa near 
Tarapoto. They were accompanied by an Equi- 
setum, resembling E, ftuviatilc, and distinct from 
the tall species mentioned above. 

June 29. --The night was fortunately dry, and at 
daybreak I had our last fowl cooked and the 
remainder of the plantains distributed among the 
Indians, besides a loaf of bread to each. At sunrise 
we got off, and about the same hour rain came on, 


and continued till noon. Though not very heavy, 
it had the accustomed effect of putting the forest in 
weeping plight. The track, instead of improving 
as we approached the residences of civilised people, 
was this day decidedly worse than ever, and the 
natural obstructions were multiplied almost tenfold. 
At 8 o'clock we reached the terminus of the beach, 
above which the Pastasa ran close to the barranco, 
so that we could no longer follow its banks. 

And now commenced a series of ascents and 
descents, of which I counted eight from Mapoto to 
Rio Verde. Of these, the first two ridges were the 
highest and most fatiguing. Beyond these was a 
narrow sloppy plain at whose further side we had 
to pass a long puddle -hole called Runa-cocha, in 
which are laid slender poles from one projecting 
stone or tree-stump to another, and as they were 
now covered by water it was difficult to step on 
them. I had, in fact, the pleasure of slipping off 
them into the water nearly up to my waist. As the 
Indians travelled now without cargo, they got much 
ahead of me, and I know not how long they had 
been at the Rio Verde when I came out there, at 
3 P.M., very much wayworn. What a pleasure it 
was to see again a white man's habitation, with plots 
of cultivated land ! The hacienda has only been 
recently established, and the dwelling-house, which 
has an upper story, was unfinished ; but there was 
a cane -mill worked by water-power, and from 
twenty to thirty people at work cutting cane in the 
adjacent cane-piece, distilling brandy, etc. 

The Rio Verde is very little less than the Topo, 
and, like it, is unfordable. We crossed it by two 
stout poles laid from rock to rock at a part where 



the river was confined to a narrow gorge. Immedi- 
ately below, it opened out into a deep basin where 
the w r ater was so clear and green that one sees the 
name of " Verde " has not been given to the river 
without reason. Its course is down a steep valley 
from north to south, and at its mouth it falls over 
the barranco of the Pastasa in an unbroken cascade 
of perhaps 200 feet high. 

We had obviously been ascending all day, and 
when we came out on the open ground of the Rio 
Verde, a cold, penetrating wind was blowing. Here 
we found that the common plantain would no longer 
bear the climate, though the small species called 
Guineo was still flourishing. Oranges and sugar- 
cane did not attain the size they did on the Amazon. 
On the other hand, productions of cooler climates 
began to make their appearance, such as potatoes 
and zanahovias, which seem a sort of parsnip. 
These are planted in far too small quantity to 
suffice for the consumption of the people employed 
in the hacienda, who being from the Sierra, their 
food consists chiefly of potatoes, pea- meal, and 
barley-meal. I was therefore disappointed in my 
expectation of finding materials for a plentiful re- 
fection for all my party, and with much difficulty 
bought a few potatoes and zanahovias, and a small 
quantity of barley-meal, besides a couple of bottles 
of aguardiente for the Indians, who esteemed it 
much more than the food. 

/it nc 30. Although at the Rio Verde I slept 
under the shelter of a good roof, I suffered more 
from cold than I had done in the forest, for a ml<l 
wind came through the unfinished flooring and walls 
of the upper story, where I had made my bed. 



From Rio Verde to Bafios, a distance of some 
15 English miles, the road runs near the Pastasa, 
but only in two places, in each for near a mile, 
along the actual beach ; in other parts it passes 
over elevated pampas, or makes detours over hills 
to avoid steep cliffs, especially at the cataract of 
Agoyan. For the first hour from Rio Verde we 
were on elevated, nearly level ground, called 
Ouillu-turu or yellow mud. As to the mud, well 
does it deserve to be signalised by such a name, 
though the actual tint is as often black as yellow. 
In no part of the Montana had we harder toil in 
tramping through the mud than here ; in other 
respects the road was a tolerably good mule-track, 
not very wide, but kept clear of rubbish ; and after 
passing Quillu-tiiru it was mostly sound and often 
gravelly. At nearly two hours from Rio Verde we 
came to a hacienda on a beach by the Pastasa, 
called the Playa de Antombos, where the mistress, 
a very hospitable lady, must needs have us enter 
and take some refreshment. Here we learnt that 
the late rains had been equally heavy in the Sierra, 
and that on the preceding day the Pastasa had 
swollen so much as to break the bridge of Agoyan, 
though this is 40 feet above the river at low water. 
She had yesterday sent a lad to the town with 
aguardiente and counselled us to await his return, 
as if he did not come it was a sign that the bridge 
was impassable. Here was another delay, and it 
seemed as if my progress must be arrested by 
swollen rivers up to the very last day, as it had 
been almost from the first. The lad did not 
arrive until near evening, all too late for us to start 
again for Bafios, although he reported that the 


bridge might still be passed by one person at a 
time without much risk. 

Here I found a stronger and cooler wind than 
even at the Rio Verde, and as I had with me no 
garment proper for the cool region, I was glad to 
purchase of a carpenter at Antombos a new poncho, 
of two thicknesses, of scarlet bazeta or baize. This 
was a welcome addition to my blankets at night, 
and afterwards served me much in riding about on 
the cold high lands. 

July i. Our kind hostess gave us an early 
breakfast, and then we began our last day's journey. 
On reaching the bridge of Agoyan, we found it to 
consist of three or four trunks of trees laid across 
from cliff to cliff (for the river here foams between 
steep black walls of trachyte), and covered with 
branches of Retama (Spartium junceuni) and earth. 
Of the trunks only one remained unbroken, and we 
crossed it with cautious steps and slow, but without 
accident. We were still a league from the village 
of Baiios, but a short way beyond the bridge we 
reached a farm called Ulva, where the owner 
(a widow lady) was so good as to lend me a horse, 
mounted on which I arrived at Baiios early in the 
afternoon. Following the recommendation of the 
lady of Antombos, I sought out the Teniente parro- 
quial, and requested him to procure me a lodging. 
He accordingly put me into an unoccupied house 
in the playa, one of the only two tiled houses in the 
village. See me, therefore, at the end of my travel 
of 1 02 days (counting from my departure from 
Tarapoto on the 22nd of March), but by no means 
at the end of my " travayle." 

As I arrived at the Hacienda del Rio Verde 


the first habitation of civilised men on June 29, 
the journey up to that point had lasted just 100 

[As a conclusion to this chapter it will be well 
to give here the short account of the Forest ot 
Canelos geographical, historical, and botanical- 
contained in the Precis d'un Voyage, which is of 
much general interest, as it is now, probably, in 
exactly the same condition as when Spruce tra- 
versed it, if not, from the point of view of the 
traveller, even worse. The translation follows the 
original in being written in the third person.] 

The Montana de Canelos has not any fixed 
limits. It extends between the parallels of i and 
2 S. latitude, and the meridians of 77 to 78^ 
west of London, exceeding these limits in a few 
places. Within this space are included the sources 
of several tributaries of the Pastasa and the Napo, 
and a part of the upper course of these rivers them- 
selves. It is bounded on the west by the volcanoes 
Cotopaxi, Llanganati, and Tunguragua ; and on 
the east it slopes imperceptibly down to the plain 
of the Amazon, towards the middle of the course 
of the Bombonasa. 1 It will be understood that, 
with the exception of the little plantations made 
by the Indians, the whole of this district is primeval 
forest. It was in this forest of Canelos and on the 
banks of the Curaray and the Napo, that Gonzalo 
Pizarro wandered for more than two years, search- 
ing for cities as rich as those of Peru, which he 
imagined must exist there ; hoping besides to dis- 
cover that great river, which, uniting all the rivers 
of the Cordillera, ran from west to east, to empty 

1 Spruce spells this word either with or without the " m.' ! 


itself into the Atlantic Ocean an honour of which 
he was robbed by his lieutenant, Orellana. He had 
left Quito in December 1539 with 350 Spaniards 
and 4000 Indians, and he returned with only So 
Spaniards, having lost all the Indians either by 
death or flight. 

Two hundred and thirty years later, Madame 
Godin des Odonais, wife of one of the fellow- 
labourers of M. de la Condamine, wishing to join 
her husband at Cayenne, chose the route of the 
Amazon. Leaving Riobamba, a town of the 
Andes of Quito, towards the end of the year 
i 769, she arrived at Canelos without any accident. 
There she found the village deserted on account 
of an epidemic of smallpox. The Indians of the 
Sierra, who had until then carried the effects of 
Madame Godin, fearing the infection, immediately 
retraced their steps. There then remained with 
her only her two brothers and six persons of her 
suite, all unaccustomed to navigation. Finding no 
boat at Canelos, they constructed a kind of raft, 
but not knowing how to manage it, on the second 
day it was upset and they lost almost all their effects, 
including the provisions. Attempting then to follow 
on foot the course of the Bombonasa, they lost 
themselves in the forest, and after having wandered 
about for several days, they succumbed one by one 
to hunger and fatigue, so that soon Madame Godin 
alone remained alive. Moved more by the neces- 
sity for separating herself from the sad spectacle 
of her dead brothers than by the hope of saving 
herself, she pursued her way in the forest, and 
happily she was able to find some tinamou egms 
and wild fruits, which sufficed for her sustenance. 


On the morning of the tenth day after the death of 
her companions she arrived at the bank of the 
river, just at the moment when two Indians were 
embarking in a boat. These good people suc- 
coured her and conducted her to Andoas, whence 
she could continue her journey to La Laguna, and 
from there descend into the valley of the Amazon 
as far as Cayenne, where her husband was expect- 
ing her. During the time that she had wandered 
lost in the forest of Canelos, her hair had become 
perfectly white ; and to the end of her life she 
could never speak, nor even think, of those terrible 
days without a shudder. Every time that the 
author recalls the calamities with which this poor 
lady was overwhelmed, he feels that his own 
sufferings in the same region were but very 

But to treat now of the vegetation. He does not 
think that he is mistaken when he claims for the 
forest of Canelos the honour of being the richest 
cryptogamic locality on the surface of the globe. 
The trees even, in certain parts, seem to serve no 
other purpose than to support ferns, mosses, and 
lichens. The epiphytic ferns, which are the most 
abundant, are principally Hymenophyllese and Poly- 
podium (in the widest acceptation of the term). 
Among the ferns growing upon the ground there 
are some that attain a height which is almost 
gigantic : they belong to the genera Marattia, 
Hypolepis, Litobrochia, etc. ; but the really arbor- 
escent species come behind those of Tarapoto in 
variety. Among the mosses, the genera Hookeria 
and Lepidopilum occupy the first place, and he was 
able to enrich them with several new species. 


Among the species already known may be men- 
tioned the fine Hookeria pendula, discovered by 
Humboldt and Bonpland in New Granada, and the 
Hemiragis aurea (Lam.), End., which adorned the 
trunks of trees with its great clusters. , . . 

The most precious of the Hepaticae are often, as 
we know, very minute ; in order to find them a 
scrupulous search made without haste is necessary. 
In spite of that, he found some novelties, and among 
them an unpublished genus, the Myrio-colea irrorata, 
represented on Plate xxii. of his book, 1 which is 
perhaps the most interesting that he has ever found. 
It was growing on bushes watered by the stream 
of the Topo, and it is the only agreeable souvenir 
he preserves of that river. All the Hepaticae 
gathered in the valley of the Pastasa at a height 
from 5500 down to 1000 feet, that is to say, from 
the cataract of Agoyan downwards, belong to the 
forest of Canelos, and, as will be seen from his 
book, they are very numerous. 

Banos lies just at the foot of Mount Tungu- 
ragua, and upon its wooded sides there was plenty 
to occupy the author, but he did not cease thinking 
of the beautiful ferns he had seen on the other side 
of the Topo, and as soon as paper arrived from 
Guayaquil he made preparations for again pene- 
trating into the forest. With four cargueros, his 
servant, and provisions for twelve days, he took the 
Canelos roacl on the 6th of October. But the rains 
had not yet abated on the eastern side of the Cor- 
dillera, and when he arrived at the Topo he found 
crossing impracticable. Two nights he waited on 

1 Hefaticiz Amazonica et Andintz, iSS;. 


the banks ; the day was stormy, but the second 
night it did not rain, and he saw with joy on the 
morning of the third day that the water had de- 
creased. He made then no delay in having the 
four bridges thrown across, and took care to make 
them very solid, lashed together so as to make one 
single continuous bridge, hoping to find it there on 
his return. But although he remained only three 
nights on the other side of the Topo, on returning 
to the banks on the fourth day, towards sunset, the 
bridge was there no longer, having been carried 
away the previous night by terrible storms which 
had lasted for twelve hours, inundating the tra- 
vellers' rancho and putting out their fire, so that 
at daybreak they found themselves soaked with 
wet, sitting upon their baggage, and with their 
feet in water. Fortunately, during the day, the 
Topo had sufficiently abated for them to discover 
the tops of the rocks ; so the bamboos were felled 
and arranged upon the rocks, and they were able 
to cross in the last rays of twilight. He learnt 
when too late that it was only during the months 
of December, January, and February that one 
might hope to find the rivers of the forest of 
Canelos low enough to be crossed easily and with- 
out danger. But he was content to have been able 
to devote an entire day to Mount Abitagua, besides 
collecting interesting plants all along the road ; and 
he returned to Barios, having enriched his collec- 
tion with a considerable number of very beautiful 

[Returning to the Journal, the following short 
note on the few plants observed during his journey 
may appropriately be given here :- 




The circumstances under which I travelled pre- 
vented me paying any attention to the phaenogamous 
plants, nor did I throughout the journey see any 
large tree in flower, save two or three times a 
species of Laurel. After the first two days from 
Canelos, I was much struck by the abundance and 
variety of the ferns and mosses : every day I saw 
ferns new to me. The scarcity of tree-ferns was 
notable, since around Tarapoto, at the same alti- 
tude, I had seen such abundance and variety of them. 

Between Alapoto and Rio Verde I first came 
on a tree-fern growing gregariously ; it was a 
species of Cyathea, with a stout trunk, and I cannot 
distinguish it from a Tarapoto species. 

Among the stemless species was a handsome 
Marattia, and I was much struck by twining species 
of several genera. In an excursion since made 
(October) as far as Mount Abitagua, I have, how- 
ever, been able to gather several of these ferns. 

Among the mosses what I most remarked was 
the great abundance of Hookerise, which was indeed 
equally notable on the Upper Bombonasa. 

The most abundant palm, as far as Mount 
Abitagua, was Iriartca vcutricosa, and up to this 
point extends the YVettinia, but west of the 
Abitagua it entirely disappears. 

In descending the western side of that mountain 
I first saw the noble Wax palm, Iriartca and ic it a, 
which is said to exist in some abundance on the 
ridges running down south from Llanganati. Be- 
tween the Topo and Rio Verde there is a good 


deal of a slender inclined Chouta (Euterpe), rarely 
exceeding 15 feet, which affords a delicious palmito. 
On the opposite side of the Pastasa, in this part, 
rise steep hills clad to the very summit with Iriartea 
ventricosa. I have nowhere seen so dense a palm- 
vegetation, save in the Mauritia swamps of the 

Among inundated rocks at the Topo, Puyu, etc., 
I noticed the same small bushy Cupheae as on 



{July i, 1857, to December 31, 1858) 

[\YiTH the exception of the first six months spent at 
Banos (and several shorter visits to it afterwards), 
the town of Ambato was Spruce's head-quarters 
during his three years' continuous exploration of 
the Andes of Ecuador. During the year and a 
half comprised in this chapter there is nothing in 
the shape of a Journal, but the letters to his friends, 
Messrs. Teasdale, Bentham, and Sir William 
Hooker, furnish materials for a fairly complete 
account of his life and work during this period. 
His explorations covered a large extent of the 
surrounding mountains and forests, and as he was 
often away from Ambato for weeks or months at a 
time, I shall now commence each chapter with the 
full " List of Botanical Excursions," which is suffi- 
ciently detailed to enable the reader, by the help of 
the map, to follow his wanderings, and thus to 
better understand the references he makes in the 
letters to the places he has visited. It will be 
seen that he made a stay of some weeks at Quito 
in order to explore the neighbouring mountain 



Pichincha ; and also made several short visits to 
Riobamba, where his fellow-botanist, Dr. James 
Taylor, was then living.] 



July 2-31. Collecting at and around Banos, especially on 
adjacent wooded slopes of the volcano Tungu- 
ragua. Many fine ferns and mosses during this 
and the following months. 

Aug. 1-31- Around Banos. Also excursion to Mount Guay- 
rapata (on the way to Ambato), and to the lake 
of Cotalo ; and down the Pastasa as far as 

Sept. 1-30. On lower slopes of Tunguragua. On cliffs and 
beaches of Pastasa, etc. 


6. From Banos to the farm of Antombos. 

" 7. To the Rio Verde. 

,, 8. To the beach of Mapoto, on the Pastasa. 

,, 9. To the river Topo. 

,, 10. Delayed by the swollen Topo. 

ii. Across the Topo to the place called Terromotillo. 

,, 12. To Casha-urcu at western foot of Mount Abitagua. 

,, 13. Up Mount Abitagua and returned to Casha-urcu. 

14. Crossed the Topo. 

15. To Mapoto. 

,, 1 6. To Rio Verde. 

,, 17. To Banos. 

,, 18-31. At Banos and collecting in the district near it. 
Nov. 1-30. Ascent of Tunguragua from the farm of Juivis, 
along the course of the great lava stream of 1773. 
Excursion to Mounts Guayrapata and Mulmul, 
and to the village of Huambato. Excursion down 
the Pastasa to the cataract of Agoyan, to the Rio 
Blanco, etc. 

Dec. 1-31. Collecting around Banos. Ascent of Mount Tun- 
guragua by way of the chacras of Pondoa and the 
forest beyond, where there are numerous tree- 
ferns, palms, laurels, Weinmannias, etc., at a 
height of 8000 to 11,000 feet. 
Jan. 1-15. About foot of Tunguragua, some fine trees. 



Jan. 16-31. 
Feb. 13. 

March 10. 

1 1. 

April 20- 
May 22. 


Removed to Ambato. Until end of the month 

packing the Bahos collections. 
Excursion from Ambato to Riobamba to visit Dr. 

Taylor, and thence to Penipe, Mount Paila-urcu, 

the cataract Huandisagua on western side of 

This excursion lasted from February 13 to March 10. 

(This and all future long excursions were made 

on horseback.) 
From this date until April 20 chiefly engaged in 

examining and packing ferns, mosses, etc. 


From this date to May 22 at Bahos, and excursions 
from thence down the Pastasa to Antombos and 
the Rio Verde ; also up Tunguragua by Juivis 
and the Alisal, etc. (on the line of the eruption of 
1773). Many fine ferns, Hepaticae, etc. 


At Ambato. 

At Ambato, and excursions thence to Mount (luay- 
rapata and to Tisaleo (and Mount Carguaira/o ). 
chiefly in quest of mosses. 

At Ambato. Excursion to the villages Quisapincha 
and Pasa, and the neighbouring cool but wooded 
valleys running down from the northern shoulder 
of Chimborazo. Many fine mosses gathered 
amidst fogs and rains. 

Journey to Tacunga (on way to Quito). 

Journey to Romenilo at foot of Mount Ruminalmi. 

Arrive at Quito. 


,, 30- Exploring the vicinity of Quito and slopes "I 

Aug. 23. I'ichincha up to i 1,000 feet. 

,, 24-27. These four days collecting at Xono, on the northern 

declivity of Pichincha. 

,, 31. Until end of month preparing collections. 
Sept. 1-14. At and near Quito, including ascent "I' I'ichincha b\ 

the farm of Ll< ia. 

,, 15-17- Return journey to Ambato, by Machache and 





1858. AMBATO 

Sept. 18-22. Packing Quito collections. 

23. Ambato to Riobamba. 

28. Riobamba to Cajabamba. 

29. Cajabamba to Pangor. 

,, 30. To a hill-top in forest of Pallatanga. 

Oct. i . To village of Pallatanga. 

12. Collecting around Pallatanga. 

13. From Pallatanga to forest below Pangor. 

14. To the Hacienda de las Monjas. 

1 5. Across the Paramo de Naba to Riobamba. 

,, 16-20. At Riobamba. 

21. Return to Ambato by the Paramo de Sanancajas. 

22. Ambato. 

23. To Patate and back to Ambato. 

24. Back to Riobamba by way of the Paramo de 



,, 31. Collecting near Riobamba, at Guano, etc. 
Nov. 1-8. Collecting near Riobamba. 

9-14. At the farm of Titaicun on the slope of a ridge (not 

rising to snow-line) above the village of Cham bo. 
,, 15-30. At Riobamba. 
Dec. 1-2. Excursion to the Paramo del Puyal, a prolongation 

of the southern shoulder of Chimborazo. 
3-8. Collecting near Riobamba. 


9-31. Excursions around Tamaute : On the banks of the 
Chambo on the salt-plain of Elen to Guan- 
ando to the head of the river Guano (at the 
foot of Chimborazo), etc. 

[The following letter to Mr. Bentham, written 
two months after his arrival at Banos, gives an 
interesting summary of the whole journey to that 
place, with so many vivid personal touches that, 
despite of some repetition, I will here give the 
latter part of it. It also carries on the narrative to 
a later period, and gives some account of the little- 


known village of Bafios, and of the surrounding 
mountains, with their more interesting botanical 

To Mr. George Bent ham 

BANGS, ECUADOR, Sept. i, 1857. 

The last part of the journey, namely, the over- 
land part of it, was by far the worst. 

Road there is none, but only the merest sem- 
blance of a track, such as the tapir makes to its 
feeding- and drinking-places ; often carried along 
the face of precipices, where had it not been for 
projecting roots on which to lay hold, the passage 
would have been impossible. No one ever opens 
the road no fallen trees have been cleared away 
-no overhanging branches cut off. From Canelos 
the rains set in with greater severity than ever- 
the dripping forest, through which I had to push 
my way, soaking my garments so that towards 
evening my arms and shoulders were quite be- 
numbed and the mud, which even on the tops of 
the hills was often over the knees made our 
progress very slow and painful. 

The Indians were little accustomed to carry 
burdens some of them had never been out before 
and though I had made the loads as light as 
possible, they grumbled much and often threatened 
to leave me. I had brought from Tarapoto a trunk 
full of paper for drying my plants, but when we 
reached the Jibaro settlement, where unceasing 
rains kept us three days, I found it absolutely 
necessary to throw all the paper away if I did not 


wish to be deserted by the Indians. ... At length 
we reached the cataracts of the Topo, which have to 
be crossed by throwing over them four bamboo 
bridges from one side to rocks in the middle and 
thence to the opposite side. As far as we could 
see up and down it, it was one mass of foam, 
with here and there black rocks standing out, and 
so much swollen that one of the rocks used as a 
support for the bridges was completely under 
water. Here we waited two days and nights in the 
vain expectation of seeing the waters subside ; 
and finding ourselves on the point to perish of 
hunger, we with great risk threw bridges across 
at a place some way higher up. One of the middle 
bridges was so long (at least 40 feet), that the 
three slender bamboos of which it consisted almost 
broke under the weight of a man, even unloaded, 
and it was found impossible to get my boxes across. 
I crossed myself and got over my bed and a change 
of clothes, and the last of my party had scarcely 
got over when the waters rose and swept the 
bridge away. In three days more we reached 
Banos, and my first care was to seek out and pay 
fresh cargueros to fetch my baggage from the 
Topo. Eleven days they waited ere the river 
went down, and twice I had to send them out 
supplies of provisions. My goods had been left 
under a rucle rancho, thatched with Anthurium 
leaves (for there were no palms near) ; but when 
the men found them the leaves had fallen on them 
and there rotted ; the leather covering of the 
trunks was half rotten and full of maggots ; yet 
fortunately the contents were very slightly injured. 
You can perhaps fancy my sorrowful position in 


Banos awaiting the fate of my goods. After so 
long a voyage I was much fallen in flesh, and my 
thin face nearly hidden by a beard of three months' 
growth. The cold at Banos I found almost in- 
sufferable - - thermometer sometimes as low as 
48^ at daybreak, and at its maximum not passing 
64"- -rains still continuing. I was attacked by 
catarrh, with a cough so violent as often to bring 
up blood from both nose and mouth. Perhaps I 
should never see again my books, journals, instru- 
ments, my Peruvian mosses, and other things 
which no money could replace all perhaps rotting 
on the shores of the Topo. There was not a book 
in all Banos, save breviaries and "doctrinas." 
The weather scarcely allowed me to get out, or 
I might have put off sad thoughts by the sight of 
new plants. I had no dry ing -paper, but I found 
some coarse calico, and with this began to dry the 
mosses and ferns I found on the dilapidated walls 
of my garden. I had also to lay out the mosses 
I had snatched up as we came along trom Canelos, 
and which by chance had been brought along with 
my bed, and this occupation diverted my thoughts 
from my painful situation. The Cryptogamic vege- 
tation of some parts of the Montana of Canelos is 
wonderful. There is one mountain, called Abitagua, 
which though not more perhaps than 5000 feet 
high, is continually enveloped in mists and rains. 
The trees on it, even to the topmost leaves, are 
so thickly encased in mosses that a recognisable 
specimen of them would be scarcely procurable, it 
indeed they ever flower, which must be very 
rarely. I gathered a tuft ol everything I saw in 
fruit and stowed it in a pouch by my side. In the 



evening I made them into bundles putting alter- 
nate layers of Musci and Hepaticae, and hung them 
up to "smoke" through the night, along with my 
soaked garments. Even gathered in this hasty 
way, I have a great many fine things ; of Hookeria 
alone there seem to be not fewer than fitteen 
species. I saw also great numbers of new ferns, 
but could not take them, save two or three of the 
minute ones that I had not seen elsewhere. 

Having perforce to remain at Barios till my 
goods were got out from the Topo, and finding it 
favourably situated for exploring Mount Tungu- 
ragua, which, like much ground in the neighbour- 
hood, scarcely any botanist has visited, I determined 
to make it my station for some months. It is a 
poor little place, much subject to earthquakes and 
violent winds, and not abundant in provisions. 
Bread is brought from Ambato and other places 
where the climate is more suitable for the growth 
of wheat. Banos is some 5500 feet above the sea 
according to my barometer. Its position much 
reminds me of that of Argelez in the Basses- 
Pyrenees, though the valley is narrower and the 
schistose grassy hills that bound it seem much 
higher than those of Argelez. In the gorge of the 
Pastasa we have still oranges and the sugar-cane, 
and on the hills that rise from it barley, beans, and 
potatoes. The volcanic cone of Tunguragua is 
perhaps the highest in the world ; it is quite 
isolated from the rest of the Cordillera, and on its 
eastern side is joined by a narrow col to the 
wooded hills which subside into the great Amazonian 
plain ; taken from the valley of Banos, its height 
cannot be much less than 15,000 feet. It has 



r- > 

5 ^7 


< J= 

D *; 


much more wood on it, at the same altitude, than 
Chimborazo or Cotopaxi, or any other of the lofty 
mountains I have seen. Its ascent begins from 
my very door, but to get up to the snow-line and 
make any collection there, would occupy at least 
two or three days. When the rainy season, or, as 
it is called here, " tiempo de las nevadas," is fairly 
over, I hope to attack Tunguragua in earnest. 
The snow has been very low down, even into the 
forest, but is now beginning to subside. I was 
at first much hindered in my operations for want of 
paper at Ambato I could get only white letter- 
paper, very dear but I have now, through Mr. 
Mocatta's kindness, got a stock of paper from 
Guayaquil, and you may consider me in constant 
work, though the rainy weather interferes rather 
with collecting and drying. Ferns and mosses are 
in full bloom and in great abundance flowers still 
rather scarce. It must be from having been so 
long among lofty trees that all herbaceous vegeta- 
tion has a weedy look to me, yet I have felt great 
pleasure in renewing my acquaintance with several 
European genera among the humble plants ; such 
are Ranunculus, Geranium, Alchemilla, Hypericuin, 
Cerastium, Stellaria, Silene, Cardamine, Centtm- 
culus, Tilkta, Hydrocotyle, Viola, Veronica, Valc- 
riana, Medicago, Cytisus, and several others. 
Species of these genera grow along with several 
characteristic Peruvians- -Fuchsias, Calceolarias, 
and most abundant of all a pretty Labiate shrub 
(Gardoquia sp.) with copious reddish tubiform 
ilowers. The arborescent vegetation, especially 
towards its upper limit, is what most interests me ; 
but very few trees are in (lower as yet, and amongst 


them only one European genus (Alnus). Amongst 
the trees hitherto gathered are an Erythrina, a 
Pithecolobium, three Polygaleae (Monninse), a hex- 
androus Myrtus, a Proteacea (Roupala, sp. n.), a 
Verbenacea, a Petiveriacea, a Crateegus (or some- 
thing nearly allied), etc. etc. A curious tree on 
wooded hills, at 6000 to 9000 feet, most resembles 
Polemoniacese in its characters, but has nothing ol 
the habit of that order. I believe most of the trees 
will be undescribed. A Rutaceous shrub w r ith 
long sarmentose pinnate branches, called Shangshi, 
has the peculiarity that the petals, at first smaller 
than the sepals, persist and become three times 
larger, being at the time so much distended by a 
dark purple fluid the universal substitute for ink 
at Banos as to simulate the valves of a berried 
capsule. It is so abundant that it must surely 
have been previously gathered, yet I can find no 
description of it. Another sarmentose shrub, 
growing some 15 feet high, is a species of Cremo- 
lobus, which seems to me to have as good a 
claim to be considered a Capparid as a Crucifer. 
On mossy declivities about the base of Tunguragua 
are several Ericese, Vacciniaceae, and small-flowered 

A fortnight ago I went to explore a wooded hill 
called Guayra-pata (i.e. Windy Height) about 9000 
feet high, a few hours farther up the Pastasa, 
towards Chimborazo. I slept at a small hamlet 
called Cotalo, 8000 feet high and terribly cold, 
because situated on a plateau, exposed directly to 
the winds that blow up the valley. At Cotalo 
there is a small lake choked with weeds of the 
same genera as I might have found in an English 


lake (Myriophyllum, Lemna, and Callitriche). 
Guayrapata is almost as mossy as Abitagua, and 
much more flowery. 

[In a letter to his friend Mr. Teasdale, written 
a few days later, there are some details which are 
additional to those given to Mr. Bentham. After 
describing the journey to Banos in much the same 
terms, he proceeds : 

September 14, 1857. 

Banos is a poor little place of about a thousand 
souls ; and it takes its name from certain hot 
springs that well out at the foot of a cataract of 
very cold water, falling from an offshoot of Tungu- 
ragua. The patron saint " Nuestra Senora de las 
Aguas Santas " -is a very miraculous saint, ' and 
" romeros" (i.e. pilgrims) come to adore at her shrine 
from far-away towns. In large troops they come- 
bathe nine days in the hot wells, assist at nine 
masses, rosarios, and processions, get drunk every 
night of the nine all in honour of the virgin and 
then, after these " actas de devocion," as they are 
called, return to their homes rejoicing, having 
fulfilled some previously-made promise to the saint, 
and feeling secure of her protection for the future. 

Banos is nearly 6000 feet above the sea, and 
nestles under Tunguragua in the gorge of the 
Pastasa, where the deep narrow valley widens out 
a little at the estuary of a small river (the Bacciin) 
which rushes down from the volcano. In the 
village we have oranges, bananas, and sugar- 
cane, and on the hills close by barley, beans, and 
potatoes. Wheat is grown farther up the Andes, 


and bread is brought to Banos from Ambato, 
Pillaro, and other towns. It is rather dear, and 
when I arrived from the forest half-famished, and 
my thin face nearly hidden under a beard of three 
months' growth I could easily demolish sixpenny- 
worth a day. Beef and mutton can mostly be had 
at 2^d. the pound. In fact, good solid eatables 
are not scarce, and as my troubles had not taken 
away my appetite, I assure you I have gone deep 
into them. I have now got up my strength again, 
and I don't think I was ever so stout in my life as 
I am at this moment. At first I suffered much 
from the cold. Think of the thermometer 485- at 
sunmse, when even at 70 on the Amazon I (and 
everybody else) used to shiver with cold ; but I 
am gradually becoming inured to it. 

We are still (September 14) in the " tiempo de 
las nevadas " -the snowy time on the summits of 
the Eastern Cordillera and the snow has been 
very low down, even into the forests on the flanks 
of Tunguragua. 

Earthquakes begin to find a place in my Journal. 
We had one here on the 7th of August, a little 
before seven in the morning. I was sipping my 
chocolate when it came on at first with a gentle 
undulatory movement, then with a brisk shaking, and 
then gradually subsiding, its whole duration being 
about three-quarters of a minute. I was trying to 
ascertain its direction and the number of vibrations 
per second (about four), when a piece of plaster fell 
from the wall at my back, whereat I snatched up 
my chocolate and walked to the door, thinking it 
quite as safe to continue my observations outside. 
Whilst, the shock lasted, the ground, the trees, 


and the houses oscillated to and fro, in a way to 
quite upset one's notions of the earth's stability. 
I cannot walk abroad in any direction without 
seeing evidence of former earthquakes, far more 
violent than this one, and some of them of not very 
ancient date. 

A short time after this earthquake, I was talking 
about it to a neighbour, when he remarked, " It is 
seven years ago since we had an earthquake that 
did any damage, and then only a single house was 
destroyed, and it stood exactly where yours does, 
which was built on its ruins." This was startling, 
but I was reassured when I learnt that the house 
overthrown was built of adobes, and therefore 
easily thrown down, whereas the new one was of 
wooden pillars and wattles, the interspace being 
filled with earth, and both inside and outside 
plastered and whitewashed ; and that the pillars, 
being of " helechos " (trunks of tree-ferns), were 
so tough as to sway backwards and forwards 
without ever breaking. All the other houses in 
the village had the uprights also of tree-fern. 

[On January 16, 1858, Spruce removed to the 
town of Ambato, situated on the highroad from 
Guayaquil to Quito, and about midway between 
the two cities. This town continued to be his 
head-quarters for two and half years, when he finally 
quitted the higher Andes. 

A series of extracts (made by Spruce himself) 
from letters to his friend Teasdale carry on the 
narrative of his more general observations and 
experiences during the year 1858. In this period 
he visited Riobamba and Quito, as well as Banos, 
several times, and made numerous excursions to 


the mountains and valley around, as noted in his 
" List of Excursions " given at the beginning of 
this chapter. The letters to Mr. Bentham and 
Sir William Hooker treat chiefly of botanical and 
other matters connected with his scientific work, 
and these are arranged in order of date so as to 
form as far as possible a consecutive narrative.] 

To Mr. John Teas dale 

AMBATO, NEAR QUITO, March 13, 1858. 

... I came hither from Banos two months ago. 
My labours there were brought to an abrupt 
termination in consequence of having filled all my 
paper and the non-arrival of a further supply I had 
sent for to Guayaquil. Ambato is conveniently 
situated for communicating both with the coast and 
the capital ; but the low grounds at the western 
foot of the Andes are now inundated, and the road 
will not be passable for beasts of burden until July, 
up to which time Ambato will be my head-quarters. 
As soon as I shall have dispatched my collections 
to the coast I shall probably move on to Quito ; 
for, although Ambato is the prettiest town in 
Ecuador, and the most abundantly supplied with 
all sorts of provisions, it is a miserable place for a 
botanist. It stands on a plateau, half- way down the 
slope of a deep narrow valley, at the bottom of 
which runs the river Ambato, a considerable 
stream, coming from Chimborazo. There is a 


broad green band of gardens, orchards, and plots 
of lucerne on each side of the river, but outside the 
valley the eye rests on little else than hills and 
rolling plains of sand ; streaked here and there 










with long lines of Cactus and American Aloe, the 
fences of the country, against which the wind piles 
up the sand like snow-drifts. It is true that most 
of this sandy country produces scanty crops of 
barley, peas, and lupines, and that, where it is 
accessible to irrigation, it is rendered even very 
fertile ; but at a distance it often looks quite naked. 
On account of the sand, and of the violent wind 
that gets up as the sun approaches mid-heaven, it 
is only in the early morning one can go out on foot, 
and then not with much pleasure, for although 
Ambato has such a coquettish appearance, and has 
been built entirely anew since the great earthquake 
of 1797, notions of cleanliness are so lax that it is 
necessary to proceed with cautious steps and slow 
to avoid the " quisquilia " that are copiously strewn 
about and salute the olfactory organs with an 
odour by no means " sweeter than smell of sweetest 
fennel " (vide Paradise Lost}. At early dawn it is 
difficult to avoid stumbling over the "bodies" 
squatting down at the street sides, and even in the 
principal square, like so many toads, and it is not 
uncommon for a decent -looking woman in that 
position to look up in your face as you pass her 
and give you the " Buenos dias, Senor ! " with an 
air of the most unconscious innocence. At 10 
o'clock -or sometimes not until noon -- the wind 
gets up from its sleep, and from that time till about 
sunset blows over these high bleak grounds with 
the fury of a hurricane, raising up the fine sand, 
which obscures the landscape as it were with 
volumes of mist, and penetrates the narrowest 
chinks in doors and windows. Few people, except 
the native Indians, stir beyond the precincts of the 


town on foot ; and it is customary for both men 
and women, when riding on horseback, to protect, 
the face by a gauze veil from the sand, the 
scorching sun, and the cold piercing wind. After 
being exposed for some hours to this adverse com- 
bination without such protection, the eyes become 
bloodshot, the skin peels off the face, and the 
nose becomes red and swollen, in which state it 
is emphatically styled a " nariz tostada " (toasted 
nose). I suppose I may have cast the skin of my 
nose not fewer than ten times since I came to 
Ambato. From this brief sketch of the climate 
you will not be surprised to hear that acute 
catarrhal complaints, influenza, spitting of blood, 
etc., are frequent ; but they are very rarely fatal, 
and I have not yet seen a single case of pulmonary 
consumption ; and the climate on the whole must 
be considered conducive to longevity. A country- 
man of ours, Dr. Jervis, nephew of the first Earl 
St. Vincent, died two or three years ago at Cuenca, 
at the age of a hundred and fifteen. As fires are 
used here only for cooking, the natives have no 
calefacients beyond food, clothing, and solar heat, 
and the latter is often considerable, although the 
thermometer in the shade scarcely ever passes 65. 
Very old people are sometimes put into a basket of 
cotton and set in the sun, with a wide-brimmed hat 
on their head. Then they remind me of newly- 
hatched goslings I have seen similarly treated. 

It is but two days since I returned from Rio- 
bamba, about 40 miles away to the south, where 
I remained about four weeks, on a visit to my 
countryman Dr. James Taylor, who has been in 


South America near upon thirty years. He was 
formerly medical attendant to ex-President Flores, 
and lecturer on Anatomy in the University of 
Quito ; but he married several years ago a young 
Peruvian in Cuenca, the widow of one of Bolivar's 
generals, and he has since then resided in Cuenca 
and Riobamba. He has but one child living- 
a boy of about fifteen. Dr. Taylor is a native of 
Cumberland, and has had a good education when 
young ; he has still Greek enough to read and 
enjoy Anacreon ; and what is much better, he is a 
very kind-hearted, honourable man, which can't be 
said of many Englishmen I have met in South 

I found it a rather fatiguing day's ride to 
Riobamba. Instead of starting at five in the morning, 
as we ought to have done, it was ten when we got off, 
in consequence of a delay in bringing in the horses. 
The first 17 miles was mostly over loose sand, 
where the horses sometimes sank to the knees. 
This brought us to Mocha, a small village, some 
1500 feet higher up than Ambato, and with a very 
chilly climate. The chief industry of its scanty 
population is the keeping of horses and mules for 
hire to Quito and Guayaquil. From Mocha there 
is a steep descent to a stream, and then we begin 
to reascend towards Chimborazo. The ground 
becomes firmer, and grassy, and at about two-thirds 
of the ascent a road branches off to the right, 
which leads to Guayaquil. It crosses the southern 
shoulder of Chimborazo, at a height of over 14,000 
feet. We keep straight on ; and up, up, up, till we 
come out on an elevated grassy plain (the Paramo 


de Sanancajas), which stretches along the eastern 
base of the mountain for about 8 miles, and at a 
height of 1 1,000 to 12,000 feet. Here the icy cope 
of Chimborazo seemed so near that one might have 
touched it by stretching out the hand an illusion 
caused by the transparency of the atmosphere. 
The temperature was pleasant, for the bright sun 
tempered the cool breeze, and there was no sand. 
But as I returned, a few weeks afterwards, I 
crossed the paramo in a piercingly cold misty 
rain, and when I reached Mocha I scarcely knew 
whether I had any hands or feet. If you have 
been up Teesdale as far as the Weel, you have 
seen in that chilly treeless solitude something very 
like the paramos of the Andes. The Weel itself 
is not unlike the small lagoons scattered about in 
hollows on Sanancajas. They are often to be 
seen covered with small wild-ducks that no one 
cares to disturb. Herds of shaggy wild cattle 
roam over the paramo, and pick up a scanty sub- 
sistence from the sedgy herbage. 

You may have read of the paramero - - the 
deadly-cold wind, charged with frost, that some- 
times blows over the paramos, and withers every 
living thing it meets. A person has told me that 
when a boy he was once crossing the highest point 
of Sanancajas, towards Guayaquil, along with his 
father, when they saw a man sitting by the wayside 
and apparently grmning at them with all his might. 
" See," said the boy, "how that man is laughing at 
us!" "Silence, my son," replied the father, "or 
say a prayer for the repose of his soul the man 
is dead ! ' 

I have had to face a paramero, but never of this 




intense kind. Its approach is indicated by the 
wind beginning to whistle shrilly in the distance 
among the dead grass-stalks. When he hears that 
ominous sound, the horseman takes a pull at his 
flask, draws his wraps close around him, and his 
hat down over his eyes ; and his horse too seems 
to nerve himself for the encounter of the withering 
blast carries his head low, and throws forward 
his shaggy mane. 1 It seems to be the first shock 
of the cold blast that kills. If a man can sustain 
it unscathed, he generally escapes with his life. 
Horses are much more rarely frozen to death than 
men. Indeed, the amount of cold and wet these 
mountain horses will bear is surprising ; but they 
are to the manner born, and have never known 
the luxury of sleeping under cover. 

The descent from the southern side of the 
paramo of Sanancajas is along a ravine, worn deep 
into the black turfy soil and subjacent volcanic 
alluvium by the rains and melting snows from 
Chimborazo. One of my two horses carried my 
trunks, and got along so slowly that night closed 
over us as we reached San Andres, a village nearly 
9 miles from Riobamba. We would fain have 
remained there for the night, but there had been a 
bull-fight that day in the plaza, and the houses were 
so thronged with noisy, drunken men, that we saw 

1 I have been reminded l>y this sound on the p.iramos of the Audi--- of our 
bleak Yorkshire, moors and moor-paMiire*, \\here the \\intiy \\ind whistles 
through the "\vindlestra\vs" the dead flo\\ er-Malk> of lient-gravs and Dog's- 
tail grass {Agrostis niniiia and Cynosurus cristatus). In the Pyre'ne'es, the 

strings of Kolus's harp are the slendn talks and rigid pungrni leaves of 
/\s/n,-,i Eskia the " Ksc|iiisse '' of the shepherds which grows on bleak 
mountain -ides at great elevations. In the Andes the whistling gi 
chiefly I'\-xtnca Tolnccnsis and .SW/V /.rrwrw. whose thread-like leaves ami 
stalks are nio-,t apt for the \\ind to play upon. 


no chance of obtaining a supper and a bed, and 
we had no alternative but to hold on our way to 
Riobamba. Having crossed the plaza, we entered a 
dark narrow street, some way down which we heard 
several men uttering angry shouts. On nearing 
them, my horse reared straight up against the 
wall alarmed at the sight of the dead bull the 
men were dragging along, and which the gloom 
had hindered me from seeing. I gave him the 
lash and he cleared the obstruction at a bound, 
but his rider narrowly escaped being spilt. Beyond 
San Andres we had stony descents and ascents ; 
a drizzling rain came on, which made the night 
more dark, and we had to leave it entirely to the 
horses to pick out the way. As I returned by the 
same route, with daylight, I was horrified to see 
that for a space of nearly two miles we had skirted 
the edge of a precipice, where a single false step 
would have hurled us to destruction. 

Riobamba has about as many inhabitants as 
Ambato (8000), but it covers more ground, because 
the streets are wider ; and it is less neatly built. 
It is of equally modern date, and stands three 
leagues away to eastward 'of the ruins of ancient 
Riobamba (overthrown in 1/97) in the midst of 
a flat sandy desert, where the winds have full play, 
and raise up whirls of sand that look at a distance 
like waterspouts at sea. An open aqueduct from 
the paramos of Chimborazo, 15 miles away, supplies 
the town with water, which by the time it reaches 
Riobamba has got so fouled as to be undrinkable 
until it has been passed through a filtering -jar 
(called an " estiladera ") that answers its object 


It is a striking sight to look over the great 
square at Riobamba on a market-day, and see it 
crowded with Indians and rustics in dresses of the 
gayest colours ; while the shops that surround the 
square have their glittering and gaudy wares hung 
outside, or spread out on mats on the wide pave- 
ment ; and at the back, Chimborazo towers high 
into the sky its snow shining in the sun like 
polished silver and seems to touch the very 
houses of the town at its base, although half a day's 
journey away. 

Several snowy peaks, besides Chimborazo, are 
visible from Riobamba, the chief being El Altar, 
La Candelaria, Sangay, and Tunguragua. The last I 
call my mountain, because I explored its Hanks for 
seven months, from Barios. I made a desperate 
attempt to get in at the south-western side of it, 
from Riobamba, and devoted several days to it, but 
paid dearly for my presumption. My aim was to 
ascend by a magnificent cataract, called Guandisagua, 
which comes out from under the snowy cope of 
Tunguragua, and falls at three leaps into the warm 
valley of Capil, where flourish Seville oranges, 
alligator-pears, and sugar-cane a total height of 
some 8000 feet (15,700-7500). What with alter- 
nately wading in the cold snow-water and climbing 
up cliffy under a hot sun, I had to keep my bed for 
four days afterwards, with rheumatic pains from 
head to foot. 

... I met with agreeable society in Ambato 
which I had not reckoned on. The Hon. Phil<> 
"White, American Minister to Ecuador, resides hen . 
with his wife, nine months in the year. Th< \ 
find the climate suits them better than that of 


Quito, where they are obliged to be during the 
three months the Congress is sitting. Mr. White 
is a man of middle age. In his younger days he 
has been United States Consul at Hamburg and 
other ports in the north of Europe, and he has 
travelled also in England and France. Afterwards 
he was for some years Navy Agent on the coast of 
Peru and Chile ; so that he is a man with more 
cosmopolitan sympathies and fewer local prejudices 
than many of his countrymen. Like many diplo- 
matic gentlemen, he is apt to run into long-windecl 
dissertations, not remarkable for either depth or 
brilliancy ; and, at the same time, he is a very 
amiable, sound-hearted man. Mrs. White is a very 
friendly, chatty lady, who gets all her dresses out 
from New York, in the latest style of fashion, to 
the admiration and envy of the belles of Ambato. 
I often step into Mr. \Vhite's of an evening, just 
as I used to do into yours, when in England. We 
have, however, no chess-playing, and, instead, we 
rail against the people of the country after the 
fashion of foreigners in all countries and I listen 
patiently to Mr. White's lectures on political 
aspects and complications. 

To Mr. George Bentliaui 

AMBATO, March 16, 1858. 

As I mentioned in my last letter, my labours at 
Barios were terminated sooner than I wished in 
consequence of having filled all my paper ; and this 
was the more provoking because just at that time 
there were more trees in flower than at any other. 








In my last excursion to Tunguragua I was obliged 
to leave several things because I had no paper to 
put them in. I have just returned from Riobamba, 
after a stay there of nearly a month with Dr. Taylor. 
Like Ambato, it stands in the midst of sandy deserts 
where hardly any vegetation is visible save the 
fences of Agave and Cactus and the common weeds 
that grow in their shelter. I made a desperate 
attempt to get in at the southern side of Tunguragua, 
where there is a magnificent waterfall (Huandis- 
agua) which comes down from the very snow at three 
leaps into the warm valley of Capil full 8000 feet ; 
for this purpose I moved to Penipe, about four 
leagues east of Riobamba, and from thence reached 
the cataract in an excursion of fourteen hours. But 
what with alternately wading in the cold snow- 
water and climbing up cliffs in a burning sun, I 
was confined to bed for four days afterwards with 
fever and rheumatic pains from head to foot. The 
worst was that, so dried up was the forest with the 
protracted summer, I did not get a single plant 
in good state. The weather is still dry, and until 
the rains come there will be no herborising ; but I 
am occupied in arranging and packing my Barios 
collections, which I hope to dispatch to Guayaquil 
in June. In May I ought to revisit Banos to 
procure plants of two fine Orchises I found on 

I should be very glad to return to England, as 
you recommend me, to distribute my mosses, but I 
am fearful of again falling into delicate health if I 
go there. I have, besides, no funds beyond what 
are in your hands; these would soon be exhausted, 
and poverty is such a positive crime in England, 


that to be there without either money or lucrative 
employment is a contingency not to be reflected on 
without dread. On the other hand, I already feel 
myself unequal to the painful mountain ascents, 
exposed at the same time to a burning sun and a 
piercingly cold wind. The eastern slopes of the 
Andes no doubt contain much fine ground, but for 
want of roads they can scarcely be explored, except 
by one to whom the pecuniary value of his collec- 
tions would be no object, and who could go to any 
amount of expense. I have often wished I could 
get some consular appointment here, were it only 
of ^"150 a year; but I have no powerful friends, 
without which a familiarity with the country, the 
inhabitants, and the languages go for little. A 
person is much wanted to watch over the interests 
of Europeans on the Upper Amazon, but I can 
hardly suggest a station for him which would not 
be liable to some objection, and an itinerating consul 
is something I have never heard of, though it would 
really be very useful here. The Brazilians have a 
vice-consul in Moyobamba. The French have a 
vice-consul in Santarem and another in the Barra 
do Rio Negro. 

To Sir William Hooker 

AMBATO, March 24, 1858. 

. . . Several friendly letters have passed between 
Dr. Jameson and myself, but I have not yet had the 
pleasure of meeting him. The upper part of the 
Rio Napo (where is the Indian village of Archi- 
dona), which Jameson has lately explored, is nearly 
parallel to the upper part of the Pastasa (and at no 


great distance from it), which has been my hunting- 
ground for the last seven months. Though so 
near, it would seem that a great proportion of the 
plants are distinct. . . . 

At the foot of" Tunguragua, in dripping situations, I found a 
small Polypodium creeping on branches which has the fronds 
deeply sinuated so as to resemble a narrow oak-leaf. All the 
fronds are fertile, and I take it to be nothing more than a variety 
of a Marginaria with linear lanceolate fronds that grows near. 

A short time ago I found in a strip of forest by the Pastasa, 
about 10 miles below Baiios, a very strange little fern with com- 
pound fleshy fronds, looking not unlike one of the small Asplenia, 
but completely different from that genus and its allies. The sori, 
immersed in the margin of the frond, recall those of some 
Davalliae, in which genus, however, the structure of the receptacles 
seems essentially distinct. I enclose a small specimen, and if the 
fern be really new and you would like to describe it, I will send 
you the largest plant I have, which is about three times the si/e 
of this one. Unfortunately, I could find the fern on only a single 
tree, though I spent two hours in searching the neighbouring 
trees, and my stock of it is rather small. 1 

From my letters to Mr. Bentham you will have learnt h\\ 
much I suffered in the Montana of Canelos, on my way hither. 
This name is popularly given to the forest from near Jiarios. where 
the natural pastures begin, at the actual foot of the Cordillera, to 
C'anelos on the Bombonasa. It is the finest ground for Crypto- 
gam ia I have ever seen, but when I passed through it with 
Indians I was obliged to lighten my cargoes by giving and throw- 
ing away whatever I could best spare, so that I could bring no 
plants along save a few mosses. . . . One striking feature among 
the ferns was the number of sarmentose, or even actually climb- 
ing, species of various genera. On the Bombonasa a true- S 
ginella climbs into the trees to the height of 30 feet, and the 
twining caudex sends off fronds 4 feet long; in some places it 
forms impenetrable thickets. A handsome Marattia was a great 
acquisition to me, as I bad not previously seen that genus grow 
ing. Two small Asplenia. looking quite like Hymenophyllaj crepl 
along the branches of shrubs by shady rivulets. But the most 
remarkable plant in the forest of ('anelos is a gigantic- 1 . |iiisrtum. 
20 feet high, and the stem nearly as thick as the \\rist ! ... It 
extends for a distance of a mile on a plain bordering tin- 1'a-i 
but elevated some 200 feet ab . ive it, where at every few steps one 

1 It is Davallia l.inil<>ii, Hook. Sp. . l-'il. I. p. m;. .ni<l has l>c_vn lim<i .11 
Caraccas and' also in the Or^an Mountains <>1 lini/il. 


sinks over the knees in black, white, and red mud. A wood of 
young larches may give you an idea of its appearance. I have 
never seen anything which so much astonished me. I could 
almost fancy myself in some primeval forest of Calamites, and if 
some gigantic Saurian had suddenly appeared, crushing its way 
among the succulent stems, my surprise could hardly have been 
increased. I could find no fruit, so that whether it be terminal, 
as in E. giganfei/m, or radical, as in E. fliiviatik, is still doubtful, 
and for this reason I took no specimens at the time, though I 
shall make a point of gathering it in any state. 

Mount Tunguragua is nearly as fine a locality for ferns as the 
forest of Canelos, but great difficulties attend its ascent. First, 
there is the actual height, for Banos is but 5500 feet high, and 
from thence to the snow-line (15,000 feet) is a great way to climb. 
Then there is the want of water, for between Banos and Puela, 
that is, for about five leagues along the northern base of the 
mountain, all the ravines are dry. The streams that formerly 
traversed them all became submerged when the great earthquake 
of 1797 took place, and now run in subterranean courses, coming 
out on the actual margin of the Pastasa, sometimes in consider- 
able volume. But the greatest obstruction to the ascent is the 
dense, untracked, quasi-Amazonian forest, to penetrate which the 
knife is needed at every step, and which extends to a height that 
I have not yet exactly ascertained. I could not have believed, 
unless I had seen it, that at 11,000 feet elevation on Tunguragua 
there are laurels 70 feet high and 12 feet round. 

I trust my collections will not disappoint your expectations ; 
they do not, however, quite come up to mine, for I have suffered 
much here from the cold, and especially from the sudden alter- 
nations of burning heat to frosty cold, and I have consequently 
been unable to do so much field-work as I could wish. Since 
entering the Ecuador I have gathered forty-five species of Poly- 
podium (including Goniophlebium, etc.), all, with two or three 
exceptions, different from what I gathered in Peru. They include 
some very pretty things, especially in Polypodium proper. I have 
also some pretty Asplenia ; but the species of this genus and 
Diplazium give me more difficulty than any other to know what 
are species and what varieties. 

[The next letter to Mr. Bentham contains, 
among other valuable botanical matter, an exceed- 
ingly interesting estimate of the probable number 
of species of plants now living in the great Amazon 
valley, founded on his own observations. It is 


far beyond what other botanists have supposed to 
be likely, but no one had ever before given the 
same close attention to the species of forest-trees 
over so large an area as Spruce had done.] 

To Mr. George Benthani 

AMBATO, June 22, 1858. 

I have just completed packing up three cases of 
plants to be dispatched to you. . . . 

There are a few specimens of a Balanophorea which I have 
included in the general collection, and a single specimen (being 
all I could find) of a plant allied to Rafflesiaceae, which please 
give to Dr. Hooker. The latter grew on the root of a tree in the 
forest on Mount Tunguragua ; when fresh the involucre was dull 
purple and the florets violet it "has shrunk about half in drying. 
I only guess at its affinities, for I did not wish to injure the specimen 
by examining it. 

The Phanerogamic collection is not so interesting as I could 
wish. As I mentioned in a previous letter, I was prevented from 
gathering many interesting trees about Baiios by having filled all 
my paper. I have lately revisited Baiios and spent a month 
there, but the weather was very gloomy and rainy, and there were 
scarcely any flowers. In consequence of this I found it impracti- 
cable to procure plants of the fine Orchids I have found on Tungu- 
ragua. Nor did I find a single moss that I had not gathered 
during my previous residence there so eagerly, it seems, I had 
searched for them though I got twenty-one ferns and a lew 
Hepaticre which had previously escaped me. 

What a fine chance there is now for your friend 
Dr. Caapanema, or for any other wealthy and 
scientific Brazilian not afraid of heat, rains, and 
mosquitoes, to explore the Amazon and its tribu- 
taries in a small steamer, where everything neces- 
sary could be carried, and their collections preserved 
and stowed away ! 

I have lately been calculating the number of 


species that yet remain to be discovered in the 
great Amazonian forest, from the cataracts of the 
Orinoco to the mountains of Matto Grosso ; taking 
the fact that by moving away a degree of latitude 
or longitude I found about half the plants different 
as a basis, and considering what very narrow strips 
have up to this day been actually explored, and 
that often very inadequately, by Humboldt, Martius, 
myself, and others, there should still remain some 
50,000 or even 80,000 species undiscovered. To 
any one but me and yourself this estimation will 
appear most extravagant, for even Martius (if I recol- 
lect rightly) emits an opinion that the forests of 
the Amazon contain but few species. But allowing 
even a greater repetition of species than I have 
ever encountered, there cannot remain less than 
at least half of the above number of species yet to 
be discovered. 

At the highest point I reached on the Uaupes, 
the Jaguarate caxoeira, I spent about a fortnight, 
in the midst of heavy rains, when (according to my 
constant experience) very few forest trees open 
their flowers. But when the time came for my 
return to Panure (for I had to give up the boat 
and Indians by a certain day) the weather cleared 
up, and as we shot down among the rocks which 
there obstruct the course of the river, on a sunny 
morning, I well recollect how the banks of the river 
had become clad with flowers, as it were by some 
sudden magic, and how I said to myself, as I scanned 
the lofty trees with wistful and disappointed eyes, 
" There goes a new Dipteryx there goes a new 
Oualea there goes a new 'the Lord knows 

yw O 

what ' ! " until I could no longer bear the sight, and 


covering up my face with my hands, I resigned my- 
self to the sorrowful reflection that I must leave all 
these fine things " to waste their sweetness on the 
desert air." From that point upwards one may 
safely assume that nearly everything was new, 
and I have no doubt that the tract of country lying 
eastward from Pasto and Popayan, where are the 
head-waters of the Japura, Uaupes, and Guaviare- 
probably nearly conterminous offers as rich a 
field for a botanist as any in South America. But 
I have made inquiries as to the possibility of reach- 
ing it, and I find that it will be necessary to cross 
paramos of the most rugged and inhospitable char- 
acter, and afterwards risk oneself among wild and 
fierce Indians, so that I fear its exploration must 
be left to some one younger and more vigorous 
than myself. 

If I remain in this country and clo not make 
Quito my head-quarters, I suppose I must go to 
Loja, where the climate is more temperate and the 
flora no doubt magnificent. People who travel 
that way all speak with admiration of the abundance 
and beauty of the flowers. 1 

To Sir William Hooker 

QUITO, Au^-. 15, 1858. 

The house in which 1 reside is on the very slope 
of Pichincha, and is actually the last house in Ouito, 

1 The route aimi^ tin.- < 'ordilleru to I.nja is now link- traversi d, and is 
difficult and expensive. The s<>. called " road '' has no mending (or marring) 
save what it gets from the rains and the liooN of the imile^. There i 
not a single road in the Ecuador. 

VOL. ii r 


ascending by the stream which runs through the 
city. Jameson's house is about 150 yards lower 
down, and poor Hall lived on the opposite side of 
the stream. Dr. Jameson is, however, at the present 
moment in Guayaquil. ... I had the pleasure of 
spending a day with him in Ambato, on his way 
down. He is a tall ruddy Scot, and although on 
the shady side of sixty years, may very well reach 
a hundred and fifty, for he shows no signs; of age 
yet. People who are naturally robust and live 
temperately do reach very advanced age in these 
mountains. Our countryman Dr. Jervis died lately 
at Cuenca, aged a hundred and fifteen years ; and 
here is Mr. Cope, turned of eighty -five, trotting 
about as nimbly as a young man. . . . 

The weather is extraordinarily dry just no\v, for Quito, and 
vegetation is much burnt up. Before I put myself in the doctor's 
hands I contrived to scramble some way up Pichincha, and to 
gather a few mosses ; although I had already gathered the 
greater part of what it produces in other parts of the Cordillera. 
In my garden I have Brachymenium Jameson!, Tayl., Tortula 
denticulata, Mitt., and some ether mosses, and there are many 
more pretty things by the stream close at hand. When I- came 
out on the Cordillera last year, one of the first mosses I recog- 
nised was the curious Orthotricheid moss, Streptopogon crythro- 
dontits, Wils., which grows perched on twigs in bushy places, just 
as Orthotrichum affini and striatum do in England. Another 
of my first findings was your Didymodon gracilis, Bridel. 
Grimmia Icngirostris, Hook., I have gathered abundantly on 
Chimborazo, the original locality. I have little difficulty in recog- 
nising your and Humboldt's mosses, but many of Taylor's I 
cannot satisfactorily identify. Besides the incomplete analysis, 
there is a laxness in the use of terms relating to form in his de- 
scriptions which makes me almost in every case feel uncertain 
whether I have got his plant or not. I have three claimants for 
his Nickcra gmcillimti (Pichincha), and as I find that only one of 
them grows on Pichincha, I have no doubt of its being the species 
intended, though it is the one least like his description of the 

I am glad that Mr. Mitten is working up the Indian mosses, 
as I hope we shall thus be able to ascertain whether it be really 


the fact that, while so many South American Hepaticas are iden- 
tical with Indian species, scarcely any mosses are. I feel sure I 
have many European species among my Andine collections. I 
was surprised to see on Chimborazo dense tufts of Hypnum 
ScJireberi growing among the heather just as they do in England. 

To Mr. George Beuthani 

QUITO, Aug. 17, 1858. 

I have lately had the pleasure of receiving your 
letter of June i, containing the names of my Vene- 
zuelan plants. My notes on these are in Ambato ; 
still, I recognise the greater part of them. . . . 
Nearly every plant I gathered at the highest point 
of the Guainia which I explored proves to be new ; 
and this increases my regret that I could not, on 
account of illness, follow out my original project 
of ascending that river as far as the cataracts. . . . 
I have a new genus allied to Henriquezia in the 
forest of Canelos, but when I shall be able to go 
and gather it I cannot tell. It is an immense tree, 
with leaves three together, and with large yellow 
flowers 6 inches long five equal stamens but a 
much longer corolla-tube than Henriquezia. 

I am satisfied to find that the small collection 
from Maypures has arrived in an identifiable state. 
When I opened it out at San Fernando, after my 
long illness, both plants and paper were one mass 
of mould. By little and little, as my trembling 
hands and dim eyes allowed me, I brushed awa\ 
the mould and transferred the plants toother paper. 
When I reached San Carlos the process had to be 
renewed, so that I had reasonable doubts of their 
preserving any of their original semblance when 
they reached England. 


Whatever steps you think necessary to take for 
lessening your labour in the distribution of my 
plants will meet my cheerful acquiescence. ... I 
am deeply thankful to you for having bestowed so 
much of your valuable time on my plants ; but, on 
my part, I can truly say that I have had no greater 
stimulus in collecting than to think, whenever 1 
have gathered a new or strange plant, " This will 
surely please Mr. Bentham." 

I wrote to you in June last, on the occasion of 
dispatching to you three cases of plants from 
Ambato. . . . 

I am sorry the collection does not contain more 
trees ; but the number of species of trees is actually 
much fewer in cold regions than in warm, and I 
miss much here the excellent climbers (Indians, I 
mean, not lianas) I used to have on the Uaupes and 
Rio Negro. However, if I remain in the country, 
not many of the trees shall escape me. There are 
a great many arborescent Composite, of which I 
have as yet taken very few do you think I ought 
to gather them all ? 

My object in visiting Quito was partly to get 
my few books bound and a few clothes made, for 
in so many years in the forest all I had with me 
had got into a very dilapidated state ; as also to 
get such substitutes as I could for the warm under- 
clothing sent out by yourself and Mr. Pritchett and 
lost on the way. I hope also to herborise a little 
on the western side of the Cordillera, but I have 
been seriously ill, and am still in so much pain 
that I cannot write for more than a few minutes 


RlOBAMBA, NOV. 2, 1858. 

. . . Since I last wrote to you I have several 
times done the 40 miles from Ambato to Riobamba 
in one day, and the distance begins to seem much less 
than at first. But my back is just now aching con- 
siderably from having ridden 112 miles in three 
clays, for the most part along steep and dangerous 
declivities. I left Quito in September and came 
straight on to Riobamba, and then 60 miles farther, 
in a south-westerly direction, crossing the summit 
of the Cordillera at an elevation of 12,500 feet, and 
then descending to the valley of Pallatanga at 5000 
to 6000 feet. This pass, called the Paramo de 
Naba, is far lower than that over the shoulder of 
Chimborazo (14,000 feet) on the way from Quito 
and Ambato to Guayaquil. I scarcely suffered 
from the cold on Naba, although I was buffeted 
by a hail-storm ; and I gathered there some very 
interesting plants, including the beautiful Gentiana 
cernua found by Humboldt and Bonpland on Chim- 
borazo. It is great pity that these fine Andine 
Gentians have proved so difficult to cultivate in 
England. Anderson, the famous nurseryman of 
Edinburgh, has succeeded in raising a great main 
plants of the Andes, from seeds sent to him by 
Professor Jameson of Quito, but I am told that 
none of the Gentians have survived. It is difficult 
to imitate the conditions of their growth ; for some 
of them endure frost nearly every night of their 
lives, yet so light is the pressure of air upon them 
that the frost injures them not ; yet they die when 
frozen in the dense atmosphere of the plains. 
have seen epiphytal Orchids Oncidiums, Odonto- 


glossums, etc. --growing in the Andes at 10,000 
feet, where they must frequently endure frost ; yet 
these are precisely the kinds that have been found 
(hitherto) most difficult to cultivate in England. 

The greatest height to which I have yet climbed 
was 13,000 feet, on the volcano Pichincha, near 
Quito. It is practicable to ride up to the very 
edge of the crater (15,000 feet), and it was my 
intention to do so, but my guide mistook the way, 
and we got entangled in thickets at about 1 1 ,000 
feet, where we had to dismount and cut a way for the 
horses to pass, and finally to leave them tied to bushes 
and continue the ascent on foot. I had only lately 
emerged from the sick-room, and got very much 
fatigued with two hours of steep, rugged climbing. 
At the highest point we reached, we lay down to rest 
on the grass, and I had lain a few minutes with my 
eyes closed when I suddenly felt as it were a flag 
waved over my face, and looking up saw an immense 
condor sailing over us at only a few feet distance. 
My companion sprang to his feet with a shriek, 
and prepared to defend himself with his staff. 
" He thinks we are dead," said he, "and if we had 
lain a moment longer we should have felt his beak 
and claws in our faces ! ' The condor was immedi- 
ately joined by two others of his species, but being 
baulked of their prey, they rose in slowly widening 
circles, and at length appeared only specks on the 
bright heaven. This incident was additional con- 
firmation to me that the vulture tribe hunt by sight 
and not by scent. The condor is a magnificent 
bird, but yet looks very much like a turkey-buzzard 
on a large scale, and has not the noble aspect of the 
golden eagle and the royal eagle of the Amazon. 









. . . Here, on the eastern side of the Cordillera, 
summer fairly began last month (October), but its 
continuity has been interrupted for some days by a 
succession of terrific thunderstorms, one of which has 
caused a break of two hours in the writing of this 
letter. Three days ago, two women were struck 
dead by lightning while gathering sticks on the 
plain outside the town ; and yesterday six people 
were killed and a wheat -stack burnt down at a 
village a little south from us. 

. . . Matters are in a very unsettled state here, 
and preparations for war with Peru resound on 
every hand. Recruiting --forced contributions of 
money and horses people hiding in the forests 
and mountains to avoid being torn from their 
families scarcity and dearness of provisions such 
are some of the precursors of the contest. And the 
war if it actually comes will be something like 
what you have read of in India; yet nobody knows 
what it is to be about ! These Spanish Republics 
are not unlikely to squabble among one another until 
-like the Kilkenny cats there is nothing left of 
them but their tails; and then Jonathan will step 
in and make an easy prey of their mangled carcasses 
(Hibernice loquitur). 

. . . How often have I regretted that England 
did not possess the magnificent Amazon valley 
instead of India! If that booby James, instead of 
putting Raleigh in prison and finally cutting off 
his head, had persevered in supplying him with 
ships, money, and men until he had formed a per- 
manent establishment on one of the great American 
rivers, I have no doubt but that the whole American 
continent would have been at this moment in the 


hands of the English race. It should be noted that 
this consummation has also been hindered by our 
unbroken alliance with the most beggarly nation in 
Europe (Portugal) -- the nation which most hates 
the English, because they have most interfered 
with her staple trade the traffic in human flesh ! 

[Among a quantity of loose notes, headed 
" Quitonian Andes," the following, on the " Bridge 
of Banos," seems worth quoting : ] 

" The Pastasa runs in a tortuous course, about 
40 feet broad, between perpendicular walls 150 feet 
high, sometimes much excavated at the base, the 
water foaming against blocks and down cascades 
into deep caverns, whence it issues in a savage 
whirl. Across this chasm the frail bridge is thrown, 
and is higher at its northern side. The adjacent 
rocky ground seems as if it had been shaken into 
irregular rather small fragments, not separated but 
as if the original mass of rock had been crushed 
without much displacement. The ground rises 
abruptly to a great height on the left, but lower 
on the right ; and a col stretches on one side 
towards the other, looking as if it might formerly 
have been the barrier of a lake. 

The view down the Pastasa as one descends the 
hill towards the bridge is savagely sublime. A dense 
grey curtain of Tillandsia sometimes 30 feet deep- 
hangs from the cliffs and adjacent trees, contrasting 
with the black trachytic rock over which it hangs.'' 

[The bridge here referred to was probably of 
similar construction to that at Agoyan (described 
at p. 163), which was passed on the route from 


Canelos, and which consisted of a few trunks of 
trees covered with bushes and earth. 

In the following " note " of a visit to Penipe- 
a hill-village near Riobamba a much more perilous 
kind of bridge, common in the Andes, is described.] 

" The distance from Riobamba is about 4 
leagues. The road leads a little to the south of 
Guano ; at near half-way it passes some low flats in- 
undated in winter, or interspersed with small lagoons, 
now (February) mostly left dry, and covered with a 
whitish saline deposit. In places where moisture 
is preserved there are beds of tall Cyperacea 
(Scirpzts validus], of which mats are plaited. After 
passing this the road ascends gradually to a consider- 
able elevation (about 1 500 feet above Riobamba), 
whence there is a splendid view of the western side 
of Tunguragua, which is its most striking aspect. 
The top of the ridge reached, there is a long descent 
to the river Pastasa, with a narrow plateau about 
midway, along which the roacl runs for some distance 
parallel to the river. At last there is a steep wind- 
ing descent to the hanging bridge of Penipe, which 
is formed by cables made of roots of Agave, 4 inches 
thick, stretched as in an ordinary suspension bridge ; 
and the roadway consists of sticks tied across the 
cables. These sticks should be flattened and touch- 
ing each other, but many of them are left in their 
original rotundity, and they arc sometimes wide 
enough apart for a foot to slip between. The bridge 
sways to and fro when the wind is high, and 
oscillates fearfully as one passes over it. It has 
also become lower on one side, and several sticks 
are slipping away on that side. A rope is stretched 
on each side at some height above the bridge ; its 


original intention seems to have been for a hand- 
rail, but the bridge has so sunk away from them 
that they can only be reached here and there even 
by a very tall man." 

[These are the only references I can find to the 
dangerous bridges in the Andes, which Spruce 
must have so frequently had to cross in his numerous 


I IN inc. AINUtb 


N - B - Tne routes in the southern half of this map are better shown on the Map of the "Red Bark Region. " 
The discrepancy in the position of some places on these two maps is due to the fact that the 
latter was made nearly ffty years ago, and the country is still aery imperfectly surveyed. 



(January to December 1859) 


Jan. i. Descended to Barios. 


,, 2. Ascended from Banos to Puela, a village at the north- 
western foot of Tunguragua (height 7000 feet) and 
near the confluence of the rivers Puela and Chambo, 
and remained there till the i6th, making in that 
time three ascents of Tunguragua by the ravine 

16. From Puela to Tamaute. Collecting at Tamauu 
until end of month, including an ascent of Mount 
Condorasco (a shoulder of HI Altar) by way ol 
Feb. 2. From Tamaute to Riobamba. 

,, 3. To Ambato. 


4-7. At Ambato. 
,, 8. To Banos. 
9-11. Collecting near Banos. 
,, 1 2. To Ambato. 

,, 28. Until end of month exammmj and packing col 




March- Throughout these months examining and packing 
April. ferns and mosses, and making short excursions 

near Ambato. 
May. At Ambato ; and excursion of four days to the valley 

of Leito. 
June. At Ambato : the first half of the month confined to 

the house by fever. 
July 1-2 1. At Ambato : excursion to Guayrapata, etc. 


22. From Ambato to Riobamba. 

26. From Riobamba to farm of Miraflores near Guamote. 
,, 27. To Alausi. 
,, 28. Down valley to Chunchi. 

,, 30. To farm of Guataxi, where I established myself. 
Aug. 2. Down valley to Lucmas. 
,, 4. Down valley to Puma-cocha, where the Red Bark 

grows (4000 feet). 
,, ^. At Puma-cocha. 

6. At Lucmas. 
,, 7. Back to Guataxi. 

8-22. Collecting on the hills and by the streams of Guataxi. 
., 23-26. In the forest of Llalla, on the western slope of Mount 

Azuay. Altitude 9000 feet. 
27-31. Returned to Guataxi, and remained there the rest of 

the month. 
Sept. 2-6. At Gusunay, on opposite side of river Chanchan, and 

higher up the valley. 

,, 7-25. At Guataxi and neighbourhood. 
,, 26. From Guataxi by way of Alausi to Ticsan. 
,, 27. To farm of Miraflores. 
28. To Riobamba. 

Oct. 8. From last date to this at Riobamba. 
9. To Mocha. 
10. To Ambato. 


., 1 1-30. At Ambato : packing collections from Guataxi, etc. 
,, 31. To farm of Juivis near Baiios, and remained there 
until November 12, making in that time an ascent 
of Tunguragua by the Alisal. 
Nov. 12. An excursion down to Agoyan. 

13-30. At Ambato: examining mosses, etc. etc. 
Dec. 1-31- All this month at Ambato, occupied as in November. 

[The portions ot letters selected to form this 

xx AMBATO 223 

chapter comprise such episodes as a war, an earth- 
quake, and an insurrection ; but the most important 
portion of it consists of a very detailed account of a 
two and a half months' excursion to the Bark forests 
of Alausi in the western slopes of the Andes, in a 
letter to Sir William Hooker. This was printed 
in the Journal of the Linnean Society, but as it is 
full of interesting matter I include it here, only 
omitting such passages as refer to his future pro- 
ceedings in another district, the full account of 
which will occupy the next chapter.] 

To Mr. George Bentham 

AMUATO, March 3, 1859. 

We are still at war with Peru, and the blockade 
of Guayaquil continues, the Pacific steamers being 
allowed to land only the mails and passengers. 
The indiscriminate pressing of men and horses 
for the Ecuadorean army, and the scarcity and 
dearness of the necessaries of lite (potatoes, for 
example, have been at ten times the price they 
bore when Seemann visited this country), have much 
impeded and restricted the field of my operations. 
In the beginning of summer (end of July 1858) I 
went to Quito, and my first intention was to visit 
some unexplored localities in that neighbourhood, 
and thus occupy myself until the next rainy season ; 
but I suffered so much in that rarefied atmosphere 
that I soon sought a more genial clime, and as 1 
hoped an excellent field of operations, in the forest 
of Pallatanga, which is near hall-way from I\io- 
bamba towards the narrow plain bordering the 
Pacific, and at a height of 5000 to 7000 feet. You 


will have learnt from a letter I wrote to Mr. 
Saunders that I found the vegetation there (in 
October 1858) consisted of so very few species 
that I judged it expedient to return to the Sierra, 
where I found the people in great alarm more 
at the devastating progress of their own armies 
than at the threatened invasion of the Peruvians- 
and ready to desert the towns should hostilities 
actually commence. So the risk of losing all my 
goods has kept me from leaving them far, during 
the remainder of the dry season. But for this, I 
should, after leaving Pallatanga, have plunged into 
some other forest, for I find that the woody slopes 
on both sides of the Andes must be in future my 
principal field for collecting, the really Alpine 
plants having been already gathered to a great 
extent, and having most of them a very wide 

I am now packing my flowers and ferns, which 
(especially the former) comprise many interesting 
things, gathered under disadvantageous circum- 
stances. The difficulties of travelling anywhere 
out of the central plain of the Ecuadorean Andes 
is immense. Roads there are none what go by 
that name are deep slippery gullies and narrow 
ledges along steep declivities, where far more lives 
are annually lost than in navigating the rivers of 
the plain. . . . 

To Mr. George Bcnthaiu 

AMBATO, April 13, 1859. 

. . . The collection now sent is not of the class 
I could have liked, but the unsettled state of the 



country has prevented me leaving the higher 
grounds. The facilities of getting about and of 
procuring provisions have also limited the explora- 
tions of all previous travellers almost entirely to 
the central plain " callejon " (lane) they call it here 
-of the Ouitonian Andes, and to the adjacent snowy 
summits ; but I am certain that the forests on the 
eastern and western slopes are still almost entirely 
unexplored, from a height of 3000 to Sooo feet. I see 
scarcely any real trees described among Hartweg's 
plants. These forests contain also the finest ferns. 
That they are still almost intact is not to be won- 
dered at, when their exploration involves the risk 
of life, health, and everything ; especially those on 
the eastern side. I hope by little and little to go 
over them and send you their gleanings. 

To Mr. John Teasdalc 

AMBATO, Afn-n 14, 1859. 

. . . The introduction of the Christian religion 
among the South American Indians I have visited 
has been, for the most part, a decided injury to 
them. Formerly they had either no religion at all 
or they were nearly pure theists ; now they art- 
decided idolaters, as many Catholic priests have 
candidly admitted to me. Among the vices they 
have contracted in their "civilised" state, not the 
least frightful is the readiness to sell or hire their 
wives and daughters to the lustful white man. At 
from 50 to 100 miles from where I am writing, on 
the eastern slope of the Andes, there are still 
powerful independent tribes who refuse to receive 

VOL. II '.' 


the missionary, but who would kill any of their 
women on whom the white man should merely look 
to lust after her. . . . The term " savages," so 
glibly bestowed by writers on the Indian races, 
would be more correctly applied to those Christian 
nations who play at the game of war, and who, 
instead of deciding their differences on the principle 
of " doing to others as you would they should do to 
you," kill, burn, and waste as many and as much as 
they can. 

. . . Yet the introduction of a pure and simple 
Christianity might much benefit the Indian ; and 
we must not too harshly judge him for transgressions 
against our own moral code. The Indian's notion 
of " crime," for example, is not the same as ours. 
He feels the disgrace of being found out in a lie or 
a theft, but if he escapes detection he exults in his 
adroitness. He is naturally apathetic and dislikes 
exertion ; but he makes his wife work like a slave. 
On the Rio Negro I have seen the poor women 
grating mandiocca by moonlight until midnight ; and 
they must be stirring before daybreak to give their 
husband his morning drink ; while he, extended in 
his hammock, is warming his nether extremities 
near a fire which must not be allowed to go out. 
When I had seen this, I felt no pity for the Indian 
when the white man took him by force to row his 
boats and do other work for him. 

. . . On March 22 of this year a fearful earth- 
quake shook the whole of the Quitonian Andes. 
The damage done in Quito itself is estimated 
at four millions of dollars, and some adjacent 
villages are quite destroyed ; but as the shock 
came by day, only a few people were killed who 



were in the churches the buildings that suffered 
most. On that day Dr. Taylor of Riobamba 
and his son were my guests, and (along with my 
lad) we were riding down the valley to eat peaches 
at a neighbouring farm. Singularly enough, neither 
we nor our horses felt the shock, although it was 
a very long one ; but all on a sudden we saw 
people running out of their houses, and clouds of 
dust rising up among the hills. A little way farther 
on several tons of earth had been shaken down 
across our path, and we passed the debris with 
difficulty, and not without risk that more might fall 
and crush us. Below the farm, the cliff bounding 
the valley had slid down for a length of 200 
yards, and the people of the farm had been half 
choked and blinded with the dust raised by the fall. 
In the town of Ambato itself no damage was done 
beyond the cracking of a few very old and of some 
very new walls. On the following day, about 2 P.M., 
I was startled by hearing the family of my neigh- 
bour (and landlord) run shrieking into the yard, 
crying out "Temblor! temblor!" I ran out myself 
just in time to see the walls of an unfinished house, 
which an ambitious shopkeeper had been rearing 
close by to the imprudent height of three stories, 
crumble to the ground. The adobes had not got 
" set," and the earthquake had cracked several of 
them; hence the downfall of the whole. Fortunately, 
nobody was injured by the (all. 

I have been entrusted by the India Govern- 
ment with the charge of obtaining seeds and young 
plants of the different sorts of Cinchona (Peruvian 
Bark) found in the Ouitonian Ancles for transporting 
to our Eastern possessions, where it is proposed to 


form plantations of these precious trees on a large 
scale. This task will occupy me (if my life be 
spared) the greater part of next year. 

The expedition to the woods above spoken of 
(in August and September of 1859) was to make 
myself acquainted with the different sorts of Barks, 
and to ascertain what facilities existed for procuring 
their seeds, etc., or, more properly speaking, what 
difficulties had to be overcome, and I assure you 
they are not slight ones. I established myself in a 
sugar hacienda about half-way between Riobamba 
and Cu.enca, and five days' journey from Ambato, 
and from thence penetrated two days' journey 
farther into the forest towards the west, or nearly 
to the roots of the Andes on the Pacific side. The 
owner of the hacienda, Don Pepe Leon, a descend- 
ant of a noble Spanish family, and his wife, Senora 
Manuelita (a handsome and very clever Ambatina 
-most of the handsome women are of Ambato), 
were very agreeable people, and I spent a pleasant 

time with them. 


To Sir William Hooker 

AMBATO, Oct. 20, 1859. 

My last letter informed you that I was con- 
templating an expedition to the forests producing 
the Cinchona tree on the western slopes of the 
Quitonian Andes. I was for some time doubtful as 
to what part 1 should visit. It was but two or three 


days' journey to the forests of Jilimbi and Guanujo 
at the western foot of Chimborazo, but to reach 
them the Paramo de Puenevata (the northern 
shoulder of Chimborazo) has to be passed near the 
snow-limit, and in the months of July and August 
it snows there almost incessantly, while the winds 
blow with a violence unparalleled even in this windy 
region, frequently hurling away both horse and 
rider, who are either seen no more or their mangled 
remains are found at the foot of some precipice. 
Besides, only one sort of Cinchona was known to 
exist in those forests, whereas by going a few days' 
journey farther to the southward, to the forests 
below Alausi, in the valley of the river Chanchan, I 
might expect to find three sorts, and the road 
thither nowhere ascends above 12,000 feet. So the 
latter plan was finally adopted, and on the 2 2nd of 
July I sallied forth from the pleasant town of 
Ambato (8500 feet) along the narrow " callejon ' 
(lane) which separates the eastern from the western 
branch of the Cordillera. My company comprised 
five horses and mules, one mounted by myself, 
another by my servant, and the remaining three 
laden with my baggage, consisting of drying-paper, 
clothing and bedding, and a copious supply of tea, 
coffee, and sugar articles rarely to be met with in 
a country where there are no inns, and where the 
inhabitants with few exceptions use no other 
beverage than aguardiente and sour chicha. An 
arriero took charge of the beasts of burden. 

Our first day's stage to Riobamba was a long 
one, I2r, Columbian leagues (about 40 English 
miles). The first five leagues, reaching to the 
village of Mocha, are along a very gradual ascent, 


varied by a few shallow quebradas (ravines). The 
soil is what in Yorkshire we used to call " a leight 
blaw-away sand," which, when the sun and wind are 
up, scorches and blinds the traveller, though it 
produces scanty crops of maize, barley, peas, and 
lupines (eaten here under the name of " chocchos "). 
The indigenous vegetation is limited to a few 
insignificant weeds, chiefly Composites, nestling 
under the hedges of Yucca and Agave. The 
flowers of the two latter plants so great a rarity 
in England are here to be seen all the year round, 
and their tall tree-like peduncles are the poles used 
throughout the Cordillera for all common purposes, 
such as fences, rafters, and even walls of houses, 
etc. Long files of asses laden with them enter the 
towns of Ambato and Riobamba every market-day. 
Beyond Mocha we leave the sandy country, and 
after passing two streams which descend from 
Mount Carguairazo on our right, we begin to 
ascend to the Paramo de Sanancajas, the grassy 
meseta (plateau) which extends along the eastern 
base of Chimborazo, at a height of from 11,000 to 
12,000 feet. Near its commencement the road 
leading from Quito to Guayaquil branches off to the 
right, while that to Riobamba and Cuenca continues 
straight on. The weather had been rainy for many 
previous days, and we had had drizzling rain all the 
way to Mocha, so that we were not without appre- 
hension of suffering from the cold on the paramo. 
Fortunately, just as we reached it, the sun shone 
forth, the clouds cleared away, and the glaciers of 
Chimborazo stood out against the blue sky like cut 
marble ; but the ground was still so sloppy that 
what I had formerly passed over in two hours now 



took me three. What is called the " road " consists 
of I know not how many deep ruts, crossing and 
anastomosing in a very bewildering way, and 
so muddy and slippery that my horse preferred 
stumbling along among the hassocks of paja blanca 
(white grass) a species of Stipa with feather-like 
silvery panicles tinged with rose which forms the 
mass of the vegetation on the paramo. This grass 
affords excellent thatch ; it is also extensively used 
in packing, and along all the higher grounds it is 
almost the only material for fuel. Between the 
hassocks, especially where there are slight declivities, 
there is an interesting sub-alpine vegetation a 
dense grassy turf is enamelled with flowers, white, 
yellow, red, and purple, which seem to spring direct 
from the ground. Three daisy-like Werneria;, all 
stemless and solitary, of which W. nubigcna with its 
large white stars is the most conspicuous, grow- 
along with a stemless Valeriana, a small Castilleja, 
a Lupinus, a Cerastium, two species of Gentiana, 
and two of Azorella. The caespitose Werneriae are 
true alpines, and grow at 2000 feet above the 
species just referred to. There are many little 
lakes, frequently bordered by the swelling, glaucous, 
sphagnum-like tufts of a Plantago, over which creep 
the silvery threads of a minute Gnaphalium and an 
equally minute white-flowered Gentiana. In such 
situations grow also a small Ranunculus, bearing 
generally a single sessile Hower and a peduncular 
head of follicles, a Stachys, and several other herl>s 
of humble growth. Heath- like tufts of Jlcdyoti* 
ericoideS) often accompanied by a suffruticose 
Valeriana of similar habit, and sometimes by a 
Calceolaria, here and there diversify the landscape ; 


while the hassocks shelter in their bosom purple 
Lycopodia and other plants. 

Having passed Sanancajas, we descend to the 
sandy plain of Riobamba, whose general character 
is the same as that of Ambato, save that cactus- 
hedges often replace those of aloes. 

In Riobamba I remained three days with my 
hospitable countryman Dr. James Taylor, and then 
proceeded on my way, going the first day only as 
far as Miraflores, a farm six leagues away from Rio- 
bamba, and near the village of Guamote. On the 
way we had to climb over a small space of paramo, 
where we got the benefit of a storm of hail and 
sleet. The vegetation was scanty, and I gathered 
only a minute Umbellifer which was new to me. 
Miraflores is what is called a cold farm, consisting 
chiefly of pasture and barley fields. A short ascent 
from it brought us upon the Paramo de Tiocajas, 
which is full six leagues across. Anything more 
desolate than this paramo I have nowhere seen. It 
is one great desert of movable sand, in which the 
distant patches of Cacti, Hedyotis, and a succulent 
Composita only render its nakedness more apparent. 
Where there is a little moisture, solitary plants of a 
silky-leaved Plantago struggle for existence. The 
altitude is about the same as that of Sanancajas, and 
it may be imagined how cheerless was a slow ride 
of nearly 20 miles over such a waste, rendered 
all the more gloomy by a leaden sky overhead, and 
a piercing wind which came laden with mist and 
fine sand. I was obliged to go nearly at the pace 
of my loaded beasts, the unsettled state of the 
country, and the number of deserters from the 
" constitutional " army roaming about, rendering it 


unsafe to leave my goods a moment. Yet even 
such an " Ager Syrticus " has its points of interest, 
for on this place is seen the dividing of the waters 
of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. We passed 
many small streams, some rising on the paramo 
and some in the Western Cordillera, but all running 
eastward to join the Great River, with whose waters 
and forests I was long so familiar ; when, however, 
we approached the southern side of the paramo, we 
came on the Rio de Pumachaca (River of the Bridge 
of Tigers), a considerable stream rising in the 
Eastern Cordillera and running westward towards 
the Pacific ; it is, in fact, one of the sources of the 
river Yaguachi, which enters the Gulf of Guayaquil. 
From the Pumachaca northward, until very near 
Quito, all the streams of the central plain between 
the two branches of the Cordillera flow eastward, 
and unite in the gorge of Bafios to form the river 
Pastasa, which speedily reaches the Amazonian 
plain, and thence the Atlantic ; but the streams 
around Quito itself unite to form the river of 
Esmeraldas, and seek the Pacific. Near the 
Pumachaca there was rather more vegetation ; 
patches of Cyperaceae were dotted with the white 
flowers of a minute Lobelia, which I have seen in 
many similar situations, and groups of Cactus were 
draped over by an Atropa, remarkable for its 
aromatic leaves. It is singular that in so deadly 
a genus all the species I have seen in the Quitonian 
Andes have edible though very acid fruit, and that 
the shoots are cropped by asses and llamas. 

As we descended from the southern side of the 
paramo, the Hedyotis began to be mixed with a 
small labiate shrub of very similar foliage, and 


bearing numerous spikes of lilac or violet flowers ; 
and farther down the latter grew so abundantly that 
it covered the whole hill-side with a mass of aromatic 
flowers, which was an agreeable change from the 
sterile paramo. The road ran parallel to the 
Pumachaca, but at a vast height above it. It was 
well on in the afternoon when we reached the 
village of Ticsan, still in the cool region, and, as we 
calculated on finding more comfortable quarters in 
Alausi, which was two leagues ahead, we resolved 
to try to reach it, which we accomplished just after 
nightfall, having in the day made ten leagues. 
With some trouble we succeeded in getting a little 
food for ourselves ; but food for our beasts was of 
more importance, and we could get none. At 
4 o'clock the following morning I roused my people 
and sent them out to the neighbouring farms in 
quest of alfalfa (lucerne). They returned bringing 
a mule-load, which, though an insufficient quantity, 
was better than none, and we delayed our journey 
until 8 o'clock in order that the poor animals might 
eat, for we had this day only five leagues before us. 
Our road now turned to the right, while that 
to Cuenca continues southward and crosses the 
elevated ridge of Azuay. We still followed the 
course of the Pumachaca, which gradually turns 
westward, and bursts through the Cordillera in a 
gorge so deep and narrow that with difficulty has a 
narrow path been cut along the declivity on the 
southern side. The whole five leagues from Alausi 
to Chiinchi consists of steep ascents and descents, 
and of perilous crossings of precipitous slopes, not 
to be passed without a shudder ; for the track is in 
many places so narrow that two persons mounted 


could not pass each other without endangering the 
life of one of them. Fortunately, our beasts were 
sure-footed and the road was dry ; in fact, from 
Ticsan, where we fairly began to descend the 
western slope of the Cordillera, we found we had 
got into the height of summer, having left mid- 
winter behind us at Ambato and Riobamba. The 
hill-sides were well covered with grass, but all 
completely withered up by nearly two months of 
dry weather ; so that, except near the streams, 
where there was a margin of scrub or low forest, 
the eye rested on nothing green. 

Alausi stands at about the same height as 
Ambato, but is subject to still more violent winds, 
so that even the crops of maize are rarely to be 
seen standing erect. As a town it bears no com- 
parison with Ambato either for size or neatness, 
and, like all the other pueblos of the canton (of 
which it is the chef -lieu}, seems to have been for 
several years in a state of decadence : the houses 
begin to fall and are merely propped up, not 
repaired or rebuilt ; and yet there are all around 
valuable farms of wheat and maize. 

Throughout the Quitonian Andes a bit of solid 
rock is rarely seen, save where black, jagged masses 
of trachyte stand out in the higher peaks, which 
are all either active or dormant volcanoes ; and on 
a superficial view most of the hills seem to be made 
up of debris, either, as around Ambato, of calcined 
and triturated granite and schists, or, as in descend- 
ing from Alausi, of stones and rude blocks con- 
fusedly heaped together. But in one place we 
saw above us a low cliff of vertical strata, much 
cracked and bent, as if by some force applied to 


their ends. The brown hill-sides began to be 
diversified by an arborescent Cactus, with polygonal 
stems and white dahlia-like flowers, which, Briareus- 
like, threw wide into the air its hundred rude arms. 
Lower down, at about 6000 feet, I saw specimens 
full 30 feet high and 18 inches in diameter. Along 
with it grew frequently a Caesalpinia and a Tecoma, 
both of which are abundantly planted near Ambato 
and Guano, the former for the sake of its bark, 
used in tanning, and the latter because it bears a 
profusion of ornamental yellow flowers, and is 
supposed to possess wonderful medicinal virtues. 

About two leagues below Alausi the road 
descends to the margin of the river, where it meets 
the Chanchan, a larger stream coming from the 
Eastern Cordillera, near the volcano Sangay ; the 
two united take the name of the latter, and 
preserve it until issuing into the plain, where, 
joined by the Chimbo from Chimborazo, they form 
the river Yaguachi, which empties itself into the 
gulf just above the city of Guayaquil. Crossing 
the Chanchan by a rude bridge near its junction 
with the Pumachaca, we entered on a beach clad 
with a grove of Acacias low spreading trees with 
very odoriferous yellow flowers and binate spines 
sometimes 3 inches long. Near this place, which 
was still some 8000 feet above the sea, we came 
on the first sugar-cane farm. The road again 
leaves the river, and we had finally to climb a long 
cuesta to reach the village of Chiinchi, which is 
full 1 500 feet above the river. 

Chunchi is the last village on the slope of the 
Cordillera, and I had calculated on making it my 
head-quarters, though the forest is still a day's 


journey farther down. I brought recommendations 
from Ambato, and the people seemed willing to 
assist me ; but the houses were so miserable, so 
full of dirt and vermin, and so utterly destitute of 
furniture (for I could procure neither bedstead, 
chair, nor table), that I saw I should work on my 
plants with infinitely less comfort than I used to 
do in a palm-hut in the warm forest. Another and 
greater difficulty was the procuring of food for my 
beasts, for all the pastures were dried up, and a 
man who sold me alfalfa for two days then told me 
he could spare no more. About a league from 
Chiinchi, and 1000 feet lower down, there is a cane- 
farm called Guataxi, whose owner, Senor Jose Leon, 
I had known in Riobamba. Almost in despair, 
I rode down to consult with him, and he at once 
invited me to take up my quarters in the hacienda, 
where he has a good house, with neatly-papered 
rooms and decent furniture. The cane-grounds 
extend along the banks of a stream, which before 
falling into the Chanchan forms a considerable lake, 
on whose shores there was still a little herbage ; 
besides that a few squares near the house were 
planted with alfalfa. 

On the third day after "establishing myself at 
Guataxi, having procured a guide, I proceeded to 
Lucmas, a short day's journey lower down the 
river, where there are a few small chacras tenanted 
by Indians and Zambos. There I was told I should 
be near the Cascarilla roja (Red Bark), and I was 
recommended to a person called Bermeo, who had 
worked a good deal at getting out cascarilla and 
sarsaparilla. I at once secured his services, and, 
as he turned out an honest, active fellow, I took 


him with me in all my subsequent excursions in 
the district. From him I learnt that the Cascarilla 
roja did not commence until another day's journey 
downwards, and that to have a chance of seeing it 
in any quantity (which, he admitted, was at best 
only problematical), it would be necessary to 
penetrate at least three days into the forest. As 
my object for the present was merely to make 
myself acquainted with the plant, and with the 
soil and climate in which it grows, I decided on 
going no farther than until I should meet with it ; 
for the procuring and transporting of provisions 
necessary for a long stay in the forest is both 
difficult and expensive. 

I remained a day at Lucmas to look around. It 
is at an altitude of between 5000 and 6000 feet, 
and produces luxuriant sugar-cane. The small 
banana called Guineo flourishes (as indeed it does 
at Guataxi), but the plantain is near its upper 
limit, and the fruit is small and scanty. There are 
tolerably lofty forest trees in the valleys and on 
the hills, while the steep sides of the latter are 
often covered with grass, more or less intermingled 
with scrub, and often with Bromeliacese. In 
descending towards Lucmas, I saw on the bushy 
hill-sides a great deal of the small tree called Palo 
del Rosario, a curious, and I believe undescribed, 
Sapindacea, which I had already gathered at Banos 
in the Eastern Cordillera. Its most remarkable 
feature is, that while the layer of wood next the 
bark is quite white, all the internal layers are 
purple-brown with a black outer edge a colour 
not unlike that of old walnuts ; so that articles 
fabricated of this wood are curiously mottled. 


Unfortunately, the trunk never exceeds a few inches 
in diameter, so that only small articles can be made 
of it. I have secured a specimen of the wood, 
and of spoons made from it, for the Kew Museum. 

One of the most frequent trees at Lucmas, and 
the most valuable for its hard wood (though the 
young branches are brittle), is an Escalloniacea 
called Ignia. It grows to a good size ; the 
leaves are narrow-lanceolate and very long--the 
lower ones always red and the reddish flowers are 
borne in long pendulous racemes ; so that the tree 
has a very pretty aspect. It abounds along the 
western slope of the Cordillera, and grows at 
from 5000 to 9000 feet. It is accompanied by an 
Amyrideous tree called Alubilla, which the people 
hold in great dread, as they believe that to 
touch it or pass beneath its shade is enough to 
cause the body to swell all over. I had already, 
at Barios, gathered flowers and fruit of it, and 
stained my hands with the milk, to the great horror 
of those who saw me, but without experiencing any 
ill effects; and I believe that the swelling attributed 
to it is owing more to sudden changes of tempera- 
ture, or to alternate scorchings and wettings, for 
I have seen such an effect follow where there was 
no Alubilla. Be this as it may, the young man 
I took as guide felt one of his eyes begin to swell 
the day we left Lucmas for Guataxi, and in a few 
hours he was swollen from head to foot. In two 
or three days he was quite well again, but there 
are cases of the swelling lasting a month. As 
might be supposed, the blame was laid on the 

Lucmas takes its name from the abundance of 


a species of Lucuma, producing an edible fruit ; 
that name is applied to many species of Lucuma 
and Achras, all natives of warm or hot countries. 
Another evidence of the approach to a hot climate 
was in the existence of a species of Echites, 
twining among the bushes, and in an epiphytal 
Marcgraviacea, quite similar in its long scarlet 
spikes to A T orantea guianensis, though the bracts 
are small patellae, not elongated sacs, as in that 
species. A very odoriferous Citrosma, with large 
thin leaves, three together, is known by the name 
of Guayiisa, and is often taken in infusion, like the 
Guayiisa of Canelos, which, however, is a species 
of Ilex. 

There were a good many herbs, of species not 
seen elsewhere. One Composita, with virgate 
stems 12 feet high, large alternate lobed leaves, 
and from each axil a small leafy ramulus bearing at 
its apex a corymb of white radiate flowers, was very 
ornamental. Orchidese were tolerably abundant, 
but prettier even than these were two Bromeliaceae; 
the one seemed at first sight merely a mass of long 
scarlet flowers growing out of the moss on'old trees 
and stones, for the leaf-sheaths are imbricated into 
a little bulb, and the blade is reduced to a spine ; 
the other (apparently an /Echmea) has broadish 
soft leaves and large violet flowers looking at 
a distance more like those of an Iris or an 

On the 4th of August my company started for 
the forest, our destination being the Rio de Puma- 
cocha, a large stream rising in Azuay and falling 
into the Chanchan at about 4000 feet altitude, on 
the farther side of which much Red Bark has been 


got in former years. We started on horseback, 
and a mule carried our necessaries. My counsel 
was to leave the horses, but Bermeo felt sure I 
should not be able to perform the distance on foot ; 
we had gone, however, a very short way when we 
found it necessary to cut our way through the 
forest, for the track had got overgrown in two 
years that no one had passed along it ; nor was 
it possible without wasting a good deal of time to 
open a passage overhead so that a man might pass 
mounted ; I therefore preferred going on foot most 
of the way. We reached the banks of the Puma- 
cocha at an early hour of the afternoon, but the 
ford which Bermeo had passed in former years had 
been destroyed by the falling of a cliff, and in its 
place we found a deep whirlpool ; so with the drift- 
wood along the banks we set to work to make a 
bridge where the river was narrowed between two 
rocks, and when completed carried across it our 
baggage, saddles, etc. Then, after a long search, 
we found a place where we could swim the horses 
over, and by rolling clown a good deal of earth and 
stones we made a way for them to ascend on the 
other side. Once across, we selected a site for 
our hut among Vegetable-ivory palms, and thatched 
the hut with fronds of the same. Close by were 
the remains of a platanal, showing that the spot 
had formerly been inhabited, and fortunately still 
bearing a sufficient number of plantains to cook 
along with our salt meat during the two days we 
calculated on remaining there. Our horses were 
taken to the top of a neighbouring hill, where there 
was a bed of one of those large succulent Panicums 
called Gamalote, which afford a very nutritious 
VOL. ii R 


food for cattle, and were there made fast for the 
night. Here we slept tranquilly, save that we 
were occasionally aroused by the snuffing of bears 
around us ; and before daylight Bermeo and his 
companion were on foot, and making their way 
through the forest in quest of Cinchona trees. 
They returned at 7 o'clock, having found only 
a single tree standing, and from that one the bark 
had been stripped near the root, so that it was 
dead and leafless. We breakfasted, and then I 
accompanied them into the forest. We followed 
the track they had already opened, and then 
plunged deeper in, meeting every few minutes with 
prostrate naked trunks of the Cinchona, but with 
none standing. Bermeo several times climbed 
trees on the hill-sides, whence he could look over 
a large expanse of forest, but could nowhere get 
sight of the large red leaves of the Cinchona. At 
length we began to tire, and we decided on return- 
ing towards our hut, making a detour along a 
declivity which we had not yet explored. We 
went on still a long time with the same fortune, 
and were beginning to despair of seeing a living 
plant, when we came on a prostrate tree, from 
the root of which a slender shoot, 20 feet high, was 
growing. My satisfaction may well be conceived, 
and my first thought was to verify a report that 
had been made to me by every one who had 
collected Cascarilla, namely, that the trees had 
milky juice, which to me was strange and incredible 
in the Rubiaceae. Bermeo made a slit in the bark 
with the point of his cutlass, and I at once saw 
what was the real fact. The juice is actually 
colourless, but the instant it is exposed to the air 


it turns white, and in a few minutes red. The 
more rapidly this change is effected, and the deeper 
is the ultimate tinge assumed, the more precious 
is the bark presumed to be. It is rare to find 
shoots springing from an old root, because the 
roots themselves are generally stripped of their 
bark, which, along with the bark from the lower 
part of the trunk, is known by the name of 
" Cascarilla costrona " (from " costra," a scab), and 
is of more value than that from any other part of 
the tree. 

The Cascarilla roja seems to grow best on stony 
declivities, where there is, however, a good depth 
of humus, and at an altitude of from 3000 to 5000 
feet above the sea. The temperature is very much 
that of a summer day in London, though towards 
evening each day cold mists blow down the valley 
from Azuay ; and for five months in the year from 
January to May there is almost unceasing rain. 

If the Cascarilla roja has been almost extirpated 
at Puma-cocha, there is still left abundance of 
Salsaparilla, and of a very productive kind, for 
Bermeo assured me he had once taken 75 Ibs. 
weight of the roots from a single plant ; whereas in 
Brazil the greatest yield I have heard quoted was 
a little over 30 Ibs. The Puma-cocha species has 
a round stem and few prickles, while that most 
esteemed on the Rio Negro has a triangular stem 
thickly beset with prickles. 

Let me now say a word about the other plants 
accompanying the Cascarilla, and first of the Ivory 
palm, which is known throughout the Ecuador by 
the name of Cadi. ... It has a stout erect 
trunk of i 5 or 20 feet ; the fronds are 30 feet long. 


. . . The nuts are much the same as in the other 
species, only rather larger ; they are extensively 
used in the Sierra for making heads of dolls, saints, 
and walking-sticks. The Cadi produces a very 
excellent "cabbage," but the Indian and other 
inhabitants are fonder of a large maggot called 
Majon which is bred in its trunk. I have seen 
the Indians of the Rio Negro and of Canelos roast 
and eat the larva of a beetle extracted from the 
trunk of the Pupunha palm (Guilielma speciosa). 

In general, the arborescent vegetation seemed 
scanty in species and uninteresting. One of the 
most striking trees was an Erythrina with a slender 
tortuous (almost twining) trunk, from which sprang 
long spikes of scarlet flowers, and few branches 
bearing each a coma of ternate leaves, whereof the 
leaflets were sometimes 18 inches across. There 
were also a few Figs, and on the steep declivities 
there were patches of low forest, consisting chiefly 
of Clusiae, Thibaudiae, and Melastomaceae. Two 
small Trichomanes crept along the branches of 
shrubs, but terrestrial ferns were all but absent. 

On returning that evening to our hut, I consulted 
with Bermeo about our ulterior movements. He 
told me that if I would go another day's journey 
into the forest, he could with certainty show me 
more trees of the Cascarilla ro/'a, which he had seen 
not many months previously, and as on account of 
the Revolution no one had this vear entered the 


forests to collect Cascarilla, it was probable they 
were still untouched. But for this our stock of 
provisions would scarcely suffice, and I saw no 
probability of adding anything interesting to the 


general collection ; besides, I had to visit other 
forests in quest of other sorts of Cascarilla, and I 
saw the season was already passing for the flowers 
and seeds of most trees. We therefore on the 
following clay retraced our steps up the valley, 
and after another day spent at Lucmas in drying 
my paper and adding what I could to my collection, 
I returned to Guataxi. 

I was unable to move far from the farm for 
above a fortnight afterwards, on account of the 
passage of the Government troops from Quito to 
Cuenca. . . . 

During this interval I was obliged to content 
myself with the flora of Guataxi. The cane-farm 
is about 7000 feet above the sea ; the maximum 
temperature each day was generally about 73, 
though it once reached 77", and the minimum 
temperature varied from 55 to 60 . A plateau, 
about a thousand feet higher, belongs to the farm, 
and produces good crops of grain and potatoes. 
The hills adjacent to the farm, except where under 
cultivation and artificially irrigated, are covered 
with grass, amongst which the withered remains 
of a good many annuals were visible. Almost 
the only annual still flourishing was, singularly 
enough, a species of Monnina, with violet flowers ; 
and, as most of the species of this genus are trees, 
I took it for a Polygala until I saw the fruit. Tin- 
" Yerba Taylor" (Herpestes c/ianKcdryoidcs, H. B. K.), 
which has great fame as a remedy for snake-bites, 
was frequent, but mostly scorched up. Amongst 
the perennial herbs (most of which were new to 
me) may be mentioned an Epilobium, a Stachys, a 
Phaseolus, a Desmodium, two Crotalariai, a shaggy 


Hieracium, a very pretty Leria with large blue 
flowers, growing on shady banks, and a branched 
Composita with silky-white leaves and handsome 
purple flowers, besides several Solaneae, Labiatae, 
Ehretiacese, and two Acanthacese, which last order 
seems entirely absent from the cold region ; also 
a suffruticose Lantana with yellow flowers, which 
I had not seen elsewhere. In moist places a little 
Cuphea was very abundant. The shrubberies con- 
sisted chiefly of Composite, whereof one resembled 
a Spiraea in aspect and in the odour of its numerous 
small white flowers ; but there was also a new 
Biittneria, and the common Clematis of the warmer 
parts of the Cordillera climbed about everywhere. 

In cultivated ground, especially in the maize and 
cane fields, two delicate broad -leaved Paspala 
called Achi'n spring up in great abundance. 
Every day I saw the servants of the farm get 
bundles of them for the cows, pigs, etc., which ate 
them with greater avidity than even the alfalfa, so 
that, though weeds, they were nearly as valuable 
to the owner as the crops amongst which they 

Among the trees, which grew chiefly along the 
banks of the river, were two species of Lycium not 
previously seen, an Inga, a Mimosa, and a Bigno- 
niacea with broad opposite leaves and cymes of 
large purple flowers. The last, known by the name 
of Hualla, is frequent in the Western Cordillera 
at from 6000 to 9000 feet, and is one of the best 
timber trees. It is not improbably the little-known 
Dclostoma integrifolinvi, Don ; but it is not a Delo- 
stoma, for, besides an essential difference in the 
calyx, the septum is contrary to the valves, as in 


Tecoma, not parallel to them, as in Delostoma and 

So soon as the last soldier had passed, I put in 
execution my project of visiting the forests pro- 
ducing the Cascarilla scrrana or Hill Bark, which 
is found at 8500 to 9000 feet on both sides of the 
river Chanchan. I went first to the forest of 
Llalla, at the foot of Azuay, and only a little more 
than two hours' journey from Guataxi. Here there 
is a cattle-farm and a few Indian chacras, in one of 
which I established myself. I found a rather in- 
teresting vegetation, and this consoled me for my 
wretched quarters in a hut dark and smoky, and so 
low that I could not stand erect. We had happened 
on a windy time, and as the walls and roof were 
full of chinks, the violent wind which got up at 
midnight starved us beneath all our blankets and 
ponchos. After sunrise there was a brief lull, and 
then it came on again to blow from the same 
quarter (west, with a slight touch of northing), and 
so continued through the day. We had no rain 
during the five days of our stay, although the 
storms on the farther side of Azuay often overlap 
as far as Llalla, so that from Guataxi we could see 
it raining in this hill-forest, when not a drop fell in 
the lower grounds ; and even when it does not 
rain the forest is generally enveloped in mist. 
This constant supply of moisture renders the vege- 
tation more vigorous than in the dry grounds 
below, and is the cause why the trees are so 
thickly clad with mosses that it is difficult to push 
one's way through them. Two mosses, whose 
long slender stems hang clown like a beard from 
the branches, bore here abundance of fruit, which 


for two years I had sought in vain in other 
localities. But I was most pleased to find a moss 
with large laciniato-ciliate leaves so novel a 
feature in this tribe that I took it for a Plagiochila, 
until I found the capsules nestling amongst the 
terminal leaves. 

To return, however, to our Cascarillas, of which 
there are two sorts in Llalla, the one called 
" Ciichi-cara" or Pig-skin, because dried pieces of 
the bark resemble morsels of pig's skin boiled and 
then grilled (which is a favourite dish in Ecuador). 
The same bark is sometimes called Chaucha, a 
term implying thickness without much consistence ; 
as, for example, in this bark, which shrinks much 
in drying, and in a sort of large watery potato, 
called Chauchas. The other bark is called " Pata 
de gallinazo " or Turkey-buzzard's foot ; it does not 
peel off freely like the other, and when dried gener- 
ally occurs in small split fragments, but as it is 
rather deeper -coloured it is more esteemed than 
the Cuchicara. The same or similar kinds are 
known in other districts as Cascarilla naranjada. 
The demand for either kind has of late years been 
very slight, so that there has not been such 
destruction of these barks as of the red, and on a 
stony hill-side not far from the hut I found above 
twenty large trees of the Cuchicara, from 40 to 50 
feet high. All had fruited freely this year, but the 
capsules were already empty, with the exception ol 
one small corymb. In the forest of Yalancay, on 
the opposite side of the river and near the road 
leading from Alausi to Guayaquil, I afterwards 
found a tree with recent fruit and even a few 
flowers. The latter are deep brick- red, and the 


capsules are usually elongate-oblong, but vary to 
roundish oblong. Trees of the Pata de gallinazo 
were scarce, and I did not see any in flower or 
fruit. Both sorts have the leaves broadly oval, 
with or without a slight apiculus, and pubescent 
beneath ; but in the Cuchicara the petiole and 
midrib are red, which is not the case with those of 
the Pata de gallinazo, nor do the leaves of the 
latter turn so red with age. . . . 

Of the trees growing along with the Cascarillas 
in Llalla the Motilon was the most frequent and 
the largest, attaining sometimes 60 feet in height. 
This is the second species I have gathered under 
this name ; the fruit is an edible drupe, but I 
hesitate to refer the genus to Amygdalese until I 
see the flower. With the Motilon grew, however, 
a true Cerasus, with very large leaves ; it had 
flowers and young fruit. Other trees in the same 
forest were the Hualla, the Ignia, a Berberis, a 
Khamnus, a Nonatelia, two Myrtacese, and especi- 
ally an arborescent Loranthus, with dense spikes 
of fragrant yellow flowers the leaves on some 
ramuli alternate, on others opposite, and on others 
three together. . . . The shrubs included a Barna- 
desia, two Salvise, a sarmentose Fuchsia, and most 
abundant and ornamental, an aphyllous Fuchsia, 
epiphytal and climbing high up the trees, which it 
adorned with its large vermilion flowers. 

Patches of verdant pasture were scattered in the 
forests, and in these I gathered a stoloniferous 
Ranunculus new to me, a small Juncus, a curious 
Rubiacea allied to Richardsonia, two lonidia, the 
one with red the other with scarlet flowers, and 
some other herbs. In the woods there was also a 


stinging herb with large white flowers of the order 

The Orchideae must not be forgotten : they 
were very numerous and in fine state, especially 
two large-flowered Odontoglossa, whose liana-like 
peduncles depended almost to the ground. There 
were also some Oncidia and Epidendra, and many 
curious things whose affinities I did not recognise, 
and which I have not yet examined. 

From Llalla I dispatched my men to the 
adjacent paramos on that side of Azuay, with 
instructions to bring me everything they found in 
flower. They returned bringing a good many 
alpines, including some pretty Senecios not else- 
where seen, a red-flowered caespitose Werneria, a 
small Crucifera, an Alstrcemeria, a Gnaphalium, 
but especially a beautiful Gentiana, allied to G. 
cernua, and instead of having only one or two 
pendulous flowers, as in that species, bearing a 
profusion of erect pyriform red flowers. 

[In a letter to Sir William Hooker from Ambato 
(Oct. 10, 1859), the following remark on the 
vegetation of the two slopes of the Andes is of 
much interest : 

" As regards the general vegetation, the Amazon 
side of the Andes is incomparably richer than the 
Pacific side. In the former a perpetual spring 
reigns sun and rain divide each day, rain pre- 
dominating in what is called winter and sun in 
summer ; but in the latter the ground gets burnt 
up with seven months of dry weather, and soaked 
with five months of continual rain. You will 
therefore be prepared to hear that in my late 



expedition to the Pacific side I have found scarcely 
any ferns, and still fewer shells and beetles. ' 

This statement was, however, somewhat modi- 
fied in the following year, when he found that the 
Cinchona forests of Limon, about 70 miles to 
the north-west, had a rich and interesting flora, with 
an abundance of ferns and orchids. The superior 
richness of the eastern slopes as a whole seems, 
however, to be an undoubted fact.] 

To Mr. John Teas dale 

AMBATO, Nov. 15, 1859. 

Before I left Ambato for Guataxi (July 22), the 
first Act of the Revolution was played out on the 
flanks of Chimborazo, at a site called Tumbuco, 
where a battle was fought between the Government 
troops (consisting chiefly of blacks and Zambos 
from the low country around Guayaquil) and the 
insurgents, who were " serranos," or people of the 
hill-country, some whites, some Indians, but the 
most part of mixed race. The latter were defeated, 
and the victorious army marched on Ambato. It 
was something to see the flight of the inhabitants 
of Ambato, and the files of mules laden with all 
their movable goods, even to glass windows, when 
the news of the battle of Tumbuco arrived. I had 
nowhere to flee to, so I laid in a stock of live pigs 
and fowls, and of potatoes, stuck out the Union 
Jack, and prepared for a siege. Well, the turbu- 
lent blacks came on us by slow marches, but they 
respected my house and cattle ; and indeed the 
whole town was let off with a requisition of pro- 
visions and horses. Yet the clanger was not 


imaginary, for Riobamba was sacked some time 
afterwards (it is only a week ago to-day) by the 
troops stationed there. Not a shop or a warehouse 
was spared, and eight or nine private houses shared 
the same fate. 

. . . Your sanitary and social reformers seem 
much occupied with devising suitable habitations- 
for the poor and industrious classes. They would 
be much shocked could they see the promiscuous 
way in which people sleep here, even in the 
wealthiest houses. The other day I remonstrated 
with my landlord one of the best men in the place 
-for allowing a number of people of both sexes to 
sleep together in the same room some in beds, 
some on the floor. " I assure you," replied he, 
" we throw open both doors and windows at day- 
break ! ' He had no idea, poor man, of any 
possible vitiation of the moral atmosphere. I 
thought of the fair (but frail) Pauline Buonaparte, 
who, when an English lady asked her, " How 
could you sit so naked to that sculptor ? ' made 
answer, " My dear madam, you forget I had a fire 
in the room ! ' 

In January last I spent three weeks with the 
Cura of Puela a small village at the western foot 
of Tunguragua. The parsonage -house consisted 
of but two rooms, the one a small dormitory occu- 
pied by the Padre, and where he had barely room 
to turn himself; the other a much larger room, 
where the rest of his family worked and ate during 
the day, and slept at night. I append a diagram of 
this main apartment, wherein i, 2, 3 represents 
a raised stage made of wild canes (called a 


barbacoa), extending across one end of the room. 
No. i was my bed, made neat and comfortable with 
my own bedding (which I always carried about 
with me, and was half a mule-load). In No. 2 
slept two young fellows the Padre's servants on 
sheep-skins ; and in No. 3 slept his two maid- 
servants, at right angles to the men, and with their 
feet towards them. No. 4 is a bench whereon 
reposed my lad. No. 5 is a curtained four-post bed, 



o o o o d 

l-'n,. 13. 

occupied by the Padre's maiden sister, of the matronly 
age of twenty-one years complete ; and No. 6 a 
small recess, jutting on the external corridor, where 
a young fellow the Padre's nephew extended his 
lazy length on a barbacoa ; but even this place was 
open to the main room, having a doorway but no 
cloor. I afterwards transferred my bed to No. 6, 
on the Padre's suggestion that it was snugger and 
more retired ! 


[I cannot find in Spruce's MSS. or notes any 
account of the natives of the highlands of^Ecuaclor. 
although he must have seen a good deal of them as 
muleteers or porters during his very numerous 


excursions, or as dealers in the various products of 
the country. He sent home, however, to his friend 
Mr. Teasdale a set of forty-four coloured drawings 
of " Costumes and Customs of Quito," which are 
now in possession of his son John Teasdale, Esq., 
Solicitor, of York, and which he has kindly allowed 
me an opportunity of inspecting. These were 
executed by a native Indian (though some writers 
doubt if there are any absolutely pure Indians left 
in Ecuador), and are very spirited and life-like, 
representing all the various trades and occupations 
of the people in their respective working or holiday 
costumes, and very naturally coloured, both colours 
and brushes being made by the artist himself from 
native vegetables or minerals. They serve to 
illustrate not only the people themselves, but their 
tastes in dress and ornaments, and support the view 
of previous writers as to their possession of mental 
faculties comparable with those of their conquerors 
and masters. 

Yet they appear to be by no means prepossess- 
ing, as exhibited in the accompanying portraits of 
four Quito Indians, reproduced from photographic 
prints in Dr. Theodor Wolfs Geografia y Geologia 
del Ecuador. These recall in their coarse massive 
features and stolid expressions many of the natives 
of the North American plains and mountains, such 
as the Cheyennes and some others, and suggest an 
original identity of the mountain as opposed to the 
forest tribes of both continents. 

The following description of the Ecuadoreans in 
the U niversal Geography Q{ Elisce Reclus emphasises 
the several characteristics of these people. " Except 
during times of frenzy and ecstasy, the Ecuadoreans 

!';<;. i4.lM'iA.\s OK TIIK I'ROVIM K <>i n 

(From Wolf's Gcografia y Gcologia del Ecuador.} 


are a sad and sullen people. The features, especially 
of the women, seem haggard with care and sullen 
misery. Yet, despite their sordid surroundings, 
the Ouitonians appear to possess the sentiment of 
form and colour in the highest degree. Notwith- 
standing the rigid formulas and conventionalities 
to which the priests have enslaved them, many of 
the Mestizoes and even of the full -blood Indians 
succeed in executing really remarkable religious 
paintings as well as sculptures of Christs and 
Madonnas, works greatly admired in Peru and 
other South American countries, to which they are 
regularly exported. But the natives have lost one 
artistic industry inlaid work in costly woods. It 
has been noticed also that neither his extreme 
poverty nor the dull existence to which he is con- 
demned has prevented the Ecuadorean from 
distinguishing himself by the elegant cut and har- 
moniously-blended colours of his native costumes." 
We seem to have here the surviving remnants 
of a people with high capabilities, who have been 
so crushed down by centuries of slavery and repres- 
sion, combined with the struggle against the forces 
of nature in some of their most terrible aspects, 
as to have become degraded both physically and 
mentally, while still exhibiting unmistakable traces 
of the higher civilisation and more sympathetic 
government they enjoyed under the Incas. 





[Tins year was wholly occupied in the arduous 
work of obtaining for the Indian Government seeds 
and young plants of the best of the medicinal barks, 
produced by the Cinchona succirubra, which was 
becoming exceedingly scarce owing to the reckless 
destruction of the trees producing it. The bulk of 
the present chapter is occupied with a reprint of 
the more interesting portions of the very full 
report of his labours made by Spruce. This is of 
much general and historical as well as of botanical 
interest, and as it can now only be procured in a 
very cumbrous form in a large and costly " Blue 
book " comprising the whole official record of the 
introduction of the various Bark trees into India, 
its inclusion in any account of Spruce's botanical 
work is imperative. 

I give first the " List of Botanical Excursions " 
for the year, which summarise the whole story ; 
and also some short extracts from the few letters 
he was able to write, which supply some more 
personal and descriptive features to the narrative.] 


CHAP, xxi AMBATO 259 


i S6o. 

Jan.- Chiefly at Ambato, making preparations for entering 

Feb.- the forest of Red Bark at the western foot of 

March. Chimborazo, to fulfil my commission from the 

Indian Government to procure seed and plants of 

Red bark. 

,, 24. From Ambato to San Andres. 

., 25- To Riobamba, where I remained till April 10, pur- 
April 9. suing my preparations in conjunction with Dr. 

James Taylor. 


April 10. From Riobamba to Mocha. (Struck deaf in left ear 

on this journey.) 
ii. To Ambato. 
18-20. Excursion to Cusatagua near Pillaro. (See map of 

Llanganati Mountains to north-east of Ambato.) 
24. To Barios to bathe in hot springs for my deafness. 
28. Returned to Ambato. 

,, 29. THE BREAKDOWN. Woke up this morning paralysed 
in my back and legs. From that day forth I was 
never able to sit straight up, or to walk about 
without great pain and discomfort, soon passing to 
mortal exhaustion. 

May- All this time under medical treatment at Ambato, 

June i. but with very little improvement of health. 



(une 12. Siarted for the Bark Forests of Chimborazo : by way 

of Mocha to the Tambo of Chuyuipogyo. 
,, i}. Across Chimborazo to Guaranda. 

[4-16. At Guaranda. 

17. Mn the way down the western declivity of Chim- 
borazo. This night slept in the forrM. 

Kl.l) I!\RK FoR|->T> 01 

i To El Limon : a group of small cane farms in the 

ion where lh<- l\nl Kirk still nourishes. The 
streams that flow down the numerous \alleys mm 
bine itit<> tin- little ri\er Chasu;m, which, in tin- 
plain, enters tin' river Ycntanas ;m affluent "I 
the ( aiayaquil ri\ er. 



June 1 8- From this date to the i2th of September at El 
July- Limon, superintending the work of getting plants 

Aug.- and seeds of Cinchona sucdr libra. The seeds 

Sept. 12. were all gathered under my eye, and were dried, 

sorted, and packed by myself. Partly on horse- 
back, and partly dragging myself about on foot by 
the aid of a long staff, I explored pretty thoroughly 
the neighbourhood of our hut, and gathered 
(especially) numerous fine ferns and mosses. 
,, ,, Left El Limon and crossed over into the valley of 

Las Tablas. 

13. Over another ridge into the valley of San Antonio, 
to the farm of Tabacal, where I remained till the 
28th gathering seeds of Red Bark. 


28. Started for Guayaquil, and travelled down the valley 

to Pozuelo. 
,, 29. From Pozuelo to Bodegas (on the river Guayaquil), 

where I remained till October 6. 
Oct. 6. Down the river (by steamer) to Guayaquil. From 

this date till November 24 at Guayaquil ; then 

started up the country to meet Mr. Cross coming 

down with the Bark plants. 
Nov. 24. By steamer to Bodegas. 
,, 26. In canoe up river Yentanas to Caturama. 
., 27. To Aguacatal, a cacao-farm above the village of 

Yentanas. Here I remained until December 24. 

putting together fifteen Ward's cases, preparing a 

raft to take them down to Guayaquil, and when 

Mr. Cross arrived from the forest with the plants. 

superintending the work of transferring them to 

the cases, embarking the latter on the raft, etc. 
Dec. 24. Set out on our raft and this day reached a point 

a few miles above Caracol. 
25. Passed Caracol and Bodegas, and anchored in the 

river Guayaquil. 
,, 26. Down the river. 
,, 27. Reached Guayaquil at noon. 
31. Had the cases embarked on board the Pacific 

steamer for Panama and England. 



To Sir William Hooker 

AMBATO, March 12, 1860. 

I have succeeded in hiring the forests producing 
the Cascarilla roja after about ten times as much 
correspondence as would have been necessary in 
any civilised country, and I am now getting together 
a staff of workmen (no easy task in these revolu- 
tionary times) with which to enter the forest as soon 
as the rains abate. I am also in treaty with the 
owners of the woods near Loja which produce the 
Cinchona condaminea ; but as this species seems to 
flower and fruit exactly at the same time as the 
Cascarilla roja, and the localities of the two species 
are fifteen clays' journey apart (under the most 
favourable circumstances), it is plainly impossible 
that I can see with my own eyes the seeds of both 
species gathered, which is the only way to be sure 
of having the right sort. . . . 


Towards the end of the year 1859, I was entrusted by Her 
Majesty's Secretary of State for India with a commission to pro- 
cure seeds and plants of the Red P>ark tree, and I proceeded to 
take the necessary steps for entering on its 

Within the aMvttaincd limits of the true Red Hark it exists (or 
rather existed up to a recent period) in all the valleys of the 
Andes which debouch into the Guayaquilian plain. Many years 
ago it was obtained in lar^e i|ua:ititics in the valley of Alausi, 
below an Indian hamlet called Einje, on the northern side of the 
Chanchan (nearly opposite to Puma-c<>cha, which is on the 
southern side of the same stream), but it has IODL; been c\hau-t< d 


The Bark grounds, which still continue to be worked, form 
part of five contiguous farms, called respectively El Morado, 
Matiavi, Si'nchig, Talagua, and Salinas, whereof the two former 
belong to the church of Guaranda, and the three latter (which 
extend upwards to the paramos of Chimborazo and downwards 
to the plain of Guayaquil) are the property of General and ex- 
President Juan Jose Floras, who, after a banishment of fifteen 
years, has lately returned to take the chief part in the recovery of 
Guayaquil from a faction who would have given it up to Peru. 
Only the high lands of those farms, where there is natural pastur- 
age and ground suitable for the cultivation of potatoes and cereals, 
have been turned to any account by the proprietors. The middle 
part is dense, unbroken forest, and in the lower part, which pro- 
duces the Red Bark, a good many poor people of mixed race from 
the sierra, and a few liberated slaves from the plain, have formed 
little cane-farms, without asking leave of the owners or paying 
any rent. The farms belonging to General Flores have been for 
some years leased to a Senor Cordovez, who resides at Ambato ; 
and Dr. Francisco Neyra, notary public of Guaranda, rents the 
farms of the church, but only so far as respects the bark they 
produce. With these two gentlemen I had, therefore, to treat 
for permission to take from the bark woods the seeds and plants 
I wanted. At first they w r ere unwilling to grant me it at any price, 
but, after a good deal of parley, I succeeded in making a treaty 
with them, 'whereby, on the payment of 400 dollars, I was allowed 
to take as many seeds and plants as I liked, so long as I did not 
touch the bark. They also bound themselves to aid me in pro- 
curing the necessary workmen and beasts of burden. Through 
the intervention of Dr. Neyra, who has throughout done all he 
could to favour the enterprise, I engaged with his cascarilleros 
(who all inhabit the village of Guanujo, adjacent to Guaranda) 
that whilst they were procuring bark for him, they should also 
seek seeds and plants for me. 

From Dr. Neyra I ascertained that a site called Limon would 
be the most suitable for the centre of my operations. ... At 
Limon existed formerly the finest manchon of Red Bark ever 
seen. It was all cut down many years ago, but I was informed 
that shoots from the old roots had already grown to be stout little 
trees, large enough to bear flowers and fruit, and that the squatters 
(who are many of them cascarilleros of Guanujo), since they got 
to know the value of the bark, had carefully preserved such trees 
as were standing in their chacras or clearings. Messrs. Cordovez 
and Neyra have made their depot for the bark about four leagues 
lower down the valley, where a stream called Camaron, running 
down the next transversal valley to the northward, joins the 

The intestine war still continued to rage, and the country was 


divided into two factions, whereof one held Quito and the whole 
of the Sierra, and the other Guayaquil and the low country. Both 
maintained as large an army as they could raise in support of 
their cause, and pressed into their ranks all the suitable men they 
could lay hold on. Only those of pure Indian extraction were 
exempt from forced military service ; but, when the troops were 
marching about, they continually seized on Indians to carry their 
baggage and to drive laden beasts. . . . 

My preparations for entering the forest being completed, I was 
awaiting the coming of the dry season, when a severe attack of 
rheumatism so far disabled me, that I determined to delegate my 
commission to Dr. James Taylor of Riobamba. Animated, how- 
ever, by his assurance that in the warm forest I might expect to 
recover the use of my limbs, I finally resolved to proceed thither 
in his company. . . . 

We started from Ambato for the forest on the nth of June. 
Our road was the same as I had travelled the preceding year, until 
reaching the paramo of Sanancajas beyond the village of Mocha, 
where it turns to the right towards the southern shoulder of Chim- 
borazo. In consequence of my having needed two long rests on 
the way, night came on and found us still on the paramo. Thin 
clouds had enveloped Chimborazo most of the day, but towards 
evening they gradually cleared away, and after sunset the majestic 
dome was entirely uncovered, though a slender meniscus of cloud, 
assuming exactly the form of the cope of the mountain, and still 
illumined by the rays of the sun (which had set for us), hung for 
some time like a "glory " over the monarch of the Andes. When 
this at length melted away, the light reflected from the snow by a 
clear star-lit sky enabled our beasts to pick their way. It was 
8 o'clock when we reached the tambo of Chuquipogyo, a solitary 
house at between 12,000 and 13,000 feet of altitude. The rude 
accommodation and the inhospitable climate offered no induce- 
ment to a prolonged stay at Chuquipogyo, but as I was so much 
exhausted as neither to be able to sleep nor on the following 
morning to mount my horse, there was no alternative but to remain 
there all the day and night of the i2th. At 7 A.M. of the 131)1 we 
resumed our march. The day was fortunately fine, and we had 
only now and then a few drops of small rain and sleet, instead ol 
the snowstorms with which the traveller has too frequently to 
contend in the pass of Chimborazo. The vegetation consisted 
chiefly of hassocks of a Stipa and a Festuca, so that the -cncral 
aspect was that of a grey barren waste ; but at short intervals \\e 
crossed deep gullies whose sides were lined with mosses, and 
sprinkled with calceolarias, lupines, and other pretty plants. To- 
wards noon we came out on the A renal (the moraine of the 
glacier), near the limit of all vegetation. In a hollou a little 
below it was a marsh with a rivulet one of the sources ol the 


Pastasa in which I saw, not without surprise, a bed of the large- 
leaved Rumex, which is frequent in similar situations, at from 
8000 to 9000 feet. The Arenal consists of sand and fine gravel 
of a pale yellow colour. In one place the road, for a considerable 
distance, resembles a broad, smooth gravel-walk in England, so 
that the only bit of really good road in Ecuador has been made 
by nature's hand on the crest of the Andes. The vegetation is 
limited to scattered tufts, or rather hillocks, of a Valeriana, a 
Viola, an Achyrophorus, a Werneria, a Plantago, a Geranium, a 
a pretty silky-leaved Astragalus, and the elegant Sicfa 
is, all of which (save the Astragalus) have rigid leaves 
in the characteristic rosettes of super-alpine vegetation, and send 
enormously thick roots deep down into the loose soil, although 
even these do not secure them from being frequently torn up by 
the violent winds and storms that sweep over them. My attention 
w r as so much taken up with these interesting plants, and with the 
immense mass of snow on our right, and in tracing the downward 
course of ancient lava-streams, which are as visible on Chimborazo 
as on Cotopaxi and Tunguragua, that I scarcely felt the wind, 
which swept us along like a gale at sea, and occasionally lifted 
small fragments of gravel and hurled them at us. It is scarcely 
necessary to state that the wind is here always easterly through 
the day, getting up strong generally about 10 A.M., and rarely con- 
tinuing to blow with equal force through the night and following 
morning. Now and then it veers for a moment, and gives the 
traveller a side blow, which, were he not wary, might unhorse 

\Ve had left winter behind us on the eastern side of the Cor- 
dillera, and on our first day's journey, as we looked down the 
deep valley of the Pastasa, we saw a mantle of dense cloud and 
rain spread over the forest of Canelos. Even the eastern side of 
Sanancajas was wet and muddy, but after passing Chuquipogyo 
the road became nearly dry, and, on the western side of the 
Cordillera, it was even inconveniently dusty. In the direction of 
the Pacific not a cloud was visible, though the great distance and 
the hazy horizon prevented our actually seeing the ocean. So 
abrupt is the transition from the rainy season, which prevails on 
the eastern side of the Cordillera simultaneously with the dry- 
season on the western. 

The Arenal must be near a league across. As we descended 
from it the whole mountain side became covered with flowers, and 
nowhere have I seen alpine vegetation in such perfect state. 
Gcntiana ccniua, with its large pendulous red flowers, formed 
large patches, and was accompanied by three other species of the 
same genus, with purple and blue flowers, by Drabas, and other 
alpines. Still descending, the true alpines began to be mixed 
with half shrubby Fuchsia;, Calceolaria?, Eupatoria, etc. Even 


before reaching the zone where these genera grow in the greatest 
luxuriance, and at less than 2000 feet below the Arenal, we came 
on the first tree, a Polylepis (allied to our common burnet), form- 
ing groves here and there along the declivity. The bark of this 
tree resembles that of the birch in colour, and in its peeling off 
in flakes ; but if one could suppose an arborescent Acm-na, it 
would give a better idea of the pinnate silvery foliage. On the 
opposite side not of Chimborazo, which is bare of trees, but of 
its sister mountain Carguairazo a Buddleia approaches nearest 
the snow-line. In descending the same side of the Cordillera, 
towards Pallatanga, ten leagues south of Chimborazo, a Podo- 
carpus and a Berberis ascend higher than any other tree, while a 
Polylepis (distinct from that of Chimborazo) ceases 1000 feet 
below them. On Chimborazo, on the contrary, the same Podo- 
carpus fails a long way below the first-mentioned Polylepis. An 
accurate discrimination of the species is therefore needed, before 
we can compare their climatal distribution. 

Still descending, various other trees began to appear, such as 
Buddleiae, Myrcias, and especially an Araliacea, called from its 
large palmate leaves (which are hoary beneath) Puma-maqui or 
tiger's paw. Here and there the track rounded the heads of 
qucbradas, deep and dark, and'full of low trees, which were laden 
with mosses. 

At about half-way down we came out on a narrow grassy ridge, 
i 'a lied the Ensillada (Saddleback), where several long low straw huts 
had been recently erected for the accommodation of the soldiery 
when marching that way. As we neared the encampment, four 
raw-looking youths armed with lances rushed out and confronted 
us, demanding our passports. We had none to show, but our 
antagonists did not look very formidable, and a shot from one of 
our revolvers would probably have put them to flight, had I not 
been furnished with a weapon which I have found far safer and 
more efficacious in such contingencies, namely, a bottle of strong 
aguardiente, a taste of which dispelled all opposition to our pro- 
gress, and also served to induce the guardians of the pass to I mil 
us water lor making coffee. 

Below the ICnsillada we came on steeply inclined strata "I 
schists, across and down which we went on stumbling for at least 
a couple of hours ; for, as the track runs over their proje< ting ;md 
ja^-ed ed-es, which no pains have been taken to smooth down, 
we passed them not without inconvenience and danger. At this 
stage of our journey we became' enveloped in cloud, which lill. d 
all the valley of (Inaranda, so that we could thenceforth only 
discern objects near at hand. 

We reached (niaranda just after nightfall, having travelled 
eleven weary leagues from Chuquipogyo. (iuaramia is a rather 
neat little town, with good tiled house's built of adobes, and stands 


on ground which slopes down to the right bank of the Chimbo, 
at an elevation of about 9000 feet. As it is on the main road 
leading from Guayaquil to the interior, it presents in time of peace 
a very lively aspect in the dry season, when it is constantly full 
of travellers and beasts of burden ; but when we reached it there 
were not the least signs of traffic, and only soldiers were to be 
seen in the streets. The temperature is slightly warmer than that 
of Quito, and the adjacent hills are grassy, where not under culti- 
vation. From the little I could see of the indigenous vegetation, 
it appeared interesting. A large Thalictrum was abundant, as 
was also a sarmentose Labiate, with spikes of secund scarlet 
flowers, and a Tagetes, called, aptly enough, Allpa-anis (earth 
aniseed), from its scent and its lowly habit. 

I was detained several days at Guaranda, partly in purchasing 
provisions for the forest, including an ox to be taken alive to our 
rendezvous, and partly in the vain attempt to procure licence for 
our cascarilleros (who had lately all been enrolled either in the 
line or the militia) to proceed to the forest ; but I had to con- 
tent myself with the assurance that, until the country was de- 
livered from its present straits, not a single citizen could be 
spared for any other service. Only one of the cascarilleros, whose 
rancho we were to occupy, actually accompanied us to Limon, 
whether with leave or without I never knew, and he was there too 
much occupied in distilling cane-brandy, and in drinking no small 
portion of it himself, to be of the slightest use to us in seeking 
plants and seeds. Through Dr. Neyra's intervention, I secured 
the services of four Indians of Guanujo, and they proved of the 
greatest use to us, especially after we began to rear the Bark 

As far as Guaranda, two of our boxes had been carried by each 
beast of burden, but thenceforward, on account of the straitness 
of the path, they had to be carried singly. On the steep, narrow, 
and slippery tracks which traverse the western slope of the 
Quitonian Andes, the beasts of burden are chiefly bulls, called 
cabrestillos, whose cloven hoofs enable them to descend with 
greater security than even mules. Our provision of potatoes, 
peas, and barley-meal, etc., had to be carried in sacks so small 
that two of them placed on the back of each cabrestillo did not 
project beyond the animal's sides. 

We set forth from Guaranda on the xyth of June, the direction 
of our route being first northerly, as far as the adjacent village of 
Guanujo, and then north-west to the pass of Llullundengo, on a 
ridge of Chimborazo, nearly in front of the Ensillada (from which 
the deep, wide valley of Guaranda separates it), and at a height 
of about 12,000 feet. Having surmounted this, we entered on 
the most precipitous and dangerous descent I have ever passed. 
The track leads straight down a narrow ridge, varied at wide 


intervals by level steppes, rarely exceeding a hundred yards across. 
The soil, from the summit down to the very plain, is a yellowish 
or reddish loam, wherein the sandy element prevails in some parts 
and in others the clayey, and it is of immense thickness, as we 
could see in the deep gullies worn in the mountain side by UK 
rains and in the landslips. Angular masses of rock are sparingly 
embedded in it and scattered on the surface, but rounded pel 
are rare. 

The vegetation in the pass consisted of Vaccinia (especially 
V. Martina, Benth.), Gaultheripe, Melastomaceas, Compositre, etc., 
disposed in compact shrubberies, with intervening grassy glades. 
But we had scarcely turned the ridge before the forest became 
dense and continuous, at first low and bushy, but increasing in 
height at every step. At about 9500 feet we came on the first 
Cascarilla Serrana or Hill Bark, and it accompanied us down- 
wards to, perhaps, 8000 feet. It is called indifferently Cuchicara 
and Pata de Gallinazo, which I believe to be terms merely in- 
dicative of the relative facility with which the bark may be stripped 
off in different individuals, either of the same or of various 

At 3 P.M. we reached the Rio de Tablas, a considerable stream 
of clear water, foaming over large stones ; its roar had been audible 
tor the last hour of our steep descent. We crossed it, and on a 
deserted clearing of some two acres drew up for the night, uniting 
all our rubber ponchos to make a fall-to roof, to shield us from 
the night dews. The animals were turned loose to graze on the 
scanty grass in the clearing and on the leaves of a Chus<iue;i on 
the edge of the forest. 

I have nowhere seen Melastomacese so abundant as in the 
forest surrounding our encampment. One species grows to a 
stout tree 40 feet high, and bears large pendulous panicles (a 
novel feature to me in this order) of blood-red flowers, with large 
turgid yellow anthers. A lower spreading tree, apparently a 
Pleroma, bore numerous large violet flowers. Other smaller 
sarmentose species had also large rose or violet flowers. Alto- 
gether, I have never seen so gay a forest vegetation, e\<vpt on the 
river Uaupes. 

\Ve were still in a rather cool region, but the night was dr\ and 
the wind very slight, so that we had not to complain of cold. After 
an early breakfast the next morning, we fallowed our way, \\hich 
became still narrower and rougher as we proceeded. \\'c had to 
climb the high ridge separating the valley of the Rio de Tabla^ 
from that of the Chasuan, and then to descend to the latter rivt. r. 
but there were many subsidiary ridges, with intervening hollou-. 
or sometimes nearly level crossings (called travesias). The ti 
in the precipitous ascents and descents is mostly a gully uorn 
in the soft loamy soil by the transit of men and beasts, to the 


depth in some places of 10 feet, and so strait that the traveller, to 
save his legs from being crushed, must needs throw them on his 
horse's neck. Here and there a large stone sticks out, forming a 
high step, in descending which there is risk of both horse and 
rider turning a summerset. In the travesias there is a consider- 
able depth of black tenacious greasy mould, worn by the equable 
step of beasts of burden into transverse ridges (called camellones, 
from their resemblance to the humps on a camel's back), with 
alternating furrows from i to 3 feet deep. This mould is formed 
in great part of the decayed leaves of the Suru, a bamboo 
of the genus Chusquea, 1 which forms almost impenetrable thickets, 
and whose arched stems and intricate branches, overhanging our 
way, much impeded our progress. In such places there was still 
a good deal of water and mud, for the rainy season was only just 
over in the forest. 

At 6000 feet we lost the Wax palm (Ceroxylon andicola, H. et 
B. ), which had accompanied us, though growing very sparsely, 
from about the upper limit of the Hill Bark. It descends to the 
same altitude on the eastern side of the Cordillera. Lower down, 
palms began to be tolerably abundant, but of few species. . . . 

At a very little below 4000 feet we came out on the first 
chacras at Limon, where I almost immediately noted, and with 
no small satisfaction, a group of three Red Bark trees, each 
consisting of from two to four stems of 30 feet high, springing 
from old stools, and bearing a small quantity of fruit. We had 
still about two miles of gentle descent to the trapiche (cane-mill) 
destined for our habitation, and we reached it early in the after- 
noon, in the midst of a dense fog. 

The trapiche stood on a narrow ridge running eastward 
and westward, sloping gradually on the northern side to the 
Chasuan, distant half a mile, and very abruptly, or 200 feet 
perpendicular in about 300 yards, to a tributary rivulet on the 
southern side. It was merely a long, low shed, and a sketch 
of its internal arrangements may serve for that of all the other 
trapiches, of which there were about a dozen at Limon. About 
two-thirds of its length was occupied by the rude machinery and 
adjuncts of the cane-mill. The remaining third had an upper 
story with a flooring of bamboo planks, half of it open at the 
sides, and the other half with a bamboo wall about 6 feet high, 
not reaching the roof in any part of it. This was our dormitory, 
and it was reached by a. ladder merely a tree trunk, with rude 
notches for steps. On the ground floor was the kitchen, with a 
wall of rough planks of raft-wood, placed by no means in juxta- 

1 The Chusquere are bamboos peculiar to the hills, with solid stems, rarely 
exceeding 30 feet in height, and not preserving an erect position for more than 
a few feet from the ground. 


position, but not so wide apart that a dog or a pig could have 
got through the interstices. The whole fabric was, therefore, 
abundantly ventilated, and only too frequently filled with fog, as 
we found to our cost, in coughs and aching limbs, and in mouldy 
garments, saddles, etc. 

Having reposed a day at Limon, Dr. Taylor went on with my 
horses two days' journey to Ventanas, hoping to find Mr. Cross 
there and to bring him up. During his absence I had to look 
after killing the ox and drying the beef, and to repair our dwelling, 
which was sadly fallen to decay, especially as to the roof. I 
therefore set the Indians to drag bamboos and palm-leaves out 
of the forest, with which we patched up the hut as well as we 
could. I visited also all the Bark trees known to exist within 
a short distance, and was well content to see on many of them 
a good crop of capsules, which had already nearly reached 
their full size on the finest trees ; on other trees, however, there 
were only very young capsules, and even a good many flowers, 
so that I might have obtained at least thirty good flowering 
specimens ; but, wishing to gather as many seeds as possible, 
I dried only a couple of specimens, which I had afterwards cause 
to regret, for not one of the late -flowering panicles produced 
ripe capsules. I learnt from the inhabitants that the trees had 
been covered with blossom in the latter part of April and begin- 
ning of May. 

When Dr. Taylor had been ten days at Yentanas, a brief note 
from Mr. Mocatta was left at Guaranda by the Spanish minister 
(on his way from Guayaquil to Ouito), informing me that Mr. 
Cross had been taken suddenly ill, when about to start for 
Ventanas. I therefore sent to recall Dr. Taylor, and, after his 
return to Limon, our operations were confined to visiting the Hark 
trees daily, which extended through a zone of about four miles in 
breadth, and to collecting and studying the accompanying vegeta 
tion. As we had a fair share of sun towards the end of Jinn , I 
was in hopes the fruit would speedily ripen ; but nearly all through 
the month of July the weather was cool, with a good deal of mist 
and fog, so that the capsules scarcely increased in size, many fell 
oil', and some were attacked by a maggot and curled up. On the 
tree which bore most capsules they began to turn mouldy, the 
UK mid being not fungi but rudimentary lichens. I began to tear 
we should get no ripe seeds, and as the seeds had been especiallj 
recommended to me in my instructions from Kn.;land. it may be 
imagined how severe was my feeling ot disappointment 1 had 
another motive for fearing the same result. Tin- people of Limon 
had got a notion that I should buy the seeds of them, and one 
mornin:'. when I made my round among the trees. 1 found that 
two of them had been stripped oi \ < r\ pani< le, undoubtedly l>\ 
some one who calculated on selling me the set This was \er\ 


provoking, for the seeds were far from ripe, and all the rest might 
be destroyed in the same way, so I immediately went round to 
the inhabitants and informed them that the seeds would be of no 
value to me unless I gathered them myself; and I offered a 
gratuity to the owners of the chacras where there were trees in 
fruit to allow no one to approach the trees except myself and Dr. 
Taylor. This had the desired effect, and I do not think a single 
capsule was molested afterwards. 

Whilst Dr. Taylor was at Yentanas, the troops of the Pro- 
visional Government of Quito began to march down from the 
Sierra to attack the forces which held the low country, and they 
selected the route by Limon and Ventanas, along which an army 
had never been known to pass. For six weeks we were kept in 
continual alarm by the passing of troops, and it needed all our 
vigilance to prevent our horses and goods being stolen ; indeed, 
one of my horses was carried off, though I afterwards recovered 
it. It was now clear that, unless there had been two of us, both 
independent of the political feuds of the country, the enterprise 
must have fallen through. All our provisions had to be procured 
from Guaranda, and, as they soon deteriorated in a moist, warm 
climate, whenever our stock got low Dr. Taylor had to take my 
horses and an Indian and go all the long distance to Guaranda to 
fetch more. . . . About half a day's journey down the valley 
there were a good many plantains on a deserted farm, and at 
twice the distance a negro had a fine plantation of them, from 
which I two or three times got up a mule-load; but the hungry 
soldiery soon made an end of them, and then even that resource 
was cut off. 

The view from Limon takes in a vast extent of country, both 
upwards and downwards, and the whole is unbroken forest, save 
towards the source of the Chasuan, where a lofty ridge rises above 
the region of arborescent vegetation and is crowned by a small 
breadth of grassy paramo. Nowhere are there any bare precipices, 
and a very steep declivity forming an angle of 60 with the 
horizon, appearing far away up the Chasuan, is as densely wooded 
as any other part. The opening at Limon, it will be understood, 
is purely artificial. 

The crystalline waters of the Chasuan and its tributaries, in 
that part of their course where the Red Bark grows, run over a 
black or dull blue, shining, and very compact trachyte, which 
would seem to be the foundation of the Quitonian Andes, for it 
appears almost everywhere in the lower valleys, on both the eastern 
and western declivities. In the river Pastasa it occurs at from 
3000 up to 7000 feet. Generally it is exposed to view only in the 
bed of the streams, or on their banks, where it often rises into 
rugged and fantastic cliffs. Over the trachyte at Limon there is 


to be seen in the bottom of the valleys a fine-grained ferruginous 
sandstone of a deep brown colour, in thick strata, and usually in 
large detached masses, lying either horizontally or variously tilted 
up. I suppose, therefore, that, so far from having been deposited 
over the trachyte, it is merely the remains of a large bed of rock 
which once extended conformably over the whole region, and has 
been shivered and dislocated by the upheaval of the trachyte 
itself. It seems the same sort of rock as exists about the base of 
Tunguragua, and forms the lofty cliffs on the southern side of that 
volcano, where the cataract of Guandisagua comes down at three 
bounds from the edge of the snow to the warm valley of Capil, in 
which grow oranges and the sugar-cane. I have never been able 
to find any trace of fossils in this rock. . . . Nowhere in the 
Quitonian Andes have I seen the stratified rocks limestones, 
friable sandstones, and fossiliferous shales all, I believe, belong- 
ing to the lias formation, which constitute the eastern declivity of 
the Andes of Peru, or, at least, of the Province of Maynas. No 
Bark tree was seen growing on rock of any kind. The soil at 
Lirnon is the same deep loamy alluvial deposit, with very few 
stones intermixed, as we had seen from Llullundengo downwards, 
nor does a bit of rock crop out in the whole of the descent. . . . 
The n.orthern and eastern sides of the trees had borne most 
(lowers, and, except on one tree of more open growth than the 
rest, scarcely a capsule ripened on their southern and western 
sides. These phenomena are explained by the fact that, in the 
summer season, the trees receive most sun from the east and 
north, for the mornings are generally clear and sunny, whilst the 
afternoons are almost invariably foggy, and the sun's declination 
is northerly. Another notable circumstance is that the trees 
standing in open ground -pasture, cane - field, etc.- are far 
healthier and more luxuriant than those growing in the forest, 
where they are hemmed in and partially shaded by other trees, 
and that, while many of the former had flowered freely, the latter 
were, without exception, sterile. This plainly shows that, although 
the Red Bark may need shade whilst young and tender, it iv,ill\ 
requires (like most trees) plenty of air, light, and room wherein to 
develop its proportions. 

The cascarilleros have found out that the bark is worth money, 
but neither they nor the greater part of the inhabitants of Ecuador 
have any correct idea of the use that is made of it in foreign 
countries; the prevalent opinion being that a permanent coffee- or 
chocolate-coloured dye (still a desideratum in Ecuador) is extracted 
from it. I explained to the people of Limon how it yielded the 
precious quinine which was of such vast use in medicine: but I 
afterwards heard them saying one to another, "It is all very line 
tor him to stuff us with such a tale ; of course //< won't tell us how 


the dye is made, or we should use it ourselves for our ponchos and 
bayetas, and not let foreigners take away so much of it." There 
is to this day the same repugnance to using the bark as a febri- 
fuge as Huinboldt remarked sixty years ago, and as exists also in 
New Granada, where Cedron and various other substances are 
preferred to Quina. I think I can explain this repugnance. The 
inhabitants of South America, although few of them have heard 
of Dr. Cullen, have a theory which refers all diseases to the 
influence of either heat or cold, and (by what seems to them a 
simple process of reasoning) their remedies to agents of the 
opposite complexion ; thus, if an ailment have been brought on 
by "calor," it must be cured with "frescos"; but if by "frio," 
with "calidos." Confounding cause and effect, they suppose all 
fever to proceed from " calor/' Now they consider the cascarilla 
a terribly strong " calido," and justly ; so, by their theory (which 
is the reverse of Hahnemann's), its use could only aggravate the 
symptoms of fever. . . . 

Even at Guayaquil there is such a general disinclination to the 
use of quinine that, when the physicians there have occasion to 
prescribe it, they indicate it by the conventional term " alcaloide 
vejetal," which all the apothecaries understand to mean "sulphate 
of quinine," while the patient is kept in happy ignorance that he 
is taking that deadly substance. 

The lowest site of the Red Bark at Limon is at an elevation of 
2450 feet above the sea, where the Chasuan receives the rivulet 
already mentioned as running below our hut. It is precisely the 
point where the track from Ventanas leaves the Chasuan (along 
whose margin it had run thus far, with a gentle ascent from the 
plain) and begins to ascend the steep cuesta separating the 
Chasuan from its tributary, the ascent being 350 feet in the first 
500 yards ; so that where the real ascent of the Andes begins there 
also begins the Red Bark. At San Antonio, however, I saw a 
tree at a height of no more than 2300 feet ; and, if I might believe 
my informants, trees of immense size have been cut down at 
points whose height I estimate at barely over 2000 feet. Follow- 
ing the track leading to Guarancla, the last Bark trees growing by 
the roadside are at a height of 3680 feet ; but leaving the track, 
and following the hill-side on the left bank of the Limon, there are 
Bark trees scattered about for a distance of a league, and up to a 
height of near 4500 feet. On the opposite ridge, or that separating 
the Limon from the Chasuan, there are also several trees ascend- 
ing to a still greater elevation, or nearly to 5000 feet ; but I did 
not take the barometer to these latter, which were all sterile, in 
consequence of growing in lofty forest. 

The cascarilleros do not usually go in quest of Bark trees 
before August, there being generally less fog in that and the 
following month than at any other period of the year. The 


trees being cut down and the roots dug out, the bark is stripped 
off much in the same way as oak bark in England, but no other 
tool than the machete is used. . . . For drying the bark a stage 
3 feet high is erected, called a tendal. Care must be taken 
that the flame from the fire beneath the tendal does not reach 
the bark, and if rain be apprehended the whole has to be roofed 
over. When the bark is perfectly dry, they have only to convey 
it to the depot at Camaron and receive their twenty dollars per 
quintal, which is the price usually paid them by Messrs. Cordovez 
and Neyra ; or rather, they have generally received the value in 
advance, according to the custom of the country. 

In the valleys of the Chasuan and Limon I saw about 200 
trees of Red Bark standing. Out of the whole number, only two 
or three were saplings which had not been disturbed ; all the rest 
grew from old stools, whose circumference averaged from 4 to 5 
feet. I was unable to find a single young plant under the trees, 
although many of the latter bore signs of having flowered in 
previous years. This was explained by the flowering trees grow- 
ing uniformly in open places, either in cane-fields which had been 
frequently weeded or in pastures where cattle had grazed and 
trodden about. The young plants, which I had been assured I 
should find abundantly, proved to be either stolons or seedlings 
(very few of the latter) of the worthless Cinchona magnifolia, 
which grows plentifully at Limon, and must have fruited during 
the rainy season, as the capsules were all burst open when I 
arrived there. 

Cinchona siiccintbra is a very handsome tree, and, in looking 
out over the forest, I could never see any other tree at all com- 
parable to it for beauty. Across the narrow glen below our hut, 
and at nearly the same altitude, there was a large old stool from 
which sprang several shoots, only one of which rose to a tree, 
while the rest formed a bush at its base. This tree was 50 feet 
high, branched from about one-third of its height, and the coma 
formed a symmetrical though elongated paraboloid. It lud 
never flowered, but was so densely leafy that not a branch could 
be seen ; and the large, broadly oval, deep green and shining 
leaves, mixed with decaying ones of a blood-red colour, gave the 
tree a most striking appearance. C. inagnifolia, called here 
Cascarillo macho (male bark), grows rapidly to be a large tree. 
I saw one which must have been over 80 feet high, and I cut 
down a young tree which measured 60 feet. Saplings of 15 to 20 
feet have a very noble appearance, from the large heart-shaped 
leaves, little short of a yard long; but in full -ro\vn trees the 
ramification is so sparse and irregular, and the leaves are so much 
mutilated by caterpillars, that all beauty is lost. This species 
sends out stolons from the root, which sometimes form a matted 



bed, looking like a growth of seedlings. I have not observed the 
same peculiarity in any other Cinchona. 

I proceed now to give some account of the other indigenous 
inhabitants of the Red Bark woods, animal and vegetable. 

The Andine Bear, chiefly inhabiting the middle wooded 
region, descends to the lower limit of the Red Bark. On the 
eastern side of the Andes it rarely goes as low as 3000 feet. 

The Jaguar (Fclis onca\ chiefly inhabiting the plain, does not 
yet seem to have climbed as high as Limon, but at Tarapoto, in 
the Andes of Maynas, it was abundant up to more than 3000 feet 
elevation. The Puma or Leon (Felis concolor) exists not only in 
the plain but throughout the wooded slopes of the Andes ; it is 
only too abundant in the roots of the Cordillera, and I have seen 
its footsteps on recent snow at a height of 13,000 feet on the high 
mountains to the eastward of Riobamba. "Puma" is the Indian 
generic name for every sort of tiger, but the Spanish colonists 
limit it to the red tiger, and call the spotted jaguar "tigre." Bears 
never troubled our hut, but we had two nocturnal visits from the 
puma. On one of these occasions the puma seized and was carry- 
ing off a little dog, but a very large and fine black dog sprang on 
the puma and forced him to let go his hold. . . . The screams 
of an animal seized by a tiger are about the most doleful sounds 
one ever hears in the forest, and after being once heard their 
cause can never be mistaken. 

The Wild Pig (Peccary) frequently ascends to Limon, where 
there are also two or three smaller pachyderms. 

Two sorts of Monkeys are common, one of them almost as 
noisy as the howling monkey, but of a different genus. I do not 
know of any monkey which ascends to the temperate region of 
the Andes. 

A pretty red-headed Parrot, so small that it might be taken for 
a paroquet, arrived in immense flocks about the end of July and 
took up its summer residence in the Red Bark woods. The same 
species abounds in the valley of Alausi, where it makes sad havoc 
of the maize crops, and ascends by day to 8500 feet, but always 
descends to Puma-cocha to roost. Along with the parrots came 
Toucans of two species. 

Snakes are very frequent, and some of them venomous. 
Limon seems to be the highest point to which the Equis ascends, 
a large and deadly snake which is a great pest in the plains of 
Guayaquil ; it takes its name from being marked with crosses (like 
the letter "x") all along the back. 

Butterflies I have rarely seen in greater number, and they 
include at least four species of those large blue butterflies 
(probably species of Morpho) which, on the eastern side, are 
seldom seen above the hot region. Cockroaches, too, ascend 


higher than I have elsewhere observed. We had four or five 
species in our hut, none of them large, and one very minute 
species which often damaged my fresh specimens of plants by 
mutilating the flowers. It is so abundant at Camaron, 1000 
feet lower down, that it fills the pease and barley meal and 
renders them uneatable. Ants are far more frequent than in the 
temperate region, but less so than in the plains. House flies are 
as great a nuisance as at Ambato, and though fleas are not quite 
so numerous as in the cool sandy highlands, there were yet plenty 
of them (as the Spaniards say) "para el gasto." 

As above indicated, Limon was once entirely clad with forests, 
in which respect it contrasts strongly with the valley of Alausi, 
where the slopes on both sides are covered with grass, even down 
to the hot region, and only the lateral valleys and the plateaux are 
wooded. I cannot doubt that the difference arises from the 
former being situated in the roots of a snowy mountain, while 
there is no perpetual snow within a long distance of the latter. I 
have observed the same difference, referable to the same cause, 
along the eastern side of the Andes. After passing the valley of 
San Antonio, to the southward, there is this intermixture of woods 
and pajonales all the way to the frontier of Peru. As would 
naturally be expected, the vegetation at Limon is far more 
luxuriant, and the abundance of ferns, especially in the narrower 
valleys, is in striking contrast to their scarcity at Puma-cocha. 
Tree-ferns, of five species, are everywhere scattered in the forest, 
and add a feature of beauty to the scenery quite wanting in the 
valley of Alausi. 

1 estimate the average height of the virgin forest at Limon at 
90 feet ; but, as everywhere else in the tropics, there are here and 
there trees which stand out far above the mass of the forest. The 
monarch of the forest at Limon is an Artocarpea, which, from the 
leaves and from flowers picked up beneath the trees, I have little 
hesitation in referring to Coussapoa. The following are the 
dimensions of a tree of this species which I found prostrate in a 
recent clearing. Length 120 feet, not including the terminal 
branches, which had been lopped off, still 20 inches in circum- 
ference, and which would have made it at least 20 feet more. 
Circumference at 10 feet from the ground 12 feet 4 inches ; from 
that point narrow buttresses were sent off to the ground on all 
sides. At 25 feet the trunk was forked, and the ramification was 
thenceforth dichotomous, at a narrow angle. 

No other tree reaches the dimensions of the Artocarpea. A 
Lauracea, called Quebra-hacha (Break-axe), rises to no to 120 
feet; its exceedingly hard wood is the usual material for the 
cylinders of the trapiches. My collection contains unfortunately 
very few of the larger trees. On the western slope of the 


Quitonian Andes there is a great burst of blossom at the com- 
mencement of the dry season, that is, towards the end of May : 
and another of less extent after the rains of the autumnal equinox ; 
so that, as my visit fell between those two epochs, many of the 
trees were in the same unsatisfactory state as the Hill Bark already 
mentioned, and others had not yet begun to flower. Besides, I 
should hardly, under any circumstances, have been at the trouble 
of cutting down a large tree for the sake of only two or three 
specimens ; and, after we began to prepare the Bark plants, the 
Indians could hardly be spared for any other service. 

In proceeding to give a classified list of the plants collected 
and observed, I shall generally limit myself to indicating their 
natural order. In order that my attention might not be called 
away from the main object of the enterprise, I collected very few 
(often unique) specimens of each plant. . . . The general char- 
acter of the vegetation may, however, be sketched very intelligibly 
with very little reference to species. 

[The following account of the vegetation of the 
Red Bark forests has been reduced by the omission 
of all passages not directly bearing on the subject, 
or dealing only with botanical details. It is, how- 
ever, so full of information on points of geographical 
distribution and of examples of unusual plant- 
structure, and also contains so many short descrip- 
tions of strange or beautiful flowers still unknown 
to our horticulturists, as to make it both interesting 
and instructive to all who study or appreciate the 
beauty and variety of the vegetation of tropical 
regions. It is therefore, with these exceptions, 
printed entire.] 

FORESTS OF CHIMBORAZO (alt. 2000 to 5000 feet) 

Graminece, 4. 1 A good many species of this order were 
observed, but, as is mostly the case in the dry season, nearly all 
partially dried up and out of flower ; besides that, even in the 

1 The number affixed to most of the orders indicates how many species of 
that order I gathered in a perfect state. 


recesses of the forest, they were sought out and cropped by the 
starving animals. After the bamboo above spoken of, the Arrow- 
cane (Gynerium saccharoides] is the most notable grass, and 
forms considerable beds, especially near streams. This species 
is abundant enough on low shores and islands of the Amazon, 
but it has nowhere spread far from the river-bank, nor (so far as 
I can ascertain) is it found wild on any of the tributaries of that 
river, but those which rise in the Andes. . . . Even on the 
Amazon it looks dwindled, and rarely exceeds 1 8 or 20 feet high ; 
but on reaching the roots of the Andes of Maynas, one begins to 
see this noble grass in its true proportions. ... It attains its 
maximum of development on stony springy declivities, at an 
elevation of about 1500 feet above the sea, where a forest of 
Arrow-cane, with its tall slender stems of 30 to 40 feet, each 
supporting a fan-shaped coma of distichous leaves, and a long- 
stalked thyrse of rose and silver flowers waving in the wind, is 
truly a grand sight. The longest stem I ever measured was one 
I met a man carrying on his shoulder at Tarapoto. From that 
stem had been cut away the leaves and peduncle, and the base 
of the stem, which is generally beset by stout-arched exserted 
roots (serving as buttresses), to a height of i to 3 feet ; yet the 
residue was 37 feet long, so that the entire length must have been 
at least 45 feet. 

The other grasses accompanying the Red Bark comprise 
several of those rampant forest Panica which thread among 
adjacent branches to a height of 15 feet or more. The long 
internodes serve as tubes for tobacco pipes and for other similar 
uses. There are also two broad-leaved Gamalotes of the same 
genus. Of grasses frequent in the hot plains I noted only 
Dactyloctf nium . Egyptiacum and Paspalum conju^atum. 

Cyperacec?, \. This order is scarce, both in individuals and 
species. The half-dozen species observed belong chiefly to 
Scleria and Isolepis. 

Aracci.?, 4. As abundant and varied as in the forests of 
the plains. An arborescent species, called Casimin by the 
inhabitants, grows everywhere, even on hills where there is little 
moisture. The stems reach 10 feet, and are sometimes thicker 
than the thigh, though so soft that a very slight stroke oi 3 
cutlass suffices to sever them. The small spatlies are fascicled 
in the axils of the leaves, but of all that I opened the contents 
were so injured by earwigs and other insects that it was impos- 
sible to ascertain the structure of the flowers. . . . Species of 
Anthurium and Philodcndron are frequent, and their deeply-cloven 
or perforated leaves often assume grotesque forms. One very 
beautiful climbing Aroidea, with shaggy petioles and leaves 
streaked with deep violet above, purple beneath, I could n 
find in flower. 


Cyclanthacece. - - Three scandent species of Carludovica, all 
with bifid leaves. 

Pahnacece. Frequent enough, but of few species. The Cadi 
or Ivory palm is everywhere dispersed, and is precisely the same 
species as I saw at Puma-cocha. I gathered and analysed the 
male inflorescence, but the stripping off the fronds for thatch is 
unfavourable to the development of the fruit, which I never saw 
in a perfect state. A very prickly Bactris, 20 feet high, with five 
or six stems from a root, grows here and there ; and in shady 
places three or four Geonomse are frequent. The Euterpe grows 
chiefly at the upper limit of the Red Bark. A noble Attalea 
(called Cumbi and Pal ma real) extends up the valley of San 
Antonio to the lower limit of the Bark region. It has a slight 
beard to the petiole. 

Bromeliacece. Many species are perched about on the trees, 
but none of striking aspect. The presence or absence of this 
family affords no indication of climate on the equator, for trees 
of Buddleia and Polylepis, at the upper limit of arborescent 
vegetation, are as thickly hung with a Bromeliacea as any trees 
on the Amazon. 

Amaryllidea, 2. Both herbaceous twiners, the one a Bomarea, 
with pendulous umbels of showy flowers, calyx red, corolla white, 
with violet spots ; an order, so far as my experience goes, entirely 
absent from equinoctial plains, but tolerably abundant in the 
temperate and cool regions of the Andes. 

Musacea. Heliconia, two species. 

Zingiberacetz. Cossus, three species. This is about the 
highest point at which I have seen any Cossus or Heliconia, two 
genera frequent in the plains. 

Marantacece. Two or three species of Maranta were observed. 

Orckidacece, 28. - -Tolerably abundant, but comprising few 
handsome species. Most epiphytal Orchids love light, and in 
the dense lofty forest they are rarely seen, and often inaccessible, 
for they grow on the upper branches of large trees, and descend 
to the lower branches only on the margin of wide streams, where 
the whole of one side of the trees is exposed to the light. At 
Limon, however, in ancient clearings, now become pastures, 
where a few trees of the primitive forest have been left, and 
where others have here and there sprung up, despite the treading 
about of cattle, the branches are laden with Orchids and 
Vacciniums ; and although none of the former be of remarkable 
beauty, yet they are in so great variety, and there is such a charm 
in seeing them on the rugged mossy trees in their native woods, 
that to me they were always objects of interest. The finest 
Orchid, as to its flowers, is an Odontoglossum, with large 
chocolate-coloured flowers, margined with yellow. As respects 
foliage, a fairy Stelis (S. calodyction, MSS.), with roundish pale 


green leaves, beautifully reticulated with the purple veins, far 
excels every other plant seen in the Cinchona woods. I found 
hut a single tuft, almost buried in moss on the trunk of a tree. 
An Orchid (genus unknown), with thick coriaceous leaves, curi- 
ously spotted with white a rare feature in epiphytal Orchids- 
was discovered by Mr. Cross. Very remarkable was an Oncidium, 
with numerous peduncles, 10 feet long, twining round one 
another and on adjacent plants. Besides the Orchids growing 
on trees, a good many species, allied to Spiranthes, grow on the 
earth and on decayed logs. 

The 28 Orchids gathered in flower are, perhaps, scarcely a 
third of the whole number observed. On the slopes of the 
Andes some Orchid or other is in flower all through the year, and 
almost every species has its distinct epoch for flowering. 

Commelynacece. Three species of Commelyna seen, chiefly 
near streams and in cultivated places. 

Pontederiacece, i. A small creeping plant, with white or very 
pale lilac flowers, probably a Pontederia, in moist springy situations 
by the Chasuan. 

Dioscoreacea. Only the male plant seen of a Dioscorea. 

Smilacec?, 2. Species of Smilax, both with roundish stems 
and a few prickles. 

Gnetacece, i. A Gnetum (G. tri nerve, MSS.), apparently 
parasitic, and remarkable for its three-ribbed leaves. It is the 
first species of this genus I have seen in the hills, though Gneta 
are common enough in the plains, and especially on the Rio 
Negro, where the kernel of the fruit is eaten roasted. 

Myricacece, i. A wax -bearing Myrica, which descends to 
2000 feet on open beaches of the Rio San Antonia, but was not 
observed by the Chasuan. The same or a very similar species 
grows on wide gravelly beaches of the Pastasa, Morona, and other 
rivers which descend the eastern slope of the Andes, and a good 
deal of wax is obtained from its fruit, principally by the Jibaro 
Indians, who sell it to traders from Quito, Ambato, etc., under 
the name of "Cera de laurel " or laurel wax. 

Urticacetf, 2. Two or three fruticose 1'ilea- were observed, 
but the only plant gathered was a tree 25 feet high (growing by 
the Rio San Antonio), which seems a species of Sponin, a genus 
placed by some authors in Ulmace;i-. 

Moracece. Here and there grows a parasitical Kiciis, but the 
species seemed much fewer than I have observed in other similar 

Artocarpece. None gathered, although, as above remark' il. 
the tallest tree of the forest belongs to this order. Two CVcropia- 
are not infrequent, and another tree, with a tall white trunk and 
large hoary pedatifid leaves, looking quite like a species of the 


same genus, extends up the slopes of the mountains to 8000 feet, 
and has its lower limit above that of the Cinchona ; but as I have 
never seen its flowers, and as the Cecropias are apparently confined 
to the hot and warm regions, I suppose it may be generically 

Euphorbiacece, 3. The species gathered comprise an Acalypha, 
a Phyllanthus, and a small tree of unknown genus. . . . 

Callitrichacece. A Callitriche, in pools by the Rio San Antonio. 

Monimiacea. Three species of Citrosma are frequent. 

Menispermacece. A woody twiner of this order was noted, 
probably an Abuta, but without flower or fruit. 

Ciicurbitacea, 8. Plants of this family are abundant, and, 
besides the eight species gathered, some others were seen in a 
barren state. I gathered two Anguriae, with trifoliolate leaves, 
and the characteristic scarlet flowers of the genus. One plant, 
apparently of this order, puzzled me much, for the woody stems, 
partly twining and partly climbing by means of radicles, and no 
thicker than packthread, bore a bunch of slender flowers (calyx 
scarlet, corolla yellow) near the base ; but though I pulled down 
some stems of enormous length, I could see no traces of leaves 
on them. At length I succeeded in getting down an entire 
stem, 40 feet long (by no means one of the longest), which had 
a couple of trifoliate leaves near the apex. . . . 

Begoniacece, 4. Two climbing and two terrestrial species. 
Of the latter, one is a large coarse plant 10 feet high, with leaves 
resembling those of Heracleum giganteum. I have gathered the 
same, or a very similar species, on .the eastern side of the 
Cordillera. One of the climbing species is very ornamental, from 
its long pinnate shoots bearing a profusion of roseate flowers and 
generally purplish leaves. This genus, entirely absent from the 
Amazonian plain, though it has one representative in that of 
Guayaquil, abounds on the woody slope of the Andes, especially 
in the warm and temperate regions. 

Papavacece. Two species of Carica were seen, both slender 
simple arbuscles of 5 to 6 feet, the one by the Chasuan, the 
other by the San Antonio. The leaves of the former are boiled 
and eaten by the inhabitants under the name of " col del monte " 
(wood cabbage). . . . 

Flaconrtiacece, i. A small tree, probably a species of Bonara. 

Samydea. A Casearia, which seems to be C. Sylvestris, grows 
in some abundance, but the fruits were open and empty. This 
is the highest point at which I have seen a species of Casearia, 
a genus abundant in the plains, especially in woods of secondary 

Passiflorece, 2. Both species of Passiflora ; the one a woody 
twiner (frequently found on the Red Bark tree), with entire leaves, 
smallish green flowers, and globose berries the size of a cherry ; 


the other a beautiful arbuscle, seen only in the valley of San 
Antonio, where it grows from the very plain up to 2600 feet. 
The slender stems, of from 8 to 14 feet, are usually simple and 
arched, and the large white flowers grow in small pendulous 
corymbs from the axils of very large, elongate, glaucous leaves. . . . 

Crudferce, 2. Apparently species of Sisymbrium, the one 
growing near streams, the other in open situations ; both in very 
small quantity. . . . 

Capparidacece. The only species observed was a Cleome, a 
genus which extends from the plain to a great height on the 
wooded hills. 

Sterculiacea. A raft-wood tree, Ochroma, is pretty abundant. 
Another tree of the same order (not seen in flower) appears to be 
a Chorisia. 

Biittneriacea, i. A rampant Melochia. Muntingia Calaburii, 
a tree found in the plains on both sides of the Cordillera, grows 
abundantly by the Rio San Antonio, up to 2500 feet. 

Malvacetz, 2. Four or five common weeds, whereof Sida 
glomerata, Cav., is the most plentiful, comprise all that was seen 
of this order. 

Tiliacecc, i. A very handsome tree, with a slender straight 
trunk, reaching 60 feet, very long branches, large, ligulate, serrated, 
distichous leaves, and terminal panicles (sometimes 4 feet long) 
of yellow flowers, scented like those of Tilia Eurofcca ; it is 
abundant and ornamental about the middle region of the Red 
Bark. Besides this tree, another of the same order (apparently 
a Heliocarpus), growing to about 30 feet, is also frequent. . . . 

/'ii/v^(i/(.'(>\ 2. A Monnina and Palygala paniculate, L. . . . 
The Polygala of the Bark woods is the common and almost the 
only species of the equatorial Andes, on whose western slopes it 
descends to the plain, and does not seem to ascend higher than 7000 
feet on either side, nor is it abundant at any elevation. When 
I recollect the abundance of Polygala ntl^aris on cold English 
moors, I am struck with this paucity of Polygala; in the Andes, 
and still more when I compare it with their abundance and 
variety on hot savannas of the Orinoco, and in hollows of 
granite rocks by the Atabapo. 

.SVyVW; ?<<;/, i. A woody climbing Serjania, a fine plant. 
A Paullinia with trigonous stems is frequent, and is the common 
substitute for rope, uhere much strength is not required. 1 saw 
no llowers of it, and only empty capsules. There is also a 
Cardiospermum, which I have seen on both sides of the Cordillera 
up to 7500 feet, and this is the greatest elevation at which 1 have 
noied any Sapindacea, an order which abounds in the hot plains. 

Malpigkiacetz, i.~-A twiner, with fruit too young to enable 
me to speak positively of the genus. Plants of this order, which 
constitute so large a proportion of the vegetation of the plains, 


diminish rapidly in number and variety as we ascend the hills, 
and beyond the warm region of the Andes the scandent species 
entirely disappear ; but a Bunchosia (probably B. Armeniacd) 
a tree about the size of our pear trees ascends high into the 
temperate region. On the hills which slope down to the left 
margin of the Pastasa this tree grows up to 8000 feet, and in 
some places forms large continuous patches, unmixed with any 
other tree. The edible, though rather insipid drupes, as large 
as a peach, are exposed for sale in large quantities in Ambato 
and the adjacent towns, under the name of " ciruelo de fraile '' 
or friar's plum. . . . 

Tertistromiaceff, i. - . . . Two species of the anomalous genus 
Saurauja form trees of about 30 feet, and are conspicuous from 
their abundance, from their large lanceolate serrated leaves, and 
axillary panicles of white flowers resembling those of Fragaria 
vesca. One of the two, with ferrugino-tomentose leaves, seems 
quite the same as I have gathered on Tunguragua up to 7000 
feet (PL Exs. 5089). A Freziera descends on the banks of the 
Rio San Antonio to 2300 feet. . . . 

Chisiacea, 3. One of them, a Clusia, abundant and orna- 
mental from its numerous rose-coloured flowers, but the plants 
nearly all males. . . . Two or three other Clusiae were seen, not 
in flower or fruit. 

Marcgraviacea, i. A Norantea, the same as that gathered in 
the Bark woods of Puma-cocha. Mangravia umbellata is very 
abundant, and climbs to the tops of the loftiest trees. 

Anonacece, 2. The one a Guatteria, rather scarce at about 
3000 feet, the greatest elevation at which I have ever observed 
the genus ; the other a small Anona, also scarce ; it bears an 
edible fruit, called "cabeza de negro," the size of an orange but 
longer than broad. This order has its chief site in the hot plains. 

Ericec?., Subordo Vacciniacete, 6. Four Vaccinia, one Thibaudia, 
and one Macleania, all epiphytal shrubs. One of the Vaccinia, 
with fleshy rose- or blood-coloured leaves, densely (almost teretely) 
imbricated on the branches, and with slender red flowers in their 
axils, looked very pretty on the old trees ; but the Thibaudia was 
still more ornamental, from the profusion of its large tubular 
flowers calyx and corolla at first yellow, turning red after the 
bursting of the anthers, and persisting a long time ; they unfor- 
tunately turn black in drying, so that my specimens give no idea 
of their beauty. In Thibaudia we have a remarkable example 
of a genus which ascends from the very plain (where, however, 
it is very scarce) nearly to the extreme limit of lignescent 
vegetation. Ericeae, on the contrary, according to my observa- 
tions, do not descend lower than 6000 feet, on the equator. 

Amvridece. Two small trees, of the genus Icica, were seen 
in flower ; and some of the tallest trees with pinnate leaves, 


I have no doubt, from their resinous juice, belong to the same 

MeUacea, i. A species of Trichilia. called Muruvillo, whose 
bark is held as a febrifuge, barely enters the Bark region at San 
Antonio, but does not extend up to it at Limon. A tallish tree, 
with pinnate leaves and very large serrated leaflets, which was 
putting forth large terminal panicles when I left the woods, 
probably belongs to this order. 

Zygophyllea, i. A fine tree of 40 feet, with large opposite 
pinnate leaves ; it is closely allied to Guaiacum, though scarcely 
referable to that genus. 

Podostemacea. The withered remains of at least three species 
were observed on granite rocks in the river San Antonio, and 
they are the first of the family I have seen in the Andes. 

Oxalidacece. At San Antonio grow two species of Oxalis, 
both of which I have previously gathered, the one on the eastern 
side of the Andes near Bahos, and the other at Pallatanga on 
the western side. 

Caryophyllacea. A solitary species of each of the genera 
Stellaria and Drymaria grows very sparingly. In ascending 
the eastern side of the Andes, I first came on a Stellaria at 
between 2000 and 3000 feet. This order, frequent enough in 
the upper regions of the Andes, seems to exist in the plains at 
their base only in the genera Polycarprea, Drymaria, and Mollugo, 
all three very scarce on the Atlantic side, but the last-named very 
abundant on the Pacific side. 

Portulacea. A Portulaca grows in sandy places inundated by 
the Rio San Antonio. 

Polygonetz. A Triplaris, apparently identical with that observe d 
at Puma-cocha, and possibly distinct from T. Sim'/ninn'tinis, 
extends a little way into the territory of the Red Bark, and in 
descending from thence becomes more abundant all the wa\ 
down to the plain, where it is called by the Guayaiiuilians Arl><>l 
de frios or Ague tree. Its presence, indeed, is a pretty sure 
indication of a humid site. 

Amarantacea, i. A woody twiner. There are U -sides two or 
three weedy plants of this order, probably species of Telantlu T.I. 

Chenopodea. Two common weeds ; one of them being the 
ubiquitous Chenopodium aml>>-osiiilcs, which grows with almost 
equal luxuriance in the elevated'central valley of the Ande- and 
in the plains of the Amazon and Guayaquil. 

/'ipi'mcete, 5. Species of this order are very numerous. I sa\v 
perhaps as many as twenty, belonging chiefly to the genera 
Artanthe and Peperomia. A very line pepper, resembling Artnntlic 
cximia, Miq., but a still handsomer plant, grows towards the lowei 
limit of the Bark region. The stem is 20 ilet high, slender and 
perfectly straight, and beset with short, distant, nearly hori/ontal 


ramuli, from which hang almost vertically the large, Pothos-like, 
coriaceous, shining, deep blue-green leaves. A multicaul Artanthe, 
15 to 25 feet high, springs up abundantly in the pastures, where 
trees of it grow at such regular distances, and are so conspicuous 
by their yellow-green foliage, that one would suppose them planted. 
Their ashes afford an excellent lye for soap. On stones by the 
Rio San Antonio grows a stout Peperomia, i to 2 feet high, 
subramose, and putting forth axillary fascicles of slender white 
spadices, which exhale a strong odour of aniseed. When in the 
midst of a dense patch of it, the scent is almost stifling, though 
pleasant enough at a short distance. Peppers are equally plentiful 
in the plains and throughout the wooded slopes of the Andes. 

Lauracetf, 3. All small trees, not exceeding 40 feet; but a 
great many more were observed, including some of the loftiest 
trees of the forest. 

Leguminosa (Subordo Papi/ionacecc\ 3. Several others were 
observed, but either in poor state or inaccessible. Some of the 
lofty trees with pinnate foliage, which were not seen in flower or 
fruit, probably belong to this order. The commonest Papilionacere 
is a Mucuna, with herbaceous twining stems, without tendrils, and 
large yellow flowers. It is the first Mucuna I have seen in the 
hills, but it is equally abundant by the river Guayaquil. Five 
species of Erythrina were seen, two at Limon (one of them being 
the same as that gathered at Puma-cocha) and the remaining three 
by the Rio San Antonio. There are also two Phaseoli, one Dioclea, 
and another Phaseolea with slender spikes of small pale yellow 
flowers and hard scarlet seeds, of which I have not yet deter- 
mined the genus. An Indigofera, with small pink flowers, was 
gathered at San Antonio, and the same is frequent in the plain of 

Leguminosce (Subordo C<zsalpinie(z\ i. This fine tribe, so 
abundant in the Amazonian plain, becomes scarce the moment 
we enter the hills, and is very poorly represented in the Bark 
woods. My specimens were gathered from the only tree I saw 
of an obscure-looking Cassia. There is, however, one very fine 
Caesalpinieous tree, extending up the hills to 4000 feet, but much 
more abundant at 2000 feet. The trunk grows to from 20 to 
60 feet, and the branches each bear a coma of very long, elegant, 
pinnate, pendulous leaves, like those of a Brownea. . . . 

Lc^inniiiDsce. (Subordo Mimosece\ 4. Three Ingje and one 
Callianclra. Other two Inga; were seen, without flowers. Mimosa 
asperata, perhaps the commonest of all plants on the muddy 
shores of the Amazon and the river Guayaquil, struggles up the 
Rio San Antonio to the lower limit of the growth of the Red 
Bark, but never seems to flower at that elevation. 

Rosacece, i. A Rubus, with numerous small flowers, apparently 
distinct from R. Urticcefolius, Poir., which I gathered in Maynas 


at the same elevation (3000 feet), and these are the lowest points 
at which I have observed any Rosaceae near the equator ; although 
plants of this order, especially of the tribe Sanguisorbeae, con- 
stitute a considerable proportion of the vegetation of the open 

Hydrangeacea, i. A Cornidia. The same, or a very similar 
species, of this truly Andine genus grows by the Pastasa, on the 
eastern side of the Cordillera, at about 4000 feet, and other three 
species were gathered on Mount Campana, in Maynas, at 3000 
feet. I have never seen any Cornidia either above or below the 
warm region. 

Ciuwniacete. A pinnate-leaved Weinmannia, sometimes reach- 
ing 80 feet high, is very frequent, and extends down the banks of 
the Chasuan to perhaps 2200 feet. A humbler species descends 
nearly as low on the Andes of Maynas. On the wooded de- 
clivity of the volcano Tunguragua, Weinmanniae constitute a con- 
siderable proportion of the vegetation, and extend upwards to at 
least 11,000 feet. 

Lythmcece. A Cuphea, a small, weak, much-branched under- 
shrub, with purple flowers, grows gregariously in the pastures, gener- 
ally accompanied by Sida glomerata and a Stachytarpheta. By the 
Rio San Antonio grow other two Cupheae, one of which grows also 
in the valley of Alausf. This genus, abundant in the plains on 
both sides of the Cordillera, spreads up the hills to 7000 feet, or 
through the region of the Red Bark, but scarcely up to that of 
the Hill Barks. Adenaria piirpiirata grows by the Rio San 
Antonio up to 2500 feet, and descends on its banks into the 
plain, the same as it does by streams on the eastern side of the 

Onagraceie, i. Three species of Jussisea grow by the Rio San 
Antonio. In the warm and hot regions this genus takes the place 
of (Enothera, which is frequent in the hills, but rarely descends 
below 6000 feet. In other parts of South America, as for instance 
along the coast of Chili, Jussiita; arc found inhabiting a cool 
climate. A single plant of a large-flowered Fuchsia was gathered 
at about 2700 feet. A similar species occurs very rarely on the 
eastern side of the Cordillera, at a little higher elevation. These 
are the only instances I know of Fuchsias descending so low, 
their favourite climate being found in the temperate and cool 
regions of the Andes, say from 6000 to 1 1,000 feet. 

Mclu$tomace<e, 9. The first plant which took my attention at 
Limon, after the Cinchona, was a beautiful epiphytal Blakea, grav- 
ing from 12 to 18 feet high, with broad coriaceous leaves and 
large rose-coloured flowers, from which features, and from its 
often sitting high up the trees, it has almost the aspect of a 
Clusia. At the base of each flower is a turgid involucre, of 
four large, orbicular, widely and closely imbricated leaves, within 


which is secreted a limpid fluid. When the corolla falls away, 
the involucral leaves close firmly over the calyx, and do not open 
out, nor does the contained fluid dry up, until the globose roseate 
berry, the size of a pea, is quite ripe. Another singular character 
is the syngenesious anthers, with a minute pore at the apex of 
each cell, through which not a grain of pollen ever escapes, as I 
satisfied myself by repeated observation ; fertilisation being effected 
through the agency of minute beetles, which abound in the flowers, 
and eat away the inner edge of the anther cells, probably part of 
the pollen also. . . . 

The remaining Melastomace^e offer nothing noticeable, except 
the scarcity of Miconia, the South American genus most abundant 
in species and individuals, and occurring from the plain to the 
limits of true forest on the hills. I gathered but one species, 
which I refer doubtfully to Miconia. 

Myrtaace, i. Two or three Myrcite, which are rather scarce. 
A fine Eugenia, called "Arrayan " (but different from the Arrayan 
of Quito), with very hard, durable wood, and exfoliating bark, 
grows to a tree of 60 feet or more. Two Psidia are frequent ; 
the one (on the beaches by the Rio San Antonio) seems the 
common Guayaba of the temperate region ; the other is a timber 
tree called Guayaba del Monte, which, although of very slow 
growth, ultimately reaches the dimensions of the Arrayan, and 
yields equally valuable timber. 

BarriiigtoniaceiE. A Grias, with the characteristic coma of 
large elongato -lanceolate leaves, seems to reach its upper limit 
at about 3500 feet. . . . 

Loasacece, i. A weak branching herb with small white flowers, 
probably an Ancyrostemon. There grows also in the cane-fields 
a virulently stinging Loasa, which is too common a weed on the 
eastern side, at about 5000 feet. This order, quite absent from 
the Amazonian plain, accompanies woody vegetation from about 
1200 feet up to 11,000 feet at the least, and many of the species 
are climbers. 

UmbeUifene, 4. Whereof three are Hydrocotyles, one of them 
departing from the habit usual to the South American species, 
in putting forth erect stems of 3 to 12 inches from a trailing 
rhizome. There is also a fourth Hydrocotyle (H.pusilla, A. Rich.), 
distinguished by its minute leaves and scarlet fruit, which I 
gathered at the same elevation on the Andes of Maynas. I have 
nowhere seen such abundance of Hydrocotyles in the forest as 
at Limon, where they constitute a notable proportion of the 
ground vegetation. In moist, open situations, on the higher 
grounds, they are common enough. . . . 

Araliacece. Two species of the fine genus Panax are not 

19. I think I gathered every plant of this order I 


saw in tolerable state, but a good many more were observed, 
on the whole about 30. Of plants peculiar to the warm and 
temperate valleys of the Andes, never descending to the plain, 
at least in this latitude, the following may be mentioned : Cin- 
chona succirubra and magnifolia, two Hameliae (one with larger 
flowers than I have seen in any other species), a Gonzalea, and 
Ritbia Relboun. Of genera abundant in the plains and rarely 
climbing the hills are Randia, Uncaria, Nonatelia, Faramea, and 
Cephaelis. Uncaria Guianensis, a twiner with formidable aculei- 
form stipules, has a very remarkable distribution. I have thrice 
met with it on the Atlantic side of the Andes, viz. first, at Para 
near the mouth of the Amazon ; secondly, towards the head of 
the Orinoco ; and thirdly, on the hill of Lamas, in the Andes of 
Maynas. In each of these three localities, so widely separated, 
it occupies a very limited area. I again met with it about the 
lower frontier of the Bark region, and on the rivers entering the 
Gulf of Guayaquil it is so abundant as to form a serious obstruction 
to navigation, especially in the upper part of their course, where 
the current is rapid and canoes ascending the stream must neces- 
sarily keep close inshore. ... Of plants allied to Cinchona, the most 
remarkable is a fine epiphyte, resembling Buena and Hillia in the 
large white salver-shaped odoriferous flowers. . . . There is also 
a handsome tree, growing from 4000 feet upwards, perhaps allied 
to Ltidenbergia, but with a curious bilamellate crest on the apex 
of each segment of the corolla. I have previously gathered a 
congener at Tarapoto, and another on Tunguragua. Two very fine 
and closely-allied species of the tribe Gardenia; I can refer to no 
described genus. One of them has leaves of immense size, near 
a yard long, and they are aggregated at the apex of a usually 
simple stem, so as to give it the appearance of a palm. The 
moment I saw it, I recollected having observed the same or a 
very similar tree near Sanlarem, where I could never find lkm< r-. 
nor did I meet with it elsewhere on the Amazon. 

Loranthaceu\ i. A Loranthus, with numerous small, yellow, 
sweet-scented flowers, growing abundantly, especially on Inga 
trees. There are many other species, but no large-flowered ours. 

Aristolochiacece, i. Two Aristolochise jvcre seen, but in a 
barren state. A third species, scarcely referable to Aristolochia, 
was gathered with young flowers. None of the three were seen 
climbing on the Red Bark tree. 

Lobeliacece-) 3. --One Centmpogon ;m<l two Siphocampyli. 
One or two Other species of the latter genus were seen. The 
only Lobeliarea I have seen in the plain is Cf/ifm^ii^n;i Siti-ina- 
mensis, which I gathered at the foot of the granitic mountain 
Imei, at the source of the river 1'acimoni. 

Valerianaceee, I. A slender twining Yaleriana. This genus, 
absent from the plains, begins to be met with in the hills at about 



3000 feet, and extends thence to the very snow-line, going through 
more phases in external appearance than I know in any other 

Composite, 3. So long as I herborised only in the plains, I 
could never understand how Humboldt had assigned so large a 
proportion of equinoctial vegetation to Composite, for, from the 
mouth of the Amazon to the cataracts of the Orinoco and the foot 
of the Andes, with the exception of a few scandent Vernoniae and 
Mikaniae, and of a few herbs on inundated beaches of the rivers, 
the species of Composite that exist are weeds, common to many 
parts of tropical America, nor did I meet with more than one 
arborescent Composita ( Vernonia polycephala, DC.) in the whole 
of that immense area. But in ascending the Andes, from 1200 
feet upwards, Composita? increase in number and variety at every 
step, and include many arborescent species. About midway of 
the wooded region, and especially in places where the trees form 
scattered groves rather than continuous woods, Compositae are 
more abundant than any other family, both as trees and woody 
twiners, and in the latter form extend nearly to the limit of 
arborescent vegetation, especially as species of the fine genus 
Mutisia ; while on the frigid paramos no frutescent plants ascend 
higher than the Chuquiraguas and Loricarias, and as alpine herbs, 
the Achyrophori, Werneriae, etc., reach the very snow-line. In 
the Red Bark woods Composite are plentiful, and I should esti- 
mate the number of species at near 50. The trees of this order 
are chiefly Vernoniae, and they abound most in deserted clearings. 
During my stay, a plot was again brought under cultivation which 
had remained desert for twelve years, during which period it had 
become so densely and equably clad with a Vernonia, whose 
slender white stems had reached a height of 40 feet, that at a 
distance it looked like a plantation. Many of the woody twiners 
are Compositae, chiefly Senecionidae, and as herbaceous or suffruti- 
cose twiners there are several Mikaniae. The young shoots of a 
species of Mikania bear very large cordate leaves, usually white 
over the veins and purple or violet on the whole under-surface. 
. . . Among shrubby Compositas I noted some Eupatoria and 
two Baccharides, but no Barnadesia ; nor among herbs any 
Gnaphalium, although on the eastern side of the Cordillera the 
two latter genera descend nearly to 3000 feet. Tessaria legitima, 
DC., is abundant by the Rio San Antonio. I have come on 
this tree in the roots of the Cordillera on both sides, by all the 
streams which have open gravelly or sandy beaches laid under 
water by occasional or periodical floods. 

Apocynetz, 2. One Peschiera and one Echites. This order 
rarely ascends up out of the hot region in the Andes, and in the 
temperate region I have seen only a single species. 


Asclepiadea, 4. All milky twiners. This order, like the pre- 
ceding, has its principal seat in the hot region, but is by no means 
confined to it, for two or three slender Cynoctona are frequent 
in the cooler parts of the Andes, trailing over the hedges of Cactus 
and Agave. 

Solanacec?, 5. In this order, also, my collection contains a 
very small proportion of the species existing in the Red Bark 
woods. Shrubby Solana are almost endless, and two species rise 
to trees. Two or three species of Cestrum also occur as slender 

Cordiacece, i. A Cordia, a stout sarmentose species, which 
threads about among the trees up to a considerable height, though 
it never actually twines. 

Convolvulacea. This order seems confined to a couple of 
Iponiceae, both occurring very rarely. 

Myrsineu-', 2 (or perhaps 3). The most remarkable of all the 
plants I gathered is a Myrsinea, though, as it grows only at from 
5000 to 7000 feet, it barely touches the frontier of the Red Bark 
region. It is an arbuscle of 8 to 10 feet, bearing a coma of large, 
long, deep green coriaceous leaves, so that without flower it has 
quite the aspect of a Grias; but above the leaves there is a mass, 
the size of the human head, of densely packed panicles and 
minute flowers, all of the same deep red colour. I have not 
previously seen any Myrsinea at all resembling it in habit ; but 
I have examined it sufficiently to state with confidence that it 
belongs to this order, although probably to an undescribed genus. 

Labiatie, i. Besides the solitary species gathered, there exist 
two species of Hyptis, one of them apparently //. Sihirco; 
but this order is always scantily represented in the forest. In 
cane-fields at San Antonio I saw a Stachys with small white 

Verbenacd?, 2. One of them a prickly suffruticose Lantana. 
threading among the bushes up to iS feet in height : the other a 
woody twiner, with pretty waxy flowers, ilesh-co|nmvd externally, 
but the limb purple within; it is prohabK ;i Citharexylon, allied 
to ('. scandenS) llenth. (gathered on the Uaupcs). though the 
h:ibit is totally different from the arborescent ( 'ithare\\ la \\ Inch 
.urow in the cooler parts of the Amies. A Duranta uas noted at 
San Antonio. A Stachytarpheta, which I t;ike to be S. Jamaicensis, 
and is known in Peru and Ecuador as " Verbena," seems t,. |,.llo\\ 
the steps of man in the Cordillera from near the plain up to 
10,000 feet. At Limon it exists sparingly as a \\eed. Anol 
species of the same genus, with very slender spikes and. small 
lilac ilowers, abounds in open places. 

Gesneracea, 17. The abundance <>r this lamih i^ one of the 
distinctive features of the Red Bark woods. One group, comprising 
several speciex has a woody rhi/omc. ( r, , ping up the trees, and 



few long sarmentose leafy branches. The leaves of each pair 
are very unequal, and the smaller one sometimes obsolete ; the 
larger one is long, lance-shaped, and, while the rest of the leaf 
is green, the apex and sometimes part of the margin are 
stained of a deep red, so as to resemble a lance dipped in blood, 
whence the native name "punta de lanza." The axillary flowers 
are comparatively inconspicuous, and they are partially concealed 
by large red or blood-stained bracts ; they seem to vary consider- 
ably in structure in the different species, but I have scarcely 
examined them, and cannot, therefore, refer these plants witrr 
certainty to their proper genus. Another group, whereof two 
species were seen and gathered, has the long tubular corolla sub- 
tended by pinnati-partiti sepals, which are so densely beset with 
stout jointed hairs as to resemble the calyx of a moss rose, a 
peculiarity which I do not find noted in any described species of 
this order. One of the two is a small under-shrub, with the 
calyx and the corolla yellow; the other a slender herbaceous 
twiner with a scarlet calyx and a dull violet corolla. An 
Achimenes, with pretty scarlet flowers, abounds along the 

ig/io/iiacece, 2. The one a Bignonia, with round stems ; the 
other an Amphilophium, with 6-angled stems ; both twiners. An- 
other Bignonia w r as seen, not in flower. I saw no tree of this 
order, though Tecomae exist both in the plain and in the cool 
hill forests. I have never seen any climbing Bignoniaceae at a 
greater elevation than about 3500 feet, but they form a large 
proportion of the scandent vegetation of the hot plains. 

Acanthacea, 9. This order is tolerably abundant, and two 
under -shrubs growing about the lower boundary of the Bark 
region bear spikes of large handsome scarlet flowers, in appear- 
ance like those of a Justicia, but different in character. A Men- 
dozia, with woody twining stems and umbels of small white 
verbena-like flowers, grows everywhere. 

Scroplntlariaceie, 4. All humble herbs, two of them species of 
Herpestes, and all rather scarce. 

Of Ferns and their allies I gathered the following : 


Equisetum . i 

Lycopodium 2 

Selaginella 6 

Polybotrya . i 

Rhipidopteris . i 

Elaphoglossum . . 5 

Lomaria .... 2 

Blechnum i 

Xiphopteris . . i 

Gymnopteris i 


Tenitis . . 3 

Adiantum 6 

Hypolepis . i 

Pteris (including Litobrochia) . . 5 

Meniscium ... . i 
Asplenium (including Callipteris, Diplazium, and 

Oxygonium) . 2 1 

Hemidyctium . i 

Didymochlffina i 

Polypodium 4 

Phegopteris 5 

Goniopteris . 2 

Dictyopteris i 

Goniophlebium . 2 

Campyloneuron . 5 

Niphobolus i 

Pleopeltis 3 

Anapeltis 3 

Dipteris . i 

Aspidium 5 

Nephrodium . 6 

Lastrcea . . . 1 1 

Nephrolepis . . $ 

Davallia . . 2 

Cyathea . . . . i 

Hemitelia . i 

Alsophila . 4 

Gleichenia i 

Trichomanes . 4 

Hymenophyllum 5 

Lygodium i 

Total . 131 

From these should be deducted 10 or 12 species gathered 
beyond the limits of the Red ]>ark, which will leave (say) uo 
s[>ecies. \\'ithin those limits the following Ferns were seen, hut 
not gathered, either because the}' are common throughout tropical 
America or from the specimens being imperfect: Azolla M 
/ii/iicd \ K<|iiisetum sp. ; /'Avv'.v <t</ni/iini, var. niinintn : (iynnio- 
grawme caiome/anos, and another species of that genus (PI. Exs. 
4153) which grows everywhere in the roots of the ( 'ordillcr.i on 
gravelly beaches j Cyclopcltis sciic<>rtt<i/<t, a comiiKm fern in the 
hot and warm regions, wherever there are rocks; a loosely pilose 
Pteris, in very ragged condition, gathered previously at Tarapoto 
(PI. Exs. 4667); a Dicksonia, of which I saw only young plants 
and old frondless trunks; several species of Elaplioglo^um, of 


which the fertile fronds were shrivelled up, having been in per- 
fection in the wet season, and two or three Hymenophylla in the 
same state ; so that if we make allowance for the few species 
which must have eluded my search, we may safely assume that 
I left at least 20 ferns ungathered, and the whole number may 
be taken at 140, that is, of ferns existing in a space not more 
than four miles long by three-quarters of a mile broad, or of three 
square miles. Perhaps few parts of the world possess so many 
species of ferns growing naturally in so small an area. 

The five species of tree-ferns gathered in fruit all grow in 
tolerable abundance, and one of them, an Alsophila, with a trunk 
40 feet high, large, stout, pale green fronds, and exactly opposite 
pinnae, is perhaps the handsomest tree-fern I ever saw. The 
Cyathea has almost constantly, below its own fronds, a supple- 
mentary crown of numerous deep green, widely arched, sterile 
fronds of a Lomaria, among which spring vertically the slender, 
pectinate, fertile fronds ; while the trunk is enveloped in a 
continuous sheath of the soft, pale, but clear green foliage of 
Bartmmia viridissima, C. Mull. ; the whole forming one of those 
lovely pictures which only those who seek out Nature in her 
remotest recesses are privileged to see. 


This Bartramia was in good fruit, but the great part of the 
mosses had fruited during the rainy season, and the number of 
species was by no means so great as one would have supposed, 
to see the dense festoons of moss depending from old trees. 
They are in main part composed of two or three species, which 
modern botanists would refer to Trachypus, of as many Meteoria, 
and of a Frullania. Rhacopilinn tomentosum is frequent, as it is 
all through the roots of the Cordillera, on both sides; and 
another Rhacopilum (7?. pofythrincium, MSS.) grows in some 
abundance. Orthotricha, common enough in the region of the 
Hill Barks, scarcely descend below 6000 feet, and at Limon their 
place is supplied by Macromitrium and Schlotheimia, both very 
sparingly represented. Hookerise, so abundant and ornamental 
on the eastern slope of the Cordillera, in the same latitude and 
altitude, barely exist at Limon. 


Hepaticoi are rather more varied than mosses, and the genus 
Plagiochila, especially, is well represented. Notwithstanding the 
vast variety of Plagiochilce I have gathered on the Amazon and 
on the eastern side of the Andes of Peru and Quito, I still found 
new forms at Limon. The favourite site of this genus is in the 
warm and temperate region of the Andes. Lower down the 


number of species diminishes rapidly, and higher up, towards the 
limit of the forest, the huge masses of robust Sendtn. r,r. I ,epi- 
dozice, and in some places of Frullanice, leave little room for 
the delicate Plagiochilse. Lejeuniae, on the contrary, are hot 
country plants. 


Of Lichens, the foliaceous species are remarkably scarce. 
Kpiphyllous lichens, whose abundance and variety is so notable a 
feature of the vegetation of the Amazon, seem to attain their 
upper limit in the Red Bark woods. The trunks of the trees are 
generally too well covered with mosses to leave much room for 
the development of crtistaceous lichens. Still, a good many 
species exist, chiefly Graphidece, and I did not notice any lichen 
on the Red Bark which does not grow indifferently on other sorts 
of trees. . . . 

Reserving the important subject of climate 
to be last discussed, I resume my narrative of 

In the month of July a report reached us that 
an Englishman, bringing with him a number of 
boxes, had arrived at Ventanas. On the strength 
of this I immediately sent Dr. Taylor thither with 
horses, and he had the great satisfaction of finding 
the Englishman to be Mr. Cross. Ventanas, how- 
ever, was so full of soldiery, and was so likely to 
be soon the theatre of a conflict (for the opposing 
army lay encamped only a few leagues lower down 
the river), that Dr. Taylor very wisely had the 
materials for the Wardian cases removed about 
three hours' journey up the river, to a farm called 
Aguacatal, where they were not likely to be 

Mr. Cross had had all sorts of obstacles thrown in 
his way by the forces that held the river, and with 
the greatest difficulty had found men to row his 
canoes, so that the distance from Guayaquil to 


Ventanas (which appears so short on the map) had 
taken him thirteen days to travel. He finally 
reached Limon on the 2/th of July, looking pale 
and thin from his recent illness and from the 
sleepless nights passed on the river, but anxious to 
set to work immediately. We had no young 
plants for him, nor any expectation of obtaining 
them, but I was satisfied that cuttings \vould 
succeed, although it would necessarily be a tedious 
process to root them well. The owner of the 
chacra of Oso-cahuitu showed me some sprigs, cut 
from an old stool of Red Bark, which he had stuck 
into the ground by a watercourse four months pre- 
viously, and they had all rooted well. Mr. Cross 
also agreed with me that the success of the process 
was certain, and that the question was merely one 
of time, which only experience could solve. After 
reposing the following day (Sunday), we had a 
piece of ground fenced in, and Mr. Cross made a 
pit, and prepared the soil to receive the cuttings, 
of which he put in above a thousand on the ist of 
August and following days. He afterwards put in 
a great many more, subjecting them to various 
modes of treatment ; and he went round to all the 
old stools, and put in as many layers from them as 
possible ; but only those who have attempted to do 
anything in the forest, possessing scarcely any of 
the necessary appliances, and obliged to supply 
them as far as possible from the forest itself, can 
have any idea of the difficulties to be surmounted. 
Glass was the only thing for which we could find 
no substitute, and to get up to Limon the glasses 
of the Wardian cases w r as not to be thought of, 
over roads so narrow and rough, where even the 


surest-footed beast goes on continually stumbling. 
So we made our frames of palm-fronds, our buckets 
of bamboos, and invented similar contrivances for 
other needful articles. The closed communication 
with Guayaquil was felt to be a sore obstacle, as 
we might have sent thither for canvas and other 
things required for the plants, and also for a little 
wine and porter for the invalids. 

The mornings were always cool and sometimes 

dull, but at 7 o'clock or so the sun would often 

come out blazing hot. In the afternoons, when the 

fog seemed to have set in for the day, it would 

sometimes clear away for a brief space, and admit 

the scorching rays of the sun. On these occasions, 

and on the days of sustained heat, the only means 

of keeping the plants from withering was to give 

them abundance of water ; and then there was the 

risk, on the other hand, of their damping off. 

Water was supplied to the trapiche, for the service 

of the still and for culinary purposes, by a' small 

acequia (canal) carried along the hill-side from the 

head of a rivulet about a mile off. We had by this 

means generally sufficient water for our plantation, 

but as the acequia was ill made and protected by 

no fence, the cattle, roaming about, generally trod 

and dammed it up at least once every day, when 

the Indians had to seek out and repair the damaged 

spots. But when the supply of water failed just at 

the moment of one of those outbursts of sun, there 

was no alternative but for all hands to run with 

buckets clown to the deep glen, where there was a 

considerable stream, although the steep ascent In mi 

it was very toilsome. In a few weeks the cuttings 

began to root, and then they were attacked by 


caterpillars, which also had to be combated. In 
short, it is impossible to detail here all the ob- 
stacles encountered, and which only Mr. Cross's 
unremitting watchfulness enabled him to surmount. 
As his labours have been crowned by success, he 
may perhaps give a separate account of them, 
which will necessarily be fuller and more accurate 
than any I could furnish. 

The passage of troops still went on for some 
days after Mr. Cross's arrival at Limon. A good 
deal of rain had fallen in the upper woody region 
and the roads were horrible. The poor beasts of 
burden, ill-treated and with their heavy loads ill- 
adjusted, had their backs worn into sores, and 
many of them sank under their burdens. Wher- 
ever a beast gave in, there it was turned adrift. 
In the warm forest, maggots soon filled their sores 
and ate into their very entrails ; so, after wandering 
about for a time, most pitiable objects, they at 
length nearly all died. Between Guaranda and 
Ventanas not fewer than 300 dead horses and 
mules strewed the track and the adjacent forest, 
and above 20 carcasses were laid within nose-shot 
of our hut. I set the Indians to roll them into 
ditches and hollows, and cover them with branches 
and earth, but the horrid smell turned their 
stomachs and they never half performed the task. 
During the day, whilst we were going about, we 
did not feel so much inconvenience, but when the 
night breeze filled our hut with the vile odour we 
found it impossible to sleep. Now I smoked 
awhile, and then I lay down, covering my face 
with a handkerchief wetted with camphorated 
spirit, but all in vain. When I considered the fate 


of those poor animals, and still more that of their 
unfortunate owners, from whom they had been 
taken by force, and who, in losing perhaps their 
only mule, had no means left of conveying to 
market the produce of their industry, and thereby 
supporting their families, it will not be wondered 
at that I cursed in my heart all revolutions. Grave 
indeed must be the motive of complaint which a 
people can have against its rulers to justify it in 
taking up arms to obtain redress. 1 

Towards the end of July the weather improved, 
and in a few sunny days the fruit of the Bark trees 
made visible advances towards maturity. On the 
1 3th of August I noticed that the finest capsules 
were beginning to burst at the base, and on the 
following day I had all taken off that seemed ripe, 
gathering them in this way : an Indian climbed the 
tree, and breaking the panicles gently off, let them 
fall on sheets spread on the ground to receive them, 
so that the few loose seeds shaken out by the fall 

1 I may here relate an incident hearing on the same subject. Whilst Dr. 
Tayloi was bringing up Mr. Cross from Yentanas, a body of some 800 men, 
\\hose commander I had known at Ambato, arrived from < hiaranda. As, they bivouacked at Limon, and when I turned out on the following 

niing, I saw my four Indians prisoners in the hands of the soldiery, and 

one oi them, \\ith his hands tied behind' him and a rope round his body, 
about to be dragged off towards Yentanas. Among the beasts of burden 
\\hich accompanied the troops, this poor fellow had recognised his own mule 
his only mule as dear to him as Sancho's ass was to Sancho, and, \\ith the 
aid o| his companions, had contrived to abstrai I it during the night and hide 
it away in tlie forest. In the morning (lie mule was missed, and my Indians 
wi re immediately denounced as the delinquent., toi the) had been 
handling the mule the pre\ioiis evening. I confess my indignation \\ 
that moment at the boiling - point, and I wished for a hundred " Rifle 
Volunteers" to put the \\hole disorderly rabble to rout. However, I had 
given up hall my dormitory to the colonel, and had treated him with as much 
hospitality as lay in my power, so that I had some right to expecl he \M> u ld 
not deny any rec|ucst of mine ; and accordingly, after a short parley \\ith him, 
he ordered the Indians to be released. Tim. I kept my Indian.-, ami the 
Indian kept his mule, which was all we wanted. 


were not lost. The capsules were afterwards 
spread out to dry on the same sheets, and the 
drying occupied from two to ten days. The first 
seeds were gathered at Limon on the i4th, and the 
last on the 2Qth of August. Early in September 
they were all dry. 

Mr. Cross sowed, on the i6th of August, eight 
of the seeds I had gathered ; one of them began to 
germinate on the fourth day, and at the end of a 
fortnight four seeds had pushed their radicles. On 
the 6th of September one had the seed-leaves com- 
pletely developed, and by the Qth of the same month, 
or on the twenty-fifth day after sowing, the last of 
the eight seeds pushed its radicle. One of the 
seedlings was afterwards lost by an accident, but 
the remaining seven formed healthy little plants, 
and when embarked at Guayaquil, along with the 
rooted cuttings and layers, bid as fair as any of the 
latter to reach India alive. He had previously 
sown, at Guayaquil, eight Cinchona seeds gathered 
by me in 1859, and which had remained nine 
months in my herbarium ; even of these, four 
germinated, and the remaining four might possibly 
have grown also, had they not been carried off by 
mice. It is therefore clearly proved that well- 
ripened and properly dried seeds do not lose their 
vitality for a much longer period than their exces- 
sive delicacy would lead one to suspect. 

Having learnt that there were a few seed-bear- 
ing trees at Tabacal, a farm in the San Antonio 
valley, near the deserted village of San Antonio, I 
determined to go there while Mr. Cross and Dr. 
Taylor were attending to the work at Limon. The 
distance is not perhaps more than 15 miles in a 


straight line, but there is no road unless by way of 
Guaranda, which would take four days. I therefore 
followed a route already taken by Dr. Taylor, 
namely, along the path to Guaranda as far as the 
first ridge, and thence down to some cane-farms on 
the Rio de Tablas. From this point Dr. Taylor 
with an Indian had opened a track. I remained at 
Tabacal from the i4th to the 28th of September, 
collecting seeds as the capsules ripened and drying 
them carefully before packing. 

I had now gathered about 2500 well -grown 
capsules (without enumerating many smaller ones), 
namely, 2000 from ten trees at Limon, and 500 
from five trees at San Antonio. Good capsules 
contain 40 seeds each in some I have counted 42 
so that I calculated I had (in round numbers) at 
least 100,000 well -ripened and well -dried seeds. 
Some small turgid (almost globose) capsules con- 
tained only from two to four seeds, as large and 
ripe as any in the largest capsules, while other 
capsules of the ordinary length, but slender, proved 
to contain only abortive seeds and were accordingly 
rejected in the drying. Had the month of July 
been as sunny as it is said usually to be, many more 
capsules would doubtless have ripened ; as it was, 
only about one flower in ten produced ripe seeds. 

I had scarcely finished drying my seeds at 
Tabacal, when I received the welcome intelligence 
that the army of General Flores had obtained pos- 
session of Guayaquil, and that the communication 
between the coast and the interior was reopened. 
I therefore resolved to proceed to Guayaquil and 
dispatch from thence a portion of my seeds by the 
first opportunity. 


I started from Tabacal on September 28. The 
road thence to Guayaquil follows the right bank of 
the river, as far as to where the latter is confined 
to a deep chasm, and then crosses to the left bank. 
The descent is really very gradual, but seems more 
steep than it is, because the river tosses and 
foams among the huge stones which impede its 
course. As we descended, it was interesting to 
mark the gradual transition to the vegetation of the 
hot region. Leguminous trees, so scarce in the 
hills, began to be frequent. A bombaceous tree 
here and there adorned the forest with its numerous 
purple flowers. Cinchona magnifolia was budding 
for flower ; it accompanied me to within 1000 feet 
of the plain. Enormous figs, with a long cone of 
exserted roots, straddled over the decayed remains, 
or often only over the site, of the tree which had 
served to support them in their infancy, and which 
they had strangled to death after establishing for 
themselves a separate existence. 

At about 1500 feet elevation, I met with a 
Myristica, which grows about Tarapoto at the same 
altitude. A little lower down I saw the first Neea, 
and near it a Vismia, not one of those weedy species 
diffused throughout tropical America, but a hand- 
some tree, resembling V. uvulifera (from the 
Casiquiari). These three genera seem rarely to 
ascend above the hot region. 

Five leagues below Tabacal the road again 
passes, by a broad pebbly ford, to the right bank 
at Pozuelos, where we drew up for the night, 
thoroughly wetted by a soaking shower which had 
accompanied us for the last hour and a half. 
Pozuelos is a miserable little bamboo village, but 


notable for its extensive orangeries, which produce 
the finest fruit in Ecuador. Here the valley opens 
out wide, and by an almost imperceptible descent 
mingles gradually with the plain. The river 
became muddy, still, and tolerably deep. The 
vegetation is now unmistakably tropical, and there 
is as noble forest around Pozuelos as I have any- 
where seen. Palms are far less varied than on the 
Amazon, but the Attalea above mentioned grows 
immensely tall and stout. An Astrocaryum, whose 
clustered trunks are perfect chevaux dc frisc, from 
the long flat prickles with which they are beset, is 
very frequent. Mimosse are abundant, and so are 
papilionaceous twiners, among which I noted an 
Ecastaphyllum. The beautiful arborescent Passi- 
flora (Astrophea) grows far larger than at San 
Antonio, and I could not help now and then 
stopping my horse under its stems, which here and 
there bent gracefully over our path, to admire the 
large pendulous glaucous leaves and the clusters 
of white flowers ; but I sought in vain for ripe- 
berries. In marshy places there are beds of rank 
ferns, and in pools an Eichhornia and a Pontederia. 
The common weeds of hot countries begin to 
appear, such as Asclcpias cnrassai'ica and Tiaridium 
/iK/icinu, the latter of which I had not seen since 
leaving the Amazon. 

[After much delay at !'><>< Ic^as, waiting lor 
the small steamer, (iiiayaquil was reached on 
October 6, and a portion of the ripe seed sent, as 
instructed, to Jamaica. The young plants were 
not ready for transmission till the end of November, 
when Spruce returned up the river to Aguacatal, 


the nearest port to Limon, where a negro car- 
penter put together the Wardian cases, and a raft 
was purchased to take them down to Guayaquil. 
The construction of this raft was interesting, and 
the description of it and of the dangerous voyage 
down the river will complete the essential portions 
of this Report. 

I .will first give, however, a short letter written 
while Spruce was delayed in the city.] 

To Mr. John Teas dale 

GUAYAQUIL, Nov. 6, 1860. 

The town of Guayaquil extends about half a 
league along the margin of the river, which is here 
two miles broad. The principal street, called the 
Malecon (or Mole), runs by the river throughout that 
distance ; but the town is narrow, and at the back 
stretches a wide, and what is now an arid, plain ; but 
in the rainy season (which will shortly set in) all this 
plain is water and mud. Beyond the plain a salt 
creek impedes further progress in that direction. 
The houses are built of a framework of timber, neatly 
overlaid with bamboo-cane, and plastered within 
and without. The rooms are mostly papered and 
painted, and are often elegantly and even richly 
furnished although sparsely, as befits a hot climate. 
The upper rooms project so far over the lower 
that they form a broad covered footway, which has 
a boarded floor, and affords a welcome shade in the 
heat of the day. A town built of such combustible 
materials is constantly exposed to conflagrations, 
and although there are several fire-engines, two of 
which are manned entirely by foreigners, the fires 


cause fearful ravages. A few days ago we had 
within twenty-four hours two fires and a smart 
earthquake. The latter did slight damage here, 
but half destroyed the town of Tumbez, which lies 
farther south and is the first port in the Republic 
of Peru. In the month of October we had several 
earthquakes, in one day no fewer than four. So 
you see that what with commotions below and 
above ground earthquakes, revolutions, fires, etc., 
-people live here in continual alarm. Guayaquil 
is, in fact, a town purely commercial, and the people 
work as if at the bottom of a mine, seeking gold, 
and in the hope of one day emerging to the light 
in some place where they may live in peace and 

Since I came to Guayaquil, I have been a day's 
journey up one of the numerous rivers that empty 
themselves into the Gulf, to visit a large village 
called Daule, where I had been recommended to 
pass the winter. The river Daule is exceedingly 
pleasant at least now in the dry season and 
almost Chinese in its character. At every turn, 
groups of Coco palms, Orange trees, Plantains, etc., 
come in sight, with their accompanying cottage of 
bamboo-cane or perhaps a more substantial edifice 
with a tiled roof, on some sugar plantation. The 
object of my journey was to inspect a house which 
is offered me by a gentleman, Dr. Aguirre, who has 
travelled much in Europe and speaks English, 
French, and Italian. The house is new- neat 
and commodious but I can see that in winter the 
whole surrounding country will be inundated, which 
means abundance of mud and stagnant pools at 
the beginning of the dry season. My present 


notion is that I had better pass the winter at Piura, 
which is just within the rainless region on the coast 
of Peru. 

REPORT (continued] 

The raft was composed of twelve trunks of raft- 
wood, 63 to 66 feet long, and about a foot in 
diameter, ranged longitudinally, so as to occupy a 
width of 15 feet, and kept in their places by five 
shorter pieces tied transversely and widely apart, 
extending nearly to the root end of the trunks, but 
leaving a considerable space free towards their 
point, for the convenience of working the raft. 
The five cross pieces were covered with bamboo 
planking, so as to form a floor 36 feet long by 
iCHj- feet broad, which was fenced round with rails 
to a height of 3 feet, and the whole roofed over 
and thatched with leaves of Maranta Vijao. For 
carrying cacao, the fence has to be lined with 
bamboo boards, so as to form, with the flooring, a 
sort of large bin. The rope used in binding to- 
gether the constituent parts of the raft was the 
twining stem of a Bignonia, nearly terete, but 
marked by four raised lines, overlying four deep 
grooves in the substance of the stem, and alter- 
nating with four shallower grooves. When the 
stem is twisted, to enable it to be tied, it splits 
lengthwise along those grooves into eight strips, 
which, however, still pull together, and offer very 
great resistance to transverse fracture. 1 

1 I have long known that the strongest of all lianas are Bignonias, and I 
have many times trusted my life and goods to their strength. In the malos 
pasos of the Huallaga, canoes are dragged up the most dangerous places by 
means of from one to four stems of Bignonia, according to the size of the 


The cases were all in readiness, and the raft 
brought down the river and moored in front of the 
farmhouse, but Mr. Cross did not arrive with the 
plants until the i3th of December. Some diffi- 
culty had been experienced in procuring the re- 
quisite number of beasts of burden, and the making 
of cylindrical baskets to contain the plants had 
proved a tedious task ; besides that, the tying up 
each plant in wet moss, and the packing them in 
the baskets, were delicate operations which Mr. 
Cross could trust to no hands but his own. There 
had been not a few falls on the way, and some of 
the baskets had got partially crushed by the wil- 
fulness of the bulls in running through the bush ; 
but the greater part of the plants turned out 
wonderfully fresh. We had the cases taken down 
to the raft, and Don Matias lent us a couple of men 
to carry thither the earth, sand, and dead leaves 
necessary for making the soil to put in the cases. 
Mr. Cross put as many plants into the cases as he 
could possibly find room for, and only rejected a 
few that were so much injured by their journey 
from Limon that they were not likely to survive 
the voyage to India, the whole number put in 
being 637. As we might expect some rough treat- 
ment on the descent to Guayaquil, we did not 
venture to put on the glasses, but in their stead 

canoe and the weight of its cargo. [ havi never known the lianas to i>n-ak : 
and as I have sat in my canoe, an\ii>u-ly \\aii-liin- its .-lw upward pn^i. 5S, 
my only raiv was thai the liana- urn- -rruivh fastened to iln prow, Ol 1 
the sudden bursting of a whirlpool beneath tin- canoe -Imuld teai them 

tin.- haiuls (if UK- Indians, as the) \\ iih diffii uli\ h.-ld their \\ay almi.^ th-- rock) 

In the (luayaquil district, as mi the- Amazon, the aerial r<>ts of \ariim- 
Aroideae and Carludovicx- are the mnmum substitute- I'm- string. Imi Ki^r 
stems are always preferred win i i tn n^ih i i ssential. 



stretched moistened strips of calico over the cases, 
which seemed to answer admirably. As Mr. Cross 
wished the plants to be firmly established in their 
new residence before removing them from Agua- 
catal, I determined to delay our departure until the 
latest possible moment, that is to say, so as to 
reach Guayaquil and fasten up the cases before the 
arrival of the steamer on the 28th. 

After my arrival at Aguacatal the weather was 
occasionally showery, but the rains were evidently 
heavier towards the source of the river, which 
would suddenly rise several feet, and then rapidly 
lower again ; so that we had to watch our raft night 
and day, lest on the one hand it should be carried 
away by the floods or the onslaughts of driftwood, 
or on the other hand should be left high and dry- 
by the sudden receding of the waters. At 1 1 P.M. 
of December 22, heavy rain came on at Aguacatal, 
and did not cease until 9 A.M. of the following day, 
when the river had risen much, and continued 
rising through the day. The next night still 
heavier rain fell, clearing off at about 8 A.M. of the 
24th, which was the day fixed for starting on our 
voyage. Our raftsmen were three in number as far 
as to Bodegas, but thence to Guayaquil, where the 
river is wider, and is therefore not subject to sudden 
rises and falls, we needed only two. As soon 
as the rain ceased, we got the glasses of the cases 
put on board, and when our raftsmen had taken 
their last trago with their friends, and said their 
last adios (always a lengthy process), we left 
Aguacatal ; Don Matias, at parting, foretelling us 
a speedy but perilous voyage. 


The oars used in navigating these rafts are 
merely bamboos, about 20 feet long, half their 
thickness being cut away for about a yard at the 
outer end, so as to form a sort of scoop. T\vo oars 
were fixed in the prow, and a third oar in the stern, 
the latter being worked by the old black who had 
sold me the raft. The river had risen almost to its 
winter level, and we swept along rapidly. At 
2 P.M. we were already eight leagues away from 
Aguacatal, near a site called Catarama, below which 
the river is narrowed in some places to 30 yards, 
and the navigable channel is further straitened by 
the trees (chiefly species of Inga) which hang far 
over the water. Add to this that the river ran like 
a sluice, and that the turns were frequent and 
abrupt, and it will be seen how difficult it was to 
maintain our clumsy craft always in the mid-stream. 
Although the men tugged hard at their oars, they 
could not save us from being frequently brushed 
by the trees ; and at length, at a sharp turn, the 
raft went dead on, and through a mass of branches 
and twiners that hung over to the middle of the 
river. The effect was tremendous : the heavy 
cases were hoisted up and clashed against each 
other, the roof of our cabin smashed in, and the 
old pilot was for some moments so completely 
involved in the branches and the wreck of the roof, 
that I expected nothing but that he had been 
carried away; he held on, however, and at last 
emerged, panting and perspiring, but with no 
further injury than a smart Hogging from the twigs, 
which indeed none of us entirely escaped. There 
have been instances on this river ol a man being 
hooked up bodily by the formidable 


gttianensis, and suspended in mid-air, whilst the raft 
passed from under him. 

Our deck now presented a lamentable sight, but 
we had little time for ascertaining the amount of 
damage, as at every turn a similar peril awaited us. 
We, in fact, twice again ran into the bush, not 
quite so violently as before, but each time adding 
to the damage already sustained. We had calcu- 
lated on reaching Caracol that day, and might 
still have done so before nightfall, but that there 
were some bad turns ahead, which, as the men 
were already much fatigued, we could not expect to 
pass without very great risk; so at 4^ P.M. we 
brought to, with some difficulty, at a place where 
the bank was free from trees, and made fast for the 
night. We then set to work to clear away the 
wreck of sticks and leaves which strewed the raft, 
and to repair the roof, which was completed by 
moonlight. The cases had received only a few 
slight cracks, and had none of them turned over, 
but the leaves of the precious plants were sorely 
maltreated. ... As far as Caracol the river con- 
tinued narrow and winding, and at various points 
we barely cleared the bushes, but nothing more 
serious happened to us than the loss of a few loose 
cloths, which were hooked up by a pendulous mass 
of the Uncaria. From Caracol downwards the 
river grew wider, and the banks were less over- 
hung with wood, so that we went on with more 
security. . . . Soon after nightfall we had got as far 
as to where the influence of the tide was still felt, 
and as it was ebbing we profited by it to hold on our 
way until 2 o'clock of the following morning, when 
the flood-tide obliged us to lay by. Thenceforward 


we got on slowly, on account of having to wait 
between tides, but we reached Guayaquil at noon 
on the 2/th without any further accident, and I 
immediately went on shore and sought out a 
carpenter, to assist Mr. Cross in nailing laths over 
the soil and in fixing on the sashes. By 5 P.M. of 
the 28th everything was completed. The plants, 
thanks to Mr. Cross's tender care of them, bore 
scarcely any traces of the rough treatment they had 
undergone in their descent from Limon, and in 
their late voyage from Aguacatal, and the only 
thing against them was that they were growing too 
rapidly, owing to the increased temperature to 
which they had lately been subjected. 

On the 29th, a large goods steamer came in, 
which goes to and fro between Lima and Guayaquil. 
She was not to sail again until the 2nd of January, 
and the plants, if sent by her, would have to remain 
at Payta until the i3th or i4th, when another 
steamer should pass from Lima to Panama ; but, as 
there was no alternative, we had them put on 
board her, and commodiously arranged on the 
poop-deck. I then took leave of Mr. Cross and 
the plants, satisfied that so long as they were under 
his care they were likely to go on prosperously, 
and having done all I could on my part to conduct 
the enterprise to a successful issue. During its 
performance, all engaged in it had run frequent 
risk ol life and limb ; but a far greater source of 
anxiety to me were the contretemps (a few only 
of which have been indicated in the preceding 
pages) that every now and then threatened to 
bring our work to naught. It is difficult for 


who live in a country of peace and plenty, but 
above all of good roads, to appreciate the obstacles 
that beset all undertakings in countries where none 
of those blessings exist. . . . 

[It only remains to say that Spruce's long- 
continued labour and extreme care were crowned 
with success. The young plants reached India in 
good condition, and the seeds germinated and 
served as the starting-point of extensive plantations 
on the Neilgherry Hills in South India, in Ceylon, 
in Darjeeling, and elsewhere. 

The latest reports from the India Office, which 
I owe to the kindness of Sir Clements Markham, 
seem to show that none of the districts where the 
plantations have been made are really suitable, 
either in climate or soil, to the natural requirements 
of the trees. This is indicated by two facts. It is 
stated that although the trees grow well when 
young, yet they suffer from dryness of the soil in 
the dry season, so that artificial watering sometimes 
has to be resorted to. It is also stated that it has 
been found necessary to resort to the application of 
large quantities of stable manure and lime to keep 
the plants healthy. 

In Sikhim the rainfall of 125 inches is said to be 
distributed over less than 150 days, so that the 
larger part of theyear is rainless. In the Neilgherries 
violent winds are said to be very hurtful and some- 
times destroy the larger trees, 

Now the great feature of the native Cinchona 
forests as described by Spruce is the prevalence of 
rains almost throughout the year, and especially of 
a constantly moist soil, kept so in dry weather by 





79fl r of tor. I Villa w- 

StaTtfot!* '-,-, ,r 'iff'" '1 "Eftaattshmni 



the surface covering of leaves and leaf-mould. He 
states that during the dry season, from June to 
December, there was rain (more or less) on about ten 
days in each month, and that during the whole six 
months there were only thirty-one days on which 
there was neither rain, mist, nor fog. This would 
appear to be a very different type of climate from that 
of either Sikhim or the Neilgherries, although the 
mean temperature may not be very dissimilar. It 
seems to me probable that the districts most nearly 
approaching in climate to that of the Cinchona 
forests would be the mountain slopes above 2000 
feet in the Federated Malay States, or in the 
Sarawak territory in Borneo, both of which have a 
similar distribution of rainfall throughout the year. 
The official Report of June 1907 states "the 
Cinchona industry in the Neilgherry is rapidly 
diminishing," and that many of the estates are 
being abandoned, which can only be due to its 
being not permanently profitable. Everything 
therefore seems to point to the fact that the best 
natural conditions for the growth of these valuable 
trees has not yet been found.] 



[DURING the whole of this period Spruce was 
struggling hard against the severe illness which 
prostrated him for the remainder of his life. The 
list of his Botanical Excursions gives a connected 
view of his movements in search of health, and the 
few letters he wrote to his friends give a sufficiently 
vivid picture of his life and occupations, when he 
could do little more than rest and make those 
minute observations on the country and the people 
which were his chief consolation during the weari- 
some years of forced inactivity. 

One result of these observations was an elaborate 
paper of 80 pages, on the district of Piura, in 
which he resided for nearly two years, more 
especially in relation to the cultivation of cotton 
there. This paper was published by the Foreign 
Office, but is now out of print ; and as it describes 
a district very rarely visited by European travellers, 
I here reproduce those portions of it (about one-third 
of the whole) which are of general or botanical 
interest. They also serve to show how caretully 
Spruce utilised his opportunities for scientific obser- 
vation, even under the most adverse conditions.] 





Jan. 2. 



On this day the steamer left for Panama with plants 
of Red Bark on board. 

Voyage up river Daule. 

Reached the village of Daule, where I established 
myself for the rainy season at a farmhouse called 
La Bella Union. Remained at Daule until 
June n, collecting a little now and then when 
breaks in the weather allowed me to wander 
about, which I did to the limits of my strength, 
viz. within a radius of half a mile. 

Descended to a small village called Pascuales. 

From Pascuales to Guayaquil. 

Embarked this evening at Guayaquil and reached 

Daule the following morning. 

July 30-31- Remained at Daule till the end of July; then, being 
very sick, I descended to Chonana the farm of 
the late General Illingworth, where his son-in-law- 
Dr. Destruge (my physician) was residing along 
with Mr. William Illingworth. There I remained 
till the end of the year. In September the house 
of Gutierrez failed at Guayaquil, whereby I lost 
6000 dollars, nearly all I had. 




Jan. [-31. 


lu lie- 

,, 19. 

Remained at Chonana until the middle of this month. 
I collected very little there, and my chief occupa- 
tion (when able to work at all) was writing out the 
Report of my Expedition to procure seeds and 
plants of the Red Bark. From Chonana I 
descended to Guayaquil, and near the end of the 
month proceeded thence by sea to Chanduy, on 
the arid coast of the Pacific, a little way out of the 
Gulf of Guayaquil to the north. 

All these months at Chanduy, on the very borders 
of the sea. making desperate attempts to take 
exercise, but on the whole going bark rather 
than forward. Unexpected heavy rains in the 
month of March bmu-ln ou1 an interesting vegeta- 
tion on the desert. Even lakes were formed 
there, which soon became peopled \\iih aquatics. 
With great toil I managed to rolled and preserve 
specimens <>i everything. I obtained also a tew 
seaweeds and /nophytrs on the rock}' shore. 

Mailed on return voyage t<> Guayaquil. 

Passed the Isle of I'ima and lay by tO auait the tide 
a little below Guayaquil. 


CM A I'. 


Aug. 20- 
Uec. 31. 

Jan. i. 




Oct. 10. 

)) 2 4~~ 

Dec. 22. 

Jan. 26- 
April 20. 

Reached Guayaquil this morning. From this date 
to the end of the year at Guayaquil trying to 
redeem some of my lost property. 

At 1 1 A.M. embarked on board the steamer for Peru. 

Reached Payta at 9 A.M. Hired mules, and at 6 P.M. 
started to cross the desert by night. 

Reached Piura (48 miles) at 10 A.M. 

From this date I remained at Piura until the loth of 
October. When, in consequence of rains in the 
Andes, the dried-up bed of the river became over- 
flowed (March 14) and ran with a considerable 
stream to the sea for a few months, a scanty 
vegetation appeared on its banks, of which I 
secured specimens. 

Travelled from Piura back to Payta. 

From Payta to Amotape on the river Chira. 

From this date until the end of the year on the river 
Chira; until December 22 at the village of 
Amotape, afterwards at Monte Abierto, higher 
up the valley. 

This day returned to Amotape. 

Remained there through the following months until 
April 20, then journeyed to Payta by way of 

Rest of month at Payta. 

Embarked for England on board the Pacific mail- 

Reached Panama, 6 P.M. 

Across the Isthmus. 


This morning landed at Southampton, after an 
absence from England of 15 years all but 10 days. 

To Mr, George Bent ha in 

DAULE, NEAR GUAYAQUIL, March 9, 1861. 

My mode of working is this. When I bring 
home freshly -gathered plants, I make notes on 
them in books prepared for the purpose, and add 
numbers. If any plant seems strange to me, I 
keep flowers, etc., in water to await a spare interval 







when I can analyse them microscopically. So soon 
as the plants are dried I pack them into other paper 
and add the labels from my notes. As it often 
happens that, at each packing, I have not two plants 
of even the same natural order, the risk of trans- 
position is very small. Indeed, so completely does 
the reading over of my notes recall the features of 
the plants, that I feel sure if I were shown the 
whole of my plants classified in your herbarium, 
and on blank paper, I could, from consulting my 
notes, put to them the proper numbers and localities 
without making perhaps a single mistake. As to 
positive errors of observation, I am as liable as any 
other mortal. I would wish to speak with all 
modesty on that head ; and working often in boats, 
or in dismal huts where a squall would suddenly 
enter the open doorway and disperse both specimens 
and labels, there must occasionally have been some 
transposition of both in gathering them up again. 
This risk of the blowing away or dropping out of 
labels was, in fact, what made me give up putting 
labels to the plants as they were drying. 

I have gathered a few plants since I came here, but the rainy 
season is now reaching its height and all around I have deep 
mud and water. The village is scarcely 300 yards from the faun 
house where I live, yet I cannot go thither on foot, except with 
india-rubber boots. Cnpnirni /^n/rin/m (Scroph.) grows about 
in moist places as Ctnt/o///>t<-(i s/>iui/<i (Gentians) does on the 
A ma/on, and looks not unlike it. The arboivMvnl vegetation is 
scanty but novel. The finest tree' is a ( ';es;ilpinia with bipinnate 
mimosreoid foliage I cannot reduce it to any described genus. 
There are several arborescent Capparides all new to me: but 
Cratu'ra /a/>i<>/</,'s is an old acquaintance, and abounds as it did 
on the Ama/.on. The Leguminos;e are mostly out of llouer 
now, but 1 recognise none of them by the 1 foliage, unless one 
be Bowdichia pnl>c$icns. Guayaquil is noted for its fruits, and 
the abundance and variety brought to the port for sale every 
morning in summer are truly astonishing. Many of them d 


from a good way up the various rivers, and there are many wild 
fruits. The latter include two "cherries"; one of them is so like 
the fruit of Averrhoa Bilimbi (Oxalideae) in appearance that I did 
not think it could be anything else. The tree abounds at Daule 
and is now in flower ; it is a Combretacea, allied to Terminalia ! 
The other cherry is a Malpighiacea very different from the 
Bunchosias or "Friar's plums," and probably a Byrsonima. Two 
"plums" are surely species of Spondias. A drupe, called Pechiche, 
the size of a large cherry, but black, and with a mawkish sweet 
taste, though excellent for preserve, is the fruit of a Vitex. There 
are also many Sapotaceous fruits not seen elsewhere. I hope to 
make them all out and to send specimens of the fruits in spirit. 
I have unfortunately very little strength left for work of any kind, 
and the squalls that come on suddenly when the sun is hot and 
penetrate the chinks of these bamboo walls make me feel some- 
times as "roomackity " as I did in the Sierra. Piura would have 
been the place for me they say the most obstinate rheumatisms 
can't withstand the climate of Piura. But I do not like the idea 
of living in the midst of a desert. 

I was beginning to work a mon ordinaire when I had the 
misfortune to scald my right foot severely, and had to endure a 
tedious vesication and afterwards a painful ulceration. Eighteen 
days of it stretched in a hammock, and unable to tread the 
ground. I did not mind the pain so much as the lost time. 

To Mr. John Teasdale 

GUAYAQUIL, June 22, 1 86 1 . 

... It is singular that the greatest range of 
temperature occurs here in the summer or dry 
season, while in the wet season it is more equable 
but more oppressive. We are now entering on the 
summer, and it is surprising how rapidly the water 
and mud dry up off the savannas ; for no more 
rain falls, and we begin to have strong westerly 
breezes, continuing sometimes through the night. 
Guayaquil is not unhealthy from June to January, 
and if they had built the city lower down the Gulf 
it might have been healthy all the year round. 
The island of Puna, where Pizarro first landed, is 


very healthy, but now almost uninhabited. The 
little towns along the coast to northward are also 
healthy, and noted for the longevity of their 

The vegetable products of cool regions become 
excessively scarce and dear here in the rainy 
season, when all import of goods from the highlands 
of the Andes is suspended, although those moun- 
tains lie within si^ht when the weather is clear. 


At Daule potatoes were sold at 2^cl. and apples 
at 5d. apiece ; while at the same time potatoes were 
selling at Ambato, only So miles away, at is. 3d. 
the sack. 

To Mr. John Teas dale 


. . . The rains or, as we say here, the winter- 
came on at Chonana in the middle of January, when 
I descended to Guayaquil, and shortly afterwards 
went on to Chancluy a small village on the shores 
of the Pacific, at 2-.V days' journey by sea from 
Guayaquil, and a little north of the island of Puna. 
Here it scarcely ever rains, beyond a slight drizzle 
in the morning, occasionally the same as at Lima 
and throughout the year iS6i there was but one 
day of heavy rain. This present year, however, 
we have had a real rainy season that began in 
February and lasted through most of March. It 
has been the first rainy season since 1^45. and 
we had actually one night a thunderstorm, a 
phenomenon that had not previously been witnessed 
here by even "the oldest inhabitant' (and there 
are some centenarians). With so dry a climate 
normally, you may well suppose the vegetation is 



very scanty ; yet there are even a few scattered 
trees, of humble growth, some of which grow down 
to the very beach. The species that most abound 
are a stout branched Cactus (Cereus peruvianus], 
orowincr to ;o feet, truncheons of whose trunk serve 

o o *J 

the people for stools; and a beautiful Jacquinia 
(J. arniillaris] of the same height. The latter has 
somewhat the aspect of the Holly, from the dark 
green, rigid, spiny-pointed leaves ; but the flowers, 
which are very numerous, are of a deep vermilion 
and very sweet-scented ; and they are succeeded by- 
fruits resembling small oranges in colour and shape, 
although uneatable and narcotic, and used by the 
inhabitants for stupefying fish. 1 When I arrived 
here, with the exception of these and a few other 
shrubby trees, and of a winding green line of 
mangroves (marking the course of a creek), the 
whole country had the aspect of a barren sandy 
waste. Even the range of hills that runs parallel 
to the coast at a distance of one to two leagues 
showed only brown and withered shrubs. But 
when it began to rain a change came o'er the face 
of nature more sudden and surprising than even 
that of a bright spring succeeding a severe winter 
in Europe. "The desert blossomed like the rose." 
The sandy plains became in a few days clad with 
verdure : curious and pretty grasses, most of which 
I had not even seen elsewhere ; flowering annuals, 
including a Polygala not prettier than the Milk- 
wort of our English heaths, but of nobler growth 
(i to 2 feet) and bearing long spikes of roseate 
flowers ; patches of apparently dead brush, scattered 

1 The genus jacquinia belongs to the Alyrsinacere, an order allied to the 
primroses. ED. 



over the savanna, burst suddenly into leaves and 
flowers. All this was interesting enough, but there 
was a reverse to the picture. As a shower of rain 
is such a rare event at Chandiiy, the inhabitants 
think their houses sufficiently protected by a slight 
roof of the leaves of Arrow-cane (Gynerium sp.), 
through which the heavy and continued rains of 
the present year have passed as through a sieve. 
Figure to yourself, then, my dwelling flooded by 
night bed and everything else soaked so much 
wet out of doors that I could not take even such 
exercise as my slender forces permitted, and it 
will not surprise you to learn that I had a severe 
attack of jaundice. A little after the equinox the 
weather grew drier and cooler, and my illness 
began to leave me, although I have still not quite 
shaken it off. 

The sea-breezes, which blow from the west and 
south-west, are strong and cool. We have already 
had the thermometer once down to 66^ , and in 
June and July we may expect to see it still lower. 
I walk about as much as I can, and amuse myself 
with gathering and preserving the flowers, although 
they are now fast drying up. The beach is rather 
too steeply inclined to be pleasant to walk on, and 
shells and seaweeds are rather scarce ; but the antics 
ot the burrowing crabs are diverting, and especially 
their battles with my clog, who disinters them from 
their holes in the sand. It is singular, however, 
to have been nearly four months by the seashore 
and only to have eaten fish three times, nor once 
to have gone out in a boat. . . . 

The industry of the Chandiiyenians, who are 
nearly all pure Indians, is almost limited to the 


plaiting of Panama hats and to gathering Orchilla 
(Roccella tinctoria), which abounds here on the 
trees especially the Cactuses as it does also in 
the neighbouring islands of Galapagos. They fish 
very little, and that merely for their own eating. 

. . . The failure of the house of Gutierrez 
and Co. at Guayaquil was a heavy blow to me. 
When it suspended payment (October 11, 1861) I 
had in their hands very nearly a thousand pounds 
^"700 at interest and the rest in deposit. I have 
received the balance of interest due to me at that 
date, but the residue, viz. 5550 dollars (Peruvian 
or Equatorian), remains to share the fate of the 
other debts of the firm, and if I ultimately recover 
a thousand dollars of it I shall think myself well off. 
The blow was so sudden that I had no time to with- 
draw my property, especially as I was at two days' 
distance from Guayaquil (at Chonana with the 
Illingworths). Even Gutierrez himself did not 
comprehend how it had happened ; but all has come 
to light now, and it is proved to have been caused 
entirely by the roguery of the cashier (Gavino Icaza) 
and of the head book-keeper (Thomas Viner Clarke, 
an Englishman, I am sorry to say), who, acting in 
collusion, have robbed Gutierrez to the amount of 
360,000 dollars, and possibly more. Not only had 
they from time to time appropriated large sums of 
ready money making the monthly balance (shown 
to Gutierrez) always tally with the cash in the cash- 
box, but they had shipped vast quantities of cacao 
and other produce from the warehouses of Gutierrez 
(unknown to him) under feigned names, and con- 
signed to houses abroad which had no existence ; 
and Clarke, in whom his patron reposed unbounded 


confidence, having been sent to Europe last year 
to purchase goods, returned with a quantity of un- 
saleable trash and with forged invoices, Clarke took 
himself off to England immediately after the smash, 
and was bearing off also 7000 dollars from the cash- 
box ; but Gutierrez missed the money, followed him 
on board, and took it off his person in the sight of 
many witnesses. In almost any other country he 
would immediately have been incarcerated, but they 
manage matters otherwise here. Icaza walks about 
Guayaquil holding his head as high as ever : and 
as he is a scion of one of the noble houses of the 
country, Gutierrez dare not proceed against him by 
law, which would expose him to the risk of having a 
knife stuck into him at the turning of some street 
corner after nightfall. . . . 

To Mr. Daniel Haubnry 

GUAYAQUIL, Nov. 29, 1862. 

Mv DEAR SIR- -Your last letter shows plainly 
that you consider your correspondent both listless 
and dilatory. He confesses to both, and can show 
ample cause. If you knew how entirely disabled I 
am ; how rarely I can sit to a table to do anything 
but must write, eat, etc., in my hammock ; how I 
cannot walk except for short distances, nor ride on 
horseback without being in danger of falling from 
an arm or a leg suddenly turning stiff, you would 
surely not be surprised at my want of activity. I 
had never calculated on losing the use of my limbs, 
and yet nothing was more likely to happen, if the 
sort of life I led be considered. When alter loss 
of health came wreck of fortune, simple though my 
wants be and modest as were my aspirations, I felt 

Vol.. II Y 


for a time completely prostrated. The fact is, I 
have been too constant to botany ; several times in 
the course of my travels I might have taken to some 
occupation far more lucrative ; and I have met 
many men who, beginning without a cent, have 
made more money in two or three years than I in 
thirteen, and that without being exposed to thunder- 
storms and pelting rain, sitting in a canoe up to the 
knees in water, eating of bad and scanty food once 
a day, getting no sleep at night from the attacks of 
venomous insects, to say nothing of the certainty 
of having every now and then to look death in the 
face, as I have done. 

Excuse these personal details, which I have not 
entered into with any hope or desire of exciting sym- 
pathy, but simply to explain that, although still in the 
midst of objects interesting to the inquirer into the 
productions and processes of nature, I can pay little 
heed to them. 

[Spruce then describes how he tried to obtain 
specimens of the flowers, etc., of a particular balsam 
tree Mr. Hanbury was very anxious to obtain ; but 
after paying the owner of the forests ten dollars to 
send an Indian to fetch them, he received a mule-load 
of branches none of which possessed a single flower 
or fruit, to obtain which one or two more journeys 
would have to be made at different seasons. He 
then proceeds : ] 

When I came out to the Amazon I resolved 
never to take a specimen of a gum or resin without 
gathering specimens of the tree producing it ; in 
which I did very wrong, for I thus lost the oppor- 
tunity of securing good specimens of many gums, 
etc., brought by the Indians to the towns for sale ; 


and when I afterwards fell in with the trees pro- 
ducing- them, there was either no gum to be had 
or merely small fragments, sufficient for identifica- 
tion with larger masses, but not worth sending as 
specimens to England. The collection of balsams, 
gums, resins, etc., is a task requiring an Indian's 
patience. Mostly they must be gathered drop by 
drop, or incisions must be made and the trees visited 
after the lapse of months to get the lumps of coagu- 
lated juice. I was unfortunate in some things I 
tried to collect on a large scale. For instance, I 
took with me down the Rio Negro a demijohn of 
the Sassafras of that river, and several demijohns 
of a beautifully white and transparent Oil of Copaiba, 
procured on the Siapa, intending to send them to 
England and ascertain their commercial value ; 
but the person who took them down to Para not 
only received the freight beforehand, but sold the 
articles there on his own account instead of delivering 


them to my correspondent. 

[XVith this letter Spruce sent dried specimens of 
a gum-producing tree which grew about a mile and 
a half from the village of Chanduy, and which after 
several attempts he succeeded in reaching " though 
I had to lie down many times by the way." He 
then concludes thus :] 

This is, I think, all your correspondent has to 
send you this time. You will see he is now good 
for little else besides talking and writing even the 
latter is painful to him and can be done only reclin- 
ing in the hammock ; but if you will have patk-n< < 
with him, he will still try to obtain lor you any 
information within his reach. Very faithfully yours, 



[Who can wonder that, after the receipt of such 
a letter as this, H anbury and Spruce became, for 
the remainder of their joint lives, the most attached 
and sympathetic of friends !] 

To Mr. Jo Jin Teasdale 

PlURA, PERU, Jan. 12, 1863. 

I embarked at Guayaquil, on the night of the ist 
of January, on the steamer that plies between that 
port and Lima, my destination being Payta, and 
thence overland to Piura. 

At 9 A.M. of the 3rd we reached Payta, and by 
noon I had got my baggage through the custom- 
house, and hung up my hammock in the only fonda 
in the place. But I only remained there a few 
hours to get together the mules required for the 
journey to Piura 45 miles across the desert. It 
is usual to travel here by night, the burning heat 
of the desert by day causing great (and sometimes 
mortal) fatigue to man and beast. I was myself 
conveyed in a litter, being unable to sit on a horse 
for more than an hour at a time. We started at six 
in the evening, and at nine on the following morn- 
ing reached Piura, having rested three hours at a 
tambo erected at midway of the route, where lucerne 
and water can be had for the beasts, and coffee, 
bread, and chicha for their riders, by paying a high 
price for them. The track is still indicated, in some 
parts, by long poles stuck in the ground, as it was 
in the time of the Incas; in other parts by the 
rare Algarroba trees, which are almost the sole 
vegetation, where there is any at all. Woe to the 


traveller who strays from these landmarks : he soon 
gets bewildered among the medanos or shifting 
hills of sand, and finds his grave in one of them. 
To see the sun setting over this desert is like look- 
ing into the red-hot mouth of a furnace, and there 
is usually a lull in the wind at that hour ; but he 
has barely disappeared when a rapid refrigeration 
sets in, the night-wind sweeps over the desert, and 
at daybreak the cold is as sensible (of course not 
so intense) as on the paramos of the Andes. 

Piura is one of the driest places in the world, 
and in " winter," as it is called (December to April), 
one of the hottest. Yet it is very health)-, catarrhal 
complaints, caused by the violent winds charged with 
sand, being the only prevalent ones. The site is 
a very curious one to have been chosen for a city. 
There is a river, it is true, but for six months in the 
year its bed is dry. It is now raining hard in the 
Andes, where its sources are, and some time next 
month the water is expected to reach Piura. 

March 27, 1863. . . . We are just now passing 
through the hottest fit of weather I ever experi- 
enced. Fancy a minimum thermometer at 85 , 
which has usually been the lowest temperature in 
the twenty-four hours ever since the ist of March ; 
indeed, up to the present date, it has only three 
times been as low as 83 . It is true that through- 
out the same period the thermometer has never 
risen higher than 89 ; but such sustained and 
nearly uniform heat induces great languor. The 
hottest part of the year is considered to be almost 
past, and the months to come will get gradually 
cooler. Although Piura cannot be said to have a 


pleasant climate, there can be no doubt of its general 
healthiness when one sees how many very old people 
are in it. On the i6th of the present month an old 
lady died here at the age of one hundred and eleven \ 
Her living descendants, including some great-great- 
grandchildren, are said to be exactly as many as the 
years of her life. 

Piura is considered the sovereignest place on 
earth for the cure of " rheumatic " (lege " syphilitic ") 
affections. Many wonderful cures are reported ; 
but the treatment is rather severe. It is as follows : 
First, you pay the priest to say " novenas " -that is, 
masses on nine consecutive days on your behalf; 
on each of these days you drink copiously of a warm 
decoction of sarsaparilla towards midday, and then 
your friends take you outside the town and bury 
you up to the neck in the burning sand, shielding 
your head with a broad straw hat and an umbrella. 
There you perspire in such a way as to bring out 
all the mercury you may have taken, and to reduce 
your swollen joints to their proper dimensions. 
Now you may see the use of the masses, for if you 
survive the operation (which is not always) they 
serve to express your thankfulness ; and if you die 
under it, you will need not only those nine masses, 
but several additional ones for which you make 
due provision in your last will and testament to 
secure the repose of your soul. 

Piura is perhaps the most superstitious place I 
have seen in South America, although Quito is far 
gone that way ; but I can tolerate even superstition 
when it is harmless and picturesque. As I write, 
at 8 P.M. of the eve of " Nuestra Senora de los 
Dolores," the bells are ringing to call the devout 


to a procession in her honour, and gaily-dressed, 
life-size figures of that sorrowful lady are set up 
under sparkling canopies at the corners of the prin- 
cipal streets. On this day, ladies who rejoice in 
the name of "Dolores" (and in Catholic countries 
they are legion) invite their friends to eat sweet- 
meats and to drink wine and chicha with them. 
Even I, old bachelor and foreigner as I am, have 
received several such invitations, and one Dolores 
has gone the length of sending me a pair of garters 
embroidered in blue, red, and white silk ! Vanitas 
vanitatum ! Yet even this mediaeval fooling is 
better than the unmitigated money -seeking (by 
fair means or foul), and as reckless and luxurious 
spending, of Guayaquil. 

Sometimes our superstitions are rich in historical 
souvenirs. \Yhen that most valiant of Pizzaro's 
warriors, Pedro de Candia, leapt on shore at Tum- 
bez, he carried in his hand a cross, extemporised 
from two bits of firewood. The inhabitants let 
loose on him "a lion" and a tiger, who, instead of 
attacking him, prostrated themselves before the 
cross, etc. etc. A piece of that famous cross is pre- 
served on the altar of one of the churches of Piura, 
and the church itself is dedicated to La Santa Cruz 
del Milagro (The Holy Cross of the Miracle). 


Tnl'Or.kAI'lIY AND M IM I: \|,<M,\ 

Along the western side of South America, extending Inuii neai 
the Equator on the N. to about Coquimbo in Chile, latitude 30 
S., there is a strip of land, included between the I'.icilir ;md tin- 

1 Kxtracts from tin- Koiri^n < tim- |';I|HT \>\ K. Spr 


Andes, which has been upraised from the ocean at no very remote 
period, and is still nearly as destitute of vegetation as the Sahara 
of Africa. It is, however, watered by a few rivers, some of which 
rise in the summits of the Andes, and run with a permanent 
stream into the ocean, diffusing fertility and perennial verdure 
throughout the valleys they traverse ; others, rising in the lower 
hills which form an outwork of the great chain, carry a consider- 
able volume of water to the sea during the rainy season, but for 
the rest of the year the lower part of their course is dry. By far 
the most important of these rivers is the Guayaquil, whose 
affluents drain the slopes of the loftiest portion of the western 
equatorial Ancles (including the mighty Chimborazo), and on 
issuing into the plain form a network of navigable streams which 
at the city of Guayaquil combine into a noble river. 

The northern limit of the Peruvian desert is usually placed 
about Tumbez, at the southern extremity of the Gulf of Guayaquil, 
in latitude 3 30' S., but I now know, from personal inspection, 
that the coast of the Pacific north of the gulf has the same 
geological conformation, the same climate, and almost as scanty a 
vegetation as it has south of it. At what point to northward the 
struggle between barrenness and fertility begins to be equally 
balanced, I am unable to say, but I am inclined to place it about 
Cape Pasado, at the mouth of the river Chones. Guayaquil itself, 
as seen from the river, with its groves of coco palms and fruit 
trees, and its picturesque wooded hills, might be supposed a 
region of forests ; but the moment we pass the skirts of the city to 
westward we find that the country is nearly all savanna, either 
open and grassy or scattered over with bushes and low groves, 
and that the woods are confined to the hills and to the borders of 
salt-creeks. As we descend the river from Guayaquil (i.e. to 
southward), the ground on the right margin, beyond the mangrove 
fringe, grows more and more open, and at the southernmost point 
of the mainland, or the northern entrance to the gulf, where 
stands the village of El Morro, at the foot of a steep rounded hill, 
the ground is already nearly as bare of vegetation as the coast of 
Peru. Throughout this distance, and thence northward along the 
shores of the Pacific to beyond Point St. Elena, there is no stream 
of fresh water, although there are a few salt-creeks ; but in latitude 
i 55' S. we come on the river Manglar-alto, along whose banks 
there is vigorous vegetation, as there is also on similar small 
streams entering at wide intervals to northward ; while the inter- 
mediate ground is either nearly desert or is a sort of savanna, 
sparsely set with bushes and cactuses, and bare of herbs except 
after the rare and exceptional rains. 

About Cape San Lorenzo (latitude i 5' S.) the coast is bold 
and broken, and almost completely clad with low bushy vegeta- 
tion. In the village of the same name, which nestles in the bay 



to southward of the cape, at the mouth of a small stream, the 
houses stand mixed with Coco palms and Plantains, and steep 
wooded declivities rise at the back. Yet on rounding the point 
to northward, we come again to a half-open country at the village 
of Manta and the town of Monte Cristo, a few miles inland; or, 
as Funnell says of it, "the land hereabout is very barren, 
producing only a few shrubby trees and some small bushes.'' 

A little farther northward, on the river Chones, there is real 
forest, from which much timber is obtained for Guayaquil. The 
Chones falls into the Bay of Caraques, which was an important 
harbour in the early days of Spanish rule, but has now become 
useless to navigators through the gradual accumulation of sand at 
the mouth of the river. The northern extremity of this bay is 
Cape Pasado, whereof Funnell says : " This Cape Passao is a high 
round cape, with but few trees on it. It lies in the latitude of 
o S' S. . . . within the cape the land is pretty high and moun- 
tainous and very woody." 

From Cape Pasado to Cape San Francisco would seem to be 
the real neutral ground, the heavy rains which prevail every year 
from April to November along the coast of New Granada and 
Mexico, up to latitude 23 30' N., reaching to southward in some 
years as far as Cape Pasado, and in others stopping short at Cape 
San Francisco. 

The coast we have been considering stretches out to westward, 
and recedes from the western ridge of the Andes at least 150 miles ; 
but if \ve return to Guayaquil and descend the gulf or estuary 
along its left or eastern bank, we find that at a very few miles 
inland the ground begins to swell, and rapidly rises to the lofty 
ridges of the Andes, having the frigid paramo of A/uay to the 
north. From these mountains descend several streams to the 
gulf, and the atmosphere is highly charged with humidity, in con- 
nence of which this coast is clad with lofty continuous forest. 
At Tumbez, the southern entrance of the gulf, where the shore 
again trends to westward and recedes from the Cordillera, the 
intervening plain becomes wider, drier, and barer of vegetation as 
we advance to southward, save where a broad \erdant band marks 
the course of the ri\ ' r fumbez, whose sources lie m the paramo 
of Saraguru and other highlands to northward of Loja. 

The coast continues to extend to westward until reaching Capi 
I'.lanco and Pariha, the westernmost land in South America : then 
turns southward, and in latitude 4 55' S. the river Chira enters 
the bay of Payta, which, although a mere open roadstead, affords 
the most secure and commiidimi-, anchorage of any porl alon^ the 
whole coast of Peru. IJeyond Payta is the moulli of 1'iura and 
the town of Sechura, which som< nines -ives its name to the \\hole 

, Roiiinl III, //',/ /</, 1 >y YV. l-'unndl, mate 1" < 'apt. I 1 


river. I propose here to treat of the lower part of these two rivers, 
and especially of the Chira, in some detail. 

The configuration of the coast-region from Cape Blanco to and 
beyond the Piura is as follows : On the western margin rise steep 
cliffs to a height of from 200 to 300 feet, either directly from the 
sea or with an intervening beach uncovered at low-water, and 
usually with a low reef of rocks at about half-tide, whereon even 
the gentle waves of the Pacific break in a dangerous surf. Having 
surmounted the cliff, we are on what is called the tablazo, a 
plateau rising very gently to eastward, in some places slightly 
undulated, and in others with ridges of considerable height rising- 
out of it, the whole so bare of vegetation that there are places 
where not a single tree, much less an herb, can be distinguished 
within the limits of vision. A bold abrupt ridge, called the Silla 
de Payta, rises immediately to southward of that town to a height 
(according to Captain Kellett) of 1300 feet; but a far more 
important range of hills, beginning from near the sea, a little to 
northward of the mouth of the Chira, runs with a direction of 
E.N.E. all the way up between the rivers Chira and Tumbez, till 
it mingles with the Andes towards the sources of the latter 
river. ... I suppose these hills to rise, even in their western 
part (which is all I have seen of them), to from 2000 to 3000 
feet; to eastward, as they near the Andes, they must be far 
higher. Viewed from the south, they appear entirely bare of 
vegetation, but when they come to be examined their deep 
ravines are found to contain a few scattered Cactuses, Algarrobos, 
and other trees ; and I am told that on their northern slope there 
is considerably more permanent vegetation, much as on the hills 
of Chanduy and St. Elena, which, although of far less extent, 
have quite the same aspect and structure. 

The country to southward of the river Piura is known as the 
Despoblado (or Desert) of Sechura : but in reality that term might 
be extended to the whole desert region which stretches northward 
to the skirts of the forests of the Gulf of Guayaquil, for the narrow 
strip of vegetation along the courses of the Chira and Piura are 
mere oases in that vast desert. 

The deep valley along which the Chira flows to the sea has 
plainly been excavated by the action of water, and if any 
depression have originally existed on the tablazo along the same 
line it must have been very slight, as there is now no appreciable 
sloping towards it. Its sides are steep cliffs, scarcely at all 
furrowed transversely on the southern side, but on the northern 
side in most places very much broken up into ravines and 
alternating peaked ridges, whose origin may be traced to the 
effect of the rare but torrential rains descending the rugged slopes 


of Mancora. The peaks are often truncated cones, so symmetrical 
that until closely examined they might be supposed the work of 

... At a little way within its mouth the river is only from So 
to 100 yards wide, and this average breadth is preserved, so far as 
I can learn, for at least 50 miles up. It is of no great depth, for, 
when at its lowest, a man may wade over it in most places with 
at least his head out of water ; but as the current is pretty strong, 
and there are some deep holes, it is considered unsafe to ford it 
on horseback. . . . Very rarely, and with risk and difficulty, are 
heavy goods conveyed on a raft for a few miles up the stream. 
There are no bridges across it, but ferries are established at the 
villages and principal farms. The fluctuations of level throughout 
the entire year rarely reach 10 feet, but in the anos de agua or 
rainy years there have sometimes been floods to a much greater 

In ascending the valley of the Chira we come on a series of 
alternating contractions and lake-like expansions, the latter at one 
period no doubt really lakes. A little above the village of 
Amotape, 1 1 miles from the sea, following the course of the river, 
but only 7 in a straight line, the valley contracts, so that from the 
base of the hills on one side to the base of those on the other 
there is barely half a mile. From this point to above the small 
village of Tangarara, on the right bank, a distance of 15 English 
miles along the course of the river, there has been a large lake of 
a long oval form, the ancient margin retiring from the actual river- 
bank at one point on the north side nearly 3^ miles, and having 
an average distance of 2 miles. Deep furrows, like river-courses, 
extend from the widest part (called Monte Abierto) to the 
adjacent hills, and in the rainy years rivers again run along them 
and enlarge their beds. On the south side the space betueen the 
river and the base of the cliffs is also of considerable breadth, and 
has on it the villages of La Huaca and Bibiate in its lower part, 
and higher up the large farm of Macacara, 10 miles from 

There are similar contractions of the valley, with intermediate 
lake-like expansions, up to 52 miles from the coast. 

On examining the cliffs that bound the valley of the Chira. we 
imd them to consist chiefly of alternating hcri/ontal layers of \vr\ 
various composition, some of them apparently repeated at various 
depths. The uppermost stratum is in many parts a calcareous 
sandstone, of minute fragments of shells, grains of quart/, etc., 
more or less compactly welded together, When of open texture 
it is the material for the filtering-stones, which are largely manu- 
factured at Payta, and are not only used throughout the province, 
but are exported to Guayaquil and other ports along the coast. . . . 


Below the sandstone (which is repeated lower down) there are 
alternating layers of pudding-stone and shell-marl, the former 
consisting of rounded pebbles united into a compact but some- 
times fragile mass by an argillaceous cement. The pebbles are 
nearly always egg-shaped, often the size of an ordinary hen's egg, 
and might seem water-worn, until being broken across they are 
found to consist of concentric coatings, varying in their mineral 
constituents but all more or less ferruginous. . . . 

The shell-marl, or shell-rock as it might more properly be 
called, is one mass of fragmentary crushed fossil molluscs, chiefly 
bivalves and cirripeds, welded together by a tenacious ochry 
cement, from which they are often with difficulty separated even 
by the hammer. Rarely do both molluscs and cement yield to 
the action of water. . . . 

Beneath all these strata, which are so nearly horizontal that 
there has plainly been no great convulsion since they were 
deposited and they are at least 200 feet thick there is a bed of 
compact argillaceous shales, which are tilted up at a considerable 
angle. At Payta, where this deposit is of immense thickness and 
apparently forms the great mass of the mountain called the Silla, 
it puts on the appearance of slate, being of a dull dark blue 
colour, and almost as hard as primary slate ; but at Amotape 
what is evidently the same formation is usually of a greyish colour, 
and much more easily broken. 

Returning to the surface the plateau or tablazo the most 
remarkable feature is the quantity of white sea-sand that is 
accumulated and driven about by the winds in many parts of it. 
The whole country, however, is by no means covered with sand- 
hills, as one might suppose from some accounts that have been 
given of it. The great accumulation is in depressions and hollows 
towards the northern and eastern sides of the desert, whither it 
has been borne by the prevalent southerly and south-westerly 
winds. . . . 

In proceeding from Payta northwards towards the valley of the 
Chira, we find the tablazo strewed with fragments of filtering- 
stone, clay-stones, etc., but we come on no sand until nearing the 
valley of the Chira, or even in some places (where the cliff is 
steep) until descending into the valley itself. We then find the 
cliff faced with sloping ridges of sand, blown over it by the wind, 
sometimes reaching into the river itself, whose waters are 
continually carrying off portions of them towards the sea. It is 
curious to see old Algarrobo trees with merely their heads out of 
the sand, but still growing and verdant ; while others, entirely 
suffocated, show no more than a few dead twigs above it. These 
enormous ridged heaps are found all along the southern side of 
the valley, but nowhere pass the river to northward, for the sand 


once blown over the cliff is sheltered by it from the further action 
of the wind. 

Piura lies nearly east from Payta, at a distance of 14 leagues, 
during the first seven of which the tablazo rises gently and 
equably, and the road is stony, or in some places dusty, but 
nowhere sandy. At midway, which is also the highest point of 
the route, there is a tambo or hospitium, where a supply is kept 
of water and food for man and beast, chiefly brought from the 
Chira with great trouble and expense. There the traveller, 
having started from Payta about sundown, reposes during the 
midnight hours, and starting again at 2 or 3 A.M., reaches Piura 
before the sun has risen high enough to heat the desert. From 
the tambo of Congora the ground descends for the remaining 
seven leagues in gentle undulations towards the Piura (whose 
valley has no steep limiting cliffs like the Chira), and the sandy 
dunes at once begin, increasing in size and frequency as \\e 
descend. These dunes, or medanos as they are called, are 
notable for their lunate or half-moon shape, sometimes beautifully 
symmetrical, and having their convex side towards the trade-wind. 
They are continually shifting and advancing, but in general it is 
necessary to watch them for weeks to appreciate their motion. 
If a day's wind of more than usual violence disperse any of them, 
then soon re-form to north-eastward ; a casual protuberance of 
any kind a large stone or a mummified mule being a sufficient 
nucleus for a new medano. On such days the sand which fills 
the air has all the appearance of a dense fog, and indeed at Piura 
the sky is generally more or less obscured from the same cause 
between 2 and 5 P.M. of every da\. 

The medanos I have seen near Piura are only from 8 to 12 
feet in height, and yet that is (mite high enough to render 
it difficult for the horseman entangled among them to find 
his way out, for one medano is almost the exact counterpart of 
another. On the desert of Sechura, however, which is a vast 
plain apparently depressed below the land immediately bordering 
the coast, the sand is heaped up to a far greater height, and 
I have been assured by an arriero that lie has found shelter tin r< 
for the night, on the lee side of a incdano, for lu> companv ol ten 
men, thirty to forty mules, and all their baggagi 

Ixjiit.i NOUS VEGETAI \< IN 

Any person, even one accustomed to the study ol and search 
f"i plants, might travel through the \\liole extent of the deserts 
of I'iura and Sechura, and (excepting the strip of verdure ah ng 
the banks of the rivers) would confident!}- assert them io U- 
entirely destitute of herbaceous vegetation; and yet three kinds 


of herbs exist there, which, burying themselves deep in the earth, 
survive through the long periods of drought to which they are 
subjected. Some of the smaller medanos, especially those under 
the lee of a low ridge of land, may be seen to be capped with 
snowy white, contrasting with the yellowish or greyish white 
which is the ordinary colour of the sand, and yet at a short 
distance liable to be taken for sand a little whiter than common. 
The whiteness, however, is that of the innumerable short cylin- 
drical spikes of an Amarantacea, whose stems, originating from 
beneath the medano, ramify through it, and go on growing so as 
to maintain their heads always above the mass of sand, whose 
unceasing accumulation at once supports and threatens to over- 
whelm them. 

The other two herbs of the desert are known to the natives, 
the one as Yuca del monte or Wild Yuca, the other as Yuca de 
caballo or Horse Yuca, from their having roots like those of the 
cultivated yuca (Manihot Aypi\ or not unlike parsnips, but three 
times as large. Both roots are edible, and the former is some- 
times brought to market at Piura when the common yuca is 
scarce. The Yuca de caballo is too watery to be cooked, but is 
sometimes chewed to allay thirst by the muleteers and cowherds, 
who detect its presence by the slightest remnant of the dried 
stump of a stem ; for both kinds maintain a purely subterranean 
existence during many successive years, and only produce leafy 
stems in those rare seasons when sufficient rain falls to penetrate 
to the roots. A few animals that roam over the desert, such as 
goats, asses, and horses, obtain a scanty supply of food and drink 
from these yuca roots, which they scrape out with their hoofs. 
The fruit of the Yuca de caballo may freemen tly be seen blowing 
about the desert, looking more like a pair of very long hooked 
bird's claws than anything vegetable. It is an elongated capsule 
with a fleshy pericarp (incorrectly described as a drupe), termin- 
ating in a beak several inches long, and when ripe splitting into 
two valves, which remain united at the base and curl up so as to 
resemble claws or ram's horns. At Piura it is known by the not 
very apposite name of espuelas or spurs. In Mexico the fruit 
of an allied species is called Una del diablo or Devil's Claws. 
The Yuca de caballo is a Martynia, of the family of Gesnerere 
(or, according to some, of Cyrtandracere). I was fortunate 
enough to see a single plant of it with leaves and flowers in 1863, 
near the river Piura, on ground which the inundation had barely 
reached, but had sufficed to cause the root to shoot forth its 
stems, which spread on the ground, branching dichotomously, to 
the distance of a yard on all sides. The roundish leaves, clad 
with viscid down, are lobed much in the same way as those of 
some gourds, but the large sweet-smelling flowers are like those 
of a foxglove. 


I have never seen either leaves or flowers of the Yuca del 
monte ; but, from the description given me of it, I should suppose 
it a Convolvulacea, allied to the sweet potatoes (Batatas), and the 
lanceolate leaves point to the genus Aniseia. 

The arborescent vegetation of the desert, although perhaps 
really more scanty than the herbaceous, is from its nature more 
conspicuous wherever it exists. There are points from which not 
a single tree is visible all around the horizon, but they are rare ; 
generally the view takes in a few widely-scattered trees growing 
in basin-shaped hollows or towards the base of slopes, where at 
a certain depth there is permanent moisture throughout the wide 
interval between the anos de aguas, at which epochs the supply 
is renewed. Wells dug in such sites reach water (too brackish 
for drinking) at various depths, the first deposit often at only 
a few feet from the surface. The moisture derived from the 
garuas, scanty as it is, no doubt aids in keeping the desert plants 
alive ; and we have already seen that the air is never so ex- 
cessively dry as might be supposed, but, on the contrary, some- 
times approaches complete saturation. The trees of the desert 
are the Algarrobo (Prosopis horrida}, the Vichaya (Cap par is 
crotonoides\ the Zapote del perro (Coticodendrum scabriduml!\ 
and an Apocynea with numerous slender branches, bright green 
lanceolate acuminate leaves, axillary clusters of small white 
flowers, and fruits, consisting of small twin drupaceous follicles, 
which are slender, curved, and coated with a thin white flesh. 
The Capparis and the Apocynea, although they grow to be trees 
in favourable situations, as in valleys near the sea, are mere 
shrubs on the desert ; and the Prosopis and Colicodendron are 
low trees of very scraggy growth, their branches all bent one 
way by the prevailing wind, and the trunk itself often semi- 

Far away over the desert a tall branched Cactus begins to In- 
met with; the same species abounds on the desert -coast of 
Ecuador. Farther still, near the roots of the Cordillera, the 
vegetation becomes gradually more dense and varied, comprising 
several other kinds of trees, and amongst them most of those 
about to be mentioned as deni/ens of the valleys. 

When the traveller across the despoblado comes suddenly on 
one of the valleys, he passes at once from a desert to a garden, 
\\ lio^e charms are enhanced by their unexpectedness. Standing 
on the cliff that overlooks the Chira, about Amotape, he sees at 
his feet a broad valley filled with perpetual verdure, the great 
mass of which is composed of the pale green foliage of the 
Al-arrobo ; but the course of the river that winds through it is 
marked (even where the river itself is not seen) by lines or 
groups of tall Coco palms, here and there diversified by the more 
rigid Date palm, both growing and fruiting in the greatest 


luxuriance, their ample fronds never mutilated by caterpillars 
as they are wont to be in other regions. On the river-bank 
grow also fine old Willows (Sa/ix Hiunboldtiana\ noticeable for 
their slender branches and long, narrow, yellow -green leaves, 
contrasting strongly with the dark green of the spreading Guavas 
(Ingje sp.), and with the bright green foliage (passing to rose at 
the tips of the branches) of the Mango (Mangifera indica). 
Mingled with these, or in square openings in the Algarrobo 
woods, are cultivated patches of sweet potatoes, yucas, maize, and 
cotton plants, the latter distinguishable by their pale but fresh 
green colour. It was a magnificent sight to look from this cliff 
towards the mouth of the Chira when the sun was just setting 
over it, steeping the hills of Mancora in purple and violet, and 
gilding the fronds of the palms and the salient edges of the 
adjacent cliffs, while the deep recesses of the latter and the 
Algarrobo woods were already shrouded in gloom. 

On descending into the valley, the natural forest of Algarrobo 
is found to occupy a strip of from a few hundred yards to three 
or four miles in width, extending from the river on each side as 
far out as there is permanent moisture at a moderate depth. It 
is divided by fences into plots of various sizes, all private 
property, except a small breadth of common lands adjacent to 
each village. I was surprised to hear these plots called not 
"woods "but " pastures " (potreros), for the trees grow in them 
as thickly as trees do anywhere, and there is not underneath 
them an herb of any kind. They are so called because the fruit 
of the Algarrobo is the main article of food for most of the 
domesticated animals, and therefore corresponds to the pasturage 
of other countries. The Algarrobo is a prickly tree, rarely ex- 
ceeding 40 feet in height, with rugged bark not unlike that of the 
elm, but more tortuous, and with bipinnate foliage like that 
of the Acacias, to which it is closely allied. The roots penetrate 
the soil to only a slight depth, but extend a very long way 
horizontally. On the desert I have seen an Algarrobo root, 
no thicker than the finger, stretch away to a length of 40 yards, 
evidently in quest of moisture. As the trunks never grow 
straight, and soon become tolerably corpulent, and their roots 
take too little hold of the friable earth to sustain them against 
the squally winds, they very generally fall over in age either into 
a reclining posture or quite prostrate, but immediately begin to 
turn their heads upwards, send off new roots from every part of 
the trunk in contact with the soil, and thus get up anew in the 
world : so that an old potrero or Algarrobo wood has a most 
irregular and fantastic appearance. Twice in the year the 
Algarrobo puts forth numerous pendulous racemes of minute 
yellow-green flowers, which nourish multitudes of small flies and 
beetles, that in their turn afford food to flocks of birds most of 


them songsters, and all of them more pleasantly garrulous than 
any similar assemblage of little birds I have met with elsewhere 
in the world. The flowers are followed by pendulous, flattish, 
yellow pods, 6 to 8 inches long, about a finger's breadth and half 
as thick, containing several thin flat seeds, immersed in a 
sweetish mucilaginous compactly spongy but brittle substance, 
which is the nutritive part. These pods are greedily devoured 
by horses, cows, and goats, but especially by asses, which are 
more numerous than any other domestic animals. It is a very 
concentrated and heating kind of food, and I have seen horses 
after eating it chew the leaves of the castor-oil plant, or any kind 
of rubbish, to counteract its stimulating properties. . . . 

The Algarrobo secretes an inflammable gum -resin, which 
exudes from cracks in the bark and coagulates into a blackish 
mass. Advantage is taken of it to prostrate the trees by fire, 
when it is required to clear the ground for cultivation. Cutting 
them down is scarcely ever resorted to, the timber being so hard 
as soon to render useless the best-tempered axe. The method 
employed is this : A truncheon of wood, alight at one end, is 
laid on the ground with that end touching the tree to windward. 
The trunk soon takes fire, and (especially if the wind be strong) 
is in a few hours burnt right through nearly horizontally, the part 
destroyed rarely exceeding from half a foot to a foot in breadth ; 
and being thus prostrated, its still burning end is covered with 
earth to extinguish the fire. There is no better material for fuel 
than Algarrobo wood, and its very great hardness and durability 
would make it a most desirable timber for any kind of con- 
struction, were it not that it grows so crooked and is so intractable 
to work. 

Potreros from which animals have been long excluded 
sometimes grow so thick, from two kinds of lianas which fill up 
the intervals of the trees, as to be impassable. A species of 
Rhamnus, called Lipe, armed with formidable decussate spines, 
and producing minute 4-5-merous ilowers, followed by small edible 
black berries, supports itself against the Algarrobos and climbs 
high among their branches. When it grows alone and has 
room to spread, it forms large round bushes, each mam \. 
in diameter, and 12 to 15 feet high. Bushes of Lipe, scattered 
over the bare ground, look at a distance not unlike the small 
groves of hollies or other evergreens that stud the sanded or 
gravelled surface of an English shrubbery. In these bushes hide 
by da) r numerous foxes, which come out by night in <|iie>t ol fund. 
They are as fond of melons as .Fsop's fox was of grapes, and do not 
despise them even when green, so they can get at them. Li/ards 
and a few snakes also seek the shelter of the Lipe. Flock - ol 
small birds roost there by night, and by day pick the berries. 

The companion of the Lipe is a rampant Xyctaginea (Crypio- 



carpus). It climbs to the tops of the Algarrobos, and often hangs 
therefrom in dense masses. It has heart-shaped stellate-pubescent 
leaves and panicles of minute green flowers, which persist on the 
enclosed black utricle. A stout parasitical Loranthus, with small 
yellowish flowers, often forms large bushes on the Algarrobo, and 
generally ends by destroying the tree whereon it has established 

A far handsomer tree than the Algarrobo sometimes grows 
along with it, especially where there is rather more moisture than 
usual ; this is the Charan (Caesalpinia). It is a widely-spreading 
tree, often branched from the very base, and the shining reddish 
bark is being constantly renewed. It has exceedingly graceful 
bipinnate foliage roseate at the tips of the branches panicles 
of yellow flowers, spotted with red, and thick deep-purple pods, 
which are extensively used in tanning. 

The Azota-Cristo or Whip-Christ (Parkinsonia aculeata), so 
called from its excessively long pendulous leaves, from whose 
thong-like rachis the small leaflets often fall away, is less hand- 
some but still more uncommon-looking than the Charan, and it 
is also much rarer in this region. It reappears in the Antilles. 

A few other trees are occasionally met with, such as a 
Calliandra, conspicuous for its numerous flowers green tinged 
with rose out of which hang the long, silky, straw-coloured 
stamens, and for its curled scarlet pods ; two Acacias, one of 
them the widely-dispersed A. Farnesiana ; a Maytenus, which is 
especially abundant at the mouth of the Chira, and is common 
enough along the coast of Ecuador as far north as the Equator ; 
and the Oberal ( Varronia rotundifolia\ a solanaceous tree or shrub, 
with numerous bright yellow trumpet-shaped flowers and white 
berries, abounding in a viscid juice, which is used by the dusky 
beauties of Guayaquil to straighten out their hair and hide its 
natural crispness. . . . 

The trees mentioned above as belonging to the desert grow 
also in the valley, and far more luxuriantly there, but generally 
scattered along the outer margin of the Algarrobo belt, especially 
wherever the soil is much impregnated with salt. The Zapote de 
perro bears a large berry, not unlike a smallish melon in size, 
shape, and the alternating green and white streaks. Its taste is 
disagreeable, and I have not seen it touched by any animal, 
although it is said to be eaten by dogs (as its name implies), and 
also by foxes and goats. The Vichaya, a dense growing bush, 
with oval hoary leaves, has yellow berries the size of a damson, 
containing a few stony seeds involved in a mawkish sweet pulp. 
Another Capparis, which scrambles up into the trees, also grows 
here, but rarely ; it is much more frequent near Guayaquil, as is 
also the Vichaya, which is there called Cuchuchu. In fact, all the 
trees and shrubs hitherto mentioned (with one or two exceptions) 


grow also on the desert coast of Ecuador, along with a few others 
not found in Northern Peru. 

In the ravines which run from the tablazo down to the valley, 
besides a few stunted Algarrobos, there is another small prickly 
tree, a species of Cantua, with black stems and branches, which 
becomes clad with fugacious, roundish, Loranthus-like leaves and 
pretty white flowers only in the rainy years. There also grows a 
Cactus called Rabo de zorra (fox's brush), from its usually simple 
stems being densely beset on the numerous angles or strice with 
reddish bristle-like prickles. 

On the margin of the river, except where the banks are 
unusually high, there is a narrow strip of land, called the vega, 
which is overflowed every year about February or March by the 
flush of water from the Andes, although no rain may have fallen 
in the plain. The vega is in many parts of the valley the only 
ground kept under cultivation, and the indigenous vegetation 
there is of a quite distinct character. Instead of the Algarrobo, 
we have the Willow and a small Composite tree, Tessaria kgitinia, 
with leaves very like those of Salix cinerea, and soft brittle wood, 
which is the common fuel at Lima and elsewhere on the coast, 
where it is called Pajaro bobo. Less abundant than those two 
trees are Buddleia ainericana, a pretty Cassia, two species of 
Baccharis, two rampant Mimosae (one of them M. asperata}, 
Muntingia Calalniru, and Cestntm hediondinum (called Yerba 
Santa), of which only the two last grow to be trees of moderate 
size, the rest being weak bushes or shrubs. Over trees and 
bushes climb a half-shrubby Asclepiadea (Sarcostemma sp.), with 
very milky stems and umbels of pretty white flowers, a Cissus, 
a Passiflora, allied to P. fceiida, a pretty delicate gourd plant, and 
a Mikania. 

It is usually only on the vega that we find any herbaceous 
vegetation, except in the rainy years. There the Caria brava, 
a (iynerium, with a stem 15 feet high and leafy all the way up, 
and with smaller and less silky panicles than the other species, 
grows in large patches. The huts of the Indians and Mestizos 
in the suburbs of Piura have often nothing more than a single 
row of Cana brava stems stuck into the ground for walK and 
others laid hori/ontally over them for roof, affording, of course, 
little protection from sun and wind, and none at all from the 
rain, which happily falls so very rarely. 1 Along with it grow a 

1 It does not enter into the scope of this memoir to <K-si-ril>e the towns of 
North Peru and the customs ol ih-'ir inhabitants, but it miidit leave .1 false 
impression wen- I not to add that all the better class oi houses an a >>lidly 
constructed as almost anywhere in South America. At Piura they have thick 
walls of adobes, and are built round patios or courts, over which a\uiiiiL^ are 
stretched in the heat of the day. ( dass windows, verandas, and l>al 
are almost universal 


few other perennial grasses, chiefly species of Panicum and 
Paspalum, besides the Grama dulce (Cynodon dactyloii), originally 
brought from Europe, but here so completely naturalised that, if 
allowed to spread, it would exclude almost every other plant. It 
is valuable as an article of fodder. A few annual grasses, chiefly 
species of Eragrostis, grow about the outer margin of the vega. 
Of sedges also (species of Cyperus and Scirpus) there are four 
or five species. 

Other herbaceous or suffruticose plants are a tall Polygonum, 
the handsome Typha Truxillensis, the Yerba blanca ( Teleianthera 
peruviana\ several species of Chenopodium, including the strong- 
smelling Paico ( Ch. ambrosioides and multifidum) ; a Cleome, a 
Portulaca, Scoparia dulcis, a Stemodium, and three or four other 
Scrophulariaceae ; a Melilotus, a Crotalaria, a pretty Indigofera, 
with numerous prostrate stems spreading every way from the 
root, and pink flowers, a Desmodium, a sensitive - leaved 
Desman thus, a Sonchus, Ambrosia peruviana, and a few other 
Compositse; a Datura, two species of Physalis, Dictyocalyx Miersit, 
Hook. f. (exceedingly variable in the size and shape of its leaves), 
and the ubiquitous Solatium nigrum ; Verbena littoralis, two 
species of Lippia, Tiaridium indicum, a Heliophytum, three 
Euphorbias, a small Lythracea allied to Cuphea, and a few- 

In the river itself occasionally grows a Naias, in dense 
masses, like those of Anacharis ahinastruin in English streams 
and ponds. . . . 

Two mosses, both species of Bryum, are occasionally found 
on the banks of the river Chira, and on the filtering-stones kept 
in houses, but only in a barren state. 

I did not remain long enough in the country to witness the 
full effect of the rains of 1864 on the desert. The first plant to 
spring up, in the ravines leading down from the tablazo to the 
valley, and then on the tablazo itself, were two delicate Euphorbia?, 
distinct from those of the vega. A little later on they were fol- 
lowed by a fragile dichotomously branched Scrophulariacea (which 
is common on the coast to northward of Guayaquil) ; two viscid 
Nyctagineae (species of Oxybaphus) with pretty purple flowers ; and 
two or three grasses (one of them an Aristida), but very sparingly. 
The Yuca de caballo (Martyniae sp.) also began to put forth its 
leaves, but the Yuca del monte had not, up to the 2oth of April, 
shown itself above ground. I had seen far more wonderful 
effects of the rains of 1862 at Chanduy, where a desert nearly 
as bare as that of Piura became clad in a month's time with a 
beautiful carpet of grasses, of many different species, over which 
were scattered abundance of gay flowering plants. Something 
similar must have occurred this year to northward of the hills of 
Mancora, for people who travelled between Amotape and Tumbez 


in the middle of April reported the whole country clad with 
verdure, and the grass in the hollows up to the horses' girths. 

[The following extract from a letter to Mr. 
Bentham, written a few weeks before finally leaving 
South America, explains the reasons for his return 
home, and concludes his correspondence while 
abroad : ] 

To Mr. George Bentham 

April 13, 1864. 

During the last twelve months I have experienced 
some relief from my pains, and life has not been 
so barely tolerable a burthen as during the three 
preceding years ; but I see plainly I can never hope 
to regain my former activity, or indeed be able 
to undertake any occupation whatever, and I have 
made up my mind to return to England, my present 
intention being to embark at Payta for Southampton 
on the ist of May. . . . 

[The following extract from a letter to Mr. 
Daniel Hanbury, written from Hurstpierpoint two 
years after his return to England, gives a curious 
piece of information as to his friend the late Dr. 
Jameson of Quito, which is to some extent a vindi- 
cation of that botanist's character and abilities. 

Referring to Dr. Jameson's Flora of Ecuador, 
which Spruce says is extremely imperfect, and 
mostly a translation from other works, with no 
original descriptions of plants, and whole genera 
altogether unnoticed, he has the: following remarks 


which may be of value as showing why a man with 
(apparently) such fine opportunities, and who was 
so interested in botany, yet did so little : ] 

Jameson told me he had been to Banos only 
once in his life, although he has been over forty 
years in Ecuador. He would have liked to go 
again to gather some of the Orchids I found on 
Tunguragua, but could not spare either the time 
or the money. Suppose he were to write to ask you 
just to step over to the Shetland Islands and get him 
a form of Stereocaulo n paschale which grows there 
you could do it more easily than he could go to 
Banos and back. Yet Jameson is one of the most 
amiable of men, an ardent collector (for other 
people much the same as I have been), and a very 
fair botanist and mineralogist. But what can a 
poor fellow do who has had a drunken (and worse) 
wife hanging on him for forty years, who burns his 
dried plants, whenever she can get hold of them, 
so that he can keep no herbarium, and who has 
often had to struggle with absolute want ? 

[This is the Dr. Jameson after whom was 
named the beautiful greenhouse shrub Streptosolen 
Jamesonii, as well as many other plants. 

The remainder of this volume consists of extracts 
from letters to Mr. H anbury, having special reference 
to matters connected with his residence in the 
Andes ; together with six essays on various subjects 
relating to his travels, which have either been 
hitherto unpublished or are almost unknown to 
English readers. They have been condensed where 
necessary, but are otherwise as Spruce left them.] 




(ENGLAND, 1864-1873) 

[ON reaching England in May 1864, Spruce 
remained for some time in London, at Kew and 
at Hurstpierpoint, with short visits to Mr. Daniel 
Hanbury and to myself. He thus had frequent 
opportunities of seeing most of his botanical friends, 
and his further correspondence with them was of 
little general interest. There is an exception, how- 
ever, in the case of Mr. Hanbury, with whom he 
at once established an intimacy which quickly 
ripened into a close friendship ; and as this gentle- 
man thenceforth acted as Spruce's informal agent 
in London, supplying him with medicines, books, 
and any special delicacies he required (always on 
a strict business footing), while Spruce was always 
ready to give botanical or other information on Mr. 
H anbury's special pharmaceutical researches, letters 
passed between them weekly, and often daily, for 
many years, amounting in all to nearly a thousand, 
all of which were carefully preserved and were 
presented by Sir Thomas Hanbury (after his 
brother's death in 1875) to the Pharmaceutical 
Society. These were kindly lent me, and a few 



of them are so interesting, and have such a close 
relation to his work in South America, that I give 
here some extracts from them, adding a few ex- 
planatory words where necessary. 

The first is from one written about six months 
after his return home, and is characteristic of his 
intense love of nature.] 

KEW, Dec. 20, 1864. 

I am thankful we are so near the shortest day. 
It is an awful sight to me to see that the sun at 
noon barely rises as high as the weathercock on 
Kew Church steeple (seen from the opposite side 
of the green) and the poor skeletons of trees ! 
I have not seen trees without leaves for more than 
fifteen years. 

[This was specially interesting to myself because, 
on my return from the Amazon in October 1852, 
I was at once struck by two things the general 
smallness of the trees, and even more by the low 
sun at noon, and especially by the fact of its giving 
hardly any heat, so that it seemed most surprising 
how any vegetation could continue to grow and 
thrive under such harsh conditions. 

Although Spruce had made Ambato his head- 
quarters for nearly three years, I have found in none 
of his letters any reference to what accommodation he 
had there or to the people he lived with, except the 
one remark (in a letter to his friend Teasdale) that 
his landlord there was "one of the best men in 
the place." But as he was often away collecting 
at Banos, Quito, Riobamba, and other places, as 
well as in the forests around Tunguragua and the 


Cinchona forest to the west of Chimborazo, for 
days, weeks, or even months at a time, and never 
makes any mention, on his return, of any injury by 
damp, insects, etc., to his plants or his books, he 
was evidently sharing a house with some family 
(or renting an adjoining house), where he himself 
and all his belongings were carefully attended to. 
This mystery is now cleared up by a series of letters 
to Mr. Daniel Hanbury, enclosing translations of 
letters he had received from his old landlord in 
Ambato, Manuel Santander, to whom Spruce 
promises to write (at Mr. Hanbury's request), with 
a commission to obtain, if possible, dried specimens 
of the flowers, fruit, and foliage of the "Quito 
Cinnamon." The result of Santander's repeated 
attempts for over two years was a small quantity 
of branches with leaves only, which are now pre- 
served in the Herbarium of the Pharmaceutical 

On inquiry, I have learnt that no authentic 
specimens exist at Kew, and, presumably, there are 
none in any other European herbaria, so that the 
tree producing this cinnamon-like bark is still 
botanically unknown. 

Santander's letters show the great and genuine 
affection which Spruce had inspired in this excellent 
man and his whole family.] 

{Letter to j\Ir. Daniel H anbury ^ Feb. i, 1866) 

Santander is a remarkable man, In youth 
he was a soldier, and rose to be a captain. He 


was in many battles, and during a " revolution " at 
Guayaquil he was wounded by two musket-balls 
in the hip and thigh (which still give him periods 
of torture), was made prisoner, and banished to 
the coast of Peru without a cent. At Payta he 
set up a school which gave him a bare living. 
While a soldier he had taught himself to repair 
the lock of a gun, and at Payta he began to teach 
himself all kinds of light work in metals, in which, 
being an ingenious fellow, he succeeded admirably, 
so that when some years later new revolutions 
recalled him to Ecuador, he opened at Ambato a 
flourishing business what we should call that of 


a whitesmith employing Indian smiths to do the 
heavier work. He resisted the most urgent solicita- 
tions of the Government to take a new and higher 
commission in the army, and resolved to maintain 
himself by the work of his hands and brain. Add 
to all this, that he is a man (like yourself) over- 
flowing with the milk of human kindness, and you 
will comprehend how I came to regard him with 
great affection, and regretted much having to part 
from him. 

Santander's lameness prevents his travelling 
much, but he knows the Cinnamon gatherers and 
sometimes trades with them. I will give him full 
instructions as to what we want. ... If any one 
can get the Canelo without going to the spot 
where it grows, which is a good month's journey 
out and in from Ambato I believe it is Santander. 

[A year later he has a reply from Santander, a 
translation of which he sends to Mr. Hanbury.] 


To Ricardo Spruce 

AM BATO, June 30, 1867. 

[The letter begins : " My never forgotten 
friend," and after two pages giving a full descrip- 
tion of the box of specimens (also asked for) he 
has sent to Mr. H anbury, and his prospects of 
getting the much -desired Canelo, he continues 
thus :] 

I now pass on to my own affairs and those of 
my family. I wrote to Inez (his eldest daughter) 
with your salutations, and she replies saluting you 
most affectionately. She says that her first little 
boy already bears the name of Juan Elias, and 
that she reserves the name of Ricardo for her 
second. Her husband and her father-in-law (Don 
Rafael Paz y Mino), who both know you, salute 
you with many caresses. . . . As respects my 
family, we are all here at your orders, truly desiring 
to see you and embrace you, for even yet tears 
accompany the memory of our absent friend. 
Isabelito and Pachito (his younger children) are in 
despair to see you and embrace you, and say : 
" Oh that London was no farther off than Ambato 
to Lligna, that we might go to Senor Ricardo ! 
But as an immense distance separates us, there is 
no alternative but to console ourselves with v< nil- 
letters. Isabel (his wife) is ready to complain that 
she ever knew you, because she could not then 
have felt your loss ; but consoles herself with tin- 
hope that one clay you will return to Ambato, stout, 
healthy, and rich. This is what we all desire, and 


that, leading with us a simple and peaceful life, we 
may end our days together. 

With this I await your reply, desiring that it 
may find you well. Your truest heart-friend sighs 
to see and to embrace you. 


Addition. If convenient to you, and you con- 
sider that Pachito might be useful to you, and you 
will tell me how he may get there, I will give him 
to you, Senor Ricardo, that he may serve you as a 
companion and assist you in something. 

(So endeth the epistle according to Santander. ) 

R. S. ' 

[Nearly two years later, in a letter to Mr. Daniel 
H anbury from Welburn (dated December 31, 1868), 
we have the conclusion of the long story of the 
repeated efforts to get flowers and fruits of the 
much-desired Canelo or Cinnamon tree of Quito. 
This tree and its spicy bark were known to the 
Spanish conquerors of Peru and Ecuador, and 
has been an article of commerce ever since ; the 
great forest of Canelos was so named after it ; 
many travellers and botanists have traversed this 
forest, including the enthusiastic Richard Spruce, 
yet no one had yet been able to obtain or even to 
see its flowers or fruit. Some of the causes of this 
failure are indicated in a letter from Santander, 
dated " Ambato, November 12, 1868." He therein 
describes the extraordinary series of accidents and 
misfortunes which made all his efforts of no avail ; 
and as it also serves to illustrate further the 


character of the very interesting writer, and also 
that of Spruce himself, who could excite such 
enthusiastic affection (though this will surprise none 
who knew him intimately), I will here give the 
more interesting portions of it.] 

Senor Santander to Sefior Don Ricardo Spruce 


FRIEND- -The receipt of your much-desired and con- 
solatory letter has filled me and my family with joy, 
especially on seeing the portrait that accompanied it. 
But what a notable difference it presents from that 
you sent us in 1 864, which showed you much the same 
as we had known you, whereas this last shows you 
with a beard as white as the snow of Chimborazo, 
and a stoutness that (for you) is extreme. \Yhat 
changes time makes in the features one would 
think from this portrait you were seventy years 

[Then follows an account of his own domestic 
troubles : the death of his eldest son, the dangerous 
illness of his wife, and the loss of a fine mastiff, 
" our old and faithful friend and the guardian of 
our house ! " He then continues :] 

Notwithstanding these calamities, I did all I 
could to procure the specimens of Cinnamon for Mr. 
H anbury, but I have found it impossible. 

In the first place, I availed myself of Padre 
Fierro, our friend, and in effect he sent the desired 
specimens by Pacho Gallegos and Jose Torres. 
But see what happened. The Padre's nephew ran 
away from Canelos and carried off all his uncle's 
clothes, some ounces of gold, a gun, etc. II< 


reached Banos along with the two men, and as the 
branches, etc., of the Canelo were stowed in two 
baskets of Ishpingo, he sold the Ishpingo (which 
was then at 22 reals the pound) and threw away 
the branches, which were of no value to him. 
Nobody knows what has become of him ; but 
I was almost at my wits' end. 

The second time I made a treaty with Pedro 
Andicho, the Governor of Pindo (a few Indian 
huts in the middle of the Forest of Canelos), who 
was going there to make lance-shafts for the war 
that menaced us at that epoch, and I gave him 
three frascos (large square bottles) prepared accord- 
ing to your directions. I paid him in advance 
four dollars, and made him several presents a gun 
among the rest that he might deliver the frascos 
filled with specimens to Padre Fierro. He had 
scarcely reached Pindo when he died, and though 
I have again and again solicited Padre Fierro to 
recover the frascos, he has found it impossible. 

I wrote to him also asking him to send me the 
branchlets in paper (as you used to prepare them), 
which indeed he took the trouble to do, and sent 
them by some Indians who were going to Banos, 
but who threw them into the river, so that they 
never reached me. How unfortunate I have been ! 

On the 8th of December last year I gave four 
dollars to Pedro Valladares, with a written agree- 
ment that he should obtain for me the desired 
objects. He goes to Canelos, starts on the return 
journey, and is stopped by death, and none of his 
effects have been recovered ! 

After this I made a treaty with Manuel Meneses 
for two dollars as can be proved by my books 


and ever since I have neither seen nor heard tell 
of him ! 

I have tried to treat with the traders who go 
from Pelileo to Canelos, such as Hilario Flores 
and others ; but not one has been willing to under- 
take to bring the Cinnamon fruits, etc., on account 
of its exceeding difficulty. 

By Padre Fierro, who himself has just come out 
of the forest, I certainly hoped to obtain it, but he 
has only brought two young living plants, which (as 
they were beginning to wither) he has left behind 
him (planted) at St Ine's, on the farm of Dr. Lizar- 
zaburo. He thought he was doing the best he 
could for me in bringing the live plants. He 
brought also seeds, but they got them from him 
at St. Ine's. 

All that I have been able to obtain is some loose 
leaves and calyces with their fruits, but not of their 
original colour. Tell me, may I send Mr. H anbury 
these dried leaves ? The young plants will prosper, 
but the difficulty is how to send them. 

As to getting the flowers, that is the most im- 
possible of all, for Padre Fierro tells me that no 
sooner does the young calyx appear than it already 
contains the young fruit [here Spruce remarks 
"hence the tree appears to be dioecious"], so that 
the calyx with the fruit ought to suffice for the identi- 
fication of the Cinnamon tree. I hope to give these 
things to Mr. Seckel, who is on his way to Ouito, 
that he may send them to Mr. H anbury. 

How I wish this affair had depended on me 
alone, and that I could have gone to Canelos; but 
that is impossible because of the precipitous ways. 
If I could have gone myself, even although I had 


perished, my death would have been praiseworthy, 
and my friends could not have been dissatisfied 
with me. Have the goodness to salute Mr. Han- 
bury for me, and to explain to him all the obstacles 
that have opposed the execution of his commission. 
If he is not satisfied that I have done my best, I must 
return him the ^5 there is no other alternative. 

What a pleasure it has been for me to learn 
something of your actual position, and it has been 
the same for my family, who charge me to embrace 
you with a thousand tender caresses ; for they say 
the lapse of time only makes them remember you 
and regret your absence the more. For me, what 
shall I say ? I preserve in my heart the image of 
Sefior Ricardo, but this my joy is troubled by the 
hopelessness of ever seeing him again. What 
happiness it would be for us to have you at Ambato 
just now, in the most agreeable season of the year. 
The time of ripe pears and peaches is near ; our 
friend Mantilla, with his accustomed kindness, is 
waiting for us to go and eat them. Miraflores is 
now planted with poplars all along the avenue where 
we used to walk. Tamatamas l are ready for our 
innocent games. Isobel is at the gate waiting for 
you. Frank and I are ready to accompany our 
dear friend. But sweet dream delusive hopes 
where is he ? 

Adieu, my beloved friend, adieu ! Thus your 
sincere friends bid you farewell ! 


[In sending this translation to Mr. Hanbury, 
Spruce writes: "You will read abbut the disasters 

1 Sticky fruits with which children pelt each other. 


that have attended the quest of the Quito Cinnamon. 
I know nearly all the people whose names are men- 
tioned, and I have no doubt his relation is exact, 
for I know well the simple and truthful character 
of the man. . . . 

" After all the time, etc., Santander has lost, I do 
not think we can ask him any more." 

Thus ends the quest for botanical specimens of 
one long-known tree whose scented bark is still an 
object of commerce, but which grows only in a 
limited district of the great forests at the foot of the 
Andes of Ecuador. 

The following interesting paper was sent to 
the Linnean Society in 1867, and published in 
the Society's Journal, vol. ix. (pp. 346-367), under 
the following title: "Notes on some Insect and 
other Migrations observed in Equatorial America. 
By Richard Spruce, Esq. Communicated by the 

This title, however, does not convey an idea of 
its whole subject, which is almost as much botanical 
as zoological, the first portion of it containing an 
admirable sketch of the broader aspects of the 
vegetation of the Great Amazon Valley and adjacent 
regions. I have therefore subdivided the paper 
under separate headings, and have omitted a few 
of the less interesting details.] 


Vl-XlKTATIt .\ 

In endeavouring to trace the distribution of 
plants in the Amazon valley, and to connect it with 

VOL. II 2 A 


that of animals, I have been struck with the fact 
that there are certain grand features of the vegeta- 
tion which prevail throughout Cisandine America, 
within the tropics, and even beyond the southern 
tropic features independent of the actual distribu- 
tion of the running waters, partly also of the geo- 
logical constitution, and even of the climate to 
which the range of the larger species of Mammals 
and Birds corresponds in a considerable degree, but 
not that of any other class or tribe of animals, and 
especially not of lepidopterous Insects. These 
features depend on the prevalence of certain groups, 
or even of single species, of plants over vast areas: 
one set prevailing in the Virgin or Great Forests 
(Caa-guacu of the Brazilians, Monte Alto of the 
Venezuelans) which clothe the fertile lands beyond 
the reach of inundations, and constitute the great 
mass of the vegetation ; another in the Low or 
White Forests (Caa-tinga, Monte Bajo) --those 
curious remnants of a still more ancient and 
humbler but surpassingly interesting vegetation, 
which (especially on the Rio Negro and Casiquiari) 
are being gradually hemmed in and supplanted by 
the sturdier growth of the Great Forests, wherein 
they are interspersed like flower-beds in a shrub- 
bery ; another in the Riparial Forests (Ygapii or 
Gapo of the Brazilians, Rebalsa of the Spaniards), 
on lowlands bordering the rivers, and laid under 
water for several months in the year, where the 
trees when young, and the bushes throughout their 
existence, must have the curious property of being 
able to survive complete and prolonged submersion, 
constituting for them a species of hybernation ; a 
fourth in the Recent Forests (Caa-puera, Rastrojo), 


which spring up to replace the Primitive Forests 
destroyed by man, and, notwithstanding their 
weedy character, consist chiefly of shrubs and trees ; 
a fifth in the savannas or campos - - grassy or 
scrubby knolls, or glades, or hollows (dried -up 
lakes), which bear a very small proportion indeed 
to the vast extent of woodland in the Amazon 
valley proper, but towards its northern and southern 
borders compete with the w r oods for the possession 
of the ground, and in the centre of Venezuela enlarge 
to interminable grassy llanos or plains. 

From an elevated site that should embrace the 
landscape on all sides to the extreme limit of vision, 
as, for instance, from the heights at the confluence 
of the Rio Negro and Amazon, or, better still, from 
one of the steep granite rocks that overlook the 
noble forests of the Casiquiari, a practised eye would 
distinguish the various kinds of forest by their 
aspect alone. The Virgin Forests are distinct 
enough by the sombre foliage of the densely-packed, 
lofty trees, out of which stand, like the cupolas, 
spires, and turrets of a large city, the dome-shaped 
or pyramidal or flat-topped crowns of still loftier 
trees, overtopping even the tallest palms, both palms 
and trees being more or less interwoven with stout, 
gaily-flowering lianas ; the White Forests by the 
low, neat-growing, and thinly-set trees and bushes, 
with scarcely any lianas - - the Palms few, but 
peculiar, and often odd-looking on a near view 
by the greater abundance of Ferns, especially on 
the trees, and sometimes of terrestrial Aroids and 
Cyclanths ; the Recent Forests by their low, irregular, 
tangled growth, paler foliage, and general weedy 
aspect ; the Riparial Forests, even where the water 


is not visible, by the varied tints of the foliage, and 
by the trees rarely equalling those of the Virgin 
Forest in height sometimes, indeed, beginning on 
the water's edge as low bushes, thence gradually 
growing higher as they advance inland, until at the 
limit of inundations they mingle with the primeval 
woods, and are almost equally lofty by the greater 
proportion of herbaceous lianas which drape the 
trees and often form a curtain-like frontage and 
by the abundance of Palms, whereof the taller kinds 
usually surpass the exogenous trees in height, and 
(the Fan palms especially) often stretch in long 
avenue-like lines along, or parallel to, the shore. 
On some black-water rivers, such as the Pacimoni, 
the Atabapo, and the Rio Negro in some parts of 
its course, the breadth of inundated land is entirely 
clad with bushes and small trees of very equable 
height, on the skirts of which the Virgin Forest 
rises abruptly to a height more than twice as great. 
This is called by the natives " caatinga-gapo." 

Besides these differences of aspect, the natives 
will tell you there are other more intrinsic ones ; for 
instance, that the riparial trees have softer and more 
perishable timber, as well as inferior fruits ; while 
the caatingas, with a far greater show of blossom, 
have hardly any edible fruit at all, and very few 
indeed of the trees rise to the magnitude of timber 
trees. And yet, when the constituent plants of the 
different classes of forest come to be compared to- 
gether, they are found to correspond to a degree 
quite unexpected ; for although the species are 
almost entirely diverse, the differences are rarely 
more than specific. It is only in the caatingas that 
a few genera, each including several species, seem 


to have taken up their exclusive abode : such are 
Commianthus among Rubiaceae, Pagamea among 
Loganiacese, Myrrnidone and Majeta among Melas- 
tomaceae ; and there are a few other peculiar genera, 
chiefly monotypic. But, of the riparial plants, 
nearly every species has its congener on terra 
firme, to which it stands so near that, although 
the two must of right bear different names, the 
differences of structure are precisely such as might 
have been brought about by long exposure even 
to the existing state of things, without supposing 
them to date from widely different conditions in 
the remote past ; and this is especially true of such 
genera as Inga, Pithecolobium, Lecythis, and of 
many Myrtles and Melastomes, Sapotads, etc. 

As an illustration of the features which tend to 
impress a certain character of uniformity on the 
vegetation of the Amazon region, I will take the 
case of a single tree, Bertholletia excelsa (H. and B.) 
-perhaps the noblest tree of the Amazon region, 
and the most characteristic of its Vircrin Forests 


and briefly sketch its distribution. In aspect and 
foliage it is not unlike a gigantic Chestnut tree ; 
and the seeds (the Para nut of commerce), if not 
much like chestnuts in their trigonous bony shell, 
are not very different in taste, whence the Brazilian 
name of the tree, " Castanheira," and of the seeds 
" castanhas." This tree is found almost throughout 
the Amazon valley, both to north and south, chiefly 
wherever there is a great depth of that red loam 
which it pleases M. Agassiz to call "glacial drift." 
About Para itself there is no lack of it, especially 
in the fine woods of Tauaii ; and 1200 miles farther 
to the west it may be seen in some abundance- on 


the very banks of the Amazon, between Coary and 
Ega, at a part called Mutuncoara (Curassow's Nest), 
where steep red earth -cliffs border the river and 
forest ; while it extends many hundred miles up 
the Puriis and other southern affluents. North of 
the main river I have seen it at many points for 
instance, in the forests of the Trombetas and at the 
falls of the Aripecuni ; in various places along the 
Rio Negro, where one village (Castanheiro) takes 
its name from it ; and on the Casiquiari and Upper 
Orinoco, where it was first seen and described by 
Humboldt and Bonpland. 

A magnificent palm, Maximiliana regia (Mart.) 
-Inaja of the Amazon, Cocurito of the Orinoco 
frequently accompanies the Bertholletia, and is still 
more widely and generally dispersed. I have seen 
it as far to the south as in 7 lat. ; and in 5^- N. 
lat., at the cataracts of the Orinoco, it is still as 
abundant as on the Amazon. It even climbs high 
on the granite hills. On one which I ascended 
near the falls of the Rio Negro, an Inaja palm 
occupied the very apex, at 1500 feet above the 
river ; and with the telescope I have distinctly 
recognised this Palm at a much greater elevation 
on Duida and other mountains. Both the tree and 
the Palm range to northward and southward beyond 
the limits of my own explorations ; and there are 
a few other arborescent plants which stretch all 
through South America, from the base of the coast- 
range of Caracas (or even in a few cases from the 
West India Islands) to the region of the river 
Plate ; but these are chiefly trees such as sprinkle 
the savannas, or are gathered into groves, along 
both the northern and southern borders of the 


great Amazonian forest -belt, wherein they now 
barely exist on the bits of campos that at wide 
intervals break the monotony of the woodland- 
although they probably at some antecedent period 
ranged continuously from north to south. 

In other cases, closely allied species occupy 
distinct areas. One of the finest fruits of Equatorial 
America, the Cocura (Pourouma of Aublet), is borne 
in large grape-like bunches on trees of the Bread- 
fruit tribe, having large, palmatifid, hoary leaves, 
quite like those of their near allies the Cecropias. 
Now the Cocura of the mid-region of the Rio 
Negro, of the Japura, and of the Upper Amazon 
or Solimoes is one species (Pourouma cecropi<zfolia< 
Mart.), while that of the mouth of the Rio Negro 
and adjacent parts of the Amazon is a very distinct 
and smaller-fruited species (P. retusa, Spruce), and 
that of the Uaupes is a third species (P. apiculata, 
Spruce), all three being so plainly diverse that the 
Indians distinguish them by adjective names, 
although that diversity or divergence, as in a great 
many parallel instances, is but a measure of the time 
that has elapsed since their derivation from a single 

But the most general cause of resemblance lies 
in this fact, that there are many orders and families 
of plants whereof many of the species are confined 
to limited areas, and yet, throughout the Amazon 
valley, each order, or family, will be everywhere 
represented by about the same number of indi- 
viduals and species, having to each other nearly 
the same correlation, as regards aspect and sensible 
properties, provided always that the conditions of 
growth (as above defined) be the same ; so that 


a plant which serves as food for any particular 
animal or tribe of animals in a given locality is 
pretty certain to have its congener (or at least its 
co-ordinate) in any other locality of the same 

The riparial plants of the Amazon (such, namely, 
as grow between ebb- and flood-mark, or within the 
limits to which the annual inundations extend) 
range in many instances from the very mouth of 
the river up to the roots of the Andes ; and I do 
not yet know of a single tree which is not found 
both on the northern or Guayana shore and on the 
southern or Brazilian. 1 The most notable example 
of this extensive range is the Pao Mulatto or 
Mulatto tree (Enkylista, Benth.), a tall, elegant 
tree allied to the Cinchonas, and conspicuous from 
its deciduous brown bark, which grows everywhere 
on lands flooded by the Amazon, and, from its 
accessibility and the readiness with which its wood 
burns while green, supplies a great part of the fuel 
consumed by the steamers that navigate the Amazon. 
It is almost equally common on some of the white- 
water tributaries ; I have seen it, for instance, far 
away up the Huallaga to the south, and up the 
Pastasa to the north. Two of the commonest 
river-side Ingas of the Amazon (I. splendens, W., 
and /. corymbifera, Benth.) reappear together on 
the Upper Casiquiari and Orinoco ; and similar 
instances might be multiplied indefinitely. 

Streams of black or clear water have also their 
proper riparial vegetation, some species being 

1 Hence I suspect that those insects of the south side of the Amazon which 
have been identified with Guayana species belong chiefly to the riparial 

fi ircsts. 


apparently repeated on all of them. For example, 
many of the trees of the inundated margins of the 
Tapajoz (some of them undescribed when I first 
gathered them) I found afterwards on the Rio 
Negro up to its very sources although none of 
them inhabit the shores of the Amazon, either 
between the mouths of those two affluents or else- 
where. A few recur on the Teffe and other black- 
water streams entering still farther to the west, 
and even on similar affluents of the Orinoco. 

Here, at least, would seem to be a case of the 
vegetation depending on the distribution of the 
running waters ; but in reality both the kind of 
water and the vegetation nourished by it depend 
entirely on the nature of the soil, those rivers which 
run chiefly through soft alluvial bottoms being 
turbid, while those that have a hard rocky bed run 
clear ; and the two classes of rivers are repeated over 
and over throughout the length and breadth of the 
Amazon region. Into the black Rio Negro runs 
that whitest of rivers, the Rio Branco, and imparts 
to the vegetation of the former, for a little way 
below their confluence, quite an Amazonian char- 
acter. 1 The two largest tributaries of the Casi- 
quiari, namely, the Pacimoni and the Siapa, run 
nearly parallel through a longish course, and at 
rarely more than 15 miles apart ; yet the former has 
clear dark water and the latter is excessively muddy. 
Moreover, when I explored the Pacimoni to its 
very sources, I found it divide at last into two 
nearly equal rivulets, whereof the one had white 
and the other black water. The true riparial v 

1 Here, for instance, is the only locality throughout the Ki<> NI-LTO fur 
Romlmx Mmignba, a fine Silk-Cotton tree abounding on the Aina/on. 


tation in all these and in hundreds of other cases 
is invariably modified after the same fashion by the 
colour of the waters. How it became what it is, 
and how it came there at all, are questions not to 
be discussed here. 

After what has been said, it is scarcely necessary 
to add that many species of plants which grow down 
to the very coast in Guayana exist also in the 
Peruvian province of Maynas that is, at the eastern 
foot of the Andes, and even up to a height of a few 
thousand feet in those mountains e.g. Humboldt's 
Willow (Salix hnmboldtiana, W.) and the Cannon- 
ball tree (Couroupita guianensis, Aubl.), called 
Aia-uma or Dead Man's Head in Maynas ; while 
the proportion of Orinoco plants repeated on the 
Amazon is much greater than that of the plants of 
South Brazil. Nor does this uniformity of char- 
acter, and the constant recurrence of certain species, 
preclude the possibility of the flora being wonder- 
fully rich ; for I have calculated that by moving 
away a degree of either latitude or longitude I 
found about half the species different ; while in the 
numerous caatingas I have explored I always found 
a few species in each that I never saw again, even 
in other caatingas. 


The importance of inquiries of this class is 
obvious, even from a zoological point of view ; for 
that an animal should flourish in any region it must 
there find suitable food ; and there is perhaps no 
part of the world where so large a proportion of the 
animals is so directly vegetarian in its diet. I have 


reason to believe that there is no carnivorous animal 
on the Amazon and Orinoco which does not occasion- 
ally resort to vegetables, and especially to fruits, for 
food not always of necessity, but often from choice. 
When, however, we come to consider and compare 
the distribution of the various classes and sub- 
ordinate groups of animals, we see that the range 
of a fruit-eating species or tribe can rarely corre- 
spond to that of one which feeds on leaves, and 
similarly of other pairs of differences or contrasts in 
the nature of the food that, in short, the only 
animals which can be expected to range from sea to 
sea in a wide continent are a few general feeders 
and their parasites, the larger beasts of prey, and 
the scavengers, such as Vultures among birds (and 
perhaps Termites among insects). 

As to the distribution of the Lepidoptera in the 
Amazon valley, it is plain that it can rarely corre- 
spond to the grander features of the vegetation, for 
the simple reason that the food of caterpillars is 
scarcely ever the foliage, etc., of the loftier forest 
trees, but chiefly of soft-leaved undershrubs and low 
trees (i) which grow under the shade of the forest 
and have, many of them, a restricted range; or (2) 
which spring up where the primeval woods have 
been destroyed, and in waste places near the habita- 
tions of men, and whose range in many cases is co- 
extensive at least with Cisandine Tropical America. 
The bushy trees and the luxuriant herbs which 
border savannas and caatingas and broad forest 
paths, and sometimes those which grow on the very 
edge of streams, are also apt to be infested by cater- 
pillars. Of about two thousand forest trees I have 
had cut down in the Amazon region for the sake ol 



their flowers and fruits, very few indeed have been 
infested by caterpillars. A tall Leguminous (tree or 
liana) or Bombaceous species would sometimes have 
caterpillars on it ; more rarely a Laurel or a Nut- 
meg ; but a Fig or a Guttifer never. A vast number 
of trees and lianas of all sizes are, indeed, excluded 
from serving as food to caterpillars by their strongly 
resinous or else acrid and poisonous juices, and 
many more on account of their hard, leathery leaves, 
which are untouched except, rarely, by minute 
caterpillars that eat themselves galleries in the 

Of plants which afford food for caterpillars, 
Leguminosae hold decidedly the first place ; next to 
these rank Mallow-like plants (including Malvaceae 
proper, Sterculiaceae, Biittneriaceae, and Tiliaceae) ; 
then Melastomaceae and Solanaceae. Caterpillars 
armed with stinging hairs seem peculiarly partial to 
Leguminosse, as I know to my cost, the bushy Inga 
trees in some parts being scarcely approachable 
when with flowers and young leaves. In the neigh- 
bourhood of Guayaquil children that stray under the 
Tamarind trees sometimes get severely stung by the 
hairy caterpillars that drop on them from the trees. 

Other orders of plants on which I have en- 
countered caterpillars are chiefly the following : 
Among Endogens : Grasses, Sedges, Palms, and 
Aroids on all rather rarely ; on Scitamineae and 
Musaceae more frequently. Among Exogens : 
Euphorbiaceae (principally on those with aromatic 
foliage); Samydeae; Bixaceae; Vochysiaceae ; Sapin- 
daceae (few) ; Malpighiaceae ; Anonaceae and Myris- 
ticeae (rarely) ; Anacardiaceae ; Ochnacese (on very 
young leaves only, the adult foliage being hard and 


vitreous); Podostemeae ; Polygoneae; Amarantaceae ; 
Piperaceae ; Lauraceae (few) ; Chrysobalaneae (often 
much infested) ; Combretaceae ; Myrtaceae (rarely 
on true Myrtles, but a great pest to the large hand- 
some flowers of the sub-orders Barringtonieae and 
Lecythideae); Passifloreae; Cucurbitaceae ; Rubiaceae 
(few out of the vast number of Amazon species) ; 
Compositae (all weeds) ; Boragineae ; Verbenaceae ; 
Bignoniaceae. Besides these, there are other orders 
which contain a few species with mild juices, and 
leaves (and even wood) not too tough for a cater- 
pillar's jaws, which are doubtless chosen by certain 
species of butterflies as food for their progeny ; and 
nearly all the very large flowers are apt to be 
plagued by caterpillars, as well as by the grubs of 
flies and beetles. 1 

Some caterpillars seem to have a decided taste 
for bitters ; and narcotics are rarely objected to ; 
indeed, I should say that most insects are decidedly 
partial to them, while bees and wasps seem to have 
a positive pleasure in getting drunk. The very few 
phyllophagous beetles whose habits have come 
under my notice feed on narcotic plants. At the 
falls of the Rio Negro, just south of the Equator, a 
common weed in the village of Sao Gabriel is 
Solanum jatnaicense, Sw., growing (when not dis- 
turbed) to the size of a currant-bush, and bearing 
large, angular, soft, woolly leaves. In February 1X5.' 
there appeared swarms of a large black beetle whose 
corpulent abdomen was barely half-covered by the 
elytra (whence I suppose it an ally of our Melors), 

1 The above list has no further value than that of imliratini;. SO l:n as m\ 
notes and recollections serve me, the kinds of plants which I li n m..>! 

maltreated by caterpillars in the Aina/on region. 


and whose sole food was this Solanum. Their 
feeding-times were the dusk of evening and morn- 
ing, when they would arise, as it were, out of the 
earth, hover over the plants like a swarm of bees, 
and then settle down in such numbers that the 
plants were black with them. 

For myself, I am free to confess that I, too, 
generally looked on the insect world as enemies to 
be avoided or destroyed. Mosquitoes and ticks 
sucked my blood ; cockroaches ate and defiled my 
provisions ; caterpillars mutilated the plants when 
growing ; and ants made their nests among the 
dried specimens and saturated them with formic 
acid, or even cut them up and carried them away 
bodily. I recollect my horror at coming home and 
finding my house invaded by an army of Arriero 
or Saiiba ants who had fallen on a pile of dried 
specimens and were cutting them up most scientific- 
ally into circular disks whose radius was just equal 
to the artist's own longest diameter. The few notes 
on insects scattered through my journals relate, 
indeed, chiefly to ants, who deserve to be considered 
the actual owners of the Amazon valley far more 
than either the red or the white man. In fine, when 
I venture to offer these imperfect jottings to the 
notice of zoologists, I feel that I can at best be con- 
sidered only an interloper in a province not my own. 


Having above indicated the kinds of plants 
apparently most in request with the larvae of the 
Lepidoptera, I wish now to recall the attention of 


naturalists to certain transits or migrations of the 
adult insects across the Amazon, such as have 
already been noticed by Messrs. Edwards, Wallace, 
and Bates, and perhaps by other travellers. The 
first time I fell in with such a migration was in 
November 1849, near the mouth of the Xingii, 
when I was travelling up the Amazon from Para to 
Santarem ; and it is thus sketched in my Journal :- 

"... As we returned to the brig we saw a vast 
multitude of Butterflies flying .across the Amazon, 
from the northern to the southern side, in a direction 
about from N.N.W. to S.S. E. They were evidently 
in the last stage of fatigue : some of them attained 
the shore, but a large proportion fell exhausted into 
the water, and we caught several in our hands as 
they passed over the canoe. They were all of 
common white and orange-yellow species, such as 
are bred in cultivated and waste grounds, and having 
found no matrix whereon to deposit their eggs 
to the northward of the river (the leaves proper 
for their purpose having probably been already 
destroyed, or at least occupied, by caterpillars), were 
going in quest of it elsewhere." 

The very little wind there was blew from between 
E. and N.E.; therefore the butterflies steered their 
course at right angles to it ; and this was the case in 
subsequent flights I saw across the Amazon, although 
when the wind was strong the weaker-winged insects 
made considerable leeway, and would doubtless most 
of them succumb before reaching land. But tin: 
most notable circumstance is that the movement is 
always southward, like the human waves which from 
the earliest times seem to have surged one after the 
other over the whole length of America, generating 


after a time a reflux northwards, as in the case of the 
empire of the Incas. . . . 

Since my return to England I have read Mr. 
Bates's graphic description of a flight of butterflies 
across the Amazon below Obidos, lasting for two 
days without intermission during daylight. These 
also all crossed in one direction, from north to south. 
Nearly all were species of Callidryas, the males of 
which genus are wont to resort to beaches, while 
the females hover on the borders of the forest and 
deposit their eggs on low-growing, shade-loving 
Mimosae. He adds, " The migrating hordes, so far 
as I could ascertain, are composed only of males." 
It is possible, therefore, that in the flights witnessed 
by myself the individuals were all males in which 
case the flights should probably be looked upon not 
as migrations but dispersions, analogous to those of 
male ants and bees when their occupation is done, 
and they are doomed by the workers to banishment, 
which means death. In the case I am about to 
describe, however, the swarms certainly comprised 
both sexes > although I know not in what proportion ; 
and their movements were more evidently dependent 
on the failure of their food. 

In the year 1862 I spent some months at 
Chanduy, a small village on the desert coast of the 
Pacific northward of Guayaquil, where one or two 
smart showers are usually all the rain that falls in a 
year ; but that was an exceptional year, such as 
there had not been for seventeen years before with 
heavy rains all through the month of March, which 
brought out a vigorous herbaceous vegetation where 
almost unbroken sterility had previously prevailed. 

1 Naturalist on the Amazons, vol. i. p. 249. 


In April swarms of butterflies and moths appeared, 
coming from the east, sucking the sweets of the 
newly-opened flowers, and depositing their eggs on 
the leaves, especially of a Boerhaavia and of a 
curious Amaranth (Frohlichia, sp. n.) not unlike our 
common Ribgrass in external aspect until cater- 
pillars swarmed on every plant. New legions 
continued to pour in from the east, and finding the 
field already occupied, launched boldly out over the 
Pacific Ocean, as Magellan had done before them, 
there to find a fate not unlike that of the adven- 
turous navigator. 1 No better luck attended most of 
the offspring of their predecessors, especially those 
who fed on the Boerhaavia, which was much less 
abundant than the Frohlichia. The shoal of cater- 
pillars advanced continually westward, eating up 
whatever to them was eatable until, on nearing the 
seashore and the limit of vegetation, I used to see 
them writhing over the burning sand in convulsive 
haste to reach the food and shelter of some Boer- 
haavia which had haply escaped the jaws of preceding 
emigrants ; but, failing this, thousands of them were 
scorched to death, or fell a prey to the smaller sea- 
side birds, to whom they were doubtless a rare 

The explanation of this continual westward move- 
ment is not difficult. A few leagues inland, instead 
of the sandy coast-desert with here and there a tree, 
we find woods, not very dense or lofty, but where 
there is sufficient moisture to keep alive a le\\ 
remnants of the above-mentioned herbs all the year 
round, and doubtless also of the insects that feed 

1 Here also the course attempted to !><. -.U-eivd l>y the iiiM.vt> \va> arr<>>~, the 
strong southerly liree/e that \va> blowing. 

VOL. II 2 I: 


upon them. There are also cattle- farms ; and 
around the wells from which water is drawn and 
served to the cattle the same weeds are continually 
springing up ; while the seeds, even of those that 
grew on the desert, remain embedded in the sand 
and retain their vitality during all the years of 
drought. When the rains come on, therefore, they 
cause, as it were, a unilateral development of the 
vegetation from the forest across the open grounds, 
and a corresponding expansion of the insect-life 
which breeds and feeds upon it. 

Results the same in principle, but diverse in 
mode, would take place under different local circum- 
stances. Thus, if we suppose an oasis in the midst 
of a desert exposed to the same exceptional access 
of moisture as the desert of Chanduy with its forest 
skirt, there would be generated an extension of 
organic life radiating outwards in all directions. 

Besides the migrations above recorded, I have 
many times in South America seen butterflies flying 
across rivers so wide that it is impossible to suppose 
they could be guided by any indication of sight or 
smell. Animals of higher organisation and stronger 
reasoning powers would probably turn aside along 
the shore of the river or ocean in quest of food for 
themselves and their offspring ; but there are 
plainly cases where frail little creatures, such as 
butterflies, must go straight forward at a venture, 
and either attain their object or perish. 


The movements of Ants registered in my journal 
are (as may be supposed) chiefly such as were 


hostile to myself, and they do not throw much 
additional light on their habits. Ecitons or For- 
aging Ants (called Cazadoras in Peru) seem to be 
true wandering hordes, without a settled habita- 
tion ; for a certain number of them may always be 
seen carrying pupse, apparently of their own species; 
but they sojourn sometimes for several days when- 
ever they come upon suitable food and lodging. . . . 
The first time I saw a house invaded by Caza- 
cloras was in November 1855, on the forest slope 
of Mount Campana, in the Eastern Peruvian Andes. 
I had taken up my abode in a solitary Indian hut, 
at a height of 3000 feet, for the sake of devoting a 
month to the exploration of that interesting moun- 
tain. The walls of the hut were merely a single 
row of strips of Palm trees, with spaces between 
them wide enough to admit larger animals than 
ants. One morning soon after sunrise the hut was 
suddenly filled with large blackish ants, which ran 
nimbly about and tried their teeth on everything. 
My charqui proved too tough for them ; but they 
made short work of a bunch of ripe plantains, and 
rooted out cockroaches, spiders, and other suchlike 
denizens of a forest hut. So long as they were left 
unmolested, they avoided the human inhabitants ; 
but when I attempted to brush them away they fell 
on me by hundreds and bit and stung fiercely. I 
asked the Indian's wife if we had not better turn 
out awhile and leave them to their diversions. 
" Do they annoy you ?" said she. "Why, you see 
it is impossible for one to work with the ants 
running over everything," replied I. \\ hereupon 
she filled a calabash with cold water, and going to 
the corner of the hut where the ants still continued 


to stream in, she devoutly crossed herself, muttered 
some invocation or exorcism, and sprinkled the 
water gently over them. Then walking quietly 
round and round the hut, she continued her asper- 
sion on the marauders, and thereby literally so 
damped their ardour that they began to beat a 
retreat, and in ten minutes not an ant was to be 

Some years afterwards I was residing in a farm- 
house on the river Daule, near Guayaquil, when I 
witnessed a similar invasion. The house was large, 
of two stories, and built chiefly of bamboo-cane- 
the walls being merely an outer and an inner layer 
of cane, without plaster inside or out, so that they 
harboured vast numbers of cockroaches, scorpions, 
rats, mice, bats, and even snakes, although the 
latter abode chiefly in the roof. Notwithstanding 
the size of the house, every room was speedily filled 
with the ants. The good lady hastened to fasten 
up her fresh meat, fish, sugar, etc., in safes in- 
accessible even to the ants ; and I was prompt to 
impart my experience of the efficacy of baptism by 
water in ridding a house of such pests. ' Oh," 
said she laughingly, "we know all that; but let 
them first have time to clear the house of vermin ; 
for if even a rat or a snake be caught napping, they 
will soon pick his bones." They had been in the 
house but a very little while when we heard a 
great commotion inside the walls, chiefly ot mice 
careering madly about and uttering terrified squeals ; 
and the ants were allowed^to remain thus, and hunt 
over the house at will, for three days and nights, 
when, having exhausted their legitimate game, they 
be^an to be troublesome in the kitchen and on the 


dinner-table. "Now," said Dona Juanita, "is the 
time for the water cure " ; and she set her maids to 
sprinkle water over the visitors, who at once took 
the hint, gathered up their scattered squadrons, 
reformed in column, and resumed their march. 
Whenever their inquisitions became troublesome 
to myself during the three days, I took the liberty 
to scatter a few suggestive drops among them, and 
it always sufficed to make them turn aside ; but any 
attempt at a forcible ejectment they were sure to 
resent with tooth and tail ; and their bite and sting 
were rather formidable, for they were large and 
lusty ants. For weeks afterwards the squeaking of 
a mouse and the whirring of a cockroach were 
sounds unheard in that house. 1 


The most remarkable migration that I have my- 
self witnessed in South America is that of the great 
\Voocl-Ibis (7\intalus locn/ator}, called Jabirii in 
Brazil, Gauan in Venezuela, between the Amazon 
and the Orinoco, a distance of from 300 to 500 miles 
in a straight line, but a thousand or more following 
the course of the rivers. The migrations are so 
timed that the birds are always on the one river or 
the other when the water is lowest and there is 
most sandy beach exposed, affording the greatest 
extent of fishing-ground. In the years 1853 and 

1 The ants called Carniceras or Butchers in Maynas are probably of a 
tribe distinct from the Foragers ; for they are burrowing ants, ami are said to 
prefer the flesh of human carcasses to any oilier food. Padre Velasco, in his 

History of Quit.'. us thai they \\ill make a perfect >keleton ol a corpse 
the very day it is buried, and that tlx-y devour any di-.abl.-d animal, hov 
lan^e, they find in the fore-t. 


1854, when I was at San Carlos del Rio Negro 
(lat. r 53^-' S.), I saw them going northward in 
November and returning southward in May, and 
had the pleasure of having some of them stay to 
dine with me. One of their halting-places on their 
way to the Orinoco was on islands near the mouth 
of the Casiquiari, at only a few hours' journey above 
San Carlos. There I have seen them roosting on 
the tree-tops in such long close lines, that by moon- 
light the trees seemed clad with white flowers. 
They descend to sandy spits of islands to fish in 
the grey of the evening and morning, i.e. before 
betaking themselves to their eyrie, and before 
resuming their journey on the following day. The 
scarcity of fish in rivers of clear or black water is 
well known ; and even were they more abundant, 
this very clearness of the water would render it 
difficult for fish-eating fowls to catch them, unless 
when there was little light ; hence, perhaps, the 
Ibis's choice of hours for fishing; and the turbid 
water poured into the Rio Negro by the Casiquiari 
dulls its transparency at that point, which makes it 
eligible for a fishing-station, leaving probably only 
a single day's stage for the travellers to reach the 
Orinoco. The Ibises, however, did not, as one 
might have supposed, turn up the Casiquiari, but 
held right on to the north, crossing the isthmus of 
Pimichin, and descending the Atabapo to the 
Orinoco. Some of them, I was told, would halt 
on the Guaviare, whose turbid waters, alligators, 
turtles, etc., quite assimilate it to the Solimoes or 
Upper Amazon ; and others push on to the Apure ; 
the former lot, however, are said to travel chiefly 
by way of the Japura from the Amazon. Those 


that frequent the Upper Orinoco return in May ; 
and their halting-place near San Carlos is not at 
the mouth of the Casiquiari, but on islands a day's 
journey below the village, so that they are at that 
season less persecuted by the Indians. If they 
went all the way down the Rio Negro in May, they 
would reach the Amazon long before its beaches 
began to be exposed ; but it has been ascertained 
that they sojourn awhile on the Rio Branco, whose 
beaches are earlier uncovered. Flocks of Wild 
Ducks sometimes accompany the Ibises ; and it is 
quite possible that some of the smaller aquatic and 
riparial fowls make similar migrations. 

When the Ibises are roosting, a shot or two 
from a gun is enough to make the whole caravan 
take to tlight and remove to some distance ; but 
the Indians of San Carlos know better than to 
scare them away with firearms. They get into 
their canoes a little after midnight, creep silently 
up the river, and under cover of the night dis- 
embark beneath the trees where the Ibises are 
roosting. Then, when at break of day the birds 
wake up and begin to stir and to be visible, the 
Indians pick them off with poisoned darts from 
their blowing-canes, in great numbers, before the 
bulk of the flock takes alarm ; so that they mostly 
return to the village with great piles of dead Ibises; 
and although this lasts only three or four days, the 
quantity killed is so great that, what with fresh 
and what with barbecued game, everybody feasts 
royally for a fortnight ; whereas throughout the 
rest of the year the dearth of provisions exceeds 
what I have experienced elsewhere in South 


The Ibises doubtless undertake these voyages 
from the testimony and under the guidance of the 
elders, far more than from any inherited know- 
ledge or instinct ; whereas the flights of butterflies 
one would think must be directed by instinct alone, 
without any aid from experience. 

Many mammals wander far in search of food; 
and some that go in bands, such as wild Pigs and 
some Monkeys, have known feeding -places at 
certain times of the year, when some particular 
kind of fruit is in season there ; so that the ex- 
perienced Indian hunter often knows in what 
direction to bend his steps to fall in with a certain 
class of game. It is well known how fond all 
animals are of the Alligator pear, which is the fruit 
of a large Laurel (Persea gratissima). I have seen 
cats prefer it to every other kind of food ; and the 
wild cat-like animals are said to be all passionately 
fond of it. I have been told by an Indian that in 
the forests between the Uaupes and the Japura, he 
once came on four Jaguars under a wild Alligator 
pear tree, gnawing the fallen fruits and snarling 
over them as so many cats might do. I have 
gathered flowers of at least four species of Persea, 
but was never fortunate enough to find one of them 
with ripe fruit ; so that I have missed seeing the 
concourse of animals of many kinds which I am 
assured assemble in and under those trees, attracted 
by the fruit. \Yhile speaking of fruit-eating car- 
nivora, it is worth mentioning that dogs in South 
America often take naturally to eating fruit. I had 
in Peru a fine Spanish spaniel who, so long as he 
could get ripe plantains, asked for no better food. 
He would hold them between his paws and pull off 


the skin in strips with his teeth so delicately as not 
to foul them in the least ; so that I have occasion- 
ally eaten a plantain of his peeling. 

I fancy Monkeys sometimes go on day after day 
along the banks of a river, their rate of progress 
depending on the quantity of food they find to eat 
and waste. I have watched them at this in a strip 
of Mauritia palms, which stretched for a distance 
of some days' journey along the banks of a river. 
The Chorro (Barrigudo of Brazil), a monkey of 
the hot plain, sometimes ascends the slopes of the 
Andes to 5000 or 6000 feet, apparently to eat 
the fruit of the Tocte or Ouitonian walnut (an 
undescribed species of Juglans), which is frequent at 
that elevation ; but it is said never to pass a night 

An Indian will tell you at what time of year 
certain fruit-eating fowls are to be met with on the 
banks of a river, and at what time they must be 
sought for deep in the forest. I remember coming 
on a flock of one of the small Turkeys called Cuyubi 
(Penelope cristata, or an allied species), on the 
banks of the Uaupes, feeding on the fruit of so 
deadly a plant as a Strychnos (S. rondeletioides, 
Benth.) ;- but the succulent envelope of the fruit is 
innocuous, like that of our poisonous Yew. I had 
been forewarned that we might expect to find them 
at that particular spot, and thus occupied ; so that 
we had our guns ready, and knocked several of 
them over. Indeed, they were so tame, or so 
gluttonous, that when a shot was fired and one of 
them fell, the rest either took no heed or only 
hopped on to another branch and recommenced 
feeding ; and it was not until we had fired and 


3 I 

reloaded three or four times that the survivors took 
wing and flew off. 

On the slopes of the volcano Tunguragua, the 
steepest and most symmetrical cone, though not the 
loftiest, of the Quitonian Andes, I have seen flocks 
of another Turkey (allied to, but distinct from, the 
Uru-mutiin of Brazil) feeding on the plum-like 
drupes of the Motilon, 1 and on the berries of an 
undescribed Melastome. Besides these fruit-trees, 
there were also numerous fruit-bearing bushes near, 
including some true Brambles, \Yhortleberries, and 
a Hawthorn, all of which probably afforded food to 
the turkeys. This species seems to inhabit a zone, 
between 6000 and 10,000 feet, on the wooded 
flanks of Tunguragua, and within those limits to 
make the perpetual round of the mountain, being 
always found on that side where there is most 
ripe fruit to be had ; and the birds are so tame and 
sluggish when feeding that the Indians easily kill 
them with sticks. 

I should suppose that these and other gallina- 
ceous birds have their fixed centres of resort 
(breeding- and roosting-places), from which they 
never stray far. Many Parrots and Macaws, I 
know, have. On the western slopes of the 
Quitonian Andes, immense Hocks of Parrots ascend 
by day to a height of 8000 or 9000 feet, where 
they ravage the fields of maize and other grain, but 
always descend to certain warm w r ooded valleys, at 
2000 to 4000 feet, to roost. The flights of vast 
multitudes of garrulous parrots and macaws to and 
fro between their roosting- and feeding-places, in 

1 This name is given to Syiplocos ccnnia, H. B. K., and also to two (or 
more) species of Hieronyma, all bearing edible drupes. 


the grey of the evening and morning, is one of the 
first things that strikes the attention of the voyager 
on the Amazon. 

The periodical appearance of certain birds in a 
district has been supposed by the inhabitants to 
have some mysterious connection with the Christian 
festivals. Thus there are two beautiful little birds 
in Maynas, apparently belonging to different genera, 
for one of them is a Seven-coloured Tanao-er 


(Pajaro de siete colores), and the other (which I 
have not seen) is said to be of a bright blue colour 
and differently shaped ; but both are called by the 
Indians Huata-pisco (Bird of the Year), because 
they make their appearance together, in large 
flocks, about the end of the year (people will tell 
you, precisely on Christmas Day), and remain 
throughout January, when they are seen no more 
until the same epoch comes round again. Mr. 
Bates has given a capital account of the movements 
of these hunting-parties of frugivorous and insec- 
tivorous birds, and of the superstition of the Papa- 
uira or Patriarch Bird, who is supposed to head 
them (vol. ii. p. 333 et seq.\ I suspect that this is 
something more than mere superstition, and that 
the Patriarch leaders are not one but several to 
each predatory band. 


The abundance of fish in rivers of white water, 
and their scarcity in black-water rivers, may easily 
be shown to depend chiefly on the luxuriant littoral 
vegetation of the former and its scarcity or utter 
absence in the latter ; for on the Rio Negro there 


are (with one notable exception a ) no aquatics and 
no shore grasses. Compare this with the broad 
fringe of tall, succulent, amphibious grasses on the 
shores of the Amazon, or detached and floating down 
it in the shape of large islands, and of luxuriant 
aquatics, some fixed by roots, others floating 
(Victoria, Jussiaea, Pontederia, Frogbits, Azolla, 
Salvinia, Pistia, etc.), in deep still bays, but especi- 
ally in lakes and channels communicating with the 
main river. 

Some of the tributaries of the Rio Negro, how- 
ever, have plenty of fish, namely, those of more or 
less turbid water, of which the Rio Branco holds 
the first rank, and after it come the Marania and 
Cauaboris, all entering on the left bank. In these 
rivers many Amazon fish are said to be repeated. 
About the mouth " of the Rio Branco is the only 
place in the Rio Negro where the Pirarucii is found 
-that noble and remarkable fish, so characteristic 
of the Amazon. With the exception of the Pirarucu, 
most of the larger fish of the Amazon recur on the 
Upper Orinoco, above the cataracts ; at least the 
Indians assert them to be the same, and to unskilled 
eyes they are undistinguishable. The Valenton 
or Lablab of the Orinoco, for instance, is surely 
the same as the large Pirahyba of the Amazon ; 
the Pavon as the Tucunare ; the Rallado as the 
Surubim ; the Muruciitu as the Tambaqui ; the 
Cajaru as the Pira-arara, and so on. 

Many of the fishes of the Rio Negro travel up it 
to spawn, and especially up some of its tributaries ; 
Inn the wanderings to and fro of fish in quest of 

That of the Podostemons on granite rocks in the falls and rapids. 


food may be compared to that already noted of wild 
turkeys ; for the principal subsistence of fish in the 
Rio Negro is on the fruits of riparial trees, some of 
which seem scarcely touched by either bird or 
monkey. A small laurel-like bush (Caraipa lauri- 
folia, S.) lines the banks in many places, and bears 
damson-like drupes, which are the favourite food of 
that delicious fish the Uaracii or Aracii. When the 
ripe drupes are dropping into the water they attract 
shoals of Uaracii. Then the fisherman stations his 
canoe at dawn of day in the mouth of some still 
igarape, overshaded by bushes of Uaracii-Tamacoari 
(the native Indian name of the tree), and with his 
arrows picks off the fish as they rise to snatch the 
floating fruits. It ought to be mentioned that the 
fish of the Negro, if much fewer, are some of them 
perhaps superior in flavour to any Amazon fish, 
whereof the Uaracii is an example, and the large 
Pirahyba is another, the latter being so luscious 
that it is difficult to know when one has had enough 
of it, whereas the same or a very closely allied 
species of the Amazon is often scarcely edible. 1 

I have, in what precedes, purposely avoided 
speaking of the way in which animals prey on each 
other, because the ultimate measure of the amount 
of animal life must always depend on that of vege- 
table life, and not because I shut my eyes to t he- 


I leave these disjecta membra in the hands of 
naturalists, hoping that they may find among them 

1 Fur further information on the fishes <>f the Kin Nei;r<> I iiui-t refer in 
?\Ir. Wallace's interesting account of that liver Travels, chaps. i\., \., anil 
xvi.), and to Schomuui<;k's Fishes of Guiana. 


some bone to pick. They bear on many problems 
for which there do not yet exist materials, nor do I 
possess the skill requisite to arrive at a correct 
solution. On one point only I am pretty clear, viz. 
that almost every kind of animal now existing in 
Cisandine Tropical America might find suitable 
food and lodging on any parallel between the 
southern tropic and the mouth of the Orinoco ; 
which is as much as to say that they would find 
everywhere either the one plant they most delighted 
to feed on or others which might suit them almost 
or quite as well. The continual substitution of new 
forms encountered as we advance in any direction 
does not, on a superficial view, show much corre- 
spondence between animals and plants a fact which 
may be put otherwise, thus : Suppose on a given 
area at the foot of the Andes every species of some 
class of animals to be distinct from those of the 
same class on an equal area at the mouth of the 
Amazon, it does not therefore follow that every 
plant is different on the two areas ; we know, 
indeed, that such is not the case. Yet the modifi- 
cations that have been and are still in progress 
among vegetable forms must have some corre- 
spondence with those that take place in animals ; 
for all the realms of Nature act and react on each 
other. The atmosphere and the earth (with its 
productions, animal and vegetable) are continually 
giving and taking ; and as their actual relations to 
each other vary more widely at different points 
along the equatorial belt than elsewhere on the 
earth's surface, it is plain that what seems equili- 
brium is either oscillation or progress in some 
direction. If plants were the only organic exist- 


ences, and there were no animals to aid in their 
reproduction, to feed upon them, to dispose of their 
dead carcasses, etc., the dominant forms would 
doubtless be quite different from what they are 
now. Darwin has shown by an admirable series of 
observations how necessary insect agency is to the 
fertilisation of the flowers of many plants. Hence 
the organs of those insects and the parts of the 
flowers have been (and are being) continually 
modified, or moulded, the one on the other. I can 
conceive that if certain Orchids were henceforth 
entirely freed from the visits of insects, their flowers, 
notwithstanding the apparent permanence of in- 
herited (though now useless) peculiarities, would 
immediately tend to revert to the symmetry which 
no doubt they possessed in the remote types. I 
have a good deal of evidence to show that in 
tropical countries many peculiarities of structure in 
the leaves and other parts of plants (prevailing 
through large suites of species and genera) have 
been brought about, and are still in part maintained, 
by the unremitting agency of insects, especially of 
Ants. These and many other matters require the 
fullest investigation before the precise relations of 
the changes, in animals and plants, that are taking 
place under our eyes, can be properly understood 
and appreciated. 



[THE paper which forms the greater part of this 
chapter was written during the first few years after 
Spruce's return to England, and at a time when 
he had probably not seen, and had certainly not 
carefully read, the Origin of Species, the teachings 
of which at a later period he fully appreciated. At 
this period he accepted as did almost all natu- 
ralists, including Darwin himself what is termed the 
heredity of acquired characters, such as the effects 
on the individual of use or disuse of organs, of abun- 
dant or scanty nutrition, of heat and cold, excessive 
moisture or aridity, and other like agencies. But 
in the paper here given he went a step beyond this, 
and expressed his conviction that growths produced 
by the punctures and gnawings of ants, combined 
perhaps with their strongly acid secretions, con- 
tinued year after year for perhaps long ages, at 
length became hereditary and thus led to the curious 
cells and other cavities on the leaves and stems of 
certain plants, w r hich are now apparently constant in 
each species and appear to be specially produced for 
the use of the ants which invariably frequent them. 

This paper Spruce sent to Darwin, asking him 
to send it to the Linnean Societv if he thought it 

/ o 



worthy of being read there. I will here give some 
passages from Darwin's reply, dated April i, 1869. 

" The facts which you state are extraordinary, 
and quite new to me. If you can prove that the 
effects produced by ants are really inherited, it 
would be a most remarkable fact, and would open 
up quite a new field of inquiry. You ask for my 
opinion ; if you had asked a year or two ago I 
should have said that I could not believe that the 
visits of the ants could produce an inherited effect ; 
but I have lately come to believe rather more in 
inherited mutilations. I have advanced in opposi- 
tion to such a belief, galls not being inherited. 
After reading your paper I admit, Firstly, from the 
presence of sacs in plants of so many families, and 
their absence in certain species, that they must be 
due to some extraneous cause acting in tropical 
South America. Secondly, I admit that the cause 
must be the ants, either acting mechanically or, as 
may perhaps be suspected from the order to which 
they belong, from some secretion. Thirdly, I 
admit, from the generality of the sacs in certain 
species, and from your not having observed ants in 
certain cases (though may not the ants have paid 
previous visits?), that the sacs are probably in- 
herited. But I cannot feel satisfied on this head. 
Have any of these plants produced their sacs in 
European hot-houses ? Or have you observed the 
commencement of the sacs in young and unfolded 
leaves which could not possibly have been visited 
by the ants? If you have any such evidence, I 
would venture strongly to advise you to produce 
it. ... 

VOL. II 2 C 



" I may add that you are not quite correct 
(towards the close of your paper) in supposing that 
I believe that insects directly modify the structure 
of flowers. I only believe that spontaneous varia- 
tions adapted to the structure of certain insects 
flourish and are preserved." 

The paper was read on April 15, 1869, and 
then, as usual, was submitted to the Council to 
decide as to its publication. After full considera- 
tion, their decision was communicated to Spruce 
by the secretary as follows : 

" I am requested to communicate to you their 
opinion that the paper will require modification 
before they can recommend its publication. It is 
considered that the evidence adduced is insufficient 
to overcome the improbability of the sacs in the 
course of ages having become inherited, and that 
although there would be no objection to a state- 
ment that the author has been led to suspect that 
the structures in question are now inherited (which 
might lead to further investigations), it would be 
inadvisable for the Society to publish positive state- 
ments on the subject of inheritance without much 
fuller evidence. The Council wish me to say that 
if you do not object to alter the title of the paper, 
and to strike out some short passages, marked in 
pencil on the margin, they will be glad to undertake 
the publication of the paper, as they think it highly 
desirable that the facts recorded should be made 

The paper was returned to him to make the 
alterations required if he wished to do so, but 
nothing more was heard of it, and it has remained 


among his papers till now. Spruce was very sensi- 
tive to criticisms of his writings by persons who 
had not the same knowledge that he possessed ; 
but in this case I think it probable that he himself, 
later on, recognised the incompleteness of the evi- 
dence. A year and a half later he corresponded 
with Mr. Hanbury on the subject, and he was 
evidently seeking for more information. I there- 
fore now print his paper in full, with a few omissions 
of unimportant details or digressions, giving the 
passages objected to within square brackets. It 
will be seen that they involve very slight alterations, 
in no way affecting the facts or observations of the 
paper itself. That he intended to modify and en- 
large the paper may perhaps be concluded from the 
fact that the paper cover in which the MSS. was 
kept contains in pencil two alternative titles, both 
less dogmatic than that on the paper itself. They 
are as follows : 

(:) "On Changes in the Structure of Plants 
produced by the Agency of Ants." 

(2) "On Structures formed in Living Plants by 
Ants, which apparently become permanent 
in the Species." 

The paper here follows, and I shall at the end 
adduce a tew additional facts which will serve as a 
partial reply to the questions put by Darwin.] 


fications in the Structure of Plants which 
have been caused by Ants [by whose long- 
continued Agency they have become Heredi- 
tary and have acquired sufficient Permanence 
to be employed as Botanical Characters]. 

In the forests of the Amazon and Orinoco, and 
elsewhere in Tropical America, there are numerous 
plants belonging to very distinct orders, which have 
singular dilatations of the tissues and membranes, 
in the form of sacs on the leaves, or of hollow fusi- 
form nodes on the petioles or branches (becoming- 
tubers on the rhizomes), or of slender inordinately- 
elongated fistulose branches. I have reason to 
believe that all these apparently abnormal structures 
have been originated by ants, and are still sustained 
by them ; so that if their agency were withdrawn, 
the sacs would immediately tend to disappear from 
the leaves, the dilated branches to become cylin- 
drical, and the lengthened branches to contract ; 
[and although the inheritance of structures no longer 
needed might in many cases be maintained for 
thousands of years without sensible declension, I 
suppose that in some it would rapidly subside and 
the leaf or branch revert to its original form]. 

i. Of Sac-bearing Leaves 

These exist chiefly in certain genera of Mela- 

stomes, whereof one (Tococa) is very numerous 

in species and individuals throughout the Amazon 

valley, growing in the form of slender weak bushes, 

to 12 feet high, chiefly in that part of the forest 


which is adjacent to and inundated by the rivers 
and lakes, but sometimes deep in the virgin forest, 
wherever the land is so low that the water of rains 
may accumulate thereon to a slight depth. All the 
species have the unmistakable aspect of their order 
-the ribbed opposite leaves, the polypetalous flowers 
with beaked porose anthers, etc. ; but they are dis- 
tinguished at sight from most others of the order 
by the large, thin, lanceolate or ovate acuminate, 
leaves, very sparsely set with long hairs, and having 
a hollow sac or a pair of sacs at the base either of 
all the leaves, or (more frequently) of only one of 
each pair when that one is much larger than the 
other. The leaves in the majority of the species 
have but three ribs ; a few species, however, have 
five- or even seven-ribbed leaves ; but, in all, the 
origin of the innermost pair of ribs is an inch or so 
up the midrib from the base of the leaf; and it is 
this portion of the leaf, from the insertion of the 
inner ribs downwards, which is occupied by the sac. 
The latter sometimes takes up only a part of the 
breadth of the leaf, when it is technically considered 
to be seated on the leaf (Epiphysca) ; in other 
cases the sac in its lower half absorbs the whole 
breadth of the leaf, when it seems to be seated half 
on the leaf, half on the petiole (Anaphysca) ; or, 
lastly, throughout its length it absorbs the whole 
breadth of the leaf, and then seems seated entirely 
on the petiole (Hypophysca). That it is really 
formed in all cases at the expense of the lamina, 
and not of the petiole, is proved by the occasional 
occurrence of imperfectly -developed sacs in the 
hypophyscous form, bordered by a narrow wing con- 
tinuous with the leaf, and Diviner to the latter a 


panduriform outline. Sometimes there is a pair of 
sacs, one on each side of the midrib, but in most 
cases the two sacs are confluent into one, which has 
a medial furrow along the upper side. 

I proceed to describe a few forms of sacs in 
various species of Tococa. In one species (T. diso- 
lenia, MSS. hb. 1412) which grows by forest-streams 
entering the lower part of the Rio Negro, the 
leaves of each pair are very unequal, and the larger 
of the two (11 by 3^- inches) is alone sacciferous. 
The axils of the inner pair of ribs are perforated, 
giving entrance to two tubes or fistulse one on 
each side of the midrib which conduct to a large 
basal sac, inhabited by small brownish ants, which 
pour out of the tubes and patter over the leaves to 
attack any animal that disturbs their domicile. 

In most species, however, the sac springs at once 
from the base of the inner ribs, through whose per- 
forated axils the ants have access to it without any 
intervening tubular way. 

T. bullifcra, Mart., grows in moist forests about 
the mouth of the Rio Negro, and is of humbler 
growth than the other species of the genus, reach- 
ing barely 5 feet ; but the berries are more juicy 
and better flavoured than in any other Tococa, 
although so scanty and perishable that they cannot 
possibly serve as food for ants except for a very 
short period, and can hardly have influenced them 
in the choice of an abode. The leaves are long- 
lanceolate, either subequal and then with a large 
fusiform sac at the base of each of the pair, or very 
unequal and then the smaller leaf esaccate. The 
sacs afford refuge to multitudes of minute reddish 
ants which are fragrant when crushed. Most species 


of Tococa, however, are inhabited by ants of medium 
size, with a blackish or brownish abdomen and pale 
thorax, and a milky fluid exudes from them when 
crushed ; they bite but do not sting. 

T. macrophysca, Benth. (Spruce, 2188), grows in 
moist caatingas of the Rio Negro and Uaupes, and 
has leaves sometimes a foot long, not very unequal, 
and all of them usually bearing a stout elongato- 
cuneiform sac, an inch long, at the top of the 

Tococas are scattered over the Amazon region 
from the sea-coast to the roots of the Ancles, and 
two species ( T. pterocalyx , sp. n., and T. parviflora, 
sp. n.) ascend the Peruvian Andes to 2500-3000 
feet. I gathered altogether twenty-four or twenty- 
five species of Tococa, and all but one or two (T. 
planifolia, Benth., and a closely -allied species or 
variety) have sacs on the leaves inhabited by ants. 
An examination of the circumstances of growth of 
the esaccate T. planifolia seems to throw light on 
the origin of sacs on the leaves of the other 

Tococa planifolia grows here and there along the 
shores of the Rio Negro, at least as far up as to 
the foot of the cataracts, or say for about 700 miles. 
From the cataracts upwards, on the main river, on 
its tributary the Uaupes, and on some clear-water 
affluents of the Casiquiari, it is replaced by an 
allied non-sacciferous species or possibly a mere 
variety. Wherever it grows, it always occupies the 
very edge of the riparial forest, to which it forms 
an inner fringe, along with various Rubiacese, 
Apocynese, etc., of similar humble growth, all ot 
which are completely submerged in the time of flood ; 


so that even if the leaves of this Tococa were sac- 
ciferous, they could not afford a permanent refuge to 
ants. But all the other sub-riparial species grow 
so far away from the real shore that the periodical 
inundations never overwhelm them completely, but 
leave at least the tops of the branches out of water ; 
and it is noticeable that not only are the first leaves 
of young plants of every Tococa often esaccate, but 
that also the lowest leaves of each ramulus of the 
adult plant have either no sac or only the slightest 
rudiment of one. I suppose, then, that the primeval 
Tococa the ancestor of all the existing species had 
no sac at all on the leaves, but that a few ants hav- 
ing sheltered in the deep narrow angles formed by 
the junction of the prominent lateral ribs with the 
midrib, found the axils perforable, and having thereby 
reached the interior of the leaf, scooped out the 
parenchyma between the two surfaces. The leaves 
of any plant, when its juices are sucked away by 
insects (Aphides, for example) or otherwise diverted 
from their usual course on the one surface, are apt to 
become bullate on the opposite surface ; hence it is 
easy to understand that, when mined by ants, the 
cuticular tissue of both surfaces should expand out- 
wardly and contract laterally so as to form a sac, 
whose further enlargement would be effected by the 
continual crowding in of ants. [This process re- 
peated on the plants for many generations would 
induce an hereditary tendency to the production of 
sac- bearing leaves.] It is natural that the ants 
should select the largest leaves, as affording most 
room for their operations ; but that one leaf of 
each pair should be often larger than the other 
depends on some cause anterior to any action of 


ants, for it is a very common thing all through the 
order of Melastomes. In species which have the 
leaves of each pair nearly equal, it is usual to see 
some of the smaller ones saccate and others alto- 
gether esaccate on the same plant. [I have often 
examined half-grown plants and have seen that sacs 
begin to be developed (by inheritance] long before 
any ants touch them, but that when the sacs are 
taken possession of by ants they speedily became 
much enlarged.] 

Seeing, then, how the sacs on the leaves have 
originated, and what purpose they serve, it is plain 
that a species of Tococa, like T. planifolia, inhabit- 
ing the very river's brink, and liable to be com- 
pletely submerged for several months of every year, 
could never serve as a permanent residence for ants, 
nor consequently have any character impressed on 
it by their merely temporary sojourn ; even if their 
instinct did not teach them to avoid it altogether, 
as they actually seem to do ; whereas the species of 
Tococa growing far enough inland to maintain their 
heads above water even at the height of flood are 
thereby fitted to be permanently inhabited, and are 
consequently never destitute of saccate leaves, nor at 
any season of the year clear of ants ; as I have 
r .ison to know from the many desperate struggles 
I have had with those pugnacious little creatures 
when breaking up their homes for the sake of 

In one species (hb. 3477) with seven -ribbed 
leaves, growing by the Rio Negro near the mouth 
of the Casiquiari, the leaves on some plants have a 
small distorted sac at the base inhabited by ants, 
and on others are nearly all esaccate ; and I noted 


of this species that the plants grow sometimes where 
they are totally overwhelmed by the periodical floods, 
rendering them a precarious dwelling-place for the 
ants. This leads to the suspicion that some of the 
sacciferous species, growing far away in the forest, 
may have sprung originally from T. planifolia, 
which grows on the river- banks ; and even that 
some of the epiphyscous, anaphyscous, and hypo- 
physcous species may be mere varieties of one 
another, or may have had a common progenitor 
at no very remote epoch. This and many other 
interesting problems can only be solved when 
naturalists shall become permanent members of the 
fauna of Equatorial America, and not as now have Jo 
be classed among "occasional visitants"; for their 
solution would require observations to be carried on 
through many consecutive years on the same spot. 

Besides Tococa, there are other allied genera of 
Melastomes, viz. Myrmidone, Mart., Majeta, Aubl., 
and Calophysa, DC., which have sac-bearing leaves 
infested by ants. They are all found in the forests 
of humble sparse growth called "caatingas," and 
especially where the soil of white sand, or the 
granite floor almost bare of herbs, lies low and is 
liable to get transformed into a shallow lake in the 
time of heavy rains, thus driving ants and other 
insects to take refuge in the trees and bushes. Of 
Myrmidone I gathered four species, including the 
original M. macrospenna of Martins. They are 
low-growing, sparingly-branched shrubs of 3 to 
S teet ; the leaves of each pair are very unequal 
in size, the smaller one sometimes even obsolete, 
the larger saccate, as in the Tococa Anapkysctf, 
but the sac always rugose as well as unisulcate ; 


flowers solitary, rather large, terminal or axillary, 
rose (turning red) ; hairs of stem, leaves, etc., 
spreading, more copious than in Tococa, and red 
or crimson, corresponding curiously with the colour 
of the minute ants of that viciously-stinging tribe 
called " Formiguinhas de fogo " (Little Fire-Ants)- 
which inhabit the sacs, and also make covered ways 
of intercommunication along the outside of the 
stem and branches a precaution I have rarely 
noted among the Tococa-dwellers. 

Myrmidone rotuudifolia, sp. n., grows in caatingas 
in the lower angle of the confluence of the Rio 
Negro and Casiquiari. It is only 3 feet high, 
and has crowded, subunequal leaves, the larger of 
each pair 3^- inches long, orbicular! -panduriform, 
cordate at the base, where there is a large sac ; 
while the smaller leaf is orbiculari- cordate and 
mostly (but not always) has no sac. 

Majeta guiancnsis, Aubl., has very much the 
habit of the Myrmidones, but it has also fistulose 
branches swollen at the nodes, so that the inhabitants 
have an inner way of communication between the 


sacs at the base of the larger of each pair of sessile 

Calopliysa tococoida, DC., is a slender shrub with 
thin hairy leaves, the larger leaf of each pair having 
a large bifid sac at the base of the petiole ; but the 
frequent presence of a narro\v wing connecting 
the leaf with the sac proves that the latter belongs 
really to the lamina (as in the Tococas) and that 
the leaf is sessile. 

Examples of sac-like ant-dwellings exist in the 
leaves of plants of other orders, so like those already 
described in Melastomes, that it is scarcely worth 



while to do more than indicate some of the species. 
The solitary instance known to me in Chrysobalans 
is that of Hirtella physophora, Mart., a slender 
arbuscle growing just within reach of inundations 
in the forests about the mouth of the Rio Negro. 
The distichous, oblong, apiculate leaves are nearly 
a foot long, and at the cordate base have a pair 
of compresso-globose sacs tenanted by ants. On 
cutting open the sacs I was rather surprised to find 
them lined with cuticular tissue and hairs, just like 
the underside of the leaf; which seems to show 
that they have been produced by a recurvation of 
the alse of the leaf, through the ants nestling at 
first (Aphis-like) under the leaf and causing it to 
become bullate, and that the recurved margins have 
at length reached and coalesced with the midrib so 
as to form a pair of sacs. 

Rubiads afford a few instances of sac-bearing 
leaves, especially in the genus Amaiona (Aubl.). 
In caatingas of the Rio Negro, almost throughout 
its extent, grows Amaiona saccifera, Mart., a small 
bushy tree with leaves three together, above a foot 
long, obovate with a minute apiculus, tapering to 
the base, where there are two contiguous sacs in- 
habited by small red fire-ants. The fruit resembles 
a large plum (except that like the leaves it is 
harshly hairy), and when ripe is soft and edible ; 
but long before it reaches that stage the ants crowd 
on it and seem to suck the juices through the pores 
of the cuticle. 

To the same order belongs Reniijia physophora, 
Bth., a remarkable tree found at the falls of the 
Uaupes, having the aspect of an Amaiona, but the 
dry capsules and other characters of Cinchona and 


its allies. The opposite leaves, 9 inches long, are 
oblong-oval, obtuse with a short apiculus, near the 
base abruptly panduriforni, and bearing a small ant- 
sac on the midrib. All the other known species of 
this large genus have non-sacciferous leaves. 

In all the plants I have seen bearing sacs on the 
leaves, to whatever order they belong, it is remark- 
able that the pubescence consists of long hairs 
having a tubercular base ; and although I do not 
see what connection that peculiarity can have with 
the ants' choice of a habitation, it is probable they 
find some advantage in it. 

2. Of Inflated Petioles 

A true swelling of the petiole, inhabited by ants, 
and (as I believe) owing its existence to their 
agency, I have seen only in two genera of Legu- 
minose Coesalpiniese, viz. Tachigalia and Sclero- 
lobium. The Tachigalia^ are low-growing riparial 
trees, of black-water rivers, and have pinnate, often 
silky foliage, and small, yellow, sweet-smelling, nearly 
regular flowers disposed in panicles. All have 
trigonous petioles, which are mostly dilated at the 
base into a fusiform sac tenanted by ants. T. caripcs, 
sp. n., grows abundantly on the banks, and on 
inundated islands, of the Uaupcs. It is a spreading 
tree of 30 feet, and has the ramuli, petioles, and 
leaves clad with a fine, close, silky pubescence. 
The sacs of the petiole are inhabited by small black 
ants, whose entrance is by a little hole on the 
underside of the sac. T. ptychophysca, sp. n., grows 
in moist sandy caatingas by the same river, and has 
a similar sac on the petiole. 


The species of Sclerolobium are not usually 
riparial, but one species (S. odoratissimum, sp. n.) 
is eminently so, constituting a great ornament of 
the. shores and islands of the Rio Negro towards 
the mouth of the Casiquiari, and perfuming the 
whole breath of the river with the abundance of its 
pale yellow honey-scented flowers ; and it is notable 
that this is the only species of the genus in which 
I have found sacciferous petioles. The sac is large, 
extending upwards from the knee of the petiole to 
the base of the second pair of leaflets, and it has a 
furrow along the upper face. 

I presume the ants have been induced to take 
up their residence on these particular trees on 
account of the abundance and long persistence of 
their honied flowers. On other species of Sclero- 
lobium, inhabiting dry lands solely, such as ,5. tincto- 
ri inn, Benth., and 5". paniculatum, Vog., I have seen 
the flowering panicles infested with little fire-ants, 
which, however, seemed to have their permanent 
habitation in the Ground, about or near the tree- 


roots, and never to perforate the leaf-stalks. Many 
other Leguminosas, especially the woody climbing 
Phaseoleae, are visited by ants when in flower, and 
knobs or galls caused by the perforation of those 
insects are frequent on the panicles of Dioclea 
and allied genera ; [but I have not remarked any 
instance of such knobs having become hereditary, 
except in Pterocarpus ancylocalyx, Benth., a small 
tree on the banks of the Solimoes or Upper Amazon, 
which has the rachis of < the racemes thickened in 
the middle, the swelling being sometimes (but not 
always) tenanted by ants]. 

In the shrubby Cassias, which are common weeds 


of tropical America, the knee of the petiole may 
sometimes be seen hollowed and enlarged by ants ; 
[but the action of these insects has not been 
maintained with sufficient constancy to render the 
swelling a permanent character in any species of 
Cassia I have met with]. 

Ants congregate on the pods of some Cassias 
and other plants which have seeds in sweet pulp ; 
and on those parts of any plant where* they find 
suitable food, in the shape of mucilaginous exuda- 
tions, etc. ; but they mostly sojourn there just so 
long as that food lasts, and no longer ; or otherwise 
they merely visit the plants for the sake of collecting 
their products and carrying them off at once to a 
permanent storehouse elsewhere. 

3. Of Inflated Branches 

Ants' nests in swellings of the branches are 
found chiefly in soft-wooded trees of humble growth, 
which have verticillate or quasi-verticillate branches 
and leaves, and especially where the branches put 
forth at the extremity a whorl or fascicle of three 
or more ramuli ; then, either at each leaf- node or 
at least at the apex of the penultimate (and some- 
limes of the ultimate) branches, will probably be found 
an ant-house, in the shape of a hollow swelling of 
the branch ; communication between the houses 
being kept up, sometimes by the hollowed interior 
of the branches, but nearly always by a covered 
way along their outside. 

The genus Cordia (Boraginaceoe) affords many 
examples of this structure. One of the rather 
artificial sections into which Cordia is divided in the 


" Prodromus," viz. Physocladu, is characterised by 
" rami sub foliis congesto-verticillatis inllati cavi," the 
hollow inflation being tenanted by ants, whence C. 
nodosa, the type-species of the group, is known to the 
South Americans as "Ant tree" (Pao cle formiga). 
C. formicarum, Hoffmans, and C. callococca, Aubl., 
are supposed to be synonyms of C. nodosa. 

Cordia gerascantha, Jacq., differs from the Physo- 
cladiL' in the structure ot its rather showy white 
flowers. It rises to a stoutish tree of 30 to 40 feet, 
and is throughout fasciculately branched (branches 
3-5-nate). At the point where the branches divide 
there is mostly a sac, inhabited by very vicious ants 
of the tribe called " Tachi " by the Brazilians. The 


preceding species are usually tenanted by the small 
fire-ant, but sometimes by the Tachi. Probably 
the former was in all cases the original occupant, 
and the Tachi is an intruder. 

All these sacciferous Cordiaj have fascicled or 
\vhorled branches, and are beset (not often densely) 
with long coarse hairs arising from tubercles, much 
as in the Amaiona and the Melastomacea: above 
described ; but of the numerous other Cordia' I 
have gathered, with vague ramification and oltrn 
short soft pubescence, not one was seen with 
saccate branches, or any other structure serving as 
a permanent residence to ants. 

Some of the aromatic shrubby Crotons, with 
trichotomous branches, have occasionally the branch- 
axils perforated by ants and swollen ; but the 
process does not seem to have been carried on IOML; 
enough to make the character permanent in any 
species I have met with. 


To this category belong the creeping rhizomes 
of some ferns which are often beaded with globose 
swellings inhabited by ants ; e.g. of PhymatodeS 
Schomburgkii, ]. Sm., a not uncommon fern on shady 
rocks and trees by the Rio Negro. [In a small Poly- 
podium, found by Dr. Jameson on the river Napo, 
the moniliform character of the rhizomes seems to 
have become permanent, for he did not see a single 
specimen wanting it ; but the presence of ants in 
all the swellings revealed the origin of the latter.] 

A curious epiphytal genus of Solanacese, Marckea, 
whereof I gathered two species on the Rio Negro 
and Uaupes, is singularly affected by ants. The 
stem is reduced to a large tuber sometimes as big 
as a child's head and attains that size through the 
agency of ants, who inhabit its hollow interior and 
cover it outwardly with paper of their own manu- 
facture. From the tuber radiate several branches, 
simple or sparingly forked. The leaves are very 
like those of Acnistus arborescens, save that they 
are verticillate (or at least approximated) in one 
species (M. ciliata, Benth.) in threes and in the other 
species in fives; but the large hypocrateriform 
corollas, with a tube 3 inches long, are more like 
those of some Gesnerea. There are perforated 
swellings at the forks of the branches, and some- 
times also at the leaf-nodes, which serve the ants 
as detached apartments. I did not see a single 
plant wanting the basal tuber. 

4. Of Elongated and J^isfn/ose Stews and Branches 

There is an order of plants, whereof several 
genera and species inhabit Equatorial America, and 
VOL. ii 2 D 


all, with the exception of the herbaceous species, 
are infested by ants. The order is Polygonese ; 
the ant -infested species belong to the genera 
Triplaris, Coccoloba, Campderia, Symmeria, and 
Rupprechtia ; and the exceptions are species of 
Polygonum, some of them closely resembling 
common European species. All, both trees and 
herbs, grow in moist situations, and most of them 
on lands subject to periodical inundations. Not 
only is every lignescent Polygonea a habitation 
for ants, but the whole of the medulla of every 
plant, from the root nearly to the growing apex of 
the ramuli, is scooped out by those insects. The 
ants make a lodgment in the young stem of the 
tree or shrub, and as it increases in size and puts 
forth branch after branch, they extend their hollow 
ways through all its ramifications. They appear 
to belong all to a single genus, and are long and 
slender, with a fusiform, very fine -pointed, dark- 
colourecl, shining abdomen,- and they all sting 
virulently. They are known in Brazil by the name 
of " Tachi ' or " Tac^ba," and in Peru by that of 
"Tangarana"; and in both countries the same 
name is commonly applied to any tree they infest 
as to the ants themselves. 

A few trees and shrubs of other orders are 
similarly infested by Tachi ants ; such as Platy- 
miscium (Vog.) in Leguminosse, Tachia (Aubl.) in 
Gentianeae, and Mabea (Aubl.) in Euphorbiacese. 

Triplaris surinamensis, Camb., a Polygoneous 
tree of very rapid growth, reaching at maturity a 
hundred or more feet in height, and conspicuous 
from afar when in fruit from the abundance and 
bright red colour of its enlarged shuttlecock -like 


calyces, is common all along the Amazon, both on 
the river banks and in marshy inland sites ; and 
solitary trees of it are often seen standing out above 
the Cacao plantations. T. Schomburgkii, Benth., a 
smaller tree, grows in the same way on the Upper 
Orinoco and Casiquiari. These trees, as well as 
the other arborescent Polygonese, have slender 
elongated tubular branches, often the 
leaf-nodes, and nearly always with perforations, like 
pinholes, just within the stipule of each leaf, which 
are the sallyports of the garrison, whose sentinels 
are besides always pacing up and down the main 
trunk, as the incautious traveller finds to his cost 
when, invited by the smoothness of the bark, he 
ventures to lean his back against a Tachi tree. 
I suspect that the remote progenitors of these 
ants have at first sheltered in the ocrea (sheathing 
stipule) which is so characteristic a feature of the 
Polygoneae ; but, having found the wood soft and 
thin and the pith easy to scoop. out, have made 
their more secure abode within the stem and 

Some Tachi trees seem as if they were actually 
trying to run away from the ever-encroaching ants. 
Coccoloba parimensis, Benth., found by Schomburgk 
in British Guayana and by myself on the river 
Uaupes, is an arbuscle with a stem 15 teet long, 
that tapers upwards and arches over so as finally 
to touch the ground, the ants all the while hollow- 
ing it out, as it stretches away apparently in the 
hopeless attempt to escape their invasion. Some 
slender Coccolobas climb high into the adjacent 
trees, not by twining but by crooking their branches 
and thereby hoisting themselves up ; others arc 


self-standing bushy trees, but still have the same 
slender geniculate branches. 

The pretty Gentianeous shrubs of the genus 
Tachia have long, slender, hollowed branches, that 
either hang down or support themselves on the 
branches of adjoining shrubs and trees ; [yet 
although this character is (as I suppose) an un- 
doubted inheritance of the effects of ant -agency, 
it is singular that Tachias are nowadays often found 
entirely free from ants ; while the name, taken by 
Aublet from the Tupi language, distinctly implies 
that in his day they were notoriously ant-infested.] 
The genus Tachigalia, spoken of above, also doubt- 
less owed its name to the same peculiarity, which 
it still enjoys unabated. Aublet tells us he got 
these and other Tupi names from a colony of 
Indians from Para, who had crossed the Amazon 
and established themselves in Cayenne. 

Some Habeas are still more remarkable, the 
long sarmentose branches stretching away to a 
great length among the adjacent vegetation, 
although never actually twining. All Mabeas of 
the section Taquari have this habit, and all are 
infested by Tachi ants. The slender but tough 
twigs, hollowed and polished interiorly by ants, are 
a favourite material for tobacco-pipes with the 
Indians of the Amazon, who strip off the bark and 
paint and varnish the surface of the wood. These 
" Taquaris," as they are called, are commonly sold 
in the shops at Para. A bundle of them which 
I purchased there is now in the Kew Museum. 
The arborescent Mabeas, however, with tall erect 
trunks and paniculate inflorescence, are apparently 
never touched by ants. 


None of these fistulose trees and shrubs have 
any sacs or swelling's on the branches, except the 
leguminous genus Platymiscium, which has the 
pinnate leaves usually in whorls of three, and the 
tubular branches sometimes dilated at the leaf- 
nodes ; so that this genus has almost as much right 
to be placed in the preceding section as here. 

All the plants above named belong to the eastern 
side of the Andes and the Amazonian plain ; but 
when I crossed over to the western side of the 
Andes I saw a Triplaris in the Red Bark forests 
of Chimborazo, and Rnpprechtia Jamesoni, Meisn., 
and a Coccoloba on the inundated savannas of 
Guayaquil, with just the same long, slender, geni- 
culate branchlets infested by the same class of 
ants as their congeners east of the Andes. 

A few other plants with long-drawn-out stems 
and branches, such as some species of Remijia, may 
be supposed to owe at least the exaggeration of 
that feature to the ants which still continue to 
infest them. 

Nearly all tree-dwelling ants, although in the 
dry season they may descend to the ground and 
make their summer-houses there, retain the sacs and 
tubes above-mentioned as permanent habitations ; 
and some kinds of ants appear never to reside else- 
where, at any time of year. The same is probably 
true also of ants which build nests in trees, of 
extraneous materials, independent of the growing 
tissues of the tree itself. There are some ants 
which apparently must always live aloft ; and the 
Tococa-dwellers continue to inhabit Tococas where 
there is never any risk of flood, as in the case of 
the T. pterocalyx, which grows on wooded ridges 


of the Andes. Their case is parallel to that of 
the lake-dwellers of the mouth of the Orinoco 
and the inundated savannas of Guayaquil, whose 
descendants must needs elevate their houses on 
stages six feet or more in height, although nowa- 
days erected on rising ground far beyond the 
reach of river floods or ocean-tides. We call this 
"instinct" in the case of ants, "inherited custom" 
in the case of men ; yet there is obviously no 

There are numerous instances of the effects of 
Ant-agency in the plants of Tropical America, not 
reducible to any of the foregoing sections. At 
Tarapoto, in the Andes of Maynas, a prickly 
suffruticose Solanum, with pinnate leaves, is 
frequent in sandy ground. The fruit is a small 
scarlet edible berry, tasting like that of Physalis. 
The very prickly calyx persists with the fruit, and 
is dilated into a wide cup which holds the water of 
rains, for whose sake it is visited by fire-ants that 
have their burrows in the sand. The contained 
water is slightly mucilaginous, and possibly, after 
standing a while, partakes of the flavour of the berry 
that is partially immersed in it. After a shower, the 
ants may be seen crowding on the inner edge of 
the calyx and sipping the liquid; but in dry weather 
they fill the calyx, bent apparently on extracting the 
last drop. The consequence of this crowding into 
the calyx is to sustain and augment the inflation. 
The bulging, gummy, water-holding leaf-bases of 
many epiphytal Bromels seem to owe those 
properties to the same influence, for they are 
commonly infested by ants, whose papery nest, 
indeed, often envelops the root of the plant. 


[When I compare these and similar instances 
with the Pitchers of the Nepenthes, in which (as I 
learn from the accounts of travellers) ants as well as 
water are nearly always found, I cannot doubt that 
those curious appendages have attained their actual 
dimensions through the deepening 'and widening 
which they have undergone from ants through 
untold ages.] 

We have a curious example, in the genus 
Cinchona, of the supposed correlation of a minute 
structural peculiarity with chemical and medical 
properties. Eminent botanists, 'such as Weddell 
and Karsten, who have studied that ^enus in its 


native forests, have thought they had found a char- 
acter in the leaves always associated with a bark 
rich in alkaloids, viz. the presence of a small pit or 
scrobicule in the axil of each vein on the underside 
of the leaf. But when good specimens of C. sitc- 
cirubra, the richest of all the barks in alkaloids, 
came to be examined, the leaves were found entirely 
destitute of scrobicules ! See now how this comes 
about. The leaves of the Hill Barks those, namely, 
that grow at an elevation of 8000 feet and upwards 
are liable to be infested by a small mite which 
nestles in the scrobicules has caused them, in fact- 
its remote ancestors having at first sheltered in the 
vein-axils ; but C. succirubra grows always below 
that elevation indeed, as low down as 2400 to 6000 
feet and is the only quinine-producing Cinchona 
that descends so low, the other species of Cinchona 
that grow at a low elevation having all medically 
worthless bark. But as all these species, C. suc- 
cirubra included, are equally destitute of scrobiculate 
leaves and of mites, the reasonable inference is that 


that kind of mite is confined to a higher and cooler 
zone, and never descends to the warm zone of the 
Red Bark. 

Let it be observed that these scrobicules, although 
I have no doubt of their origin by insect-agency, are 
quite as good and permanent a botanical character 
as many others as the sacciferous leaves of Tococa, 
for example. [What a vast length of time, com- 
pared with man's brief life, it must have taken to 
impress a character of permanence on the latter 
character and render it hereditary ! Probably a 
period far longer than those we choose to designate 
"historical" or "bronze" or "stone." The in- 
imitable researches of Mr. Darwin have rendered it 
(to my mind) almost certain that many of the devia- 
tions from symmetry in the form and direction of 
the parts of a flower have been brought about by 
the direct mechanical agency of insects ; and that 
the origin of every obliquity, unequal-sidedness, and 
so forth, in any organ of a plant, is to be sought in 
the action of forces not only internal, but also 
external to the plant itself.] In this wonderful 
' life," which exists only through perpetual change, 
every equilibrium is unstable, and even what we call 
"permanence" is but a transitory state. 

In fine, the list of structures which I have above 
assigned to Ant-agency might no doubt be very 
much extended, and perhaps more satisfactorily 
classified. I have described only what I have seen 
with my own eyes and noted down on the spot ; and 
corroborative specimens of all the plants mentioned 
exist in the Royal Herbarium at Kew, by means of 
which the accuracy of my account of the structures 
inhabited by ants may at any time be tested. 



[The Director of the Kew Gardens, Lieutenant- 
Colonel Prain, informs me that the genus Tococa in 
cultivation produces the inflated bladders, but he 
does not know that the plant has ever been raised 
from seed, which is not produced in Europe. Prof. 
James W. H. Trail, who has observed these plants 
and the ants that infest them in Amazonia, informs 
him that in one or two cases plants which had no 
ants on them, though possessing the ant-dwellings 
moderately developed, were being damaged by 
herbivorous pests. This important observation 
indicates the "utility" to the plant itself, which is 
always needed to bring natural selection into play 
for the purpose of modifying and rendering per- 
manent any special adaptation in plant- or animal- 

Much light is thrown on this question by the 
observations of Mr. Henry O. Forbes, recorded in 
his Naturalist's Wanderings in the Eastern Archi- 
pelago (pp. 79-82). He found the strange tuberous 
Myrmecodiaand Hydnophytum abundant in Sumatra 
and Amboyna (as they are all over the Archipelago), 
and raised many young plants from seed, which, 
though completely isolated from the ants that make 
their homes in the wild plants, grew vigorously and 
developed the internal branching cells and galleries 
from the very first. These chambers are formed by 
the shrivelling up of a delicate pith with which they 
are at first filled, and as they grow rapidly and form 
irregular tuberous masses as large as a man's head, 
it seems probable that this pith, as well as the 
watery liquid secreted in a large central chamber, 


are the primary attraction to the ants, which are 
always of one species and sting virulently. 

I find that I had myself given a short account of 
these ant-infested plants of both hemispheres in my 
volume on Nahtral Selection and Tropical Nature 
(p. 284), in which I refer to Mr. Forbes's observa- 
tions, and also to those of the late Mr. Belt on the 
Bull's- Horn Acacia, which has the thorns in a young 
state filled with a sweetish pulpy substance which at 
first serves as food for the ants, while later on they 
are supplied by honey-glands upon all the leaves. 
He also notices and figures in his Naturalist in 


Nicaragua (p. 223) the leaves of one of the 
Melastomse with swollen petioles, and he states 
that, besides the small ants always infesting them, he 
noticed, several times, some dark-coloured Aphides. 
He also suggests that these small virulently-stinging 
ants are of use to the plants by guarding them 
from leaf-eating enemies such as caterpillars, snails, 
and even herbivorous mammals, but above all 
from the omnipresent Sauba or leaf- cutting ant, 
which he declares he observed to be much afraid of 
these small species. 

I think the facts that have now been observed in 
both the western and eastern tropics are really 
sufficient to enable us to understand the probable 
origin of the various remarkable structures that 
have been developed in many different groups of 
plants and are utilised by ants. There is clearly 
' utility " on both sides. The ants obtain dwellings, 
protection from floods, a safe shelter for their eggs 
and larvae, and a portion of their food in some 
cases perhaps all --from the plant they inhabit; 
while the plant derives protection to its foliage, 


and perhaps also in some cases to its flowers as 
shown by Kerner by the presence of whole armies 
of virulently - stinging ants whose very minute- 
ness renders them the more formidable. In the 
most remarkable plant-formicaria known those of 
the Myrmecodia and Hydnophytum of the Malay 
Archipelago the whole structure has been proved 
to be hereditary, and we may therefore conclude 
that in the Tococas of the Amazon, and other cases 
in which the cavities inhabited by the ants are 
constantly present, they are also hereditary. In 
other cases, as Spruce himself states, they are 
not so, being directly formed by the ants or being 
abnormal growths due to their irritations. 

Spruce's error was in not recognising that the 
ever-present variability in all the parts and organs 
of plants furnished the material, and the survival of 
the fittest the agency, by which these, as well as all 
other specific modifications of plants, have been 
brought about ; and that this is a far more powerful, 
as well as a more exact and certain, mode of doing 
so than the hereditary transmission of mutilations, 
the effects of which would in many cases be the 
reverse of beneficial. 

In my recent work, My Life (vol. ii. p. 64), I 
give a letter from Spruce written shortly after the 
paper was rejected, in which he explains his reasons 
for refusing to alter his paper. Three years later 
he wrote me another letter on an allied subject 
the purport of aromatic leaves (printed at p. 65), 
at the commencement of which he says : " Every 
structure, every secretion of a plant is (before all) 
beneficial to the plant itself. That is, I suppose, an 
incontrovertible axiom." 


This is a great advance on the views stated 
in the earlier letter, in which he wrote : " The ants 
cannot be said to be useful to the plants, any more 
than fleas and lice are to animals ; and the plants 
have to accommodate to their parasites as best they 
may." The evidence, however, now shows that, in 
all probability, they are always useful, in which case 
their becoming hereditary is merely a question of 
variability in the plant, and the continued preser- 
vation of those whose variations were in the direc- 
tion of utility to the ants. 

The whole of these very interesting phenomena, 
so well described by Spruce, are thus seen to be in 
complete accordance with those of the modification 
of flowers by insect-agency, which are now admitted 
to depend upon a mutual adaptation for the benefit 
of both plant and insect. 

They lead, I think, to the establishment of the 
general principle, that no special adaptation of one 
organism to another can become fixed and hereditary 
unless it is of direct utility to both.] 



[THIS chapter consists of a carefully written account 
of the above subject, compiled by Spruce about 1870 
from his notes and observations, and printed in the 
short-lived Geographical Magazine. Fortunately, he 
presented the beautifully written manuscript to his 
Yorkshire friend and fellow-botanist, Mr. G. Stabler, 
of Milnthorpe, Westmoreland, who has kindly lent 
it me for reproduction here, and I feel sure that 
it will be both new and interesting to the great 
majority of readers of this volume. Besides its 
main subject, it touches upon the beliefs and customs 
of the Indians who use these narcotics, and on the 
proceedings of their " pajes " or medicine-men; and 
incidentally it narrates the occurrence of rare and 
mysterious sounds in the forest, and their very 
curious explanation, which I believe he was the first, 
and probably still the only, traveller to obtain. The 
whole essay affords a good example of the writer's 
style and of his power of making even technical 
details interesting, and of introducing bright de- 
scriptive flashes and touches of human nature in 
what might otherwise be a rather dry exposition of 
botanical and pharmaceutical facts. Two paragraphs 



only have been omitted as unsuitable for the present 
work. The rest is printed verbatim, and will, I 
think, even to the non-botanical reader, prove not 
one of the least interesting chapters of this volume.] 


In the accounts given by travellers of the 
festivities of the South American Indians, and of 
the incantations of their medicine- men, frequent 
mention is made of powerful drugs used to produce 
intoxication, or even temporary delirium. Some of 
these narcotics are absorbed in the form of smoke, 
others as snuff, and others as drink ; but with the 
exception of tobacco, and of the fermented drinks 
prepared from the grain of maize, the fruit of 
plantains, and the roots of Manihot utilissima, M. 
. Ivpi, and a few other plants, scarcely any of them 
are well made out. Having had the good fortune 
to see the two most famous narcotics in use, and to 
obtain specimens of the plants that afford them 
sufficiently perfect to be determined botanically, I 
propose to record my observations on them, made 
on the spot. 

The first of these narcotics is afforded by a climb- 
ing plant called Caapi. It belongs to the family of 
Malpighiaceae, and I drew up the following brief 
description of it from living specimens in November 

(PL Exsia. No. 2712, Anno 1853) 

-Woody twiner; stem == thumb, swollen at joints. 
Leaves opposite, 6.4 x 3.3, oval acuminate, apiculato- acute, 


thinnish, smooth above, appresso-subpilose beneath ; on a petiole 
0.9 inch long. Panicles axillary, leafy. Umbels 4-flowered. 
Pedicels appresso-tomentose, bracteolate only at base. Calyx 
deeply 5-partite ; segments ligulate, eglandulose, or with only 
rudimentary glands, appresso-tomentose. Petals 5, on longish 
thick claws; lamina pentagonal, fimbriate, the fimbrice clavate. 
Stamens 10, subunequal ; anthers roundish. Styles 3, subulate; 
stigmas capitate. Capsules muricato-cristate, prolonged on one 
side into a greenish-white semiobovate wing (1.7 x 0.6 inch). 

Habitat. On the river Uaupes, the Icanna, and other upper 
tributaries of the Rio Negro, where it is commonly planted in the 
rocas or mandiocca-plots ; also at the cataracts of the Orinoco, 
and on its tributaries, from the Meta upwards ; and on the Napo 
and Pastasa and their affluents, about the eastern foot of the 
Equatorial Andes. Native names: Caapi, in Brazil and Venezuela; 
Cadana, by the Tucano Indians on the Uaupes ; Aya-huasca (i.e. 
Dead man's vine) in Ecuador. 1 

The lower part of the stem is the part used. A 
quantity of this is beaten in a mortar, with water, 
and sometimes with the addition of a small portion 
of the slender roots of the Caapi-pinima. 2 When 
sufficiently triturated, it is passed through a sieve, 
which separates the woody fibre, and to the residue 

1 Caapi (the Portuguese have made it Caapim) is the Tupi or Lingoa 
Geral name for "grass." It means simply "thin leaf," and in that sense 
may correctly be applied to the Banisteria Caapi. In the same language the 
Mate of Paraguay (Ilex Paraguayensis) is called Caamirim, i.e. " small leaf," 
\vhirli is certainly not so truly said of it. The Brazilian Indians accent the 
last, the Venezuelan the first, syllable of Caapi. 

2 Caapi-pinima, i.e. "painted Caapi," is an Apocyneous twiner of the 
genus I I,i mudictyon, of which I saw only young shoots, without any flowers. 
The leaves are of a shining green, painted with the .strong blood-red veins. It 
is possibly the same species as one I gathered in flower, in December 1849, at 
an Indian settlement on the river Trombelas (Lower Ama/.on), anil lias been 
distributed by .Mr. I'entham under the name of Hcemadictyon aiu:o>iicnni, 
n. sp. It may be the Caapi-pinima \\hich gives its nauseous taste to ihc caaj i 
drink prepared on the Uaupes, and it is probably poisonous, like most of its 
tribe- ; but it is not essential to the narcotic effect of the Banisteria, \\hii-li (so 
far as I could make out) is used without any admixture by ili<- < .u.ihibos, 
/.aparos, and other nations, out of the Uaupe*s. 

The Tucano Indians call this plant Cadina-pfra, which means the same as 
the Tupi name. They are the most powerful tribe on the t'aupes, and the 
greatest consumers of caapi ; but all the oilier tribes on that river and they 
are about a do/en use it in the same way. 


enouo-h water is added to render it drinkable. Thus 


prepared, its colour is brownish-green, and its taste 
bitter and disagreeable. 

The Use and Effects of Caapi 

In November 1852 I was present, by special 
invitation, at a Dabocuri or Feast of Gifts, held in 
a malloca or village- house called Urubu-coara 
(Turkey-buzzard's nest), above the first falls of the 
Uaupes ; the village of Panure, where I was then 
residing, being at the base of the same falls, and 
about four miles away from Urubu-coara, following 
the course of the river, which during that space is a 
continuous succession of rapids and cataracts among 
rocky islands. We reached the malloca at nightfall, 
just as the botutos or sacred trumpets began to 
boom lugubriously within the margin of the forest 
skirting the wide space kept open and clear of weeds 
around the malloca. 1 At that sound every female 
outside makes a rush into the house, before the 
botutos emerge on the open ; for to merely see one 
of them would be to her a sentence of death. We 
found about 300 people assembled, and the dances 
at once commenced. I need not detail the whole 
proceedings, for similar feasts have already been 
described by Mr. Wallace (Travels on the Amazon 
and Rio Negro, pp. 280 and 348). Indeed, there 

1 Some of the trumpets used at this very feast are now in the Museum of 
Vegetable Products at Kew. To get them out of the river Uaupes, when I 
left for Venezuela in March 1853, I wrapped them in mats and put them on 
board myself at dead of night, stowing them under the cabin floor, out of sight of 
my Indian mariners, who would not one of them have embarked with me had 
they known such articles were in the boat. The old Portuguese missionaries 
called these trumpets juruparis or devils merely a bit of jealousy on their 
part ; the botuto being the only fetish not worshipped, but held in high 
respect throughout the whole Negro-Orinoco region. (See figures opposite.) 

Side view. 

Hack view. 

Knd vieu . 

FlG. 15. IM>I.\\ S. VKKl i I)|<r.M (IK Tkl'MI'l.l. 

Tin 1 upright outline shous the Imli 1 -, ;ii lioitoni of ihe 'hum (as -i 
\\liicl) the inside has licen scooped out. The }>.\ < i 

and hlue. 

V( >L. 


2 1 


is such a family likeness in all the Indian festivities 
of Tropical America that, allowing for slight local 
variations, the description of one might serve for 
all. There is no more graphic account oi a native 
feast than that by old Wafer, of one he saw on the 
Isthmus of Darien (New Voyage and Description of 
the Isthmus of America, p. 363). 

In the course of the night, the young men par- 
took of caapi five or six times, in the intervals 
between the dances ; but only a few of them at a 
time, and very few drank of it twice. The cup- 
bearer who must be a man, for no woman can 
touch or taste caapi starts at a short run from the 
opposite end of the house, with a small calabash 
containing about a teacupiul of caapi in each hand, 
muttering " Mo-mo-mo-mo-mo " as he runs, and 
gradually sinking down until at last his chin nearly 
touches his knees, when he reaches out one of his 
cups to the man who stands ready to receive it, 
and when that is drunk off, then the other cup. 

In two minutes or less after drinking it, its effects 
begin to be apparent. The Indian turns deadly 
pale, trembles in every limb, and horror is in his 
aspect. Suddenly contrary symptoms succeed : he 
bursts into a perspiration, and seems possessed with 
reckless fury, seizes whatever arms are at hand, 
his murucii, bow and arrows, or cutlass, and rushes 
to the doorway, where he inflicts violent blows on 
the ground or the doorposts, calling out all the 
while, " Thus would I do to mine enemy (naming 
him by his name) were this he!" In about ten 
minutes the excitement has passed off, and the 
Indian grows calm, but appears exhausted. \Yere 
he at home in his hut, he would sleep off the 


remaining fumes, but now he must shake off his 
drowsiness by renewing the dance. 

I had gone with the full intention of experiment- 
ing the caapi on myself, but I had scarcely dis- 
patched one cup of the nauseous beverage, which 
is but half a dose, when the ruler of the feast- 
desirous, apparently, that I should taste all his 
delicacies at once came up with a woman bearing 
a large calabash of caxiri (mandiocca-beer), of which 
I must needs take a copious draught, and as I knew 
the mode of its preparation, it was gulped down 
with secret loathing. Scarcely had I accomplished 
this feat when a large cigar, 2 feet long and as 
thick as the wrist, was put lighted into my hand, 
and etiquette demanded that I should take a few 
whiffs of it /, who had never in my life smoked a 
cigar or a pipe of tobacco. Above all this, I must 
drink a large cup of palm-wine, and it will readily 
be understood that the effect of such a complex dose 
was a strong inclination to vomit, which was only 
overcome by lying down in a hammock and drink- 
ing a cup of coffee which the friend who accom- 
panied me had taken the precaution to prepare 

White men who have partaken of caapi in the 
proper way concur in the account of their sensations 
under its influence. They feel alternations of cold 
and heat, fear and boldness. The sight is disturbed, 
and visions pass rapidly before the eyes, wherein 
everything gorgeous and magnificent they have 
heard or read of seems combined ; and presently 
the scene changes to things uncouth and horrible. 
These are the general symptoms, and intelligent 
traders on the Upper Rio Negro, Uaupes, and 


Orinoco have all told me the same tale, merely with 
slight personal variations. A Brazilian friend said 
that when he once took a full dose of caapi he saw 
all the marvels he had read of in the Arabian 
Nights pass rapidly before his eyes as in a panorama; 
but the final sensations and sights were horrible, as 
they always are. 

At the feast of Urubii-coara I learnt that caapi 
was cultivated in some quantity at a roca a few 
hours' journey down the river, and I went there 
one day to get specimens of the plant, and (if pos- 
sible) to purchase a sufficient quantity of the stems 
to be sent to England for analysis ; in both which 
objects I was successful. There were about a dozen 
well-grown plants of caapi, twining up to the tree- 
tops along the margin of the roca, and several 
smaller ones. It was fortunately in flower and 
young fruit, and I saw, not without surprise, that 
it belonged to the order Malpighiacece and the 
genus Banisteria, of which I made it out to be an 
undescribed species, and therefore called it Banisteria 
Caapi. My surprise arose from the fact that there 
was no narcotic Malpighiad on record, nor indeed 
any species of that order with strong medicinal 
properties of any kind. Byrsonima a Malpighi- 
aceous genus that abounds in the Amazon valley- 
includes many species, all handsome little trees, 
with racemes of yellow or rose-coloured flowers, 
followed by small edible but rather insipid drupes. 
Their bark abounds in tannin, and is the usual 
material for tanning leather at Para, as also, by 
the Indians, for dyeing coarse cotton garments a 
red -brown colour. Another genus- -Bunchosia- 
grows chiefly on the slopes of the Andes, at from 


7000 to 9000 feet elevation, and the species are 
trees of humble growth, bearing large yellowish- 
green edible drupes known as Ciruelas de fraile 
(Friar's plums). In cultivation the fruits are mostly 
seedless, and in that state are sometimes brought 
for sale to Ambato and other towns. The seed 
is described in books as poisonous, and if it be 
really so, then it is the only instance, so far as I 
know, of the existence of any hurtful principle in 
the entire family of Malpighiads, always excepting 
that of the Caapi. Yet strong poisons may lurk 
undiscovered in many others of the order, which is 
very large, and (the twining species especially) of 
great sameness of aspect ; and the closely -allied 
Soapworts (Sapindaceae) contain strong narcotic 
poisons, especially in the genus Paullinia. 

I obtained a good many pieces of stem, dried 
them carefully, and packed them in a large box, 
which contained botanical specimens, and dispatched 
them down the river for England in March 1853. 
The man who took that box and four others on 
freight, in a large new boat he had built on the 
Uaupes, was seized for debt when about half-way 
down the Rio Negro, and his boat and all its con- 
tents confiscated. My boxes were thrown aside in 
a hut, with only the damp earth for floor, and re- 
mained there many months, when my friend Senhor 
Henrique Antonij, of Manaos, whom I had advised 
by letter of the sending-off of the boxes, heard of 
the mishap, and succeeded in redeeming them and 
getting them sent on to the port of Para. When 
Mr. Bentham came to open them in England, he 
found the contents somewhat injured by damp and 
mould, and the sheets of specimens near the bottom 


of the boxes quite ruined. The bundle of Caapi would 
presumably have quite lost its virtue from the same 
cause, and I clo not know that it was ever analysed 
chemically ; but some portion of it should be in the 
Kew Museum at this day. 

Caapi is used by all the nations on the river 
Uaupes, some of whom speak languages differing 
in toto from each other, and have besides (in other 
respects) widely different customs. But on the Rio 
Negro, if it has ever been used, it has fallen into 
disuse ; nor did I find it anywhere among nations 
of the true Carib stock, such as the Barres, Bani- 
huas, Mandauacas, etc., with the solitary exception 
of the Tarianas, who have intruded a little way 
within the river Uaupes, and have probably learnt 
to use caapi from their Tucano neighbours. 

When I was at the cataracts of the Orinoco, in 
June 1854, I again came upon caapi, under the 
same name, at an encampment of the wild Guahibos, 
on the savannas of Maypures. These Indians not 
only drink the infusion, like those of the Uaupes, 
but also chew the dried stem, as some people do 
tobacco. From them I learnt that all the native 
dwellers on the rivers Meta, Vichada, Guaviare, 
Sipapo, and the intervening smaller rivers, possess 
caapi, and use it in precisely the same way. 

In May i<S5/, after a sojourn of two years in the 
North-Eastern Peruvian Andes, I reached, by way 
of the river Pastasa, the great forest of Canelos, at 
the foot of the volcanoes Cotopaxi, Llanganati, and 
Tunguragua ; and in the villages of Canelos and 
Puca-yacu inhabited chiefly by tribes of Zaparos- 
I again saw Caapi planted. It was the identical 
species of the Uaupes, but under a different name, 


in the language of the Incas, Aya-huasca, i.e. Dead 
man's vine. The people were nearly all away at 
the gold-washings, but from the Governor of Puca- 
yacu I got an account of its properties coinciding 
wonderfully with what I had previously learnt in 
Brazil. Dr. Manuel Villavicencio, a native of Quito, 
who had been some years governor of the Christian 
settlements on the Napo, published the following 
year, in his Geografia de la Repnblica del Ecuador 
(New York, 1858), an interesting account of the 
customs of the natives of that river, and amongst 
others of their drinking the aya-huasca ; but of the 
plant itself he could tell no more than that it was a 
liana or vine. The following is a summary of what 
I learnt at Puca-yacu and from Villavicencio of the 
uses and effects of the aya-huasca or caapi, as 
observed on the Napo and Bombonasa. 

Aya-huasca is used by the Zaparos, Anguteros, 
Mazanes, and other tribes precisely as I saw caapi 
used on the Uaupes, viz. as a narcotic stimulant at 
their feasts. It is also drunk by the medicine-man, 
when called on to adjudicate in a dispute or quarrel 
-to give the proper answer to an embassy to dis- 
cover the plans of an enemy to tell if strangers 
are coming to ascertain if wives are unfaithful- 
in the case of a sick man to tell who has bewitched 
him, etc. 

All who have partaken of it feel first vertigo ; 
then as if they rose up into the air and were float- 
ing about. The Indians say they see beautiful 
lakes, woods laden with fruit, birds of brilliant 
plumage, etc. Soon the scene changes ; they see 
savage beasts preparing to seize them, they can no 
longer hold themselves up, but fall to the ground. 


At this crisis the Indian wakes up from his trance, 
and if he were not held down in his hammock by 
force, he would spring to his feet, seize his arms, 
and attack the first person who stood in his way. 
Then he becomes drowsy, and finally sleeps. If 
he be a medicine-man who has taken it, when he 
has slept off the fumes he recalls all he saw in his 
trance, and thereupon deduces the prophecy, divina- 
tion, or what not required of him. Boys are not 
allowed to taste aya-huasca before they reach 
puberty, nor women at any age : precisely as on 
the Uaupes. 

Villavicencio says (pp. cit. p. 3/3): "When I 
have partaken of aya-huasca, my head has immedi- 
ately begun to swim, then I have seemed to enter 
on an aerial voyage, wherein I thought I saw the 
most charming landscapes, great cities, lofty towers, 
beautiful parks, and other delightful things. Then 
all at once I found myself deserted in a forest and 
attacked by beasts of prey, against which I tried 
to defend myself. Lastly, I began to come round, 
but with a feeling of excessive drowsiness, headache, 
and sometimes general malaise!' 

This is all I have seen and learnt of caapi or 
aya-huasca. I regret being unable to tell what is 
the peculiar narcotic principle that produces such 
extraordinary effects. Opium and hemp are its 
most obvious analogues, but caapi would seem to 
operate on the nervous system far more rapidly and 
violently than either. Some traveller who may 
follow my steps, with greater resources at his com- 
mand, will, it is to be hoped, be able to bring away 
materials adequate for the complete analysis of this 
curious plant. 


Xiopo Snuff and the Mode of using it 


Synonyms Acacia"? A r iofo, Humb., Re/. Hist. ii. p. 620: 
ejusdem Nov. Gen. Amer. vi. p. 282; DC. Prodr. ii. p. 471. 
Inga Niopo, Willd. 

Description. Tree, 50 feet by 2 feet, with muricated bark, 
otherwise unarmed. Leaves bipinnate ; pinnae twenty-four pairs : 
pinnules very numerous, minute, linear, mucronato-apiculate, 
ciliated, sparsely sub -pubescent. An oblong gland on petiole 
above base ; another between terminal pinnae. Racemes axillary 
and terminal ; pedicels twin, each bearing a small globose head 
of white flowers. Corolla slightly emersed from 5-angled calyx. 
Stamens 10; anthers tipped with a gland. Pod linear, sub-com- 
pressed, apiculate, 7-i2-seeded, sub-constricted between seeds. 
Seeds flattish, green. 

Habitat. In the drier forests of the Amazon, and along its 
tributaries, both northern and southern ; on the Rio Negro, 
throughout its course ; also at the cataracts of the Orinoco ; both 
wild and planted near villages. (Santarem, fl. Amazonum, Spruce, 
Exsicc. No. 828, etiam Janauarf, fl. Negro, No. 1786.) Native 
names : Parica in Brazil ; Niopo in Venezuela. 

We owe our first knowledge of Niopo snuff, and 
of the tree producing it, to Humboldt and Bonpland, 
whose brief account of it is thus condensed by 
Kunth : "Ex seminibus tritis calci vivae adrnixtis 
fit tabacum nobile quo Incli Otomacos et Guajibos 
utuntur " (Synopsis, iv. p. 20). In the modern 
niopo, as I saw it prepared by the Guahibos them- 
selves, there is no admixture of quicklime, and that 
is the sole difference. My specimens of the leaves, 
flowers, and fruit agree so well with Kunth's de- 
scription of Acacia Niopo that I cannot doubt their 
being the same species ; especially as I have traced 
the tree all the way from the Amazon to the Orinoco, 
and found it everywhere identical, although it bears 
a different name on the two rivers, as is commonly 
the case where the same plant or animal occurs on 


both. Mr. Bentham believes my plant to be the 
old Mimosa peregrina of Linnaeus (Acacia peregrina, 
Willd); and if both opinions be correct, then the 
species must be called Piptadenia peregrina (L.), 
Benth. ; and Acacia Niopo, Humb., will stand as a 

I first gathered specimens of the Parica (or 
Niopo) tree in 1850, near Santarem, at the junction 
of the Tapajoz and Amazon, where it had appar- 
ently been planted. In the following year I 
gathered it on the little river Jauauari one of the 
lower tributaries of the Rio Negro where it was 
certainly wild. But I did not see the snuff actually 
prepared from the seeds and in use until June 1854, 
at the cataracts of the Orinoco. A wandering horde 
of Guahibo Indians, from the river Meta, was en- 
camped on the savannas of Maypures, and on a 
visit to their camp I saw an old man grinding 
Niopo seeds, and purchased of him his apparatus 
for making and taking the snuff, which is now in 
the Museum of Vegetable Products at Kew. I 
proceed to describe both processes. 

The seeds being first roasted, are powdered on a 
wooden platter, nearly the shape of a watch-glass, 
but rather longer than broad (g-J inches by 8 inches). 
It is held on the knee by a broad thin handle, which 
is grasped in the left hand, while the fingers of the 
right hold a small spatula or pestle of the hard 
wood of the Palo de arco (Tecomae sp.) with which 
the seeds are crushed. 

The snuff is kept in a mull made of a bit of the 
leg-bone of the jaguar, closed at one end with pitch, 
and at the other end stopped with a cork of inarima 
bark. It hangs around the neck, and from it are 


suspended a few odoriferous rhizomes of a sedge 
(Kyllingia odorata). Rhizomes of the same sedge, 
or of an allied species, are in use among the Indians 
throughout the Amazon and Orinoco. They render 
the wearer secure from the bad wish and evil eye 
of his enemies. 

For taking the snuff they use an apparatus made 
of the leg-bones of herons or other long-shanked birds 
put together in the shape of the letter Y, or some- 
thing like a tuning-fork, and the two upper tubes are 
tipped with small black perforated knobs (the endo- 
carps of a palm). The lower tube being inserted 
in the snuff-box and the knobs in the nostrils, the 
snuff is forcibly inhaled, with the effect of thoroughly 
narcotising a novice, or indeed a practised hand, 
if taken in sufficient quantity ; but this endures 
only a few minutes, and is followed by a soothing 
influence, which is more lasting. 

The Guahibo had a bit of caapi hung from his 
neck, along with the snuff-box, and as he ground 
his niopo he every now and then tore off a strip of 
caapi with his teeth and chewed it with evident 
satisfaction. " With a chew of caapi and a pinch 
of niopo," said he, in his broken Spanish, "one feels 
so good ! No hunger no thirst no tired ! " From 
the same man I learnt that caapi and niopo were 
used by all the nations on the upper tributaries of 
the Orinoco, i.e. on the Guaviare, Vichada, Meta, 
Sipapo, etc. 

I had previously (in 1851) purchased of a Brazilian 
trader at Manaos an apparatus for taking niopo 
snuff rather different from that of the Guahibos. 
He had brought it from the river Puriis, where it 
had been used by the Catauixi Indians. My note 


on it (as taken down from his account) is as 
follows : 

The Catauixi's use niopo snuff as a narcotic 
stimulant, precisely as the Guahibos of Venezuela, 
and as the Muras and other nations of the Amazon, 
where it is called parica. For absorbing parica 
by the nose, a bent tube is made of a bird's shank- 
bone, cut in two, and the pieces joined by wrap- 
ping, at such an angle that one end being applied 
to the mouth, the other reaches the nostrils. A 
portion of snuff is then put into the tube and blown 
with great force up the nose. A clyster-pipe is made, 
on the same principle, of the long shank-bone of 
the tuyuyii {Mycteria americana). The effect of 
parica, taken as snuff, is to speedily induce a sort 
of intoxication, resembling in its symptoms (as 
described to me in this instance) that produced by 
the fungus Amanita muscaria. Taken in injection, 
it is a purge, more or less violent according to the 
dose. When the Catauixi is about to set forth on 
the chase, he takes a small injection of parica, and 
administers another to his dog, the effect on both 
being (it is saicl) to clear their vision and render 
them more alert ! 

Herndon {Valley of the .-luiazon, p. 318) gives 
the following account of the use of parica among 
the Munclruciis, on the river Tapajox, which he 
derived from an intelligent Frenchman (M. Maugin) 
who had traded among them. They powder the 
seeds of parica, make the powder into a paste, and 
repulverise a portion whenever they want to take 
it as snuff. Two quills of the royal heron, joined 
side by side, make a double tube, which is applied 
to the nostrils and the powder snuffed up with 


a strong inspiration. M. Maugin thus describes 
its effects on an Indian whom he saw take it. 
"His eyes started from his head, his mouth con- 
tracted, his limbs trembled. It was fearful to see 
him. He was obliged to sit down or he would 
have fallen. He was drunk, but only for about 
five minutes ; he was then gayer." 

" Medicine-Men " and their Customs 

Among the native tribes of the Uaupes and of 
the upper tributaries of the Orinoco, niopo or 
parica is the chief curative agent. When the paye 
is called in to treat a patient, he first snuffs up his 
nose such a quantity of parica as suffices to throw 
him into a sort of ecstasy, wherein he professes to 
divine the nature of the evil wish which has caused 
the sickness, and to gather force to counteract it. 
He next lights a very thick cigar of tobacco, in- 
hales a quantity of smoke, and puffs it out over the 
sick man, over the hammock in which he is laid, 
and over everything he habitually uses, but espe- 
cially over the food he is to eat. This done, the 
paye professes to suck out the ill, by applying his 
mouth to the seat of pain, or as near to it as 
practicable ; and he spits out the morbid matter- 
most likely tobacco or coca juice and sometimes 
produces from his mouth thorns and other sub- 
stances, previously hidden there, but which he 
pretends to have extracted from the sick man's 
body. If the sickness ends fatally, he denounces 
the enemy whose evil wish has caused it, and not 
infrequently it is some rival paye, of the same or 
another nation. Hence I was told that the payes 


never travel without an accompaniment of at least 
four or five well-armed men, their lives being in 
continual jeopardy from such denunciations. 

I have never been so fortunate as to see a 
genuine paye at work. Among the civilised Indians 
the Christian padre has supplanted the pagan paye, 
who has besides been discountenanced and perse- 
cuted by the civil authorities ; so that if any now 
exist, he must exercise his office in secret. With 
the native and still unchristianised tribes I have lor 
the most part held only passing intercourse during 
some of my voyages. Once I lived for seven 
months at a time among them, on the river Uaupes, 
but even there I failed to catch a paye. When I 
was exploring the Jauarite cataracts on that river, 
and was the guest of Uiaca, the venerable chief of 
the Tucano nation, news came to the malloca one 
afternoon that a famous paye, from a long way up 
river, would arrive that night and remain until next 
day, and I congratulated myself on so fine a 
chance of getting to know some of the secrets of 
his "medicine." He did not reach the port until 
10 P.M., and when he learnt that there was a white 
paye (meaning myself) in the village, he and his 
attendants immediately threw back into the canoe 
his goods, which they had begun to disembark, 
and resumed their dangerous voyage down the river 
in the night-time. I was told he had with him 
several palm-leaf boxes, containing his apparatus. 
(There is a similar box now in the Kew Museum, 
sent by me from the Uaupes.) I could only regret 
that his dread of a supposed rival had prevented 
the interview which to me would have been full of 
interest ; the more so as I was prepared to barter 


with him for the whole of his materia medica, if my 
stock-in-trade would have sufficed. 

Rochefort (Histoire Naturelle et l\Iorale des Isles 
Antilles, Rotterdam, 1665), says: "Their Boyes or 
medicine-men practise both medicine and devilry. 
They are resorted to: i, to cause punishment to 
fall on some one who has wronged or injured the 
applicant ; 2, to cure some disease ; 3, to foretell 
the advent of a war ; 4, to drive out the Maboya or 
Evil Spirit" (p. 472). 

Their functions are very much the same at the 
present day among the native tribes of the main- 
land as they were two or three hundred years ago 
in the isles of the Caribbean Sea. I propose, in 
what follows, to review briefly the use made by the 
payes of their materia medica in the treatment of 

The apparatus and materia medica of the medi- 
cine-men of the region lying adjacent to the Upper 
Rio Negro and Orinoco, and extending thence 
westward to the Andes, are chiefly the following :- 

The Maraca or Rattle. 

Tobacco, juice and smoke. 

Niopo (or Parica), powdered seeds in snuff. 

Caapi (or Aya-huasca), stems in infusion, 
i. The Maraca or Rattle.- -This is the hard 
globose or oval pericarp of the Crescentia Cujete, or 
sometimes of a gourd, tastefully engraved and per- 
forated in geometrical or fantastic designs, and the 
lines usually coloured. To make it rattle, a few 
small bright-red or red-and-black beans are put 
into it ; those most used on the Uaupes are seeds 
of Batesia erythrosperma (Spruce) and of Ormosia 
coccinca (Jack). I have seen the maraca used in 


dances, but it is also employed by. the payes in 
their divinations, and Bancroft's account of its use 
in Guayana corresponds so nearly with what was 
told to me on the Uaupes, that I cannot do better 
than transcribe it here. 

" The medicine-men, called Peii's [Stectman says 
Peiis or Pagayers], unite in themselves the sacer- 
dotal and medicinal functions. One of the imple- 
ments of the peii is a hollowed calabash (cuya) 
through the centre of which an axis is passed 
projecting about a foot on each side, the thick end 
forming a handle, the thin end decorated with 
feathers ; it is also carved and painted and per- 
forated with small holes some lono-, some round 

o ' 

and several quartz pebbles and red-and-black beans 
are put inside it, so that it forms a rattle. When 
the peii is called to a patient, he begins his exorcism 
at night, the lights being put out and he left 
alone with the patient. He rattles his maraca by 
turning it slowly round, singing at the same time a 
supplication to the Yawahoo. This goes on for say 
a couple of hours, when the peii is heard con- 
versing with the Yawahoo at least there are two 
distinct voices. Afterwards the peii makes a report 
in an ambiguous style, on what will be the event of 
the disorder. The exorcisms are repeated every 
night until after a favourable turn, when the peii 
pretends to extract the cause of the disorder by 
sucking the part affected, after which he pulls out 
of his mouth fish-bones, thorns, snake's teeth, or 
some such substance, which he has before concealed 
therein, but pretends to have been maliciously con- 
veyed into the affected part by the Yawahoo. The 
patient then fancies himself cured, and the influence 

VOL. II 2 F 



of imagination helps his recovery. If the patient 
dies, the peii attributes it either to the implacable 
Yawahoo or to the influence of some inimical peii." 
(An Essay on the History of Guayana, by Dr. 
Edward Bancroft, 1769, p. 310.) 

Lonor before Bancroft's time the use of the 


maraca and of tobacco by Brazilian payes was 
described by Thevet, as follows : "' Existimant enim, 
cum hunc fructum (quern Maraka et Tamaraka 
nuncupant) manibus pertractant, crepitantemque 
ob Mayzi grana injecta audiunt, cum suo se Toupan, 
id est, Deo sermones conferre atque ab eo quodam 
responsa accipere, sic a suis Paygi (divinatorum 
genus est, qui suffitu herbae Petun, et quibusdam 
obmurmurationibus illorum Tamaraka divinam 
facultatem attribuunt tribuere perhibent) persuasi." 

The accounts given by the early missionaries of 
the doings of the payes are seldom full or reliable. 
Those pious men regarded them as the great 
obstacle to the reception of the Christian faith by 
the natives, and always wrote of them with a 
certain impatience and disgust, under the belief (no 
doubt sincere) that the payes had direct dealings 
with the devil. But the cure of disease by suction 
is alluded to by missionaries in every part of South 
America. In the Lettres Edifiantes et Curiciises, 
consisting of selections from the correspondence of 
missionaries in various heathen countries, published 
with the sanction of the holy see, there is this 
note about the medicine-men of the Moxos Indians: 
" L'unique soulagement qu'ils se procurent dans 

Tlicvi-Uis, as (|iiiiicil liy Chusius, in Aivniatiii/i ct Siinfliciitin aliquot . . . 
Historia. Auctore Garcia ab Horto, Medico Lusitanico. Ed. Ciusio. 
Ant\ ri pi i , 1579. 


leurs maladies, consiste a appeler certains enchan- 
teurs, qu'ils s'imaginent avoir re^u un pouvoir 
particulier de les guerir ; ces charlatans vont trouver 
les malades, recitent sur eux quelque priere super- 
stitieuse, leur promettent de jeuner pour leur 
guerison, et de prendre un certain nombre de fois 
par jour du tabac en fumee ; ou bien, ce qui est une 
insigne faveur, ils sucent la partie mal affectee, 
apres quoi ils se retirent, a condition qu'on leur 
payera liberalement ces sortes de services " (tome 
viii. p. 83). And at p. 339 of the same volume, 
speaking of the enchanters of the Chiquitos, it is 
said : " Le medecin suce ensuite la partie mal 
affectee, et au bout de quelque temps il jette par la 
bouche une matiere noire : Voila, dit-il, le venin 
que j'ai tire de votre corps." 

It is not necessary to be a paye to "suck out a 
pain. Among the Barres it is commonly practised, 
and I have seen a fellow hang on to his comrade's 
shoulder for half an hour together, "sucking out 
the rheumatism." But as they know the whites 
ridicule the practice, they avoid as much as possible 
being surprised in it. Formerly they had pro- 
fessional chupadores or suckers ; but in my time 
there were none such, besides the payes, who were 
found only among the unchristianised tribes. 

2. Tobacco.- -This was possibly the first narcotic 
ever used in South America, and is likely to be the 
last. In one form or another it is a prime in- 
gredient in the medicine of the payes. Rochefort 
says : " Each Boye has his familiar demon, whom 
he evoques by a chant, accompanied by the smoke 
of tobacco, whose perfume is supposed to be 
attractive to devils" (loc. cit. p. 473). And it is 


essential to the making of payes. Bancroft says : 
" The order of Peiis is inherited by the eldest sons. 
A young Peii is initiated with superstitious cere- 
monies lasting several weeks. Among other things, 
he is dosed with tobacco till it no longer operates 
as an emetic" (loc. cit.\ 

Tobacco -smoke is blown on the sick person 
by the paye in almost all methods of cure, whether 
the maraca, niopo, or caapi be the primary agent. 
In lieu of the two latter it would seem that in some 
nations the enchanters narcotised themselves by 
chewing tobacco and swallowing the juice. The 
large cigar used on the Uaupes is smoked in the 
ordinary way, and the smoke blown from the 
mouth ; but in the country bordering the Pacific 
coast of Equatorial America the cigar two or 
three feet long, but slenderer than that of the 
Uaupes was held in the mouth at the lighted end, 
and the smoke blown from the opposite end upon 
the sick person, or, at a feast, in the faces of the 
guests, whereof Wafer has an amusing account and 
a rude picture (p. 327, loc. cit.']. He calls the payes 
pawawers, evidently the same name, with a merely 
dialectic difference. It is curious that at the present 
clay the Indians and negroes along that coast fre- 
quently hold the lighted end of a cigar in their 
mouths, as any one who has sojourned at Panama or 
Guayaquil may have observed. 

The uses of niopo (or parica) and of caapi (or 
aya-huasca) I have already indicated above. The 
former is the chief " medicine " of the payes on the 
affluents of the Amazon, both northern and southern, 
and on the Orinoco ; but the latter in the roots of 
the Equatorial Andes. I have not learnt that they 


are ever used in conjunction, except as an occasional 
stimulant, and in small quantity. 

On Spirits or Demons among the Indians 

I have never heard any mention among the 
native races with whom I have sojourned of a 
Spirit or Demon the paye was supposed to invoke, 
but there has been so much testimony to that effect, 
that it can hardly fail to be true. This demon- 
the Maboya of the Antilles, the Yawahoo of 
Guayana (according to Bancroft and Stedman) is 
surely the Yamadu of the Casiquiari and Alto 
Orinoco. But when I made inquiry about the 
latter, I was always assured that it had a bodily, 
and not merely a ghostly existence. It is, in fact, 
a Wild Man of the Woods or Forest Devil the 
Curupira or Diabo do mato of the Amazon, the 
Munyia of the eastern foot of the Equatorial Andes 
-a little hairy man, not more than four to five feet 
hi^h, but so strong and wiry that no single Indian 
can cope with him. His great peculiarity is that, 
although his tracks are often met with, no one can 
tell which way he has gone. Either, as on some 
parts of the Amazon, he has a perfectly human foot, 
but set on the contrary way ; or else, as on the 
Casiquiari, Uaupes, Napo, etc., he has two heels on 
each foot and never a toe. This little devil plays 
many pranks, of which the most serious is his 
carrying off women who venture alone into the 
forest ; but he never attacks two people together, 
so that in some parts a man or woman will take a 
little child into the forest rather than go alone. If 
an Indian loses his wav in the forest, he blames the 


Curupira, and to find it again he twists a liana into 
a ring or, if he be a Christian, into the form of a 
cross in such a way that the points of the liana 
are completely hidden ; he then throws it behind 
him, taking care not to look which way it goes, and 
afterwards picks it up and follows the direction in 
which it has fallen. I cannot here recount all the 
tales I have heard about this mysterious being, but 
I suppose they point to the former existence in the 
regions of some homo primordialis, and that the 
fact has come down by tradition from untold ages, 
coupled with the belief that the species is even yet 
not extinct. Meanwhile, until the animal, or its 
skeleton, be found which I do not look on as 
impossible I suppose we must consider the Curu- 
pira, or Munyi'a, or Yamadu, the analogue of the 
Barghaist of the north of England and Scotland, 
the Loup-garou of France, the Lobishomem of 
Portugal, and other similar mythical creatures. 

A Strange Occurrence and its Explanation 

In my voyage to the Upper Orinoco, by way of 
the Casiquiari, in 1853-54, when the river was so 
low at Christmas that I had great difficulty in getting 
my piragoa up as far as Esmeralda, and it was 
quite impossible to ascend farther, as I had at first 
intended, I afterwards explored its northern tribu- 
tary, the Cunucumima, and re-entered the Casiquiari, 
intending to go as far down as Lake Vasiva. The 
dry season should have held all through the months 
of January and February, and Vasiva was described 
to me as having at that time broad sandy beaches, 
sprinkled with curious little plants, and bordered 


with flowering bushes, so that I reasonably hoped 
to make a fine collection there. But the first ni^ht 


of our downward voyage (Jan. 7) the rains came 
on, out of their time, and continued daily for many 
days, until the river had risen to its winter level, 
and the forest-margin was mostly flooded. There 
are only two small pueblos on the Casiquiari above 
the outlet of Lake Vasiva, and at the lower of these 
I halted nine days, hoping the floods might subside. 
This pueblo was of only recent formation, and was 
peopled by Pacimonari Indians, who had named it 
Yamadu-bani, that is, Wild Man's Land, because the 
adjacent forests were said to be haunted by the 
Yamadu. I explored them as much as the heavy 
rains permitted, and never encountered any Yamadu; 
but on the very first day I was myself taken for it 
by two girls whom I met suddenly at the turning of 
a large buttressed tree, on a forest trail, and who 
threw down their baskets, laden with manioc, and 
fled affrighted. At length the weather seemed to 
take up a little, although the river was still high, 
and I determined to go on to Vasiva. \Ye accord- 
ingly re-embarked early on the 2ist, and eight oars, 
aided by a strong current, brought us to the lake at 
4 KM. ; but in vain we coasted along to find a bit of 
dry land whereon to encamp, for the trees and 
bushes were all in water up to 4 or 5 feet ; so that 
we had to return to the narrow winding channel 
forming the outlet of the lake, where there was a 
scanty strip of terra firme and a rancho left by a 
party that had gathered turtles' eggs there the 
previous year. Here we remained four days, but 
the weather was dreadfully rainy, the sun never 
once appeared, and all I could do was to creep 


about the margin of the lake and up its tributary 
creeks in my curiara, and gather specimens of the few 
trees that were in flower. On the 22nd, at 4 P.M., 
when we were cooking our dinner, we were startled 
by hearing the report of a musket in the forest on 
the opposite bank of the river, there not more than 
80 yards wide. It is scarcely possible to conceive 
the strangeness of such a sound in savage, desolate 
forests which scarcely any human being could pene- 
trate, especially one accustomed to firearms. A 
region of at least 10,000 square miles, of which we 
were the centre, had scarcely 400 inhabitants, and 
those chiefly half-wild Indians, whose weapon was 
the blowing-cane. The nearest settlement was that 
of Yamadu-bani, but we knew that none of their 
hunting tracks extended to Vasiva ; and the half- 
dozen adult males had neither sains nor ammunition 


when we left them only the day before. There had 
been no inhabitants on Vasiva for very many years, 
and there were no traders or other travellers on the 
Casiquiari at that season beside ourselves. I was 
completely puzzled. The report was not exactly 
like that of either musket or rifle, nor was it any 
one of the accustomed sounds which at rare in- 
tervals break the silence of those vast solitudes, 
and with which I had become familiar. The crash 
of a huge tree falling from sheer age the explosion, 
like distant cannon, of an old hollow Sassafras or 
Capivi tree, burst by the balsam accumulated in the 
cavity the solitary thunderclap in an apparently 
cloudless sky the roar of cataracts, and of the 
approaching hurricane all these sounds I had 
previously heard, and had learnt to distinguish. 
My Indians, however, although even more startled 


than myself, soon made up their minds about the 
origin of the unwonted sound. It was the Yamadu, 
in propria persona, hunting near us, and he would 
infallibly send us terrible rain or some other 
calamity to warn us off his territory. The soughing 
of the approaching tempest was already heard, and 
presently it burst upon us, with thunder and 
lightning and deluging rain that lasted until mid- 
night. The two following days were dull and 
dropping, and a little later on in the day that is, 
towards nightfall we each day heard a single 
report, not quite so near at hand, and then we had 
heavy rain from 7 P.M. throughout the night. My 
people became silent and gloomy, were afraid, they 
said, to hunt or fish, and I believe if I had re- 
mained another night would have every one deserted 
me. So in the afternoon of the 25th I gave the 
order for resuming our voyage down the Casiquiari, 
to their very great content. When I came on deck 
shortly afterwards to see if everything was in 
readiness for starting, I saw some of the men in a 
tree that overhung our encampment, fastening to 
the branches a couple of scarecrows they had rigged 
up out of old shirts and trousers. " What does this 
mean, Antonio ?" said I to one of them who was 
fond of talking to me in Lingua Tupi. " Yane- 
rangaua " (our effigies), said he. "Oh, I see," said 
I. "You think to cheat the Yamadu. Seeino- us 


up the tree, he will fancy we are still here, and will 
not pursue us clown the river!" P>ut I had a quiet 
laugh over it in the recesses of my cabin. It 
reminded me of a fellow pursued by a bull, who 
throws off hat and coat to detain the savage brute 
until he himself can gain a place of safety. 


For years afterwards the solitary shots in the 
sombre forests of Lake Vasiva used to haunt my 
memory and my dreams. They were as mysterious 
to me, although not so alarming, as the single foot- 
print was to Robinson Crusoe. My ears were 
always open to some repetition of the sound which 
might lead to detecting its origin. In April 1857, 
I was on my voyage up the lonely Pastasa, at the 
eastern foot of the Andes. My companions were 
two Spaniards, two whitish lads who acted as our 
servants, and fourteen Cucama Indians who paddled 
our two canoes. Five months before, there had 
been an uprising of the savage Jibaros and Huam- 
bisas, who had laid waste the Christian villages on 
the Amazon, below the Pongo de Manseriche, and 
the only village (Santander) on the Lower Pastasa. 
We travelled, therefore, in constant risk of being 
attacked, and were on the alert day and night. 
The Indians would never go on shore to cook 
until we had first landed with our arms and ascer- 
tained that the adjacent forest was clear. One 
morning we had cooked our breakfast, and were 
just squatting down, Turkish fashion, around the 
steaming pots, when what sounded like a gunshot 
quite near brought us all to our feet. But the 
Jibaros, we knew, had no firearms, and it at once 
struck me that it was the identical sound heard on 
Lake Vasiva. "What and where is that?" I ex- 
claimed. " I will take you straight to it, if you 
like," said the old pilot of my canoe ; and accepting 
his offer, I plunged into the bush with him, and in 
three minutes reached a heap of debris, like a huge 
haycock, the remains of a decayed Palm -trunk 
whose sudden fall it was that had startled us. It 


had been a very tall, stout Palm, 80 or 100 feet 
high at the least. When the vitality of a Palm is 
exhausted, the crown of fronds first withers and 
falls, and then the soft interior of the trunk gradu- 
ally rots and is eaten away by termites until nothing 
is left but a thin shell ; and when that can no 
longer bear its own weight, it collapses and breaks 
up in an instant, with a crash very like a musket- 
shot. 1 

A few weeks later, I had to make my way on 
foot through the forest of Canelos, and it sometimes 
happened that when we had to cook our supper, 
after a day of soaking rain, we could find no wood 
that would burn but these shells of Palm-trunks. 
(The Palm was the curious Wettinia Maynensis, 
which abounded there.) A single stroke of a 
cutlass would often suffice to cause them to collapse 
and fall, in a mass of dust and splinters, repeating 
each time the report of the weapon of the mysterious 
hunter of Vasiva, and not without risk to the operator 
of being buried in the ruins. 

Sometimes when I have been deep in the virgin 
forest, and could not see through the overarching 
foliage any sign of rain in the sky, or was heedless 
of it when not a sound or a breath of air disturbed 
the solemn calm and stillness a shiver would all 
at once pass through the tree-tops, and yet no wind 
at all be sensible below. Then all would be still 
again, and it was not until a few minutes later that 
a distant soughing announced the coming tempest. 
The preliminary shudder would bring down dead 
leaves and twigs, and such a one might have 

1 This strange sound is briefly described in Spruce's Journal. Sec vol. i. 


prostrated the decayed Palm on Lake Vasiva. 
Other dead Palms might fall when the full force of 
the squall caught them, but the crash of their fall 
would be drowned in the general roar ol the 
tempest, and especially in the continuous roll ot 
the thunder. The truth seems to be that it is 
nearly always during a storm such Palms do fall, 
and that their prostration during a season of calm 
is the rarest possible occurrence ; which accounts 
for my having passed four years and a half in the 
forest before I ever heard it, and for others having 
lived the best part of their lives there either with- 
out noticing it, or without caring to ascertain the 
origin of the sound caused by it. It hardly needs 
mention that perfectly vigorous Palm trees, and 
trees of all kinds, may fall during a violent storm. 
Hurricanes that open out long lanes in the forest 
are only too frequent towards the sources of the 
Orinoco, but are exceedingly rare on and near the 

Rarity of Curative Drugs ajnoug the Indigenes 

From what was said above, it will have been 
seen that, although the medicine-man doses himself 
with powerful narcotics, no drug whatever is 
administered to the patient ; nor could I learn that 
it was ever done by a "regular practitioner." The 
Indians have a few household remedies, but by far 
the greater portion of these have come into use 
since the advent of the white man from Europe 
and the negro from Africa. Von Martins remarks 
nearly the same thing in the introduction to his 
Systema Materiae Medicae vegetabilis Brasiliensis 


(1843, p. xvii.): "At valcle fallerentur, qui putarent, 
Brasiliae plantas medicas omnes per autochthones 
colonis esse oblatas ; potius multa me movent, ut 
dicam, totidem, quae nunc adhibentur, a nigris et 
albis incolis esse detectas et usu cognatas, quot ab 
illis." Of external applications, I have seen only 
the following. For a wound or bruise or swelling, 
the milky juice of some tree is spread thick on the 
skin, where it hardens into a sort of plaster, and 
is allowed to remain on until it falls* of itself. 
Almost any milky tree may serve, if the juice be not 
acrid; but the Heveas (India-rubbers), Sapotads, 
and some Clusiads are preferred. Such a plaster 
has sometimes an excellent effect in protecting the 
injured part from the external air. 

At Tarapoto, in the Eastern Peruvian Andes, 
where the people are all Christians, and some of 
them almost pure white, where there are churches 
and priests and schools, such medicine as they have 
is little more than necromantic practices of their 
curanderos. In all sicknesses the first curative 
operation is to sobar el espanto (rub out the fright), 
which is done thus : Chew a piece of the gum-resin 
called "sonitonio," place it in the hollow of the 
hand, and with it rub the legs of the sick person, 
from the knees downwards, and end by whistling 
between all the toes. There are other ridiculous 
and useless operations, but in some cases the 
rubbing is really beneficial. Take this mode of 
"rubbing out colic" as an example. Put a little 
fowl's grease in the hand, and rub it over the body 
of the patient, round and round, over the course 
of the colon, making every now and then a forcible 
twist and pressure on the navel, para soltar el 


empacho (to loosen the indigestion). Rubbing with 
a dry hand is still better, and for lumbago and other 
forms of rheumatism has sometimes an excellent 
effect. There are persons who, by long practice, 
acquire what is called "a good hand," and are much 
sought after as sobadores or shampooers. 

Nervous Stimulants used by the Indians 

Several plants are used in South America as 
nervous stimulants, and all are more or less narcotic. 
Of these, the foremost place must be assigned to 
Erythroxylon Coca (Lam.) Coca of the Peruvians, 
Ipadu of the Brazilians. Of its use in Peru, chiefly 
by miners and cargueros, Poeppig has already given 
an excellent account. There the entire leaf is 
chewed, with a small admixture of lime. But in 
North Brazil, where also its use is almost universal, 
I have always seen it used in powder. The plant 
itself, a slender shrub, with leaves not unlike tea- 
leaves, except that they are entire at the margins, 
is frequently planted near houses. In Peru, as is 
well known, there are large plantations of it, called 
cocales. I have gathered it truly wild on the 
rocky banks of the Rio Negro, near Tomo in 
Venezuela (hi). 3565) ; and an Erythroxylon (E. 
cataractaruiu, n. sp. hb. 2614), which I found grow- 
ing abundantly on rocks in the cataracts of the 
Paapuris, a tributary of the Uaupes, which has 
small dark -green leaves only an inch and a half 
long, is considered by Mr. Bentham a variety of 
the same species. 

In January 1851 I saw ipadii prepared and used 
on the small river Jauauari, near the mouth of the 


Rio Negro, and I sent a quantity of it to Kew 
for analysis. My account of it was published in 
Hooker's Journal of Botany for July 1853, and 
I here reproduce it. The leaves of ipaclii are pulled 
off the branches, one by one, and roasted on the 
mandiocca-oven, then pounded in a cylindrical 
mortar, 5 or 6 feet in height, made of the lower 
part of the trunk of the Pupunha or Peach Palm 
(Guilielmia speciosa), the hard root forming the 
base and the soft inside being scooped out. It 
is made of this excessive length because of the 
impalpable nature of the powder, which would 
otherwise fly up and choke the operator ; and it is 
buried a sufficient depth in the ground to allow of 
its being easily worked. The pestle is of propor- 
tionate length, and is made of any hard wood. 
When the leaves are sufficiently pounded, the 
powder is taken out with a small cuya fastened to 
the end of an arrow. A small quantity of tapioca, 
in powder, is mixed with it to give it consistency, 
and it is usual to add pounded ashes of Imba-iiba 
or Drum tree (Cecropia pcltata], which are saline 
and antiseptic. With a chew of ipadii in his cheek, 
renewed at intervals of a few hours, an Indian will 
go for days without food and sleep. 

In April 1852 I assisted, much against my will, 
at an Indian feast in a little rocky island at the 
foot of the falls of the- Rio Negro ; for I had 
gone clown the falls to have three or four days' 
herborising, and I found my host the pilot of the 
cataracts engaged in the festivities, which neither 
he nor my man would leave until the last drop of 
cauim (coarse cane- or plantain-spirit) was consumed. 
During the two days the feast lasted I was nearly 


famished, for, although there was food, nobody 
would cook it, and the guests sustained themselves 
entirely on cauim and ipadii. At short intervals, 
ipadii was handed round in a large calabash, with 
a tablespoon, for each one to help himself, the 
customary dose being a couple of spoonfuls. After 
each dose they passed some minutes without 
opening their mouths, adjusting the ipadii in the 
recesses of their cheeks and inhaling its delightful 
influences. I could scarcely resist laughing at 
their swollen cheeks and grave looks during these 
intervals of silence, which, however, had two or 
three times the excellent effect of checking an 
incipient quarrel. The ipadii is not sucked, but 
allowed to find its way insensibly into the stomach 
along with the saliva. I tried a spoonful twice, 
but it had little effect on me, and assuredly did not 
render me insensible to the calls of hunger, although 
it did in some measure to those of sleep. It had 
very little of either smell or taste, and in both 
reminded me of weak tincture of henbane. I could 
never make out that the habitual use of ipadii had 
any ill results on the Rio Negro ; but in Peru its 
excessive 'use is said to seriously injure the coats 
of the stomach, an effect probably owing to the 
lime taken along with it. 

The Use of Guarand as a Tonic 

Another powerful nervous tonic and subnarcotic 
is cupana or guarana, which is prepared from the 
seed of a twining plant of the family of Sapindacese. 
The first definite information about it was obtained 
by Humboldt and Bonplancl in the south of 


Venezuela. Humboldt says: "A missionary seldom 
travels without being provided with some prepared 
seeds of the Cupana. The Indians scrape the 
seeds, mix them with flour of cassava, envelop the 
mass in plantain-leaves, and set it to ferment in 
water, till it acquires a saffron-yellow colour. This 
yellow paste, dried in the sun and diluted in water, 
is taken in the morning as a kind of tea. This 
beverage is bitter and stomachic, but appeared to 
me to have a very disagreeable taste." (Personal 
Narrative, v. 278, Miss Williams's translation.) 

It was at Javita, near the head of the Atabapo, 
that Humboldt made trial of cupana. I first tasted 
the cold infusion, prepared nearly in the same way, 
except that no cassava had been added to the grated 
seeds, I think at Tomo, on the Guainia, only two 
days' journey from Javita, in 1853 ; and I after- 
wards drank it frequently on the Atabapo and 
Orinoco, where the inhabitants still take it com- 
monly the first thing in a morning, on quitting their 
hammocks, and consider it a preservative against 
the malignant bilious fevers which are the scourge 

o o 

of that region. It is as bitter as rhubarb, and is 
always drunk unsweetened, so that at first one finds 
it absolutely repulsive ; but it soon ceases to be so, 
and those who use it habitually get to like it much, 
and to find it almost a necessary of life. When 
the bowels are relaxed and coffee taken in the 
morning, fasting excites too much peristaltic action, 
then cupana is decidedly preferable, for it is less 
irritating than coffee and has quite the same 
stimulating effect on the nervous system. 

Long before I saw cupana in Venezuela indeed, 
ever since the end of 1849 I had been familiar with 

VOL. II 2 G 


it in Brazil, but under another name and prepared 
in a different way. There it is called guarana, and 
is largely cultivated in the mid-Amazon region, 
especially on the river Mauhes, which is a little 
west of the Tapajoz, whence it is exported to all 
other parts of Brazil. Single plants of it may 
be seen in gardens and ro9as all the way up the 
Amazon, as far as to the Peruvian frontier ; and 
throughout the Rio Negro. Martius's excellent 
account of the Guarana of the Mauhes has been 
translated by Mr. Bentham in Hooker's Journal of 
Botany for July 1851. Martius called the plant 
Paullinia sorbilis, apparently not suspecting it to 
be the same as Humboldt's Paullinia Ciipana ; yet 
the two are absolutely identical, and Humboldt's 
name, being the elder, must stand. 

The specimens distributed by Mr. Bentham in 
my Plantae Exsiccatae (No. 2055) were gathered 
at Uanauaca, a farm on the Rio Negro, a little 
below the cataracts. I subjoin the brief description 
I drew up on the spot. 

PAULLINIA CUPANA, H. B. K., Nov. Gen. Amer. v. p. 117 ; 

DC. Prodr. i. 605. 

Synon. PauUinia sorl'ilis, Mart., J?eise, ii. p. 1098; ejusdem 
Syst. Mat. Med. Brazil, p. 59 ; Th. Mart, in Buchner's Repcrt. 
d. Pliann. xxxi. p. 370. 

Description. Stout woody twiner, kept down in cultivation to 
the size of a compact currant bush. Ramuli and petioles sub- 
pubescent. Leaves alternate, pinnate; leaflets two and a half 
pairs, 5-J x 2-g- inches, oval, sub-acuminate, grossly and obtusely 
serrate, the apical tooth retuse, nearly smooth. Racemes axillary, 
with small white flowers in stalked clusters. Fruit (capsule) 
yellow, passing to red at the top, obovato-pyriform, tapering below 
into long neck (quasi-stipitate), at apex shortly rostrate, i T 7 g- inch 
long (neck ^ inch, beak ] inch); pericarp thinnish, soft, glabrous 
externally, densely tomentose on the inner surface, 3-valved, 
but dehiscing along only two of the sutures, the third remaining 
closed, by abortion i -celled, i -seeded. Seed ovato -globose, 


T ^ inch in diameter, black, polished, nearly half-immersed in a 
cupuliform white aril, with undulato-truncate mouth, which is 
seated on an obconical torus. 

Humboldt's description of his Paullinia Cupana 
(loc. cit,} tallies with the above as to number, form, 
and cutting of leaflets, and the only difference is 
that the fruits are called "ovate," having probably 
been described from immature dried specimens, in 
which the true form of the fruit is apt to be 
disguised by the shrinking of the soft, half- formed 
seed and of its enclosing pericarp. I have, besides, 
seen with my own eyes that the Guarana of Brazil 
and the Cupana of Venezuela are one and the same 
plant, which is cultivated in villages and farms all 
the way up the Rio Negro, and is known as 
Guarana in the lower, but as Cupana in the 
upper part of that river ; while about the line of 
demarcation between Brazil and Venezuela it is 
called indifferently by both names. The very same 
plant is cultivated also at Javita, and in the villages 
of the Atabapo and Orinoco, as far north as to the 
cataracts of the latter. I have nowhere seen it wild. 

I gathered the following information about 
Guarana at Santarem, on the Amazon, and at the 
mouth of the river Uaupes. The fruit is gathered 
when fully ripe, and the seeds are picked out of 
the pericarp and aril, which dye the hands of the 
operators a permanent yellow. The seeds are then 
roasted, pounded, and made up into sticks, much 
in the same way as chocolate, which they rather 
resemble in colour. In 1850, a stick of guarana 
used to weigh from one to two pounds, and was 
sold at about 2s. 4cl. the pound at Santarem ; but 
at Cuyaba, the centre of the gold and diamond 


region, whither it was conveyed from Saniarem 
and the Mauhes by the long and dangerous naviga- 
tion of the Tapajoz, it was worth six or eight times 
as much. The usual form of the sticks was long 
oval or nearly cylindrical ; but in Martius's time 
(1820) guarana was "in panes ellipticos vel 
globosos formatum," and old residents at Santarem 
had seen it made up into figures of birds, alligators, 
and other animals. The intense bitterness of the 
fresh seed is almost dissipated by roasting, and a 
slight aroma is acquired. The essential ingredient 
of guarana, as we learn from the investigations of 
Von Martius and his brother Theodore, is a prin- 
ciple which they have called guaranine, almost 
identical in its elements with theine and caffeine, 
and possessing nearly the same properties. 

Guarana is prepared for drinking by merely 
grating about a tablespoonful into a tumbler of 
water and adding an equal quantity of sugar. It 
has a slight but peculiar and rather pleasant taste, 
and it affects the system in much the same way 
as tea. I was told that at Cuyaba the thirsty 
miners used to resort to the tabernas, in the 
intervals of their toil, and call for a glass of guarana, 
just as they would for one of lemonade, or of agoa 
cloce. The brothers Martius strongly advocated the 
introduction of guarana into the European pharma- 
copoeias, and pointed out the maladies wherein its 
use seemed indicated. In South America I have 
frequently seen it of late years exhibited in nervous 
affections, and it has even come to be regarded as a 
specific against the jaqueca (i.e. hemicrania) which 
is the fashionable ailment of a Peruvian lady. It 
has had the reputation of a remedy for diarrhoea, 


but I did not find it so, although I have tried it 
largely both on myself and others. The bitter 
unroasted seeds, as used in Venezuela, are probably 
more efficacious. The general notion on the 
Amazon was, however, that guarana was rather a 
preventive of sickness, and especially of epidemics, 
than a cure for any, and Martius says of it "pro 
panacea peregrinantium habetur," which is precisely 
the estimate made of it in the south of Venezuela. 

Guayusa, a Tonic used in tJie Eastern Andes 

Instead of Cupana or Guarana, the Zaparos and 
libaros, who inhabit the eastern side of the 
Equatorial Andes, have Guayiisa, a plant of very 
similar properties, but used by them in a totally 
different way. The Guayusa is a true Holly (Ilex), 
allied to the mate or Paraguay tea (Ilex para- 
guayensis], but with much larger leaves. I was 
unable to find it in flower or fruit, and cannot say 
if it be a described species. The tree is planted 
near villages, and small clumps of it in the forest 
on the ascent of the Cordillera indicate deserted 
Indian sites. The highest point at which I have 
seen it is at about 5000 feet above the sea, in the 
gorge of the Pastasa below Banos, on an ancient 
site called Antombos, a little above a modern cane- 
farm of the same name. There, in 1857, was a 
group of Guayiisa trees, supposed to date from 
before the Conquest, that is, to be considerably 
over 300 years old. They were not unlike old 
Holly trees in England, except that the shining 
leaves were much larger, thinner, and unarmed. 

\Yhen I travelled overland through the forest 


of Canelos, and my coffee gave out, I made tea of 
guayiisa leaves, and found it very palatable. The 
Jibaros make the infusion so strong that it becomes 
positively emetic. The guayiisa- pot, carefully 
covered up, is kept simmering on the fire all night, 
and when the Indian wakes up in the morning he 
drinks enough guayiisa to make him vomit, his 
notion being that if any food remain undigested on 
the stomach, that organ should be aided to free 
itself of the encumbrance. Mothers give a strong 
draught of it, and a feather to tickle the throat with, 
to male children of very tender age. I rather think 
its use is tabooed to females of all ages, like caapi 
on the Uaupes. Indians are not by any means so 
solicitous to empty the bowels early in the day as 
to clear out the stomach. On the contrary, all 
through South America I have noticed that when 
the Indian has a hard day's work before him, and 
has only a scanty supply of food, he prefers to go 
until night without an evacuation, and he has 
greater control over the calls of nature than the 
white man has. Their maxim, as an Indian at San 
Carlos expressed it to me in rude Spanish, is 
: ' Quien caga de manana es guloso " (he who goes 
to stool in a morning is a glutton). 


From all that has been said, it may be gathered 
that the domestic medicine of the South American 
Indians is chiefly hygienic, as such medicine ought 
to be, it being of greater daily importance to 
preserve health than to cure disease. If their 
physicians be mere charlatans, their lack of skill 
may often be compensated by the ignorant faith of 
their patients ; and their methods are scarcely more 


ridiculous certainly less dangerous to the patient- 
than those of the Sangrados, Purgons, Macrotons, 
etc., portrayed by Lesage and Moliere. If, to 
procure for himself fleeting sensual pleasures, the 
poor Indian's "untutored mind' leads him to 
sometimes partake of substances which are either 
hurtful in themselves or become so when indulged 
in to excess, examples of similar hallucination are 
not wanting even among peoples that boast of their 
high degree of civilisation. 

This does not profess to be a treatise on all 
known South American narcotics, or I should have 
to speak of a vast number more, such as (for instance) 
the numerous plants used for stupefying fish. Some 
of these, but especially the Timbo-ac/i (Paullinia 
pinnata), are said to be also ingredients in the slow 
poisoning which some Amazonian nations are 
accused of practising ; and on the Pacific side of 
the Andes the same is affirmed of the Yuca-raton, 
which is the thick soft white root of a Leguminous 
tree (Gliricidia sp.) frequent in the plain of Guaya- 
quil. The Curare also would require a chapter to 
itself, and must be reserved for another occasion. 



[THIS essay was written by Spruce as an appendix 
to his chapter on the Trombetas river, near the 
mouth of which the early discoverers first en- 
countered the fighting women. But as the evidence 
adduced by Spruce for their existence is spread over 
a large part of Amazonia, it seems better to give it 
here. By doing so I have been enabled to divide 
the present work into two volumes of nearly equal 
size, each dealing with a well-defined geographical 


I cannot dismiss the Trombetas without saying a 
few words about the warlike women whom Orellana 
affirmed that he encountered on his voyage down 
the Great River, the site of the encounter having 
been identified by subsequent travellers with the 
mouth either of the Trombetas or of the Nhamunda 
(called also the Cunuris), which is the next tributary 
of the Amazon to westward. It is of little moment 
to which river we assign it, when (according to 
Baena) the Nhamunda has two mouths, 14 leagues 
apart, and the lower mouth is but 6 leagues above 



the mouth of the Trombetas. That it was at no 
great distance above the mouth of the Tapajos is 
plain from Orellana's account that, two or three 
days after his fight with the "Amazons," he came to 
a pleasant country where there were Evergreen- 
oaks and Cork-trees (Alcornoques), the latter, as we 
have already seen, being the name the Spaniards 
still give to Curatella americana, and the former 
indicating probably the Plumieria phagedcenica. 
(See vol. i. p. 67.) The country around Santarem 
is the only one which corresponds to this description 
throughout the whole course of the Amazon. 

Orellana has been much ridiculed and called 
all sorts of hard names by people who have never 
taken the trouble to read his original Report to the 
Emperor Charles V., or the account of the voyage 
drawn up by F. Caspar Carbajal, a Dominican 
friar who accompanied him. The voyagers heard 
rumours of the existence of the Amazons long 
before reaching them. Even before getting out of 
the Napo into the main river, we read that an Indian 
chief informed Friar Carbajal about the Amazons ; 
and two hundred leagues below the mouth of that 
river, in the village where they built their brigantine, 
the friendly chief Aparia inquired of Orellana if 
he had seen the Amazons, whom in his language 
they called Coniapuyara (masterful women ?). And 
when they actually encountered the real (or 
supposed) Amazons, what is their account of what 
befell them ? That having landed at a place to 
traffic with the Indians, the latter attacked Orellana's 
party and fought bravely and obstinately. That ten 
or twelve women fought in front of the Indians, and 
with such vigour that the Indians did not dare to 


turn their backs. " These women appeared to be 
very tall, robust, and fair, with long hair twisted 
over their heads, skins round their loins, and bows 
and arrows in their hands, with which they killed 
seven or eight Spaniards." This is all that they 
profess to have seen with their own eyes of those 
warlike women; and, as Herrera remarks on it, "it 
was no new thing in the Indies for women to fight, 
and to use bows and arrows, as has been seen on 
some of the Windward Islands and at Cartagena, 
where they displayed as much courage as the men." 
In the account of the return of Columbus from 
his second voyage we read that when he arrived 
at Guadeloupe (having started from Hispaniola), 
numbers of women, armed with bows and arrows, 
opposed the landing of his men. This is one 
instance, of many such, recounted by the Spanish 

I have myself seen that Indian women can fight. 
At the village of Chasuta, on the malos pasos of 
the river Huallaga, which in 1855 had a population 
of some 1800 souls, composed of two tribes of 
Coscanasoa Indians, the ancient rivalry of those 
tribes generally breaks forth when a large quantity 
of chicha has been imbibed during the celebration 
of one of their feasts. Then, on opposite sides of 
the village, the women pile up heaps of stones, to 
serve as missiles for the men, and renew them 
continually as they are being expended. If, as 
sometimes happens, the men are driven back to and 
beyond their piles of stones, the women defend the 
latter obstinately, and generally hold them until the 
men are able to rally to the combat. At that epoch 
there was no permanent white resident at Chasuta, 


and travellers who were so unfortunate as to be 
detained there during one of these fights were glad 
to keep themselves shut up until the stony storm 
had abated ; and with reason, for there had been two 
instances, within a few years, of a white man being 
barbarously murdered by the Indians of Chasuta. 

There is, therefore, no necessity for supposing 
that the Spaniards mistook men for women, either, 
according to the Abbe Raynal, because they were 
beardless, or, according to Wallace, because they 
were long-haired; for (i) American savages are 
generally beardless ; and (2) the Spaniards had 
been for two whole years among Indians who wore 
their hair long, as they clo to this day throughout 
the forest of Canelos, the scene of Orellana's 
wanderings with Gonzalo Pizarro ; nay, the prin- 
cipal tribe among them, afterwards preached to by 
the most famous of the Quito missionaries and 
martyrs, F. Rafael Ferrer, were so notorious for the 
length to which they allowed their hair to grow as 
to have got the name of Encabellados. Moreover, 
on the Amazon itself, at the village of the chief 
Aparia, we read that "at this time four tall Indians 
came to the captain, dressed and adorned with orna- 
ments, and with their hair reaching down to the waist." 

As to the account given to Orellana by an Indian 
whom he captured some way farther down the river, 
about the whole country being subject to warlike 
women who were very rich in "old and silver, and 

J O 

had five houses of the sun plated with gold, while 
their own dwellings were of stone and their cities 
were fortified, Orellana merely repeats it as it was 
told to him, evidently, however, believing it himself; 
nor ought we to accuse him of credulitv when we 


call to mind that he had lately left in Peru a reality 
in some respects more wondrous than this report. 
Herrera remarks very judiciously on it: "The 
tales of Indians are always doubtful, and Orellana 
confessed he did not understand those Indians, so 
that it seems he could hardly have made, in so few 
days, a vocabulary correct and copious enough to 
enable him to comprehend the minute details given 
by this Indian." I may add, too, that the Spaniards 
would probably ask as they went along for gold 
under its Peruvian name of ciiri, and as curi (with 
merely a difference in the accent) is the Tupi term 
for coloured earth, it is not surprising that they 
should have received constant assurances of its 
abundance throughout the Amazon. 

It is worthy to be noted that F. Carbajal, although 
he has left on record his dissatisfaction with the 
conduct of Orellana, confirms instead of contradict- 
ing the account of the combat with the Amazons, 
having, in fact, been himself one of the wounded 
in it. Besides, as is well remarked by Velasco 
(Historia de Quito, i. 167), "he (Orellana) did not 
go alone to the court, but with fifty companions, 
many of them so disgusted with his conduct that 
they refused to accompany him on his return. He 
was giving information to his sovereign, who might 
utterly ruin him if he detected him in a falsehood, 
and it ought to have been easy to detect him, with 
so many witnesses unfavourably disposed towards 
him. Besides, it is incredible that fifty persons, and 
amongst them a religious priest, should agree in 
guaranteeing the truth of a lie, especially when 
nothing was to be gained by it." 

We have also a very good and independent 


account of this voyage from Gonzalo Fernandez de 
Oviedo, who was in the Island of St. Domingo when 
Orellano touched there on his way to Spain, in the 
ship he had purchased in the Isle of Trinidad. 
Oviedo relates what he was told by Orellana's 
companions, and it corresponds in all essential 
points with the navigator's own narrative ; with the 
important addition that the women fought naked to 
the waist, and that they had not one of the breasts 
cut off, like the Asiatic Amazons a question Oviedo 
had particularly asked of the Spaniards. 

The little I had read before leaving England 
about the existence of a nation of women living 
apart from men, somewhere in the interior of South 
America, threw ridicule on the notion, and attributed 
its origin to lying Spanish chroniclers, so that I 
confess to have not thought it worth while to make 
a single inquiry on the spot as to whether the 
tradition were still extant ; but when I afterwards 
came to read carefully the relations of those authors 
who had bestowed most attention on the subject, 
I was surprised to find them all agreed on the 
tradition having been based on fact. 1 allude 
especially to Acuna, Feijoo, Condamine, Velasco, 
Southey, and Humboldt ; but it is nowhere more 
fully discussed than in a small treatise by Van 
Heuvel entitled El Dorado, to which, and to the 
writings of the celebrated authors just mentioned, I 
must refer the reader. 

The ways by which the country of those women 
might be reached, as related by travellers and 
missionaries, seem to converge not to one, but to 
two points ; the one to northward of the Amazon, a 
good distance below the Rio Negro ; the other to 


southward of it, above the Rio Negro, and some- 
where between the rivers Coari and Teffe. In the 
very year of Orellana's encounter with the Amazons 
(1541), Cabeza de Vega headed an expedition which 
ascended the Plata and the Paraguay in search of 
gold. From the latter river he sent Hernando cle 
Ribeiro ahead, in a brigantine, with fifty-two men, 
to explore the lake of Xarayes, a large tract ol 
country periodically inundated, lying to eastward of 
what was afterwards the Province of Moxos. From 
the Xarayes Indians Ribeiro received information 
of the Amazons, whose country he was told lay two 
months' journey to the northward ; and, disregard- 
ing the warning of the chief of the Xarayes, that it 
would be impracticable to traverse the forests at that 
season of floods, he and his party proceeded on foot 
for eight days, with the water up to their middle. 
This brought them to another nation, the Siberis ; 
and a journey thence of nine days (the first four 
being still wading through the water) to the nation 
of Urtueses, who told them there was yet a month's 
journey to the Amazons, with much flooded ground 
to traverse. From this point they were compelled 
to regress by their provisions giving out ; and the 
plantations of the Urtueses having been devastated 
for two successive years by some insect, no more 
food was to be had ; but those Indians reiterated 
the assurance of the existence of a nation of women, 
governed by a woman, and possessing plenty of 
both white and yellow metal, their seats and utensils 
being made of them. They lived on the western 
(eastern ?) side of a large lake, which they called the 
Mansion of the Sun, because the sun sank into it 
(Southey's History of Brazil, pp. 156-159). 


Towards the close of the sixteenth century, 
F. Cyprian Bazarre, a Jesuit missionary to the 
Tapacura Indians (a tribe of Moxos), heard accounts 
similar to those related by Ribeiro, tending to place 
the Amazons in the country lying southward of the 
Great River and westward of the Puriis, or very 
nearly where Condamine many years afterwards (in 
1741) heard such circumstantial accounts of them. 
This traveller spoke at Coari with an Indian whose 
grandfather had met a party of those women at the 
mouth of the river Cuchinara (now the Puriis). 
" Elles venoient de celle de Cayame, qui debouche 
dans 1'Amazone du cote du Sud entre Tefe et 
Coari ; qu'il avoit parle a quatre d'entr'elles, dont 
une avoit un enfant a la mamelle : il nous dit le 
nom ; de chacune d'elles ; il ajouta qu'en partant de 
Cuchinara elles traverse-rent le Grand Fleuve, et 
prirent le chemin de la riviere Noire. . . . Plus bas 
que Coari, les Indiens nous dirent partout les 
memes choses avec quelques varietes dans les cir- 
constances ; mais tous furent d'accord sur le point 
principal." For many other details, tending to the 
same conclusions, I must again refer the reader to 
the original. 

The numerous missionaries on the Amazon 
during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries all 
testify to the same traditions. It was no uncommon 
thing, they say, for Indians in confession to accuse 
themselves of having been of the- number of those 
who were admitted to visit periodically the women 
living alone. Their testimony may be summed up 
in the words of an old Indian at San Regis de los 
Yameos (a village on the left bank of the Amazon 
above the mouth of the Ucayali), as delivered to the 


priest F. Sancho Aranjo, who was Condamine's 
host when he passed that way, and who afterwards 
repeated them to F. Velasco. 

1. That respecting the first combat the Spaniards 
had had with the warlike women, there was no one 
in all the missions who did not know of it by 
tradition from father to son. 

2. That he had heard his forefathers say those 
women had retired far into the interior, across the 
Rio Negro. 

3. That, according to common report, they still 
existed, and that some Indians visited them every 
year, but not in their proper country; for the women 
always met the men at some place previously agreed 
on a long way from their homes (whose site the men 
were not permitted to know), and, after conversing 
with them as long as they listed, dismissed them 
with presents of gold and green stones, and of the 
male children that had been born and had reached 
the age of two or three years. 

4. That these women were always governed by 
one, chosen on account of her valour, and who 
always marched to battle at their head (Velasco, 
he. cit. p. 173). 

The green stones spoken of here and elsewhere 
called also Amazon stones were formerly met 
with among nearly all the Indians of Tropical 
America, but seem now to have totally disappeared 
from the Amazon. I, at least, never either saw or 
heard of one there in the hands of the Indians ; nor 
is that to be wondered at when we recollect how 
eagerly they were at one time bought up by 
Europeans on account of their supposed medicinal 
virtues. At the beginning of the present century 


we learn from Humboldt that the price of a cylinder 
two inches long was from twelve to fifteen dollars in 
Spanish Guayana. He obtained a few of them from 
the dwellers on the Upper Rio Negro. According 
to Condamine they were once common articles on 
the site of the modern Santarem. " C'est chez les 
Topayos qu'on trouve aujourd'hui, plus aisement 
que partout ailleurs, de ces pierres vertes, connues 
sous le nom de Pierres des Amazones, dont on 
ignore 1'origine, et qui ont ete fort recherchees 
autrefois, a cause des vertus qu'on leur attribuoit de 
guerir de la Pierre, de la Colique nephretique et de 
1'Epilepsie" (Voyage, p. 137). Even to this day 
their origin is doubtful, for it is said that no jade 
of the same kind as these stones has been found 
anywhere in South America, although it exists in 
Mexico. The notable thins: about them is that the 


South American Indians in whose hands they have 
been seen by Europeans all agreed in asserting them 
to be obtained from the women without husbands, 
or, on the Orinoco, from the women living alone 
( Aikeambenanos in the Tamanac language, according 
to F. Gili). 

Velasco cites also a conversation he had with a 
friar, F. Jose Bahamonte, who had been for forty 
years a missionary on the Maranon, to the effect 
that, being in 1757 in the village of Pevas, shortly 
after the Portuguese garrison of the fort of the Rio 
Negro had mutinied against their commandant, 
" those deserters, having left the major nearly dead 
and pillaged the warehouses and the royal treasury, 
fled up the Maranon, and reached Pevas a few at a 
time. Some of them remained in the mission ; 
others went on to Quito. With one of those parties 

VOL. II 2 H 


there arrived at my village a very good-looking 
Indian of about sixty, inquiring for the nation of the 
Pevas and speaking their language, and yet not 
known to anybody there. After a while he came to 
me and besought me to hear in secret the motive of 
his coming thither. Having taken him apart, where 
we could be overheard of no one, he prostrated 
himself at my feet, and earnestly entreated me to 
receive him into my village and make him anew a 
Christian. I asked him if, being baptized, he had 
denied the Christian faith. He said no, but that, 
although he was already a Christian, he had always 
lived like a heathen." The Indian then tells his 
story in full to the priest ; how he was a Peva by 
birth, and had been baptized at the mission when 
young ; but that, as he grew up, having taken a 
great dislike to the severe discipline of the mission, 
he had fled from it down the Amazon, and finally 
established himself in a village on the river Teffe. 
There he was recommended by an Indian to enter 
on the office of one lately deceased who used every 
year to visit the women without husbands. Having 
followed this employ for thirty years, and received 
from the women many presents of gold and green 
stones, he was obliged to relinquish it on account of 
an injury he received, and also (as he asserted) by a 
remorseful conscience which continually tormented 
him. "The death of this Indian," adds the good 
missionary, "a few months afterwards, having lived 
during that period a penitent and holy life, was one 
of the greatest consolations that befell me in the 
missions, for I felt convinced, from his good 
conduct, that he was predestinated " (Velasco, loc. 
ciL p. 175). 


The accounts heard by Raleigh on the Orinoco, 
in 1595, of a nation of female warriors existing on 
the Amazon, seem to combine both the above- 
specified sites. " I made inquiry," says he, "among 
the most ancient and travelled of the Orinokoponi 
[the Indian inhabitants of the Orinoco] respecting 
the warlike women, and will relate what I was in- 
formed of as truth about them, by a Cacique who 
said he had been on that river [the Amazon], and 
beyond it also. Their country is on the southside 
of the river, in the province of Tobago [Topayos], 
and their chief places are in the islands on the south 
side of it, some 60 leagues from the mouth. They 
accompany with men once in a year for a month, 
which is in April. . . . Children born of these 
alliances, if males, they send them to their fathers ; 
if daughters, they take care of them and bring them 
up," l etc. Another report he heard was that " there 
is a province in Guyana called Cunun's, which is 
governed by a woman ' -plainly a Cuiia-puyara. It 
is to be noted that these reports were heard near 
the mouth of the Orinoco, or some 2000 miles away 
from the supposed country of the Amazons, from 
Indians who had them from one another and not 
from the Spaniards ; and that the Cumin's is for 
the first time indicated by name in this relation of 
Raleigh's. We. have the most complete account 
of the river and district of Cunun's, and of the ex- 
tant traditions respecting the Amazons, in Acuna's 
description of his voyage clown the Amazon in 1639. 
He mentions four nations who inhabit on the river 
Cunun's, the Cunurfs (Indians) being nearest the 
mouth, and the Guacaras the highest up ; while 

1 Caylcy's Life of K n, '</;/, \-\>. 1114-195. 


beyond the last were the Amazons. " These man- 
like women," he says, "have their abodes in great 
forests and on lofty hills, amongst which that which 
rises above the rest, and is therefore beaten by the 
winds for its pride with most violence, so that it 
is bare and clear of vegetation, is called Yacamiaba " 
(Yacamf, the Tupi name of the Trumpeter bird or 
Agami ; Aba or awa, people). 

When I read this account of Acuna's, some years 
after I had left the Amazon, I was struck with the 
connection of the name of the hill Yacamiaba with 
that of an Indian dance I had seen on the Upper 
Amazon in 1851. The dance was called Yacami- 
cuiia (Agami woman), and the performers in it 
moved to the rude music of a pipe and tambour ; 
and to the words of a song, which I unfortunately 
neglected to take down at the time. A lot of young 
people joined hands to form a ring, in which males 
and females alternated, and danced round and round, 
singing the song of the Yacami. At the words 
" Yacami-cuna-cufia ! " the ring suddenly broke up 
the partners turned tail to tail and bumped each 
other repeatedly, with such goodwill that one ot 
the two (and as often the man as the woman) was 
frequently sent reeling across the room, amidst the 
uproarious laughter of the bystanders. The Yacamis 
or Agamis are, as is well known, birds without any 
tail-feathers, those appendages having diappeared 
from the birds continually rubbing their sterns to- 
gether so, at least, says Indian- tradition, which has 
been embodied in the dance ; and it is easy to under- 
stand its application to a rocky hill, shaggy below 
with woods, bare at the summit, such as I have 
seen many in both Brazilian and Spanish Guayana. 


May not also both the names, Yacami-women and 
Yacami-people, allude to the women living alone ? 

Van Heuvel met with a Caribi chief at the head 
of the river Essequibo, who, when asked about the 
nation of women, said " he had not seen them, but 
had heard his father and others speak of them. 
That they live on the Wasa [the Ouassa of the 
French maps, a tributary of the Oyapock]. Their 
place of abode is surrounded with large rocks, 
and the entrance is through a rock " (El Dorado, 
p. 124). 

Condamine was informed by a soldier in the 
garrison of Cayenne, that in 1726 he had accom- 
panied a detachment which was sent to explore the 
interior of the country ; in pursuance of which object 
they had penetrated to the country of the Ami- 
couanes, a long-eared people, who dwell beyond 
the sources of the Oyapock, near to where another 
river takes its rise that falls into the Amazon 
[the Oyapock falling into the Atlantic in lat. about 
4 N.]. The country lies high, and none of the 
rivers are navigable. There the soldier had seen 
on the necks of the women and girls certain green 
stones, which the Indians said they obtained from 
the women who had no husbands (Voyage, p. 102). 

We have mention of the long-eared folk, and 
of the same kind of savage rocky country as all 
tradition assigns to the abiding-place of the Amazons, 
in Unton Fisher's relation of his voyage up the 
Mariwin (Marony). " The passage to the head of 
the Mariwin, from the men with long ears (which 
is the thirteenth town from the mouth), is very 
dangerous, by reason of the passage through hollow 
and concave rocks, wherein harbour bats of unreason- 


able bigness, which, with their claws and wings, do 
wound the passengers shrewdly ; yea, and often- 
times deprive them of life." 1 

Van Heuvel cites various accounts which he 
found still current in Guayana, all tending to collo- 
cate the warlike women on a site just beyond the 
sources of the Essequibo, Marony, and Oyapock, 
which lie apparently very near to each other, and 
also to the sources of the Trombetas and Nhamunda, 
the two latter rivers running in a contrary direction 
to the three former, i.e. southwards, or towards the 

I might adduce a great deal more evidence to 
show the universality of the traditions in Tropical 
America of a nation of women, whose permanent 
habitation was from i to 2 north of the Equator, 
and in long. 54 to 58 W. ; and whose annual 
rendezvous with their lovers was held on a site in 
lat. about 5 S., long. 65 W. 

Those traditions must have had some foundation 
in fact, and they appear to me inseparably connected 
with the traditions of El Dorado. I think I have 
read nearly all that has been written about the 
Gilded King and his city and country ; and, com- 
paring it with my own South American experience, 
I can hardly doubt that that country was Peru- 
possibly combined (or confused) with Mexico. The 
lake called the Mansion of the Sun, because the 

The whole of this curious relation is given in Purchas's Collection of 
Voyages, Bk. vi. ch. xvii., and is placed immediately after that of the voyage 
made by Robert Harcourt to Guayana in 1608. Purchas says of it : " I found 
this fairly written among Mr. Hakluyt's papers, but know not who was the 
author." l!ut Van Ik-im-l adduces ample proof of its having been written by 
Fisher, cousin of Harcourt, whom the latter left behind him at the third town 
on the Mariwin, with instructions to complete the exploration of the river, 
which he himself had unsuccessfully attempted. 


sun sank into it, is plainly the Pacific Ocean ; but 
some accounts seem to point to Lake Titicaca, and 
others to the lakes of Mexico ; probably the general 
notion of such lake was made up of all three. It is 
scarcely necessary to remind the reader that most 
Indian nations call the ocean and a lake (and in some 
cases even a river) by one and the same name. The 
confusion of town (or city) and country is also uni- 
versal among them. I have been gravely told by 
a Jibaro Indian in the Andes that France and 
England were two towns, standing on opposite 
banks of a river, the people on the left bank being 
Christians and those on the right heathens : a piece 
of ethnology derived from the teaching of Catholic 
missionaries, and not at all flattering to myself as 
an Englishman. 


I think I can trace the progress of the fame of the 
riches of Peru quite across South America, to the 
Atlantic coast and islands, whence it surged back into 
the interior, so disguised and disfigured, that the 
Spaniards did not recognise it as indicating an El 
Dorado with which they were already familiar. Now 
the accounts of the real El Dorado of Peru (and 
of Mexico) would infallibly be accompanied by 
others of the Vestal communities dedicated to the 
worship of the sun, i.e. of women living- alone, or 
women without husbands. If we deny the exist- 
ence of a nation, or nations, of warlike women on 
the Amazon, then the tradition could only have had 
its origin in the Virgins of the Sun ; and some 
accounts, such as that of Cabeza de Vega and 
Ribeiro, possibly point to them alone. But if we 
concede the fact of the existence of these war- 
like women, then may not the latter have been 


originally a community of Vestals, who, having fled 
in a body from their nunnery, carrying with them 
their ornaments of gold and green stones, estab- 
lished themselves in the forests of the plain ? Or 
they may have accompanied one of those emigra- 
tions, led by chieftains who had revolted from the 
rule of the Inca, of which we read in the early 
historians. In either case they were probably at 
first respected by neighbouring savage tribes as a 
religious community ; and they would gradually 
learn the use of the bow and other weapons, more 
as implements of the chase than of offence and 
defence ; for we do not read that they were ever 
assaulted by other Indians. I put forward this as 
mere conjecture, my object in what precedes having 
been principally to vindicate the earlier travellers 
and historians, Spanish and English, from the 
charges of gross credulity, or even wilful falsehood, 
which have been wantonly brought against them. 
Is it to be wondered at that unlettered, or at best 
imperfectly educated, adventurers should have be- 
lieved, and repeated as true, nearly every report 
they heard, when we find a man of so philosophic 
a turn of mind as Raleigh telling the most extra- 
vagant tales just as they were told to him, no 
doubt, and not adding anything thereto, yet evi- 
dently believing them himself in the main ? 

No one has declared his convictions of the exist- 
ence of a nation of Amazons more forcibly and 
eloquently than Acuna, and, without endorsing them 
fully myself, I close this long digression with his 
own words, recommending them to the candid 
consideration of my readers: 

"The proofs that give assurance that there is a 


province of the Amazons on the banks of this 
river are so strong and convincing that it would 
be renouncing moral certainty to scruple giving 
credit to it. I do not build upon the solemn ex- 
aminations of the sovereign court of Quito, in 
which many witnesses were heard, who were born 
in these parts and lived there a long time, and who, 
of all matters relating to the countries bordering 
on Peru, as one of the principal, particularly affirmed 
that one of the provinces near the Amazon is 
peopled with a sort of warlike women, who live 
together and maintain their company alone, with- 
out the company of men ; but at certain seasons 
of the year seek their society to perpetuate their 
race. Nor will I insist on other information, ob- 
tained in the new kingdom of Grenada, in the royal 
city of Pasto, where several Indians were examined ; 
but I cannot conceal what I have heard with my 
own ears, and concerning the truth of which I have 
been making inquiries from my first embarking on 
the Amazon ; and am compelled to say that I have 
been informed at all the Indian towns in which I 
have been, that there are such women in the 
country, and every one gave me an account of 
them by marks so exactly agreeing with that which 
I received from others, that it must needs be that 
the greatest falsehood in the world passes through 
all America for one of the most certain histories." 1 

1 I'oyages and Discoveries in South Aiiu)-i.,t, liy Christopher <]' Acu^na, 
London, 1698. 



[WHILE residing at Piura on the sea-coast of Peru 
in 1863, and being incapacitated by illness for 
outdoor work, Spruce wrote out a description of 
these curious works of art illustrated by the draw- 
ings he was able to make of some of them, and with 
an explanation of their meaning given him by the 
Indians who were with him and to whom they were 
familiar. He also skives his own view as to their 


probable age, and as to the causes that led to their 
production. In this paper he does not refer to the 
best known of these Picture-writings on the rocks 
of Pedra Island, near the mouth of the Rio Branco, 
which are briefly described in his Journal. (See 
vol. i. p. 260.) This paper refers solely to the 
examples of which he made drawings on the 
Casiquiari and Uaupes rivers.] 


When I ascended the Casiquiari in December 
1853, I charged my pilot, an intelligent Indian of 

1 In his Journal (1851), when describing the figures on Pedra Island (Lower 
Xegro), he protested against the use of the term " picture-writing" as con- 
veying the erroneous idea that they are in any sense writings or hieroglyphics. 
T \\L-lve years later he uses the popular term, though showing that it is an 
incorrect one. 



the Barre nation, to point out to me any engraved 
rocks which lay in our way. On reaching the Pedra 
de Culimacari, a bed of granite a little beyond the 
mouth of the Pacimoni, we found it still under water, 
so that the figures seen there and copied by Hum- 
boldt in the beginning of the century were not 
visible. The pilot consoled me by saying that when 
we reached the Laja de Capibara he would show 
me there ten times more figures than I had missed 
seeing at Culimacari. On the 9th of December we 
passed the mouth of Lake Vasiva, and on the iith 
reached a modern Indian village called Yamadu- 
bani (Wild Man's Land), or more commonly Pueblo 
de Ponciano, having been founded by an Indian 
named Ponciano, who was not long dead. Early 
on the morning of the i3th \ve came upon the 
deserted site of another village called Capibara, 
being the nom de guerre of its founder, after whose 
death it has become depopulated. It is on the left 
(S.E.) side of the Casiquiari. Leaving here part 
of the crew to cook our breakfast, I took with me 
the rest, and under the guidance of the pilot struck 
into the forest in quest of picture-writing. After 
walking about half a mile, we came out on large flat 
sheets of granite rock, naked save where in fissures 
of the rock there were small oases of vegetation, 
the first plants to establish themselves there being 
a few lichens and mosses, and, rarely, some stunted 
shrubs. The bare places, one of which was an acre 
in extent, were covered with rude figures, the out- 
lines of which were about half an inch wide, and 
were graven in the rock to nearly an inch deep. 
The figures were in perfect preservation except that 
in rare cases they were obliterated by the shaling of 


the rock, the granite of that region having often three 
or more thin coats comparable to those of an onion, 
as if the cooling down had not been equable. 1 I 
immediately set to work to copy, and the Indians 
of their own accord cleared out the earth and lichens 
which had filled up some of the lines. As it was 
impossible to copy all, I selected those figures which 
were most distinct, and those which, by their fre- 
quent repetition, might be considered typical. That 
marked A (Fig. 17), for instance, varying only slightly 
in the details, was repeated several times. It was 
not possible to draw all by hand to the same scale, 
but as I measured most of the figures, that defect 
can easily be remedied in recopying them. 

In all the drawings which illustrate this chapter, 
the small figures give the dimensions in feet and 
inches. When underlined they show the entire 
length of the object copied, as 3/10 in the centre 
figure of Fig. 17 means that it is 3 feet 10 inches 
long ; otherwise they indicate the length of the line 
at which they are written. Thus 2/5 on the right 
side of A shows that the longer side of the oblong 
is 2 feet 5 inches long, and the cross line on the 
right is 4 feet long. 

As I sketched, I asked the Indians, "Who had 
made those figures, and what they represented ? " but 
received only the universal reply of the Indian 
when he cares not to tell or will not take the trouble to 
recollect, " Quien sabe, patron ? " (" Who knows ? "). 
Hut I understood enough of Barre to note that in 

1 [For drawings of such onion-like rocks see Plate x. in my Amazon and 
Rio Negro. It occurs on every scale from tljat of moderate-sized boulders up 
to \vh>)e m.iuntnins. It is seen on a great scale in the huge domes of the 
Yosemite valley, and is now believed to be the result of a process of aerial 
decomposition due to the action of sun and rain. En.] 




their talk to each other they were saying, " This is 
so-and-so, and this so-and-so." "Yes," I struck in, 
" and don't you think this is so-and-so ? ' Thus led 
on, I got them to give their opinion of most of the 
figures. About some they were quite certain ; about 

FIG. 16. (lunrr OF PICTURES A, I. VIA i:i- CAPIBARA, 

others they would only speculate. Of all the figures 
the one marked G (Fig. 16) was that whose origin 
seemed clearest both to them and to me. It repre- 
sents a mandiocca-oven (called budari in Barre) a 
large circular dish of fireproof pottery, supported 
on a wall of mud-masonry, which has an opening 


on one side (rudely figured at a], into which fire is 
put, and another at the opposite (as at b], which 
serves as a flue. Of the articles laid on the budari, 
c is the brush of piassaba tied tightly round at 
midway, which serves for sweeping the oven before 
the cassava cake or farinha is spread out to bake ; 
d is the palm-leaf fan for blowing the fire ; and my 
Indians would have it that d' was another fan, but 
the hook .at one corner (which, whenever it occurs 
in these figures, indicates a bit of liana-rope by which 
the utensil is hung up) renders it probable that 
something else was meant ; e is a stage (or shelf) 
such as may be seen of various sizes hung from the 
roof of an Indian's hut, but especially over the oven 
and hearth, the smoke from which acts as an antiseptic 
to the dried fish and other viands kept on the 
stages, and also partially keeps off the cockroaches ; 
f is either the mandiocca-grater or, more probably, 
a flat piece of board, sometimes with a hole to 
insert the fingers, which is used to raise the edges 
of the cassava cake and to aid in turning it over. 
All these articles are in use to this day throughout 
a vast extent of country on the Orinoco and Casi- 
quiari. Even in the Andes, a triangular or square 
fan, plaited by the Indians of the leaves of maize or 
wild cane, is the only bellows used by the Quitonian 

The figures marked B (Fig. 17) were declared 
by my Indians to be dolphins, whereof two species 
abound in the Amazon and Orinoco. 

C they said was plainly the same sort of thing 
as the big papers (maps) I was continually poring 
over. For a is the town often consisting of a 
single annular house, with a road from it leading 




down to the cario (or stream leading into the main 
river, <r), while b is a track leading through the 
forest to another tributary stream which here and 
there expands into lakes, while other lakes send 
their waters to it. There were other figures appar- 
ently geographical, but the one I copied was the 
most complicated and perfect. 

RIVKR ( ' isiQi IAKI. 

D (Fig. 1 8) are ray-fishes, which are found of 
enormous size in the Casiquiari and Rio Negro, and 
sometimes inflict deadly wounds on incautious bath< :rs. 

E on Figs. 1 6 and iX and perhaps A on Fig. 17 
was thought by my companions to be the quiver for 
holding the darts of the blowing-cane. 

By the time I had covered three sheets with 
figures, the sun began to beat hot on my head, 
protected by only a light cap, and although my 




pilot told me that farther away in the forest there 
were more granite sheets covered with pictures, I 
was obliged to content myself with what I had 


already seen and done ; for I had engaged to meet 
the Comisario of San Fernando at Esmeralda on 
Christmas Day, and to get there I had still a long 
voyage before me, going slowly along as I did in 
my large boat and gathering plants all the way. 




A few miles from the upper mouth of the Casi- 
quiari a stream called Calipo enters it where there 
is some picture-writing that was covered with water 
when I passed up ; but when I returned (on Janu- 
ary 6, 1854) the Casiquiari had lowered 2 feet, and 
at the mouth of the Cano Calipo a good many 
figures were laid bare, all of which I copied. The 
figures on Fig. 19 have the same relative posi- 
tions and distances as on the rock, and apparently 



represent a family group, whereof my interpreter 
assured me that H symbolised a chief, and that 
the figures on the right were his three wives 
and a child, the principal wife being distinguished 
by the plume worn on her head. The curious 
figures on the left may perhaps be meant for the 
prehensile-tailed Iguanas, which being very good 
food would be of especial interest. 

The other group (Fig. 20) repeats the symbol 
of a chief (at H H), with some four-footed animal, 
perhaps a dog, on the left. The rest are probably 
household goods of some kind. 

Picture-writing is frequent throughout the granite 
district of the Casiquiari, but I have nowhere seen 

VOL. II 2 I 



so much of it together as at the Laja de Capibara. 
The best executed figures, however, I have met 
with, and the only ones about which I could make 
out any extant tradition, are in the river Paapun's, 
which enters the Uaupes from the south at Jauarite 
caxoeira, and is inhabited by Fish and Mosquito 
Indians (Pira-Tapuyas and Carapanas). The Paa- 



pun's in its lower part is an uninterrupted and 
dangerous rapid ; and at Aracapa caxoeira, a few 
miles up, two islands divide it into three narrow 
channels, each of which is a nearly perpen- 
dicular cascade of about 15 feet high. At this 
point canoes have to be unladen and dragged over 
one of the islands, which are masses of granite 
having on them much picture-writing, where not 
clad with shrubs. The most distinct figures are 
on the top of a rock which rises perpendicularly by 


the highest fall, and cannot be reached without risk. 
They were engraved by a young woman who was 
lamenting the death of her mother, for whose 
epitaph they were probably intended. Day by 
day she sat on the rock engaged in her task, while 
her fast-falling tears ceased not to mingle with the 
cataract. Thus months passed away, until one day 
the maiden, worn with grief and fading almost to a 
shadow, fell over the rock and disappeared among 
the roaring breakers at its base. 

I had not with me pencil or paper of any kind, 
and I was obliged to content myself with a hasty 
glance at the figures, some of which represented 
human beings ; nor was I able to revisit the spot. 
On the top of the same rock there are shallow 
impressions, apparently the work of nature, which 
bear some resemblance to a human form, and are 
called by the Indians Tupana-rangaua (the figure 
of God). The damsels of the Paapun's visit the 
spot on stated occasions, and kneeling clown on the 
knees of the figure, perform some kind of devotion 
-what, I could not learn. 

I copied a few rude figures on the rocks near 
the village of Jauarite. Those on Fig. 21 seem to 
represent very rudely various types of trees, as seen 
in the three figures on the right. The two upper 
ones indicate a buttressed stem or aerial roots, with 
flowers or fruits on the three terminal branches ; 
while the lower one has a tap-root, and diverging 
branches of a more usual type. The lower middle 
figure is probably the very rudest symbol of a 
human form ; while the remainder seem to be 
merely fanciful geometrical patterns. 

The large figure on Fig. 22 is called by the Indians 


the buta or dolphin. On these and other rocks 


of the Uaupes there are impressions called Pe cle 
Anta (Tapir's foot), which look as if some three- 




toed foot had trod on the rock while still soft ; but 
they are scattered, not consecutive. It is not so 


easy to explain these by natural causes as it is that 
of the panellas or pots, which are cylindrical holes 
frequently met with on the rocks of the falls of the 
Rio Negro and Uaupes ; these have been worn- 


from any accidental hollow at first and then con- 
tinually deepened by the pebbles and sand whirled 
round and round in them by the surging and eddying 
waves of the cataracts during the season of flood. 1 
Although we have no elements wherefrom to 


determine positively the date and mode of execution 
of the picture-writings, those questions seem to me 
to have been involved in unnecessary mystery. 
The instruments used in scraping such deep lines 
in the granite were probably chips of quartz crystal, 
which were the hardest cutting-instruments pos- 
sessed by the aborigines of South America. In 
the Amazonian plain I know of but two extensive 
deposits of large rock-crystals one of which is a 
good way up the Rio Branco, and the other is at 
the foot of Mount Duida, near the village of Esme- 
ralda, therefore in the immediate neighbourhood of 
the Casiquiari. I know also of but one such deposit 
on the Pacific side of the Andes, namely, in the 
hills of Chongon near Guayaquil ; yet pieces of 
quartz, some of which have served as knives, others 
as lance- or arrow-heads, are found strewed about 
the sites of ancient towns and settlements through 
several degrees of latitude. Whatever the instru- 
ment used by the Indians of the Casiquiari, it is 
difficult to assign any limit to the time required for 
the execution of the figures ; but any one who has 
seen an Indian patiently scraping away for months 
at a bow or a lance before bringing it to the desired 
symmetry and perfection, or who knows that it has 
taken a lifetime to fashion and bore the white 

1 [The supposed tracks of animals are doubtless works of art like the other 
figures, probably clue to a desire to imitate the well-formed impressions of feet 
that the hunter must continually meet with during his search for game. ED.] 


stone which the Uaupes Indian wears suspended 
from his neck, will understand that time is no object 
to an Indian. I can fancy I see the young men 
and women sitting in the cool of the morning and 
evening, but especially in the moonlight nights, and 
amusing themselves by scratching on the rock any 
figure suggested by the caprice of the moment. A 
figure once sketched, any one, even a child, might 
aid in deepening the outlines. Indeed, the designs 
are often much in the style of certainly not at all 
superior to those which a child of five years old 
in a village school in England will draw for you 
on its slate ; and the modern inhabitants of the 
Casiquiari, Guainia, etc., paint the walls of their 
houses with various coloured earths in far more 
artistic designs. 

Having carefully examined a good deal of the 
so-called picture-writing, I am bound to come to 
the conclusion that it was executed^by the ancestors 
of Indians who at this day inhabit the region where 
it is found ; that their utensils, mode of life, etc., 
were similar to those still in use ; and that their 
degree of civilisation was certainly not greater 
probably less than that of their existing de- 
scendants. The execution of the figures may have 
ranged through several centuries, a period which 
in the existence of a savage people is but a year in 
that of the highly-civilised nations of modern Europe. 
In vain shall we seek any chronological information 
from the Indian, who never knows his own age, 
rarely that of his youngest child, and who refers 
all that happened before his own birth to a vague 
antiquity, wherein there are no dates and rarely any 
epochs to mark the sequence of events. 


[Among Spruce's miscellaneous notes, written 
during his voyage up the Rio Negro, the following 
passages serve to illustrate the questions above 
discussed :--] 

I have never yet met with an Indian who knew 
his own age or how many years he had lived in his 
present house. My pilot on the Trombetas very 
gravely stated his age at a hundred years (he was 
evidently not more than fifty). I have asked an 
Indian the age of his daughter. " She may be 
twelve she may be twenty who knows? What 
matter do our ages make to us ? ' 

These picture-writings in Brazil and Spanish 
Guiana cannot be considered of remote antiquity, 
for (i) they sometimes show rude figures of lions 
and other objects belonging to the Old World ; (2) 
some of them (and especially the Brazilian ones, 
e.g. at Monte Alegre, as stated by Mr. Wallace) 
have dates affixed, painted with the same colour 
and obviously of the same age as the pictures, which 
correspond very nearly with the dates of the estab- 
lishment of the Portuguese towns of the Amazon, 
and not going back above a century or two. 



[THE following narrative forms one of the most 
curious pieces of genuine history in connection with 
the never-ceasing search for buried treasure in the 
territory of the Incas. We owe to the persevering 
exertions of Richard Spruce the discovery and the 
translation of one of the few remaining copies of the 
official order of the Spanish king to search for this 
treasure, with the accompanying detailed "Guide" 
to its locality. Still more are we indebted to 
his generally esteemed character and ingratiating 
manners for obtaining permission to copy the 
unique map of the district containing the treasure, 
and for undertaking the considerable labour of 


copying in the minutest detail so large and elaborate 
a map, without which both the " Guide " and the story 
of the search for the treasure would be unintelligible. 
The essential portions of this map, containing the 
whole of the route described in the " Guide," as 
well as the routes of the various explorers (marked 
in red), have been reproduced here (see end of 
chapter). The portions farther east and south, 
which have no immediate relation to the quest for 
the treasure, having been omitted in order to make 



it more convenient for reference here. The scale 
of the map is, approximately, six miles to an inch.' 

In Dr. Theodore Wolff's Geografia et Geologia 
de Eciiador (1892), the region of Llanganati is still 
referred to as the most unknown part of the whole 
of Ecuador.] 




In the month of July 1857 I reached Banos, 
where I learnt that the snowy points I had observed 
from Puca-yacu, between Tunguragua and Coto- 
paxi, were the summits of a group of mountains 
called Llanganati, from which ran down to the 
Pastasa the densely-wooded ridges I saw to north- 
ward. I was further informed that these mountains 
abounded in all sorts of metals, and that it was 
universally believed the Incas had deposited an 
immense quantity of gold in an artificial lake on 
the flanks of one of the peaks at the time of the 
Spanish Conquest. They spoke also of one Val- 
verde, a Spaniard, who from being poor had 
suddenly become very rich, which was attributed to 
his having married an Indian girl, whose father 
showed him where the treasure was hidden, and 
accompanied him on various occasions to bring 
away portions of it ; and that Valverde returned to 
Spain, and, when on his death-bed, bequeathed the 
secret of his riches to the king. Many expeditions, 
public and private, had been made to follow the 


track indicated by Valverde, but no one had 
succeeded in reaching its terminus ; and I spoke 
with two men at Bafios who had accompanied 
such expeditions, and had nearly perished with cold 
and hunger on the paramos of Llanganati, where 
they had wandered for thirty days. The whole 
story seemed so improbable that I paid little 
attention to it, and I set to work to examine the 
vegetation of the adjacent volcano Tunguragua, at 
whose north-eastern foot the village of Banos is 
situated. In the month of September I visited 
Cotalo, a small village on a plateau at about two- 
thirds of the ascent of Guayrapata, the hill in front 
of Tunguragua and above the confluence of the 
rivers Patate and Chambo. From Cotalo, on a 
clear night of full moon, I saw not only Tungu- 
ragua, El Altar, Condorasto, and the Cordillera of 
Cubilliii, stretching southwards towards the volcano 
Sangay, but also to the eastward the snowy peak 
of Llanganati. This is one of the few points from 
which Llanganati can be seen ; it appears again, in 
a favourable state of the atmosphere, a good way 
up the slopes of Tunguragua and Chimborazo. 

At Banos I was told also of a Spanish botanist 
who a great many years ago lost his life by an 
accident near the neighbouring town of Patate, and 
that several boxes belonging to him, and containing 
dried plants and manuscripts, had been left at Banos, 
where their contents were finally destroyed by 

In the summers of the years 1858 and 1859 I 
visited Quito and various points in the Western 
Cordillera, and for many months the country was 
so insecure, on account of internal dissensions, that 


I could not leave Ambato and Riobamba, where 
my goods were deposited, for more than a few 
days together. I obtained, however, indisputable 
evidence that the " Derrotero " or Guide to Llan- 
ganati of Valverde had been sent by the King of 
Spain to the Corregidors of Tacunga and Ambato, 
along with a Cedula Real (Royal Warrant) com- 
manding those functionaries to use every diligence 
in seeking out the treasure of the Incas. That one 
expedition had been headed by the Corregidor of 
Tacunga in person, accompanied by a friar, Padre 
Longo, of considerable literary reputation. The 
Derrotero was found to correspond so exactly with 
the actual localities, that only a person intimately 
acquainted with them could have drawn it up ; and 
that it could have been fabricated by any other 
person who had never been out of Spain was an 
impossibility. This expedition had nearly reached 
the end of the route, when one evening the Padre 
Longo disappeared mysteriously, and no traces of 
him could be discovered, so that whether he had 
fallen into a ravine near which they were encamped, 
or into one of the morasses which abound all over 
that region, is to this day unknown. After searching 
for the Padre in vain for some days, the expedition 
returned without having accomplished its object. 

The Cedula Real and Derrotero were deposited 
in the archives of Tacunga, whence they dis- 
appeared about twenty years ago. So many people 
were admitted to copy them that at last some one, 
not content with a copy, carried off the originals. I 
have secured a copy of the Derrotero, bearing date 
August 14, 1827 ; but I can meet with no one who 
recollects the date of the original documents. 


I ascertained also that the botanist above alluded 
to was a Don Atanasio Guzman, who resided some 
time in the town of Pillaro, whence he headed 
many expeditions in quest of the gold of Llan- 
ganati. He made also a map of the Llanganatis, 
which was supposed to be still in existence. Guzman 
and his companions, although they found no deposit 
of gold, came on the mouths of several silver and 
copper mines, which had been worked in the time 
of the Incas, and ascertained the existence of other 
metals and minerals. They began to work the 
mines at first with ardour, which soon, however, 
cooled down, partly in consequence of intestine 
quarrels, but chiefly because they became disgusted 
with that slow mode of acquiring wealth when there 
was molten gold supposed to be hidden close by ; 
so the mines were at length all abandoned. This 
is said to have taken place early in the present 
century, but the exact date I can by no means 
ascertain. Guzman is reported to have met with 
Humbolclt, and to have shown his drawings of 
plants and animals to that prince of travellers. He 
died about 1806 or 1808, in the valley of Leytu, 
about four leagues eastward of Ambato, at a small 
farmhouse called now Leytillo, but marked on his 
map San Antonio. He was a somnambulist, and 
having one night walked out of the house while 
asleep, he fell clown a steep place and so perished. 
This is all I have been able to learn, and I fear no 
documents now exist which can throw any further 
light on the story of his life, though a botanical 
manuscript of his is believed to be still preserved in 
one of the archives of Quito. I made unceasing 
inquiries for the map, and at length ascertained 


that the actual possessor was a gentleman of 
Ambato, Senor Salvador Ortega, to whom I made 
application for it, and he had the kindness to 
have it brought immediately from Quito, where 
it was deposited, and placed in my hands ; I am 
therefore indebted to that gentleman's kindness 
for the pleasure of being able to lay the accom- 
panying copy of the map before the Geographical 

The original map is formed of eight small sheets 
of paper of rather unequal size (those of my copy 
exactly correspond to them), pasted on to a piece of 
coarse calico, the whole size being 3 feet loj inches 
by 2 feet 9 inches. It is very neatly painted with a 
fine pencil in Indian ink the roads and roofs of 
houses red but it has been so roughly used that it 
is now much dilapidated, and the names, though 
originally very distinctly written, are in many cases 
scarcely decipherable : in making them out I have 
availed myself of the aid of persons familiar with 
the localities and with the Ouichua language. The 
attempt to combine a vertical with a horizontal 
projection of the natural features of the country 
has produced some distortion and dislocation, and 
though the actual outline of the mountains is in- 
tended to be represented, the heights are much 
exaggerated, and consequently the declivities too 
steep. Thus the apical angle of the cone of 
Cotopaxi (as I have determined it by actual 
measurement) is 121 , and the slope (inclination 
of its surface to the horizon) 29^ ; while on 
Guzman's map the slope is 69^", so that the 
inclination is only three-sevenths of what he has 
represented it, and we may assume a correspond- 


ing correction needed in all the other mountains 
delineated. 1 

The whole map is exceedingly minute, and the 
localities mostly correctly named, but there are 
some errors of position, both absolute and relative, 
such that I suppose the map to have been con- 
structed mainly from a simple view of the country, 
and that no angles and very few compass-bearings 
have been taken. The margins of the map corre- 
spond so nearly with the actual parallels and 
meridians, that they may be assumed to represent 
the cardinal points of the compass, as on an 
ordinary map, without sensible error. 

The country represented extends from Cotopaxi 
on the north to the base of Tunguragua on the 
south, and from the plain of Callo (at the western 
foot of Cotopaxi) on the west to the river Puyu, in 
the forest of Canelos, on the east. It includes an 
area of something less than an equatorial degree, 
namely, that comprised between o 40' and i 33' 
S. lat., and between o 10' \V., and near o c 50' E. 
of the meridian of Quito. In this space are re- 
presented six active volcanoes (besides Cotopaxi), 

i. El Volcan cle los Mulatos, east a little south 
from Cotopaxi, and nearly on the meridian of the 
Rio cle Ulva, which runs from Tunguragua into the 
Pastasa. The position of this volcano corresponds 
to the Quilindana of most maps a name which 
does not occur on Guzman's, nor is it known to any 
of the actual residents of the country. A group of 
mountains running to north-east, and terminating in 

1 The apical angle of Tunguragua the steepest mountain I ever chinlied 
is 92.J, , and tlir slope 43} . 


the volcano, is specified as the Cordillera de los 
Mulatos : it is separated from Cotopaxi by the 
Valle Vicioso. 

2. El Volcan de las Margasitas, south-east by 
east from Los Mulatos, and a little east of north 
from the mouth of the Rio Verde Grande. 
" Margasitas " (more properly Marquesitas) corre- 
sponds nearly to the term "pyrites," and is a general 
name for the sulphates of iron, copper, etc. 

3. Zunchu-urcu, a smaller volcano than Mar- 
gasitas, and at a short distance south-south-east of 
it. " Zunchu " is the Quichua term for mica or talc. 

4. Siete-bocas, a large mountain, with seven 
mouths vomiting flame, south-west by south from 
Margasitas, west by south from Zunchu. Its 
southern slope is the Nevado del Atilis. 

5. Gran Volcan del Topo, or Yurag-Llanganati, 
nearly east from Siete-bocas and south-west from 
Zunchu. A tall snowy peak at the head of the 
river Topo, and the same as I saw from Cotalo. It 
is the only one of the group which rises to perpetual 
snow, though there are many others rarely clear of 
snow ; hence its second name Yurag (White) 
Llanganati. 1 

[This mountain is partly shown on the extreme 
right margin of the map here given.] 

The last four volcanoes are all near each other, 
and form part of what Guzman calls the Cordillera 
de Yurag-urcu, or Llanganatis of the Topo. 

North-east from the Volcan del Topo, and 
running from south-east to north-west, is the Cor- 

1 Yillavicensio gives its height as 6520 varas (17,878 English feet) in his 
Geograjia del F.ciMitor, from a measurement (as he says) of Guzman, but does 
not inform us where he obtained his information. 


dillera cle Yana-urcu, or the Llanganatis of the 
Curaray, consisting chiefly of a wooded mountain 
with many summits, called Rundu-uma-urcu or 

6. Jorobado or the Hunchback, south-south- 
west half west from Yurac-Llanganati, and between 
the river Topo and the head of the greater Rio 

I have conversed with people who have visited 
the Llanganati district as far as forty years back, 
and all assure me they have never seen any active 
volcano there ; yet this by no means proves that 
Guzman invented the mouths vomiting flame which 
appear on his map. The Abbe Velasco, writing in 
I77O, 1 says of Tunguragua, " It is doubtful whether 
this mountain be a volcano or not," and yet three 
years afterwards it burst forth in one of the most 
violent eruptions ever known. I gather from the 
perusal of old documents that it continued to emit 
smoke and flame occasionally until the year 1780. 
Many people have assured me that smoke is still 
seen sometimes to issue from the crater. I was 
doubtful about the fact, until, having passed the 
night of November 10, 1857, at the height of about 
8000 feet on the northern slope of the mountain, I 
distinctly saw at daybreak (from 5! to 6.1 A.M.) 
smoke issuing from the eastern edge of the trun- 
cated apex.- In ascending on the same side, aloiiL; 
the course of the great stream of lava that over- 
whelmed the farm of Juivi and blocked up the 

ifi- (lit/to. 

' The same morning 'Nov. u), at 4 A.M., I observed a great many 
shooting-Stars in succession, all becoming visible at the same point 'about 40 
from the zenith,;, proceeding along the arc of a great circle drawn through 
Orion's Belt and Sinus, and disappearing behind the cone of Tunguragua. 

VOL. II 2 K 


Pastasa, below the mouth of the Patate, for eight 
months, we came successively on six small fumaroli, 
from which a stream of thin smoke is constantly 
issuing. People who live on the opposite side of 
the valley assert that they sometimes see flame 
hovering over these holes by night. The inhabit- 
ants of the existing farm of Juivi complain to me 
that they have been several times alarmed of late 
(especially during the months of October and 
November 1859) by the mountain " bramando " 
(roaring) at night. The volcano is plainly, there- 
fore, only dormant, not extinct, and both Tungu- 
ragua and the Llanganatis may any day resume 
their activity. 

[Here follows a rather elaborate description of the 
various rivers and their tributaries as shown on the 
map, which, being of little interest to the general 
reader, are omitted. Of the map generally, Spruce 
makes the following observation : 

As the great mineral districts of Llanganati, 
occupying the northern half of the map, was 
repeatedly travelled over by Guzman himself, it is 
fuller of minute detail than the rest ; and I am 
assured by those who have visited the actual 
localities that not one of them is misplaced on the 
map ; but the southern portion is much dislocated ; 
and, as I have traversed the whole of it, I will 
proceed to make some remarks and corrections on 
this part of the map. 

[As these corrections are accessible to all specially 
interested, and will no doubt be made use of in 
compiling future maps of Ecuador, I omit these 
also, and pass on to a description of the map itself, 
and to the remarkable document which it illustrates.] 


The parts of the map covered with forest are 
represented by scattered trees, among which the 
following forms are easily recognisable : 

No. i is the Wax palm (Palma de Ramos of the 
Quitonians ; Ceroxylon andicola, H. et B.), which 
I have seen on Tunguragua up to 10,000 feet. 
Nos. 2 and 3 are Tree-ferns (Helechos) the former 
a Cyathea, whose trunk (sometimes 40 feet high) 
is much used for uprights in houses ; the latter an 
Alsophila with a prickly trunk, very frequent in 
the forest of Canelos about the Rio Verde. No. 4 
is the Aliso {Betula acuminata> Kunth), one of the 
most abundant trees in the Ouitonian Andes ; it 


descends on the beaches of the Pastasa to near 4000 
feet, and ascends on the paramos of Tunguragua to 
12,000. But there is one tree (represented thus ^=), 
occupying on the map a considerable range of 
altitude, which I cannot make out, unless it be 
a Podocarpus, of which I saw a single tree on 
Mount Abitagua, though a species of the same 
genus is abundant at the upper limit of the forest 
in some parts of the Western Cordillera. A large 
spreading tree is figured here and there in the 
forest of Canelos which may be the Tocte a true 
\Valnut (Juglans), with an edible fruit rather larger 
than that of the European species. The remaining 
trees represented, especially those towards the 
upper limit of the forest, are mostly too much alike 
to admit of the supposition that any particular 
species was intended by them. 


The abbreviations made use of in the map are : 
C for Cerro (mountain), Cord a for Cordillera (ridge), 
Mont" for Montana (forest), A for Arroyo (rivulet), 
L a for Laguna, and C a for Cocha (lake), Far" for 
Farallon (peak or promontory), H a for Hacienda 
(farm), and C 1 for Corral (cattle or sheep-fold). 

Mule-tracks (called by the innocent natives 
" roads ") are represented by double red lines, and 
footpaths by single lines. I have copied them by 
dotted lines. 

Having now passed in review the principal 
physical features of the district, let us return to the 
Derrotero of Valverde, of which the following is a 
translation. The introductory remark or title (not 
in very choice Castilian) is that of the copyist : 

" The ' Derrotero' or Guide to the Hidden Trea- 
sure of the Incas. Translated by Richard Spruce." 




' Placed in the town of Pillaro, ask for the farm 
of Moya, and sleep (the first night) a good distance 
above it ; and ask there for the mountain of Guapa, 


from whose top, if the day be fine, look to the east, 
so that thy back be towards the town of Ambato, 
and from thence thou shalt perceive the three 
Cerros Llanganati, in the form of a triangle, on 
whose declivity there is a lake, made by hand, into 
which the ancients threw the gold they had pre- 
pared for the ransom of the Inca when they heard 
of his death. From the same Cerro Guapa thou 
mayest see also the forest, and in it a clump of 
Sangurimas standing out of the said forest, and 
another clump which they call Flechas (arrows), and 
these clumps are the principal mark for the which 
thou shalt aim, leaving them a little on the left 
hand. Go forward from Guapa in the direction 
and with the signals indicated, and a good way 
ahead, having passed some cattle-farms, thou shalt 
come on a wide morass, over which thou must 
cross, and coming out on the other side thou shalt 
see on the left hand a short way off a jucal on a 
hill-side, through which thou must pass. Having 
got through the jucal, thou wilt see two small lakes 
called " Los Anteojos" (the spectacles), from having 
between them a point of land like to a nose. 

' From this place thou mayest again descry the 
Cerros Llanganati, the same as thou sawest them 
from the top of Guapa, and I warn thee to leave 
the said lakes on the left, and that in front of the 
point or ' nose ' there is a plain, which is the 
sleeping-place. There thou must leave thy horses, 
for they can go no farther. Following now on foot 
in the same direction, thou shalt come on a great 
black lake, the which leave on thy left hand, and 
beyond it seek to descend along the hill-side in such 
a way that thou mayest reach a ravine, down which 


comes a waterfall : and here thou shall find a bridge 
of three poles, or if it do not still exist thou shalt 
put another in the most convenient place and pass 
over it. And having gone on a little way in the 
forest, seek out the hut which served to sleep in 
or the remains of it. Having passed the night 
there, go on thy way the following day through 
the forest in the same direction, till thou reach 
another deep dry ravine, across which thou must 
throw a bridge and pass over it slowly and 
cautiously, for the ravine is very deep ; that is, if 
thou succeed not in finding the pass which exists. 
Go forward and look for the signs of another 
sleeping-place, which, I assure thee, thou canst not 
fail to see in the fragments of pottery and other 
marks, because the Indians are continually passing 
along there. Go on thy way, and thou shalt see a 
mountain which is all of margasitas (pyrites), the 
which leave on thy left hand, and I warn thee that 
thou must go round it in this fashion (9"". On 
this side thou wilt find a pajonal (pasture) in a 
small plain, which having crossed thou wilt come 
on a canon between two hills, which is the Way of 
the Inca. From thence as thou goest along thou 
shalt see the entrance of the socabon (tunnel), 
which is in the form of a church porch. Having 
come through the canon and gone a good distance 
beyond, thou wilt perceive a cascade which descends 
from an offshoot of the Cerro Llanganati and runs 
into a quaking-bog on the right hand ; and without 
passing the stream in the said bog there is much 
gold, so that putting in thy hand what thou shalt 
gather at the bottom is grains of gold. To ascend 
the mountain, leave the bog and go along to the 


right, and pass above the cascade, going round the 
offshoot of the mountain. And if by chance the 
mouth of the socabon be closed with certain herbs 
which they call ' Salvaje,' remove them, and thou 
wilt find the entrance. And on the left-hand side 
of the mountain thou mayest see the ' Guayra ' (for 
thus the ancients called the furnace where they 
founded metals), which is nailed with golden nails. 1 
And to reach the third mountain, if thou canst not 
pass in front of the socabon, it is the same thing 
to pass behind it, for the water of the lake falls 
into it. 

" If thou lose thyself in the forest, seek the river, 
follow it on the right bank ; lower down take to the 
beach, and thou wilt reach the canon in such sort 
that, although thou seek to pass it, thou wilt not 
find where ; climb, therefore, the mountain on the 
right hand, and in this manner thou canst by no 
means miss thy way." 

[Having read this remarkable document, we 
shall better understand Spruce's account of the 
various attempts to discover the treasure, the chief 
routes followed being marked by red lines.] 

With this document and the map before us, 
let us trace the attempts that have been made 
to reach the gold thrown away by the subjects of 
Atahuallpa as useless when it could no longer be 
applied to the purpose of ransoming him from the 

Pillaro is a somewhat smaller town than Ambato, 
and stands on higher ground, on the opposite side 

1 (i^u< TV sprinkled will) gi>]cl. F.i>. ] 


of the river Patate, at only a few miles' distance, 
though the journey thither is much lengthened by 
having to pass the deep quebrada of the Patate, 
which occupies a full hour. The farm of Moya still 
exists ; and the Cerro de Guapa is clearly visible to 
east -north -east from where I am writing. The 
three Llanganatis seen from the top of Guapa are 
supposed to be the peaks Margasitas, Zunchu, and 
el Volcan del Topo. The " Sangurimas " in the 
forest are described to me as trees with white 
foliage ; but I cannot make out whether they be a 
species of Cecropia or of some allied genus. The 
" Flechas " are probably the gigantic arrow-cane, 
Gynerium saccharoides (Arvore de frecha of the 
Brazilians), whose flower-stalk is the usual material 
for the Indian's arrows. 

The morass (Cienega de Cubillin), the Jucal, 1 
and the lakes called "Anteojos," with the nose of 
land between them, are all exactly where Valverde 
places them, as is also the. great black lake (Yana- 
cocha) which we must leave on the left hand. 
Beyond the lake we reach the waterfall (Cascada y 
Golpe de Limpis Pongo), of which the noise is 
described to me as beyond all proportion to the 
smallness of the volume of water. Near the water- 
fall a cross is set up with the remark underneath, 
" Muerte del Padre Longo " -this being the point 

1 Juco is the name of a tall, solid-stemmed grass, usually about 20 feet 
high, of which I have never seen the flower, but I take it to be a species of 
Gynerium, differing from G. saccharoides in the leaves being uniformly disposed 
on all sides and throughout the length of the stem, whereas in G. saccharoides 
the stem is leafless below and the leaves are distichous and crowded together 
(almost equitant) near the apex of the stem. The KICO grows exclusively in 
the temperate and cool region, from 6000 feet upwards, and is the universal 
material for laths and rods in the construction of houses in the Quitonian 


from which the expedition first spoken of regressed 
in consequence of the Padre's sudden disappearance. 
Beyond this point the climate begins to be warm ; 
and there are parrots in the forest. The deep dry 
quebrada (Ouebrada honda), which can be passed 
only at one point difficult to find, unless by throw- 
ing a bridge over it is exactly where it should be ; 
but beyond the mountain of Margasitas, which is 
shortly afterwards reached, no one has been able 
to proceed with certainty. The Derrotero directs 
it to be left on the left hand ; but the explanatory 
hieroglyph puzzles everybody, as it seems to leave 
the mountain on the right. Accordingly, nearly all 
who have attempted to follow the Derrotero have 
gone to the left of Margasitas, and have failed to 
find any of the remaining marks signalised by 
Valverde. The concluding direction to those who 
lose their way in the forest has also been followed ; 
and truly, after going along the right bank of the 
Curaray for some distance, a stream running 
between perpendicular cliffs (Canada honda y 
Rivera de los Llanganatis) is reached, which no 
one has been able to cross ; but though from this 
point the mountain to the right has been climbed, 
no better success has attended the adventurers. 

" Socabon " is the name given in the Andes to 
any tunnel, natural or artificial, and also to the 
mouth of a mine. Perhaps the latter is meant by 
Valvercle, though he does not direct us to enter it. 
The " Salvaje " which might have grown over and 
concealed the entrance of the Socabon is Tillandsia 
usneoides, which frequently covers trees and rocks 
with a beard 30 or 40 feet long. 

Comparing the map with the Derrotero, I should 


conclude the canon, "-which is the Way of the 
Inca," to be the upper part of the Rivera de los 
Llanganatis. This canon can hardly be artificial, 
like the hollow way I have seen running down 
through the hills and woods on the western side ot 
the Cordillera, from the great road of Azuay, nearly 
to the river Yaguachi. "Guayra," said by Valverde 
to be the ancient name for a smelting -furnace, is 
nowadays applied only to the wind. The conclud- 
ing clause of this sentence, "que son tachoneados de 
oro," is considered by all competent persons to be 
a mistake for "que es tachoneado de oro." 

If Margasitas be considered the first mountain 
of the three to which Valverde refers, then the 
Tembladal or Bog, out of which Valverde extracted 
his wealth, the Socabon and the Guayra are in the 
second mountain, and the lake wherein the ancients 
threw their gold in the third. 

Difference of opinion among the gold-searchers 
as to the route to be pursued from Margasitas 
would appear also to have produced quarrels, for 
we find a steep hill east of that mountain, and 
separated from it by Mosquito Narrows (Chushpi 
Pongo), called by Guzman " El Penon de las 

If we retrace our steps from Margasitas till we 
reach the western margin of Yana-cocha, w r e find 
another track branching off to northward, crossing 
the river Zapala at a point marked Salto de Cobos, 
and then following the northern shore of the lake. 
Then follow two steep ascents, called respectively 
" La Escalera " and " La Subida de Ripalda," and 
the track ends suddenly at the river coming from 
the Inca's Fountain (La Pila del Inca), with the 


remark, " Sublevacion cle los Indies- - Salto de 
Guzman," giving us to understand that the exploring 
party had barely crossed the river when the Indians 
rose against them, and that Guzman himself re- 
passed the river at a bound. These were probably 
Indians taken from the towns to carry loads and 
work the mines ; they can hardly have been of the 
nation of the Curarayes, who inhabited the river 
somewhat lower down. 

A little north and east of the Anteojos there is 
another route running a little farther northward and 
passing through the great morass of Illubamba, at 
the base of Los Mulatos, where we find marked El 
Atolladero (the Bog) cle Guzman, probably because 
he had slipped up to the neck in it. Beyond this 
the track continues north-east, and after passing the 
same stream as in the former route, but nearer to its 
source in the Inca's Fountain, there is a tambo called 
San Nicolas, and a cross erected near it marks the 
place where one of the miners met his death (Muerte 
de Romero). Another larger cross (La Cruz de 
Romero) is erected farther on at the top of a basaltic 
mountain called El Sotillo. At this point the track 
enters the Cordillera de las Margasitas, and on 
reaching a little to the east of the meridian of 
Zunchu-urcu, there is a tambo with a chapel, to which 
is appended the remark, " Destacamento de Ripalda 
y retirada per Orden Superior." Beyond the fact 
thus indicated, that one Ripalda had been stationed 
there in command of a detachment of troops, and 
had afterwards retired at the order of his superiors, 
I can give no information. 

There are many mines about this station, 
especially those of Romero just to the north, those 


of Viteri to the east, and several mines of copper 
and silver which are not assigned to any particular 
owner. Not far to the east of the Destacamento is 
another tambo, with a cross, where I find written, 
" Discordia y Consonancia con Guzman," showing 
that at this place Guzman's fellow-miners quarrelled 
with him and were afterwards reconciled. East- 
north-east from this, and at the same distance from 
it as the Destacamento, is the last tambo on this 
route, called El Sumadal, on the banks of a lake, near 
the Rio de las Flechas. Beyond that river, and 
north of the Curaray, are the river and forests of 

Another track, running more to the north than 
any of the foregoing, sets out from the village of San 
Miguel, and passes between Cotopaxi and Los 
Mulatos. Several tambos or huts for resting in 
are marked on the route, which ends abruptly near 
the Minas de Pinel (north-east from Los Mulatos), 
with the following remark by the author " Con- 
spiracion contra Conrado y su accelerado regreso," 
so that Conrado ran away to escape from a con- 
spiracy formed against him, but who he was, or who 
were his treacherous companions, it would now 
perhaps be impossible to ascertain. 

Along these tracks travelled those who searched 
for mines of silver and other metals, and also for the 
gold thrown away by the subjects of the Inca. That 
the last was their principal object is rendered obvious 
by the carefulness with which every lake has been 
sounded that was at all likely to contain the supposed 
deposit. 1 

The soundings of the lakes are in Spanish varas, each near 33 English 


The mines of Llanganati, after having been 
neglected for half a century, are now being sought 
out again with the intention of working them ; but 
there is no single person at the present day able to 
employ the labour and capital required for success- 
fully working a silver mine, and mutual confidence 
is at so low an ebb in this country that companies 
never hold together long. Besides this, the gold of 
the Incas never ceases to haunt people's memories ; 
and at this moment I am informed that a party of 
explorers who started from Tacunga imagine they 
have found the identical Green Lake of Llanganati, 
and are preparing to drain it dry. If we admit the 
truth of the tradition that the ancients smelted gold 
in Llanganati, it is equally certain that they extracted 
the precious metal in the immediate neighbourhood ; 
and if the Socabon of Valverde cannot at this day 
be discovered, it is known to every one that gold 
exists at a short distance, and possibly in consider- 
able quantity, if the Ecuacloreans would only take 
the trouble to search for it and not leave that task 
to the wild Indians, who are content if, by scooping 
up the gravel with their hands, they can get together 
enough gold to fill the quill which the white man 
has given them as the measure of the value of the 
axes and lance-heads he has supplied to them on 

The gold region of Canelos begins on the 
extreme east of the map of Guzman, in streams rising 
in the roots of Llanganati and flowing to the Pastasa 
and Curaray, 1 the principal of which are the Bom- 
bonasa and Villano. These rivers and their smaller 
tributaries have the upper part of their course in 

1 The name Curaray itself may l>e <l<Ti\vl from ''am," i^'ild. 


deep ravines, furrowed in soft alluvial sandstone 
rock, wherein blocks and pebbles of quartz are inter- 
spersed, or interposed in distinct layers. Towards 
their source they are obstructed by large masses of 
quartz and other rocks ; but as we descend the 
stones grow fewer, smaller, and more rounded, until 
towards the mouth of the Bombonasa, and thence 
throughout the Pastasa, not a single stone of the 
smallest size is to be found. The beaches of the 
Pastasa consist almost entirely of powdered pumice 
brought down from the volcano Sangay by the river 
Palora. When I ascended the Bombonasa in the 
company of two Spaniards who had had some 
experience in mining, we washed for gold in the 
mouth of most of the rivulets that had a gravelly 
bottom, as also on some beaches of the river itself, 
and never failed to extract a few fragments of that 
metal. All these streams are liable to sudden and 
violent floods. I once saw the Bombonasa at Puca- 
yacu, where it is not more than 40 yards wide, rise 
1 8 feet in six hours. Every such flood brings down 
large masses of loose cliff, and when it subsides 
(which it generally does in a few hours) the Indians 
find a considerable quantity of gold deposited in the 
bed of the stream. 

The gold of Canelos consists almost solely of 
small particles (called "chispas," sparks), but as 
the Indians never dig down to the base of the wet 
gravel, through which the larger fragments of gold 
necessarily percolate by their weight, it is not to be 
wondered at that they rarely encounter any such. 
I 'wo attempts have been made, by parties of 
Frenchmen, to work the gold-washings of Canelos 

<j o 

.systematically. One of them failed in consequence 


of a quarrel which broke out among the miners 
themselves and resulted in the death of one of 
them. In the other, the river (the Lliquino) rose 
suddenly on them by night and carried off their 
canoes (in which a quantity of roughly-washed gold 
was heaped up), besides the Long Tom and all their 
other implements. 

I close this memoir by an explanation of the 
Ouichua terms which occur most frequently on the 

Spanish authors use the vowels it and o almost indiscriminately 
in writing Quichua names, although the latter sound does not 
exist in that language ; and in some words which have become 
grafted on the Spanish, as spoken in Peru and Ecuador, the o has 
supplanted the it not only in the orthography but in the actual 
pronunciation, as, for instance, in Pongo and Cocha, although the 
Indians still say "Chimbu-rasu," and not "Chimborazo " "Cutu- 
pacsi " or "Cutu-pagsi," and not "Cotopaxi." The sound of the 
English w is indicated in Spanish by gu or //// ; that of the French 
j does not exist in Spanish, and is represented by //, whose 
sound is somewhat similar; thus "Lligua" is pronounced "Jiwa." 
" Llanganati" is now pronounced with the Spanish sound of the 
//, but whether this be the original mode is doubtful. An un- 
accented terminal e (as in Spanish "verde") is exceedingly rare in 
Indian languages, and has mostly been incorrectly used for a 
short /; thus, if we wish to represent the exact pronunciation, we 
should write "Casiquiari," "Ucayali," and " Llanganati " not 
Casiquiare, Ucayale, Llanganate. 

"Llanganati" may come from "llanga," to touch, because the 
group of mountains called by that name touches on the sources of 
the rivers all round ; thus, on (In/man's map, we find "Llanganatis 
del Rio Verde "" Llanganatis del Topo " "Llanganatis del 
Curaray," for those suctions of the group which respectively touch 
on the Rio Verde, the Topo, and the Curaray. The following are 
examples of the mode of using the verb "llanga." " Ama llan- 
gaiclm !" -"'Touch it not!" "Imap;ig llanca"ngui ? " -"Why do 
you touch it"; or " Pitag llancaynirca ? " -"Who told you to 
touch it?" And the answer might be " Llancanatag chari c;irca 
]lancarc;im." "[Thinking] it might be touched, I touched it/' 

It is to be noted that the frequent use of the letter^, in place 
of c, is a provincialism of the Ouitonian Andes, where (for 
instance) they mostly say "Inga" instead of "Inc;i." But in 


Maynas the c is used almost to the exclusion of the g; thus 
"yiirag," white, and "pftag," who, are pronounced respectively 
" yurac " and " pitac " in Maynas. 

"Tunguragua" seems to come from "tungiiri," the ankle-joint, 
which is a prominence certainly, though scarcely more like the 
right-angled cone of Tunguragua than the obtuse-angled cone of 
Cotopaxi is like a wen ("coto " or "cutu"). 

Of the termination "agua" (pron. "awa") I can give no 

"Cungiiri," in Quichua, is the knee; thus an Indian would say 
" Tunguri-manta cunguli-cama llustirishcani urmashpa," i.e. "In 
falling ('urmdshpa') I have scrubbed off the skin from the ankle 
to the knee." 

Among rustics of mixed race, whose language partakes almost 
as much of Quichua as of Spanish, it is common to hear such 
expressions as " De tunguri a cunguri es una cola llaga."- "From 
the ankle to the knee is a continuous sore." 

The following words occur repeatedly on the map : 

"Ashpa" (in Maynas "Allpa"), earth. " Urcu," mountain. 
" Rumi," stone. " Cocha (cucha)," lake. 

"Yacu," river. "Ucsha," grass or grassy "place ("Pajonal," 
Sp.). " P6ngo (pungu)," door or narrow entrance. 

"Ciichu," corner. "U'ma,"head. " Paccha," cataract. 

"Curi," gold. "Ciilqui," silver. "Alqufmia," copper. 
"Ushpa," ashes. 

"Chiri," cold. "Yunga,'' warm, from which the Spaniards 
have formed the diminutive " Yungiiilla," warmish, applied to 
many sites where the sugar-cane begins to flourish. 

"Yiirag," white. "Yana," black. "Puca," red. "Quilla," 

"I'shcai," two; ex. " I'shcai-guauqui," the Two Brothers, a 
cloven peak to the east of Los Mulatos. "Chunga," ten; ex. 
"Chunga-uma," a peak with ten points, a little to south of "Ishcai- 
guauqui." "Parca," double; thus a hill which seems made up of 
two hills united is called "Parca-urcu." 

" An gas," a hawk. " Ambatu," a kind of toad. 

" Sacha," forest. "Caspi," tree. "Yiiras," herb. "Qui'nua," 
the "Chenopodium Quinoa," cultivated for its edible seed. 
"Puji'n," hawthorn (various species of Crat?egus) ; thus "Montana 
de Pujines,'' Hawthorn Forest; " Cerro Pujin el chico," Little 
Hawthorn-hill. "Cubiliin," a sort of Lupine, found only on the 
highest paramos. It gives its name to a long ridge of the Eastern. 
Cordillera, mostly covered with snow, extending from Condorasto 
and El Altar towards Sangay. "Totorra," a large bulrush from 
which mats are made; hence "Totorral," a marsh full of bul- 
rushes. "Sara,"' maize. 

" T6po " is the name given in Maynas to the Raft-wood trees, 


species of Ochroma (of the N.O. Bombacese). They begin to be 
found as soon as we reach a hot climate, say from 3000 feet 
elevation downwards. 

"Rundu," sleet; thus '' Rundu-uma," Sleety Head. " Rasu " 
is snow, and occurs in " Chimbu-rasu," " Caraguai-rasu " (Car- 
guairago), and many other names. The vulgar name for snow as 
it falls is " Papa-cara," i.e. potato peelings. 

" Pucara " indicates the site of a hill-fort of the Incas, of which 
a great many are scattered through the Quitonian Andes. 


The preceding account of the various routes of 
the gold-seekers among the Llanganati Mountains 
leads to the conclusion that only the earliest that 
led by the Corregidor of Tacunga and the friar 
Padre Longo made any serious attempt to follow 
the explicit directions of the " Guide," since the 
others departed from it so early in the journey as 
the great black lake " Yana Cocha," going to the 
left instead of to the right of it. No doubt they 
were either deceived by Indian guides who assured 
them that they knew an easier way, or went in 
search of rich mines rather than of buried treasure. 
The first party, however, and those who afterwards 
followed it, kept to the route, as clearly described, to 
the sleeping-place beyond the deep ravine where 
Padre Longo was lost ; but beyond this point they 
went wrong by crossing the river, and thus leaving 
the district of the three volcanoes, which twice at 
the beginning of the " Guide" are indicated as the 
locality of the treasure. 

Although no route to these mountains is marked 
on the map, Spruce tells us that other parties did 

VOL. II 2 L 


take the proper course, and found the " deep dry 
ravine " (marked on the map as " Quebrada honda "), 
and after it the mountain of Margasitas ; but here 
they were all puzzled by the. " Guide " directing 
them to leave the mountain on their left while the 
hieroglyph seems to leave it on the right, and fol- 
lowing this latter instruction they have failed after- 
wards to find any of the other marks given by 
Valverde in his " Guide." Spruce himself suggests 
that the upper part of the Rivera de los Llanganatis 
(which is outside the portion of the map here given) 
is the " way of the Inca " referred to in the " Guide." 
But this is going quite beyond the area of the three 
mountains, so clearly stated as the objective of the 
" Guide." 

It seems to me, however, that there is really no 
contradiction between the " Guide " and the map, 
and that the route so clearly pointed out in the 
former has not yet been thoroughly explored to its 
termination, as I will now endeavour to show. 
After crossing the deep dry ravine (" Quebrada 
honda " of the map), we are directed to "go forward 
and look for the signs of another sleeping-place." 
Then, the next day " Go on thy way, and thou 
shalt see a mountain which is all of margasitas, the 
which leave on thy left hand." But looking at the 
map we shall see that the mountain will now be on 
the right hand, supposing we have gone on in the 
same direction as before, crossing the deep ravine. 
The next words, however, explain this apparent 
contradiction : they are " and I warn thee that 
thou must go round it in this fashion," with the ex- 
planatory hieroglyph, which, if we take the circle to 
be the mountain and the right-hand termination of 



the curve the point already reached, merely implies 
that you are to turn back and ascend the mountain 
in a winding course till you reach the middle of the 
south side of it. So far you have been going through 
forest, but now you are told " On this side thou 
wilt find a pajonal (pasture) in a small plain " (show- 
ing that you have reached a considerable height), 
" which having crossed thou wilt come on a canon 
between two hills, which is the way of the Inca." 
This canon is clearly the upper part of the " Chushpi 
pongo," while the " Encanado de Sacha pamba " is 
almost certainly the beginning of the " way of the 
Inca." The explorers will now have reached the 
area bounded by the three volcanoes of the " Guide " 
-the Margasitas will be behind them, Zunchu- 
urcu on his right, and the great volcano Topo in 
front, and it is from this point only that they will be 
in a position to look out for the remaining marks of 
the " Route" -the socabon or tunnel " in the form 
of a church porch," and evidently still far above them, 
the cascade and the quaking -bog, passing to the 
right of which is the way to " ascend the mountain," 
going " above the cascade " and " round the offshoot 
of the mountain " to reach the socabon. Then you 
will be able to find the Guayra (or furnace), and to 
reach the "third mountain," which must be the 
Topo, you are to pass the socabon " either in front 
or behind it, for the water of the lake falls into it." 
This evidently means the lake mentioned in the 
first sentence of the "Guide" as being the place 
where the gold prepared for the ransom of the Inca 
was hidden. The last sentence of the " Guide " 
refers to what must be done if you miss the turning 
shown by the hieroglyph, in which case you have 


to follow the river-bank till you come to the canon 
(on the map marked " Chushpi pongo "), up the right- 
hand side of which you must climb the mountain, 
"and in this manner thou canst by no means miss 
thy way " ; which the map clearly shows, since it 
leads up to the " Encanado," which is shown by the 
other and more easy route to be the " way of the 


I submit, therefore, that the "Guide" is equally 

minute and definite in its descriptions throughout, 

that it agrees everywhere with Guzman's map, and 

that, as it is admitted to be accurate in every detail 

for more than three-fourths of the whole distance, 

there is every probability that the last portion is 

equally accurate. It will, of course, be objected that, 

if so, why did not Guzman himself, who made the 

map, also complete the exploration of the route and 

make the discovery ? That, of course, we cannot 

tell ; but many reasons may be suggested as highly 

probable. Any such exploration of a completely 

uninhabited region must be very costly, and is 

always liable to fail near the end from lack of food, 

or from the desertion of the Indian porters when 

there was doubt about the route. Guzman had 

evidently been diverted from the search by what 

seemed the superior promise of silver and gold 

mines, from which he may have hoped to obtain 

wealth enough to carry out the other expedition 

with success. This failing, he apparently returned 

home, and may have been endeavouring to obtain 

recruits and funds for anew effort when his accidental 

death occurred. 

It is to be noted that beyond the point where the 
hieroglyph puzzled all the early explorers there is a 


complete absence of detail in Guzman's map, which 
contains nothing that might not have been derived 
from observations made from the heights north of 


the river, and from information given by wandering 

It is also to be noted that only four sleeping-places 
are mentioned in the " Guide," so that the whole 
journey occupied five days. The last of the four 
sleeping-places is before reaching the spot where 
the path turns back round the Margasitas Mountain, 
so that the whole distance from this place to the 
" lake made by hand ' must be less than twenty 
miles, a distance which would take us to the nearer 
slopes of the great Topo Mountain. In this part of 
the route the marks given in the " Guide " are so 
many and so well-defined that it cannot be difficult 
to follow them, especially as the path indicated 
seems to be mostly above the forest-region. 

For the various reasons now adduced, I am con- 
vinced that the " Route " of Valverde is a genuine 
and thoroughly trustworthy document, and that by 
closely following the directions therein given, it may 
still be possible for an explorer of means and energy, 
with the assistance of the local authorities, to solve 
the interesting problem of the Treasure of the Incas. 
The total distance of the route, following all its 
sinuosities, cannot exceed ninety or a hundred miles 
at most, fully three-fourths of which must be quite 
easy to follow, while the remainder is very clearly 
described. Two weeks would therefore suffice for 
the whole expedition. 

I have written this in the hope that some one who 
speaks Spanish fluently, has had some experience 


of the country, and is possessed of the necessary 
means, may be induced to undertake this very in- 
teresting and even romantic piece of adventurous 
travel. To such a person it need be but a few 
months' holiday. 


AHACATE, AGUACATE. An oily fruit ; cats fond of it ; good for epilepsy. 
ABILLA, JABILLA. A twiner with large seeds producing a bitter oil for 

lamps on the Huallaga river. 
ACARICUARA. Swartzia callistemon. Curious perforated trunks ; a dye 

from the bark. 
AGUACATE. A tree (undetermined) of the fruit of which cats and many wild 

animals are very fond. It is very nutritious, and the seeds produce an 

oil very similar to that of olives. 
AJAR I. Tephrosia toxicaria (Legummosre). 
ALCORNOQUES (cork trees). Curatella Americana. 
ALHEA. A village. 
ALGARROBO (Venez.)=JuTAHi (Braz. ). Hymenrea sp. (Leg.). Fruit a 

remedy in asthma ; seeds give a fine varnish ; and incense. 
ANAPE. The Jacana, a long-toed water-fowl (Parra Jacana). 
\\ \PK-YAPONA. Victoria regia (Nymphreacete). Jacana's oven. 
ANDIROBA OIL. From Carapa Gitianeiisis (Meliacese). 
ANC.KLIM. Andira sp. An excellent timber-tree. 
ANIL. Indigofera anil. Produces blue colour used in painted cuya>. 
Ai'iRAX(.;A. A fruit. Mcitriria A piranha (Melastomacece). 
AK APART (tree). Fine wood for cabinet work, but small (A \nnclta gt< iaiu nsis), 
ARK' t 'A. An acid berry. Psidinni m'ati/'clium (Myrtacerc). 
ARTIM.I rui'. A branch of the Trombetas river. 
ARVORE I>E CHAPETE. Gnstavia Brasilu-ns/s. 
AsSAl. A drink from fruit of Euterpe oleracea (Palmaceae). 

BACAISA. < Knocarpus sp. (Palmacese). Fruits yield a nutritious drink or food. 

I'.ACUARI-ASSU. Plaliniii insi^nis (( 'lusiacc;i:). ICdible fruit. 

BAUNA. Root of a climber (Menispermacese), called also " maniocca acu " 
(great mandiocca), larger and more poisonous than mandiucca, but 
makes equally good farinha and cakes, and is much used on the I'urus 
and Upper Amazon (see vol. i. p. 215). 

I'.l ACK l'I I ' II. Clusiar, , . 

BOGA-IK;A (I'eru), CAIWA (Maynas). Cucurbitaceix\ A gourd with seeds 

of an extraordinary rectangular shape. 
BOMBONAJE. Carludovica sp. (Pandanacese). Leaves used for making 

Panama hats. 

P>ur.o IIRANCO. White pitch. Icica sp. 
I>RI'SCA (\CIKV.). Cassia ivcidiitlalis. ]5itter root; good in fevers. 

1 This list comprises all the names I have met with in Spruce's Journals ami MSS. They 
may b useful to other explorers or collectors. Eu. 



CAAPI. Banisteria caapi (Malpighiacere). An intoxicant. 

CAARURU. Podostemon sp. Used for food by the Indians ; ashes give salt. 

CAATINGA. Low forest white forest. 

CACHIMBO. A pipe. 

CADI. Phytelephus sp. (Palmaceae). Vegetable Ivory nut. 

CAIMBE. Curatella Americana (Dilleniacese). 

CAJU ( = MEREY, Venez. ). Anacardiuni occidentaJe. Cashew nut. 

CAPOEIRAS. Second growth woods, on deserted farms, etc., in virgin forest. 

CARAIPE. Licania sp. (Chrysobalanere). Pottery tree. 

CARAJURU. Bignonia chica. A red dye. 

CARAJURU PIRANGA. Bignonia sp. Produces red colour for cuyas. 

CARANA. Manritia carana (Palmacepe). 

CARANAf. Manritia aculeata (Palmaceae). 

CAKAPANAS (L.G. ). Mosquitoes. 

CARIAQUITO. Lantana Camara. Leaves, root, and flowers medicinal. 

CARIBE (Braz. ). Cassava beer, on the Rio Negro. 

CARIZA. A musical pipe. 

CARTELHANA. Yangua tinctoria (Spruce). Gives a dye like that of indigo. 

CASCARIA. Samydacese. 

CASTANHA (Port. ). Bertholletia excelsa. Brazil-nut tree. 

CAURE. Perhaps Kyllinga odorata, from the roots of which a scented water 

is distilled by the Indians. 
CAXIRI (L.G.). Mandiocca beer. 
CEDAR. Icica sp. (Amyridacere). On the Amazon. 

,, Phyllanthus sp. (Euphorbiacete). Quito. 

CHICHA (Ven.). Cassava beer. 
COCA. Erythoxylon coca. 
Cocui. Agave sp. Root diuretic. 
COCURA. Pourouma sp. (Artocarpere). Edible fruit. 
COROZITO. Tree at Maypures. 

CORUSI-CAA. Calocophylium coccineum (Rubiaceze). Sun-leaf. Very hand- 
some flower-bracts. 

COW-TREE. Mimusops sp. (Sapotacere). Produces wholesome milk. 
,, Callophora sp. (Apocynacere). Produces wholesome milk. 

,, Loureira sp. (Euphorbiacete). Vields milk. 

CUIARK. Elais melanococca (Palm). Oil-producing. 

CUMAI, CuMA-AfU. Callophora (Apocynacece). Cow-trees. 

CUMANDA-ACU. Campsiandra laurifolia (Leg. ). Beans grated used as an 

CUM ART. Dipteryx odorata (Leguminosre). Tonga bean, scent. 

CUMARU-RANA. Andira oblonga (Leg.). 

CUMATI. Myrcia sp. (hb. 1916) (Myrtaceae). Bark gives a varnish used on 

CUNAMBI. Icthyothera cnnambi (Composite). Roots used to stupefy fish. 

CuNUCO (Ven.). Mandiocca field in Venezuela. 

CUNURJ. EuphorbiaceK. Seeds give an edible oil. 

CUPANA (Ven.). Panllinia cupana (Sapindacece). An intoxicant. 

Cui'A-rr.A. Copal/era Martii (Leg.). Yields balsam capivi. 

CUPIM. Termites, white ants. 

CUPU-ASSU. Theobroma sp. Pulp of fruit eatable. 

CURAU.i. Bromelia Karat as (Bromeliacere). Leaf fibres used in making 

CURUA. Attalea spectabilis (Palmacere). 

CUSPARIA = CHUSPA. Galipea sp. Bark tonic and febrifuge. 


CUYAS. Calabash basins. 

CUYEIRA. Crescentia sp. Calabash tree. 

EHEN (Yen.). A minute biting fly. 
ESPIA (Braz.). A cable. 

< '.AMALOTES. Panicum sp. Grasses in the Cinchona forests. 

GAPO (L.G.). The flooded banks of rivers. 

GENIPAPA. Genipa Americana (Cinchonaceae). Fruit gives a black dye. 

Gi'ACO. Mikania sp. Supposed antidote to 

GUAJARA. Lucuma sp. (Sapotacess). Cooked fruits eatable. 

GUANABANO. Anona nntricata. Said to be a powerful remedy in bilious 

fevers, dysentery, etc. 
GUARANA. Paullinia cufana, stimulant from seeds of. 

HOBO=Jovo. Same as Tapiriba (?.?'.). 

ICARAPK (L.G.). A small stream. 

IMBAUBA. Cecropia sp. Small white-leaved trees. 

INAJA. Maximiliana regia. A lofty palm. 

IN<;A (L.G. ). Inga sp. (Mimosece). Small trees, produce varnish. 

IPADU (L.G. ). Erythroxylon coca (Erythroxylacese). Leaves stimulant. 

IRAPAI. Carludovica sp. (Pandanacere). Peru. 

ITA-I'HA. Acrodiclidium sp. (Lauracene). Stone tree, hard wood, finely 


1 1 CA, ITUAN. Gnetinn sp. Fibre makes strong fishing-lines. 
I r. Astrocaryum acaule (Palmaceoe). 

JACITARA (L. G.). Desmoncus mafroafanthus. A climbing palm. 

JAPURA, VAPURA. Erisma jahira (Vochysiacese). 

JARA. Leopoklinia sp. Small graceful palms. 

JARARACA-TUYA. Dracontium sp. (Aracea 1 ). Stems snake-like. 

JAUACAN \. Epeira falcata (Cresalpinia;). Infusion of bark good for ague. 

(ATARI (L.G.). Astrocaryum /anari. A tall prickly palm. 

Jn.AKA. Narrow strips or planks of shell of palms. 

I' i'\i i. Rhaphiatadigera. A short-stemmed but noble palm with immense 


TTRKPARI (L.G.). Devil or demon of the Indians. 
JI'TAHI. Hymense sp. (Kabaccte), Algaroba (Venez. ), edible. 

LAUREL AMAKIJ.I.O. Ocotca cymbaruiu (I.auracea;). 

LECHEROTE. Asck-piadea? A twiner, with sweet, milky, wholesome juice, 
useful in coughs. 

M MI. i:\xiii i;\. Mimusops sp. (Sapindaceae). The Para cow-tree. 

MAUA.IA. Kaftri* in,u;i/,i. Small palm ; fruit edible. 

M \i: \v\. .l-livfaryitm amlca/inn I I'ahnaceie). 

M \UIMA. Trees producing eatable griilis. 

M \SUTO. Fermented yucas. 

MATINHO. Second growth forest. 

M \ ro VIRGEM (Port.). Virgin forest. 

M \YACA, MAHICA. Mayacace;e. Small bog plants. 

M \\ \ \s. A province of N.E. I'rru. 


MIRA PIXUNA. Swartzia grandijiora (Cresalpiniae). Black wood. 

MIRITI. Palms of the genus Mauritia. 

MONKEY-PODS. Pithecolobium (Mimosere). 

MOSQUITO (Span.). Sand-flies, etc. 

MUCUIN. A small red tick. 

MUCUJA. Acrocomia lasiospatha. Palm with eatable fruit. 

MULATTO TREE. Enkylista Spniceana (Cinchonacere). 

MULONGO. Hancornia laxa (Apocynaceae). Cork wood. 

MUMBACA. Astrocaryiim miunbaca. Palm ; fruit eatable. 

MURIKITICA. A climber. Stem gives drinkable water. 

MURIXI. Byrsonima Poppigiana (Malpighiaceos). Bark for tanning. 

MURUMURU. Astrocaryuni imtnii/iurii. Palm ; very spiny. Cattle eat 

the fruit. 

MURURE. Floating plants. 
MUTUCA. Small biting flies. 

NAMAU. Carica Papaya (Papayaceee). The Papaw ; fruit eatable. 
NIOPO (Ven.). Piptadenia Niopo. 

OANANI. Moronoboea sp. (Clusiacea;). Black pitch. 

OCUMO. . Arum sp. Powder used in asthma; root contains half its bulk of 
fine starch. 

PAACUA-RAXA. Urania sp. An edible root. 

PAc6vA. Musa sapienti(E (Musacese). Plantain fruit. 

PACOVA-SOROROCA. Alpinia Paco-seroca (Jacq. ). Gives a purple dye, not 


PAJA MANIBA. Cassia occidentalis. Root bitter ; good in fevers. 
PAJUARU. Mandiocca beer, also called "caxiri." 

PAO D' ARCO. Tecoma sp. Bows and cigar-holders made of this wood. 
PAO DE LACRE. Vismia giiianensis (Hypericacere). Yields sealing-wax. 
PAO MULATTO. Enkylista Spniceana (Cinchonacese). 
PAPAW. Carica Papaya (Papayacere). A fruit. 
PARANA-MIRI. Side channels of the Amazon, small rivers. 
1' M:ATURI. Lauracece. Hard wood, on Upper Orinoco. 
PARICA (L.G. ). Piptadenia Niopo (Mimosea.-). Seeds make snuff. 
]' \i\\v.\. OLnocarpns fiat aw a (Palm). Spines of leaf-stems used to make 

arrows for blowing-canes. 
PAXK'DA. Iriartea cxorhiza (Palmacese). 

I'AXit'KA-i. Iriartea setigera (Palm). Stem used for blowing-canes. 
I'IASSAHA. Leopolilinia piassaba (Palmacece). 
PIHIGUA. Eatable grub. 
PINDOBA. Attalea compta (Palmacene). 

PlQUlA. Caryocar sp. (Rhizobolacese). Fruit with kernels like almonds. 
PIKAXHA-SIPO. A climber yielding drinkable water. 
PIRARUCU. Sudis gigas. A large fish. When salted, a chief food on the 


PlRI-MEMBECKA. Paspaluin pyrainidale (GraminaceK). 
PlTOMHA. Sapindits ccrasiinis (Sapindacece). Edible fruit. 
PIUM (L.G.). Small biting flies. 

IVriMiA. (iu/'/i, ///i,[ speciosa (Palmacere). Peach palm. 
PURU-PURU (L.G.). A leprous skin disease. 
PUSKU-POROTO. A shrub with edible fruit (Papilionacere) cultivated in 

Tarapoto district.' 


RAIZ DE MATO. Aristolochia sp. A powerful tonic. 

RETAMA. Thevetia neriifolia (Apocynacece), Fruit eatable ; seeds used for 

SAMAI'MA. Eriodendron sp. (Sterculiacere). The Silk-cotton tree. 
SAPUCAIA. Lecythis sp. Good ship timber. 

TABATINGA. White earth, used in painting cuyas. 

TABOCAL. A bamboo thicket. 

TACUARI. Mabca fistiilosa (Euphorbiace). Stems make pipe-tubes. 

TAMACOARI. Caraipa sp. ? Produces a fine balsam ; specific for itch. 

TAMSHE. A liana used in the Andes. 

TAPIIKA GUAYABA. Bellucia sp. (Melastomacere). A fruit. 

TAPIRIBA. Manriajnglandifolia (Anacardiacese). A fruit, bark medicinal. 

TAPUYAS. Indians semi-civilised. 

TAUARf. Bark cloth. Tecoma sp. (Bignoniacese). 

TERRA FIRME. Dry land, above floods. 

TlMBO. Paitllinia pinnata (Sapindacese). Roots used to stupefy fish. 

TIMBO-TITICA. Heteropsis sp. Shields of Uaupes Indians made of this wood. 

TRAGO (Barre). Native spirit, in the Rio Negro. 

TU^HAUA (L.G.). The chief of an Indian tribe. 

TUCU.M. Astrocaryum vulgare (Palmace?e). 

TUCUMA. Astrocaryum tiiciuua (Palmacese). 

TUCUNDERA (L.G.). The large severely stinging ant. 

Tupf. Indians who speak Lingoa Geral. 

TURURI. Thick bark cloth. 

UACU. LeguminoscE. Produces a bitter oil from seeds. 

UARAMA. Marantaceoe. An edible root. 

UARCA. Marantacere. An edible root. 

UARUMA. Maranta sp. Leaves used in making mats, baskets, etc. 

UAUASSI''. Attalea speciosa. Palmacea.'. 

UBA, UBADA. Large dug-out canoes. 

UBIM. Geonoma sp. Small forest palms. 

("IUTSSU. Manicaria M(V//<';v (I'almarcLi;). 

UCU-M'.A. Myrixti',-,1 fiitiin (MyriMicacese). Fruit very oily. 

UlRA (L. G. ). Gyncriiiin saffharoides (Granime;v). Wild cane, much used 

in native houses in the Andes, and for arrows, etc. 

UIRARI-RANA. Shychiiox 1 '-nisil i.nsis (Loganiacece). A fruit, edil.K . 
UMARI. Poraqueiba sp. Kernel eaten after steeping in water. 
UMIKI. Humirium sp. Edible fruit. 
UNI-KINI. P>ignonia? Roots cure for ophthalmia. 
URUHT. The Turkey-bux/.nrd : a black vulture. 

URUBU MARACAJA. y'?v.v///c;w /nliil.l, fruit Of. 

URI i ['. /;i.\,i orellana (Flacourtiacese). Anatto, a dye. 
I i , i-UKi'. Altalea excelsa (Palmacea-). The fruit is burnt to smoke india- 

UKUPK. An edible agaric at Para. 

VIJAU. iVaranta I'ijaii, Leaves used for making lids of baskets water- 
proof (on Pastasa river). 

XERINGUE. Siphonia sp. (l-'.uphoibiaceaj). India-rubber trees. 
XlRiriiA. A tree at Tarapoto (Uchpa chillca), the ashes of which make the 
best lye for soap. 


Y \( ITARA. Desmoncus. Climbing palms. 

VANGUA. Yangua tinctoria (Bignoniacerc). Leaves produce a blue dye ; 

bark a remedy for syphilis. 

YEMPAPA. Genipa macrophylla (Cinchonaceje). A fruit. 
VUMURA CEEMI. Clusiace?e. Sweet tree. 
YUTAHI. Hymenrea sp. , Peltogyne sp. (Fabaceoe). Seeds edible. 

ZAMBO. A negro and Indian half-breed. 

ZANAHOVIA. An edible root, like parsnips ; near our carrot (Daucus 

ZANCUDOS. Mosquitoes. 

NOTE. The following terms also occur in Spruce's Journals or Notes, but 
I have been able to find no explanation of them : 

CAMAZAS (in Venezuela). 



RONDIN (see vol. ii. p. 114). 





ABITAGUA mountain, ii. 146 ; mosses 
on, ii. 147 ; second visit to, ii. 1 68 
Abolboda pnlchella, i. 469 
ABUTA, ii. 280 
Acacia Farncsiana, ii. 338 
Acacia paniculata, i. 83 
ACACIAS, ii. 236 
ACALYPHA. ii. 280 

ACANTHACE.^E, ii. 246, 290 
ACHIMENES, ii. 290 
A \\\ KOPHORI, ii. 288 

. /< null, liiliitin Itauba, i. 160 
AcROSTirm MS, i. 304 
ADKI.A.N i urs, ii. 100 
Adcnaria /'iir/'iirata, ii. 285 
ADIAN rUM, ii. 291 

/KCHMKA, ii. 240 

.F.cii'iiii.A, i. 467 
AKRIAI. roots, i. 24 
AGOYAN, bridge of, ii. 163 
AGI M ATAI., port of, ii. 306 
Ai.U'sl, the Cinchona forests of, ii. 
229 ; village, ii. 234 ; windy, ii, 

Ai i IIKMII.I.A, ii. 181 

ALDINA, i. 422 

Aliiiihi /iitifi'Hn, i. 291 

ALGARROBO in desert, ii. 335, 336 

A i LAMANDA, i. 468 

Au. i<; \ it IK, visit of, i. 89; and 

snake, ii. 1 18 
AI.I.ICA M IR pear, attractive t< cats, 

etc., ii. 376 

Al.I.KiATciRS, i. 170, 177, 239 

ALLPA-YACU river, ii. 145 
AI.NUS, ii. 182 

ALPINE vegetation, fine, ii. 264 
AI.PINIA, i. 47 


ALSOPHILA, i. 47, ii. 291 


AMAIOXA, ii. 396 

Aittaiona saccifera, ii. 396 

Aincinita nniscaria, ii. 429 

AMARANTACEA, desert, ii. 334 

AM \RANTACE.-E, ii. 283 

Amasona genipoidcs, i. 469 

AMAZON, in the, i. 59 ; and Rio 
Negro, contrasts of, i. 504 ; cause 
of banks falling, i. 505 ; grass - 
islands of, i. 506 

AMAZON stones, ii. 464 

AMAZONIA, regrets England not hav- 
ing it, ii. 217 

AMAZONIAN villages, how formed, i. 
476 ; vegetation, ii. 343 

A MBATO, description of, ii. 186; winds 
and sand-drifts of, ii. 189 ; healthi- 
ness of, ii. 190 : pleasant society 
at, ii. 2OO ; to Alausi, ii. 229; to 
the forests, ii. 263 

Ambrosia peruviana, ii. 340 

AMOTAPE, aspect of, ii. 335 

AMYKIDKA, i. 304 

A\ M \IA r i A, i. 382 

Aw \KMIM, i. 229 

Anacardium giganteum, i. 400 

Anacardium occidentale t i. 66 

.liiiit'iir.Uitin S/rn,, -ailKDl, i. 237 

AN MM i is, ii. 291 

AM 5TROS MM-., ii. 286 

A.NDKS, first view of, ii. ii ; seen 
from Puca-yacu, ii. 127; sharp 
division of cliniales, ii. 264 

. //i///rir (>/i/,i;/^<i, i. 161 

ANDDAS village, ii. 111-13; 
of, ii. 114 

ANDRI \PK i ALA, i. 291 







AXEIMIA, ii. 50 

ANEURA, i. 383 

ANGURI/E, ii. 280 

ANIMAL sounds on Amazon, i. 168 ; 

migrations, ii. 363 

ANNUALS on rocks of Atabapo, i. 452 
Auomospcrinum Schoinbiirgkii, i. 338 
ANONA, ii. 282 
ANTHOCEROS, ii. 100 
ANTHURIUM, ii. 277 
ANTOMBOS, hacienda at, ii. 162 
ANT- AGENCY in plant-structure, ii. 

ANTS, at Marana, i. 453 ; and wasps, 

ii. 69-70 ; migrating, ii. 370 
ANTS' nests, i. 33 ; plants growing 

on, i. 33 

ANT-STINGS, effect of, i. 362 
Apeiba Tiboinbon, i. 468 
AI'OCYNEA, ii. 335 
APTANDRA, i. 335 
AQUATIC plants, i. 55 
ARALIACEA, ii. 265 
ARENAL of the Pastasa, vegetation 

of, ii. 159 
ARIPECURU river, i. 87, 103 ; first 

cataract, i. 90, 99 
ARISTIDA, ii. 340 
ARISTOLOCHI^:, ii. 287 
ARC-IDS, i. 32 

Arrabidua carichamnsis, i. 467 
Arrabidica Chica, var. thyrsoidea, 

i. 468 

An-abiii'Fft in^qnalis, i. 422 
ARTANTIIE, i. 6, ii. 283 
" As BARKEIKAS," i. 176 
Asdepias citrassavica, ii. 301 
ASPIDIUM, ii. 291 
A^I'IDOSPERMA, i. 433, 468 
ASPLENIA, ii. 205 

ASPLENIUM, ii. 291 

ASTRAGALUS, ii. 264 


Astrocaryum Jauari (fig.), i. 151 

Astrocaryiuii Mitmbaca (fig.), i- 155 

ASTROPHKA, ii. 301 

ATLANTIC and Pacific watershed, ii. 


ATROPA, ii. 233 
ATTALEA, i. 25, ii. 5, 278 
. [tlalea coinpta, \. 66 
Attalea speciosa, i. 176, 182 
Averrhoa Biliinbi, ii. 316 

AZOLLA, i. Ill, 506 

Azolla Magellanica, ii. 291 

AZORELLA, ii. 231 

BACABA, i. 223 
BACTRIS, i. 99, 452, ii. 3, 278 
BADULA, i. 433 
BALSAM CAPIVI tree, i. 161 
BAMBOO at Maypures, i. 457 
BANCROFT on medicine-men, ii. 433 
Banisteria Caapi, ii. 414, 421 
BANGS, arrival at, ii. 163 ; situation 
of, ii. 167 ; description of, ii. 178, 
183 ; earthquakes at, ii. 184 
BARBACENIA, i. 468 ; at Maypures, 

i- 457 

BARIA river, i. 424 
BARK, varieties of, i. 27 ; \vhite crust 

on, i. 27 ; flaky, i. 27 
BARK trees, sorts of, ii. 248 
BARNADESIA, ii. 249 
BARRA, climate of, i. 219; changes 

in, i. 502 

BARRA DO Rio NEGRO, i. 200 
BARRE Indians, i. 312, 316 
Bartramia riridissima, ii. 292 
BATATAS, i. 6 

Batesia erythrosperma, ii. 432 
BATS at Caripi, i. 9 ; blood-sucking, 

i. 300 ; enormous swarm of, i. 389 
BAUHINIA, i. 38 
BAUNA, an edible root, i. 215 
BAZARRE, F. Cyprian, ii. 463 
BEACH of coloured pebbles, ii. 118 
BEAR, the Andine, ii. 274 
BEEF-DRYING at Maypures, i. 462 
BEGONIACE.*:, ii. 280 
BELLUCIA, i. 39 
BELLUCL-E sp., i. 163 
BELT on ants and plants, ii. 410 
BENTHAM, Mr. G., letters to, i. 207, 

208, 227, 290, 298, 328, 334, 348, 

380, 502, ii. 30, 48, 73-5, 104, 

175, 200, 207, 211, 223, 224, 314, 


I'.KRF.ERIS, ii. 249, 265 

BERTHOLLETIA, i. 494-5 ; noble, i. 

1 8 ; fruit of, i. 44 
Btrthollclia cxceha, i. 16, 356 
BlGNONlA, i. 28, 422, 467, ii. 290 ; 

fine species of, i. 79 ; rope of, ii. 304 





BIRD, musical, i. 101-2 

BIRDS, migrations of, ii. 373; peri- 
odical visits of, ii. 3/9 

l'i\a orcllana, " Anatto " (fig. ), i. 

BLAKEA, ii. 285 

BLECHNUM, ii. 290 

BOAT - BUILDING, difficulties of, i. 

BOMAREA, ii. 278 

BOMBAX, i. 37 

BOMBONASA, voyage of, ii. 115-32; 

windings of, ii. 116; picturesque 
banks of, ii. 117 ; sudden flood in, 
ii. 121 

BONARA, ii. 280 

Borreria tenella, i. 469 

BOTANICAL excursions at Tarapoto, 

ii. 83 

Bowdickia pubescens, i. 158, ii. 315 
Brachymenium Jamesoni, ii. 210 
Brachynema ramiflorum, i. 96 
BRANCHES, inflated, ii. 399 
BRANDA<\ Senhor. i. 246 
BRA/I LI ANS, characters of, i. 124 
UMA/.IL-N rr trees, i. 16 
BKKVKS, i. 55 
BRIDGE-BUILDING over the Topo, ii. 

BRIDGE of Banos described, ii. 218 ; 

hanging, of Penipe described, ii. 


l:r< >\IKI.S, i. 32 
BRVOPTERIS, ii. 147 
BRYUM, ii. 340 

Brynin ai-^f>il<'i(iii, ii. IOO 

Jtrvuni coronal 'it in, ii. 100 

Bi MM KIA, ii. 265 

r>nil'l',-ia americana, ii. 339 

Bi I.\A YisiA, on Casiquiari, i. 


I'.i M'nosiA, ii. 421 

J>inii lii^iii .Irniiiiiaia, ii. 282 

Bi'KD \CIIIA, i. 83 

BI 11 \i. customs of Uaupes, i. 330 
/Itirniiiiiiiia bicolor, i. 453 

BCRMANM AS, i. 441 

Bi >st palm, i. 56 
BUTTERFLIES abundant, ii. 274 
Birr i \KKIA, ii. 246 
Biittneria pentagona, i. 469 
Bi 11 KKSSKS of trees, i. 20 
BYKMIMMA, i. 214, 441, ii. 421 
Byrsoniina coccolobtzfolia, i. 67 

Byrsonima nitidissonia, i. 469 
Byrsoniina Poppigiana, i. 67 

CAAPI, ii. 414-25 

CAATINGA, definition of, i. 206 ; 

trees of, i. 304 
CAHEZA DE VEGA, ii. 462 
CABLE cut by Indians, i. 387 
CABUQUENA, i. 261 
CACAO cultivation, i. 79, So 
Cacoucia coccinea, i. 5 
CACTI, ii. 232 
CACTUS, ii. 236, 335, 339 
OESALPINIA, ii. 236, 315, 338 

C^SALPINI^E, ii. 284 

Casalpinia pulcherrima, i. 70 

CAJU, i. 66 

CALATHEA, i. 97 




CALICO used for drying paper, ii. 177 

CALLIANDRA, ii. 284, 338 

CALLISTRO, portrait of, i. 325 

CALLITRICHE, ii. 183, 280 

CALOPHYSA, ii. 394 

Calophysa tococoida, ii. 395 

Calycophyllum coccincitin, i. 79 

CALYM PERES, i. 382 

CAM PAN A mountain, ii. 51-66 

CAMPDERIA, ii. 402 

('\MI'O, vegetation of a, i. 212 

CAMPOS at Santarem, i. 65 

Campsiandra angiistifolia, i. 337 

Campsiandra laurifolia, i. 149, 337, 


C AM PYLON EU RON, i. 47, ii. 291 
(" \M-.I.OS, arrival al, ii. 130; packing 

loads at, ii. 131 ; to Banos, ii. 135 ; 

vegetation of Montana of, ii. 169 
CANKI.OS, forest of, described, ii. 

164 ; Madame (lodin lost in, ii. 

165 ; vegetation of, ii. 166-7 
CANO DE CALIPO, i. 400; de Doro- 

loinuiii, i. 398 

CANOE, description of, i. 269 
ence of, i. 470 
CANTI \, ii. 339 

< 'AIT \RIS, ii. 45, 338 
Capparis crotonoides, ii. 33=5 
raria peruviana, ii. 315 
CATSICUM, i. 339 
' ' \i'i \i\ HISLKP, i. 62, 63 





CARACOL on Ventanas river, ii. 308 

Caraipa paniculata, i. 381 

CARANA palm, i. 452 ; scent of, i. 46 

CARBAJAL, F. Caspar, ii. 457 

CARDAMINE, ii. 181 

CARDIOSPERMUM, i. 38, ii. 281 

CARICA, ii. 280 

Carica Papaya^ i. 339 

CARIPI, visit to, i. 7 ; volcanic rock 
at, i. 8, 143 ; bats at, i. 9 ; pottery- 
making at, i. 10 ; mandiocca at, 
i. 1 1 ; pottery tree at, i. 12 ; tree- 
climbing at, i. 13 

CARLUDOVICA, i. 497, ii. 5, 278 

CARNAU, Serra de, i. 90 

CARYOCAR, i. 37, 497 

Cascarilla serrana, ii. 247 

CASEARIA, i. 70, ii. 280 

CASIQUIARI, meaning of name, i. 
357; voyage up, i. 385; picture- 
writing in, ii. 474 

CASSIA, i. 453, 469, ii. 284, 339 

Cassia frost rata, i. 467 

CASSIAS, i. 5, ii. 398 

CASSICUS, nests of, ii. 44 

Cassytha brasiliensis, i. 69 

CASTILLEJA, ii. 231 

CATARACTS of the Uaupes, i. 321 ; 
of Orinoco, fine view of, i. 458 

CATERPILLARS, stinging, ii. 71-3; 
food plants of, ii. 363-6 

< 'IM KOPIA, i. 26, ii. 3, 4 

CEcuori.i,, ii. 279 

Cecropia peltata, ii. 447 

CECKOPIAS, i. 37, 39, ii. 115 

CEDARS of Amn/.on and Andes, i. 104 


Centropogon Suriiitmunsis, ii. 287 


Centrosema angustifolium, i. 469 

CENTUNCUI.US, ii. 181 

CEPH^ELIS, i. 99, 433 ; ii. 287 

CERASTIPM, ii. iSi, 231 

CERASUS, ii. 249 
Cemis peruvianus, ii. 318 
Ceroxylon andiiola, ii. 268 
CERRO DE TIBIALI, i. 428, 432 ; de 
Abispa, i. 428, 432 ; Imei, i. 
428, 432 ; de Danta, i. 428 ; de 
Tarurumari, i. 432 ; de Aracamuni, 
i. 432 

CESTRUM, ii. 289 
Cestruin /u'l/<i/ii/!ii/i/ii, ii. 339 
CHANCHAN river, ii. 236 

CHANDUY, residence at, ii. 317 
CHAPAJA, ii. 25 
CHARLIE, a sailor, story of, ii. 31-33 
CHASUTA, ii. 22 ; rapids near, ii. 24 ; 

women fighting at, ii. 458 
L'lu'iiopodiitDi ambrosioides, ii. 283, 


Chenopodium multifidum, ii. 340 
CHILDREN, half-breed, i. 243 
CHIMBORAZO, view of, ii. 193 ; as 

seen from Riobamba, ii. 201 ; from 

paramo of Sanancajas, ii. 263 
CHIRA, valley of, ii. 330-32 
Chloris foliosa, i. 147 
Chomelia ribesioides, i. 68 
CHORISIA, ii. 281 
Chorisia ventricosa, ii. 45 
CHI'-NCHI, dreadful road to, ii. 234 
CHUQUIPOGYO, tambo of, ii. 263 
CHUSQUEA, ii. 267, 268 
CINCHONA, ii. 407 
CINCHONA forests, ii. 258-304 
CINCHONA plants, despatch of, ii. 

309 ; arrival of, in India, ii. 310 ; 

cultivation of, ii. 310-11 
CINCHONA trees, ii. 242 
Cinchona magnijolia, ii. 287, 300 
Cinchona succirubra, ii. 261, 287, 

407 ; a very beautiful tree, ii. 273 
CINNAMON, search for the, ii. 349-51 
Cipura paludosa, i. 468 
Cissainpelos assinrilis, i. 69 
Cisst's, ii. 339 

ClTHAREXYLON, ii. 289 
ClTROSMA, ii. 240, 280 
Cl.AYDONIA, i. 2l8 

Cleistes rosea, i. 468 
CLEMATIS, ii. 246 
CLEOME, ii. 281, 340 
CLOCK-TOWER at Tabalosos, ii. 97 
CLUSIA, i. 31, ii. 282 ; epiphytal, i. 3 i 
CLUSIAS, i. 41 

COCCOLOBA, ii. 402, 405 

Coccoloba parimensis, ii. 403 
Cocui, ascent of mount, i. 358. 362 
('"INCIDENCE, a singular, i. 121 
Colicodendrum scabriditin, ii. 335 
Collcea Jussiaana, \. 69 
COLLECTIONS at San Carlos, i. 380 





COMBRETACEA, edible fruit, ii. 316 

COMMELYNA, ii. 279 

Conimianthiis Schomburgkii, i. 440 
COMPOSITA, ornamental, ii. 240 
COMPOSITE, ii. 288 ; many arbores- 
cent, ii. 212 

CONDAMINE, ii. 469 

Condaminea corymbosa, ii. 59 
CONDOR, adventure with, ii. 214 
CONNARUS, i. 422 
Connarus crass/folius, i. 146 
Copaij'era Martii, i. 161 
COPAL, i. 53 

CORDIA, i. 469, ii. 289, 399 
Cordia formicarum, ii. 400 
Cordia gerascantha, ii. 400 
Cordia graveolens, i. 360 
Cordiit hit, i ritpta, i. 469 
CORK tree, i. 67 
CORNIDIA, ii. 76, 285 
Cossus, ii. 278 
COSTUS, i. 47 
COTALO, ii. 182 

COTTON-SPINNING in Tarapoto, ii. 82 

Couepia rivalis, i. 149 
Couma oblonga, i. 468 
COUROUIMTA, a remarkable, ii. 4 
Co^^toubea spicata, i. 71, ii. 315 
COW-TREKS of South America, i. 51 
CRAIVEGUS, ii. 182 
CratcEva tapioides, ii. 315 
CREMOLOEUS, ii. 182 
Crescen/ia iiijt'tc, i. 44 
i 'KI.TACEOUS rocks, i. 141 
I'KOSS, Mr., arrival of, ii. 293 
CROTAI.ARIA, ii. 340 
CROTALARI.E, ii. 245 
CROTONS, perforated, ii. 400 
( 'KYIMI.KA, ii. 100 
( 'kYi'TOCARl'Us, ii. 338 
CRYPTOGAMS, few on Rio Negro, i. 


CUCAMA Indians, ii. 9 
CUNJPUSANA Indians, i. 427 
CUNUCUM'MA river, ascent of, i. 

408 ; tails of, i. 410 ; aquatic plants 

of, i. 418 

CUPANA, ii. 44<S-54 
CUPANIA, i. 433 
CUPIIKA, i. 457. ii. 170, 246, 285, 



Cttphea Mtth'illte, i. 467 

CURATELLA, i. 214 

C^tratella awericana, i. 67, ii. 39 
CUSTODIO, the story of, i. 443-7 
CUSTODIO'S village, i. 425, 433 
CUYABA, use of guarana at, ii. 452 
CYATHEA, ii. 169, 291 
Cyclopeltis semicordata, ii. 291 
CYNOCTONA, ii. 289 
Cynodon dactylon, ii. 340 
Cynometra Spruceana, i. 104 
CYPERI, i. 4 
CYPERUS, ii. 340 
CYTISUS, ii. 181 

Dactyloctenium sEgyptiacmii, ii. 277 
D' ACUGNA, C., ii. 473 
DAMP at San Carlos, i. 381 
DANCING in the tropics, i. 250 
DANGEROUS outlet to Amazon, i. 


DATURA, ii. 340 
DAUI.E, village of, ii. 303 

I AVALI.IA, ii. 50, 291 

Davallia Lindeni, ii. 205 

Davila Radula, i. 69 

DAVYA, i. 433 

Declieuxia chioccoides, i. 469 

Di'dieuxia herbacea, i. 467 

Delostotna integrifolium, ii. 246 

I >KMONS, ii. 437 


IMIKROTERO (Cuide) of Valverde, ii. 

DESERT, limits of Peruvian, ii. 338; 

vegetation, ii. 333 
DESERTED river, ii. 109 
1 >E:-,MODIUM, ii. 245, 340 
Desiiioiliitin tiihi'i'inlt'iis, \. 467 
I )ESMONCUS, i. 30, 452 

I )1( II UnMK.NA, i. 146 
nit-hroini-nu f'nli, ra, i. 467 
DICKSO.MA, ii. 291 
/>t,i-j'//i-ii S/>ritffana, i. 291, 495 
/>i<-/\'<>>'<tl\'-\ .'//< vv//, ii. 340 
DlCTYOPTEKIS, ii. 291 

I )IDVMOCIII..I-:NA, ii. 291 
Didymodon gracilis, ii. 210 

I )M.I.I \ i M i i. sap drinkable, i. 31 
DlOCi.EA, ii. 398 

2 M 





DIOSCOREA, i. 360, 467, ii. 279 
DIPLAZIUM, ii. 50 
Diplotropis iiitida, \. 291, 495 
DIPTERIS, ii. 291 
Diptetyx odorata (fig.), i. 482 


Ditassa glcmcescens, i. 468 


DRABA, ii. 264 
DREPANOCARPUS, i. 29, 495 
Drepanocarpus ferox, i. 98 
DRINK, deaths by, i. 378 
DROSERA, i. 213 
DRYMARIA, ii. 283 
DUIDA mountain, i. 401-7 
DURANTA, ii. 289 

EARTHQUAKE in the Andes, ii. 226 
ECHITES, i. 6, 360, 467, 468, ii. 240, 


Echites anccps, i. 433 
ECLIPSE of moon, i. 278 
EDIBLE fruits, i. 223 ; root, a new, 

i. 215 

EDITOR on Hidden Treasure, ii. 513 
EDUCATION question, on the, i. 240 
EICHHORNIA, i. 56, ii. 301 
ELAPHOGLOSSUM, ii. 290, 291 
ELAPHRIUM, i. 468 
ENDOGENS, i. 46 
ENGLISHMEN at Santarem, i. 62, 


KXTODON, ii. too 
EOCENE rocks, i. 142 

KPIDENDKI'M, i. 361, ii. 250 

EPILOBIUM, ii. 245 
EPIPHYTAL ferns, i. 33 
EPIPHYTES and parasites, i. 32 
EQUISETUM, ii. 290 ; gigantic, ii. 


ERAGROSTIS, ii. 340 
ERICE.K, ii. 282 
Eriope mtdiflora, i. 468 
Erisma japura, i. 399 
KRYTHRINA, ii. 182, 244, 284 
Ervthrina amasha, ii. 44 
Erythroxylon cataract arum, ii. 446 

Erythroxylon Coca, i. 70, 217 
Es.MERALDA, i. 402-7 ; collecting at, 

i- 436-43 
EUGENIA, ii. 286 
EUKYLISTA, i. 154 
Eukylista Spruceana, ii. 4, 28 
EUPATORIA, ii. 264, 288 
EUPHORBIA, ii. 340 
EUTERPE, i. 220, ii. 170, 278 
Evolvuhts linifoliuin, i. 467 
EXCURSIONS from Manaos, i. 233 

EXSERTED roots, i. 22 

FABRONIA, ii. 100 
FARAMEA, i. 433, ii. 287 
Faramea odoratissima, i. 467 
FARINHA, two sorts of, i. n 
FERNS, at Tarapoto, ii. 50, 92, 99 ; 

in Cinchona forests, ii. 290-1 
FESTUCA, ii. 263 
Ficus, ii. 279 

FIREWOOD on steamers, ii. 28 
FISH benumbed, i. 188 
FISHES, distribution of, ii. 379 
FISSIDENS, i. 362 
FLAGELLATION, voluntary, ii. 105 
FLOATING islands, i. 108 
FLOOD, a dangerous, ii. 121 
FLOWERS of the forests, i. 40, 43 ; 

periods of opening, ii. 45 
FORBES, Mr. H. O., on Myrmecodia 

and Hydnophytum, ii. 409 
FOREST, the Amazonian, i. 256, 258 ; 

lost in, i. 92, 96 
FOREST at Pozuelos, fine, ii. 301 
FOREST of Canelos, first night in, ii. 

136 ; journey through, described, 

" J 75 5 goods left in, ii. 176 ; 

Cryptogamia of, ii. 205 
FORESTS near Para, i. 2 ; at Tauau, 

i. 17 ; rich on slopes of Andes, ii. 


FOREST-TRACKS, how made, i. 305 
FOREST trees, height of, i. 19 
FREZIERA, ii. 282 
FRIAR'S PLUMS, ii. 422 
FROG, a beautiful, i. 102 
FROGS as food, i. 484 
FRUITS, curious, i. 44 ; like flowers, 

i. 45 ; like wasps' nests, i. 442 ; 

abundance at Guayaquil, ii. 315 
FRULLANIA, ii. 292 
FUCHSIA, ii. 285 




ii. 264 
FUCHSIAS, ii. 181, 249 

GALIPEA, i. 304 

Galipea oppositifolia, i. 433 

(AME, abundance of, i. 193 

GAPO, trees of flowering, i. 228 

GARDENI.*:, ii. 287 

GARDOQUIA sp., ii. 181 

GAULTHERI/E, ii. 267 

GENIPA, i. 150 

Cn'iiipa amerii-aiia, i. 164 

iii'nipa macrophylla, i. 164, 263 

GENTIANA, ii. 231, 250; white, ii. 

(i,nliana cerium, ii. 213, 264 

< 1 1 OLOGY of Lower Amazon, i. 134 
GEONOMA, i. 1 1, 99 
GEONOM.E, ii. 278 
GERANIUM, ii. 181, 264 
GESNERACE/E, ii. 289 
GLEICHENIA, ii. 291 

Gleichenia ^lancescens, i. 82 
GI.IRICIDIA, ii. 455 
(i.XAi'HAi.iUM, ii. 231, 250 
Gnetiim triin'rve, ii. 279 
( ;< >MI H'lii.Kr.irM, ii. 291 

GON/AI.KA, ii. 287 

GOVERNMENT of Canton del Rio 

Negro, i. 471 
GRAMMITIS, ii. 50 

< iUAI'IHDE.'E, ii. 293 

GRASS, floating islands of, i. 1 08- 1 2 
GRASS-ISLANDS of Amazon, i. 506 

( IKEEN stones, ii. 464 

GRIAS, ii. 286 

(ii-iininiii /'nii//iiitli>i(i<-*, i. 442 

Grimmia longirostris, ii. 210 

GUAIIAKIHO Indian, i. 396-7 

Gl VHARlBi IS, i. 477 

<ii'Aini!o woman, portrait of, i. 455 

GUAHir.os Indians, i. 454, 477 

Gl UACUM, ii. 283 

'in AIM A, new ]ilants on, ii. 21 I 

i .1 \.MOTE, ii. 232 

( it'AN \RI, rock of, i. 390 

G \MHSAi;rA cataract, ii. 199-203 

Gl \M .!<>, village, ii. 266 

<irARAN\, i. i.So ; uses of, i. iSi, 

ii. 448-54 ; a country of, i. 297 
GUARANDA, town of, ii. 265 
GUATAXI', farm, ii. 237; tl<>i;i of, ii. 


GUATTERIA, ii. 282 

GUAYAQUIL, in 1860, ii. 301 ; fire at, 
ii. 302 ; fruits abundant at, ii. 315 
GUAYRA-PATA mountain, ii. 182 
GUAYUSA, ii. 453 
GUIDE to Llanganati, ii. 492 
Giiiliclnia spt'dosa, i. 223, 339, ii. 

GUMS, etc., difficulty of getting 

botanical specimens of, ii. 322 
GURUPA, i. 59 
Gustavia brasiliensis, i. 86 
Gustavia fastuosa, i. 39 
GUSTAVIAS, i. 291 
GUZMAN, Don Atanasio, ii. 493 
Gymnogramme calomelanos, i. 82, ii. 


Gymnogramme rufa, i. 79 
(iYMNOPTERis, i. 47, ii. 290 
GYNERIUM, ii. 115, 339 
Gynerium saccharinum, ii. 159 
Gynerium saccharoides, i. 1 06, ii. 73, 


HABENARIA, i. 213, 469 

HAMELI.-E, ii. 287 

HAMJURY, letters to Mr. 1)., ii. 321, 

341, 344, 345 

I I \\i; I-RY'S letters to Spruce, ii. 343 
Iliiiii'ornia la.\a, i. 337 
HAUXWEI.I., reference to Mr., ii. 74 
HKDYOTIS, ii. 232, 233 

Hedyotis ericoides, ii. 231 
HELICONIA, ii. 278 

I 1 !. i.i COM K, i. 46 

IlEI.ICOPHYI.I.KM, ii. 100 

/A//V/('/vv guazumafolia, i. 468 
I ll I IOCARPUS, ii. 28l 
I lEi.ioriiY'rr.M, ii. 340 
//,-/i>.\/.\ l>rtisili,nsis, i. 99 
II, niii - ( /;v'v iit/r,;/, ii. 167 

I I: \i I i K1.IA, ii. 291 
HEN KIETTA, i. 39 

HENIMOUE ANTONI.I, i. 201; his 
kindness to travi-lli-rs. i. 291 

I 1 i.NKK.u'E/iA, i. 291, 495; n.s., i. 
452; new allied genus, ii. 211 

Henriquezia ?<// i< il/a/a, i. 202 
IlEl'ATlc.E, c])iphyllous, i. 7; at 

Tarapoto, ii. 100 

I 1 1 Kiti'k i \, ii. 100 

HE KM ION on snuff, ii. 429 





I IKRPESTES, i. 147, ii. 290 
Herpestes chainccdry aides, ii. 245 
Herpestes Salzmaiini, i. 467 
HERRERA quoted, ii. 460 
Heterostemon iiios, i. 399 
Hcterostetnon simplicifolia, i. 399 
HlERACIUM, ii. 246 

Hirtella Casiqitiarensis, ii. 70 
Hirtella physophora, ii. 396 
HlSLOP, attack on Captain, i. 1 26, 1 3 1 
HOLLY, a, i. 433 
HOOKER, Sir W., letters to, i. 212, 

2I 9, 336, 353, 382, 435, 479, 498, 

ii. 204, 209, 228, 250, 261 
HOOKERIA, ii. 178 
HOOKERI/E, ii. 292 
Hookeria pallescens, i. 382 
Hookeria peiuhtla, ii. 167 
HOUSE, plan of priest's, ii. 253 
HOUSE-PESTS in Sao Gabriel, i. 293 
HOUSES at Banos, ii. 185 
HUALLAGA river, ii. 10, 19 ; rapids 

of, ii. 22 
HUMBOLDT, ii. 465 ; on height of 

palms, i. 19 ; recollections of, i. 

356 ; memories of, i. 395, 422 
HUMIRIUM, i. 218, 338, ii. 3 
Hitmiriiun jloribundum, i. 440 
'' HUNTING the needle," i. 253 
Hydrant helium callitrichoides, var. , 

i. 470 
Hydrocharella chatospora, i. 1 1 I 

IIVDROCOTYLE, ii. l8l, 286 

Hydrocotyle pnsi/la, ii. 286 
Hylopia grandijlora, i. 67 
HYMEN/EA, i. 38, 53 
HYMENOPHYI.I.UM, i. 47, ii. 291 
HYPKRICUM, ii. 181 
HYPNUM, i. 426, 458 
Hypnimi iii7'i>/7'i'its, i. 383 
Hypnum Sclireberi, ii. 211 

II Yi'iM.Kpis, ii. 166, 291 

I I YI'OLYTRUM, i. 83 

Hypoxis scorzonemfolia, i. 469 
HYPTIS, ii. 289 
Hyplis dilatata, i. 469 
HYRIS, i. 147 

ICICA, ii. 282 

Idea altissima, i. 105 

Icthyothera Cunabi, i. 469 

Ilex paraguay ensis, ii. 453 

INCAS, treasure of, ii. 489 

INDIAN sailors (Tapuyas), i. 61 ; 
sailors, i. 167 ; philosopher, i. 178 ; 
traveller Jacobo, i. 261 ; hunter, 
i. 271 ; crew of canoe, i. 271, 274; 
fishermen, i. 274; flower-collectors, 
i. 290; festival, i. 312; porters, 
habits of, ii. 139 ; sacred drum, 
ii. 417 ; spirits or demons, ii. 437 ; 
Rock-pictures, ii. 474 

INDIANS, how to manage, i. 231 ; 
scourge themselves, ii. 105; morn- 
ing drink of, ii. 116 ; toilet of, ii. 
116; injured by Christianising, ii. 
225 ; wild, are not savages, ii. 

INDIANS' love of spirits, i. 272 

INDIANS of Ecuador, ii. 253 ; por- 
traits of, ii. 255 ; character of, ii. 

INDIANS of Macii tribe, i. 345 ; 

clay-eating, i. 340 
INDIA-RUBBER trees, enormous area 

of growth, i. 516; of Rio Negro, 

i- 57 

INDIGOFERA, ii. 284, 340 

INGA, ii. 246, 284, 336 

Inga niicradeni(f, i. 337 

Inga rut Hans, i. 337 

Inga Spruceana, i. 339 

Inga spuria, i. 339 

INGAS, i. 44, ii. 115 

INK-PRODUCING shrub, ii. 159 

INSKCT plagues on Rio Negro, i. 
369. 373 : swarm on Casiquiari, 
i- 393 ; migrations, ii. 366 

INSECTS as food, i. 483 

INUNDATIONS at Santarem, i. 113 

IONIDIA, ii. 249 

lonidium oppositifolium, i. 99 

IPADU, i. 217 

IPOMCE/E, ii. 289 

Ipomcea sericea, i. 468 

IQUITOS, ii. 6 

IRIARTEA, i. 220 

Iriartea andicita, ii. 169 

Iriartea exorrhiza, i. 48 

Iriartea ventricosa, ii. 115, 169 

Isertia parviflora, \. 469 

Isoetes amazonica, i. 148 

ISOLEPIS, i. 147, 469, ii. 277 

holepis leucostachya, i. 469 





ITAUBA (Stone tree), i. 97, 160 
IVORY palm, ii. 243, 278 
Ixora capitellata, \. 467 

Jacquinia armillaris, ii. 318 
JAGUAR, ii. 274 
JAGUARS, attacks by, i. 122 
JAMESON, Dr., described, ii. 210; 

life of, ii. 342 
JARA palm, i. 424, 452 
JAUARITK caxoeira, i. 324 
JAVITA and Balthazar, neatly kept, 

i- 45 i 

JEW, a worthy, i. 123 
JIBAROS, settlement of, ii. 141 
JUAN GUERRA, ii. 26 
JUNCUS, ii. 249 

JUSSI.-EA, ii. 285 
Jussiena acttniinata, i. 467 
Jus sic ua amazouiia, i. 154 

iiigia odorata, ii. 428 


Lafoensiit densiflora^ i. 159 

LAGES, excursion to, i. 236 ; vege- 

tation of, i. 237 ; visit to, i. 242 
Lagothrix Hitinholdtii, i. 182 
LA LAGUNA, ii. ii; self-scourging 

at, ii. 105 
LAMAS, ii. 53-60 
LANTANA, i. 469, ii. 246, 289 
LA^TK/EA, i. 47, ii. 291 
LAURACE.K, ii. 284 
LAUREL type, i. 37 
LEAVES, forms of, i. 34, 39 ; of 

trees encased in mosses, ii. 177; 

sac-bearing, ii. 388 
LECYTHIS, i. 33, 220 ; fruit of, i. 

44 ; 14 species seen on Rio Negro, 

i. 266 

Lecythis awara, i. 495 
LEJKUNK.K, ii. 100 

I.I. IK U MA, i. 383 

LEMNA, ii. 183 
LEOPOLD! NA, i. 422 
Leopoldinia pulchra, i. 150 
LeriiM x , \KVCM. i. 391 
LKI-I i )/i. \, ii. 100 
LEI-IDO/.I.K, ii. 293 
Leptolobium nitons, i. 149 
LEKIA, ii. 246 

LETTERS : to Mr. G. Bentham, i. 
207, 208, 227, 290, 298, 328, 334, 
348, 380, 502, ii. 30, 48, 73-5, 
104, 175, 200, 207, 211, 223, 

224, 314, 341 ; to Mr. D. Han- 
bury, ii. 321, 341, 344, 345 ; to 
Sir William Hooker, i. 212, 219, 

336, 353, 382, 435, 479, 498, ii. 
204, 209, 228, 250, 261 ; to Dr. 
Semann, i. 224 ; to Mr. M. B. 
Slater, i. 255 ; to Mr. John Smith, i. 

225, 264; to Mr. John Teasdale, 
i. 237, 238, 241, 268, 348, 373, 
403, 470, ii. 26, 34, 38, 76, 183, 

^ 186, 225, 251, 302, 316, 317, 324 
Lettres Edifiantes et Curieuses, ii. 434 
Leiicobryitm glaiicum, i. 451 
Leiicohryntii Martianinn, i. 382, 451 
LIANAS, i. 28, 32 
LICANIA, i. 13 
Licania latifolia, i. 82 
Licania Turniva, i. 87 
LICHENS, fine-coloured, i. 68 
LIMON, arrival at, ii. 268 ; Red Bark 
trees at, ii. 269 ; view from, ii. 
270; rocks at, ii. 270-71; exten- 
sive forests of, ii. 275 
LIPPIA, ii. 340 
LIRIO-PAMPA, ii. 6 1 
Liriosma micrantha, i. 433 
LITOBROCHIA, i. 48, ii. 50, 1 66 
LLALLA, forest of, ii. 247 
LLANEROof Maypures, portrait, i. 461 
LI.ULLUNDENGO, dangerous pass, ii. 


LOASA, ii. 286 
LOHELIA, ii. 233 
I .MM \KIA, ii. 290 
Lonchocarpus Spruceanus, i. 158 
LORAN i BUS, ii. 3, 249, 287, 338 
LORETO, ii. 5 

LORH'AK! \S, ii. 288 

LOST in the forest, i. 92, 96 
LOUREIRA, a milk-tree, i. 307 
LOWER AM\/M\, geology of, i. 134, 


LUCM \s, visit to, ii. 237 
LUCUMA, ii. 240 

I.I HEA, i. 431 

1 .1 PIN i s, ii. 231 
LUZEA, i. 179 
LUZIOI.A, i. 87 
LYCIUM, ii. 246 
LYCOPODIA, ii. 232 





LYCOPODIUM, ii. 290 
Lycopodium ceriniii/n, i. 82 
LYGODIUM, ii. 291 
LYSIANTHUS, i. 263, 441 
Lysianthus ittigiiiostis, i. 82 

MABEA, ii. 402, 404 
Mabea fistulifera, i. 158 
MACAPO, pilot of the cataracts, i. 455 
M'CuLLOCH's career, i. 197 
MACERANDUBA, Mimusops sp., i. 51 
MACLEANIA, ii. 282 
MACLURA, ii. 3 

MACROMITRIUM, i. 382, ii. 292 
MACU Indians, i. 477 ; portraits of, 

i- 345 

MAHICA, i. 71 
MAJETA, ii. 394 
Majeta giiiatiensis, ii. 395 
MALPIGHIACEA, edible fruit, ii. 316 
MAI.PIGHIAS, i. 214 
MAMMALS, migrations of, ii. 376 
MANACA Indians, i. 427 
MANAOS, i. 200 ; exploration around, 

i. 203 ; map of district, i. 229 ; 

t<> Tarapoto, ii. I 
M \\.VJUIRY, visit to, i. 229-31 ; 

residence at, i. 245 ; a Brazilian 

farmhouse, i. 246 
MANDAUACA Indians, i. 427 
Mangifera indica, ii. 336 
MANGROVES near Para, i. 4 
Manicaria saccifera, i. 56 
MAM HOT, i. 468 
Mtinihol utilissima, i. I I 
M \i' of Llanganati mountains, ii. 494 
MAQUIRITARES Indians, i. 409-18 
MARANA, ants at, i. 453 
MARANON, ascent of, ii. 106 
MARANTA, i. 47, ii. 278 
Mdrnnta Vijao, ii. 304 
MARATTIA, ii. 166, 169, 205 
Marc^raaria it/iiht-llata, i. 30, ii. 282 


MARCKKA, ii. 401 
Mai-fkca tiliata, ii. 401 
MARGINARIA, ii. 205 
MARTYNIA, ii. 340 ; a desert species, 

i'- 334 

MASTIGOBRYUM, i. 383, ii. 147 
MAUGIN on caapi, ii. 430 
Mauri a juglandifolia, i. 162 

MAURITIA, i. 425, 452 

Mauritia aculeata, i. 49 

Mauritia carinata, i. 268 

Mauritia flexuosa, i. 14 

Mauritia sitbinervis (fig.), i- 5 

Mauritia i 1 in if era, i. 14 

MAXIMILIANA, i. 220, 441 

Maximiliana regia, i. 45, 223 

Mayaca Michauxii, i. 71 

Mayaca Sellowinna, i. 7 1 

MAYIRONA Indians, ii. 5 

MAYNA, i. 83 

Mayna laxiflora, i. 470 

MAYO river, ii. 25 

MAYPURES, village of, i. 454 ; 
country round, i. 456 ; the rapids 
of, i. 457 ; list of plants of, i. 467- 

MAYTENUS, ii. 338 

MEDICAGO, ii. 181 

MEDICINE-MEN, ii. 430-438 


MELASTOMACE/E abundant, ii. 267 


MELILOTUS, ii. 340 

MELOCHIA, ii. 281 

MEMECYLEA, i. 338 

MENDOZIA, ii. 290 

MENISCIUM, i. 47, ii. 50, 291 

MERTENSIA, ii. 115 

METEORIA, ii. 292 

MICONIA, i. 433, ii. 286 

Micropterygium Iciophyllitni, i. 497 

MIKANIA, ii. 339 

MlKANL-K, ii. 288 

MILK-TREE of Para, i. 50 


MIMOSA, i. 469, ii. 246 ; type, i. 34 

MIMOSE/E, ii. 301 

Mimosa asperata, \. 171, 399, 504, 

ii. 284, 339 

Mimosa microcephala, i. 468 
Mimosa orthocarpa, i. 86 

MlRAFLORES, ii. 232 

MISSIONS, disappearance of, i. 470 


MOCHA, description of, ii. 230 

MOLLIA, i. 41 

Mollia speciosa, i. 22O 

MOLLUGO, ii. 283 

MONAGAS, pueblo of, i. 396 

MONKEY, a savoury, i. 182 


MONKEYS, ii. 274 





MONNINA, ii. 245, 28l 
Manoptery.\- angustifolia, i. 335 
MOSQUITOES and biting flies, i. 369, 


Moss, a solace in his troubles, ii. 140 
MOSSES, at Tarapoto, ii. 100 ; 

abundant, ii. 147, 166, 177, 247 
MOTH/IN, ii. 249 

i. 289 
MT. TUNGURAGUA, difficulties of, ii. 


MOUREIRA = Cabuquena, i. 261 
Mauri ria Apiranga, i. 163 
MUCUNA, ii. 284 
MTMBACA palm, i. 153 
Mnntingia Calaburii, ii. 281, 339 
Mitranda minor, i. 508 
Muranda siphonoides, i. 508 
MTRDER, attempted by slave, i. 241 
MURIXI, i. 67 
MrRKMURr palms, i. 91 
M nisi A, ii. 288 
Mycl, ria Americana, ii. 2O 
MYRI-IA, j. 433 
MYRCI.K, ii. 265, 286 
MYRICA, ii. 279 
Myrio-colea irrorata, ii. 167 


MYRISTICA, ii. 300 

M YRMI.rnhlA, ii. 409 

MYRMIDOM-;, ii. 394 
Myrmidons macrospenna, ii. 394 
Myrmidon, roliiinlijolia, ii. 395 
Myrodia hrc-'ijolia, i. 338 
MYRSI.NKA, i. 218, ii. 289 
MYRTLES, i. 38, 42 
MVRTKS, ii. 182 
MYTH ' ipsis, ii. 100 

X \is, ii. 340 

NAMLS of district, changes of, i. 503; 

inconveniences of, i. 504 
\ \\IES of places often changed, i. 

N \PO river, track from 1'uca-yacu to, 

ii. 124 

NAR< <>TI< s, Ama/onian, ii. 414 
\ ARROWS of Iluallaga, ii. 21 
NAUIA, ii. 6, 29, 30-34; vegetation 

of, ii. 7 

Neckera distich a, ii. 24 
Neckera gracillima, ii. 210 

NEEA, i. 469, ii. 300 
NEGRO mason, a respectable, i. 493 
NEPHRODIUM, ii. 291 
Nephrodium Serra, i. 83 
Xcptiinia oleracea, i. 1 1 5 
NIOPO snuff, ii. 426-30 
NIPHOBOLUS, ii. 291 
NOCTURNAL disturbance, i. 277 
NOMADIC tribes, i. 477 

NONATELIA, ii. 2, 249, 287 

Nonatelia guiancnsis, i. 97 

NORANTEA, ii. 282 

Norantea guianensis, i. 98, ii. 240 
NUTMEG trees, ii. 3 
NymphiEa Sahmanni, {.83 

OBYDOS, excursion to, i. 77 ; stay 

at, i. 8 1 ; flowers at, i. Si 
OCHROMA, i. 37, ii. 281 
Ocotea cymbaruin, i. 161 
Octoblepharum alhidiou, i. 382 
Octoblepharum cylindriciun, i. 382 
ODONTOGLOSSUM, ii. 250, 278 
CENOCARPUS, i. 498 ; fine drink from 

the fruits of, i. 477-8 
(Enocarpus Bacaba, i. 226 
'/ n, <<-arpns distichits (fig.), i. 222 
<l : .nocarpns Patawa, ii. 115 
OILS, vegetable, i. 479-80 
ONCIDIUM, ii. 250, 279 
ORANGERIES, fine, ii. 301 
( )K('Hii>K.i: abundant at (iuataxt, ii. 

ORCHIDS in forest of Llalla, ii. 250 ; 

abundant, ii. 27S 
ORCHIS, i. 360-1 
OREI.LANA on the ' Ama/on>," ii. 

ORINOCO, information as to ilu- 

sources of, i. 353, 357; not 

sources of, i. 447 
Ormosia coccinca, ii. 432 
Ormosia , > . i. 153 
Outea acaciafolia, i. 149, 398 

< IVIKDO quoted, ii. 461 

( >\ ALLS, ii. 20, 283 

< >XVi: VPHUS, ii. 340 

I'MIMOM river, ascent of, i. 423; 

vegetation of Serras, i. 43 ^ ; line 

view from a rock, i. 434 
PADRE ARNAOUD, a /aiiil>o, i. 451 






PAGAMEA, i. 441 

PAL/EOZOIC rocks of Lower Amazon, 

i. 140 

Paliconrea riparia, i. 72 
PALLATANGA, a poor locality, ii. 224 
Palmajagua, i. 441 
PALMS, i. 43 ; height of, i. 19 ; 

letter about, i. 225 
PANAX, ii. 286 
PANICUM, ii. 277 
Panicum aniplex, ii. 115 
Panicnin lati folium, i. 469 
PANURE, arrival at, i. 318 
PAO MULATTO, i. 153, ii. 3, 4 
PAPER, burning his botanical, ii. 143 
PARA, residence at, i. 2 ; vegetation 

near, i. 2 ; vegetable products of, 

i. 50; grit, i. 139 
PARAMERO, effects of, ii. 192; sound 

of, ii. 195 

of Tiocajas, ii. 232 
PARAMOS of Azuay, alpines of, ii. 


PARASITICAL trees, i. 25 
PARIANA, a grass, i. 17 
PARINARI, ii. 8 ; Easter feast at, 

ii. 8 

Parkin americana, i. 424 
Parkia discolor, i. 104 
Parkinsonia aculeata, ii. 338 
I'\>I'AI.A, ii. 246 
I'v.i'ALUM, i. 441 
Paspalinii conjitgatnm, ii. 277 
Paspalum pellitum, i. 158 
Paspalum pyramidale, i. 109-10, 506 
PASSIKLORA, ii. 280, 339 
Pass i flora feet ida, i. 6 
PASTAS A river, ascent of, ii. 107 ; 

dangerous descent to, ii. 157 
PATAUA palm, i. 477 
J'AULLINIA, i. 31, ii. 281, 422 
Piiiilliniii fiip/'/iitii, i. 468 
Paiillinia Cupana, i. 1 80, ii. 450 
Paullinia -pinnata, i. 162, ii. 455 
/',!.\ iii/ia /Htrrt'ifittfa, i. 307 
PAYTA to Chira, ii. 332 
PECCARIES, a hunt of, ii. 10 
PECCARY, ii. 274 
Pi 'i 'tis donga fa, i. 157 
PELTOGYNE, i. 38, 53 

Penelope cristata, ii. 377 

PENIPE, visit to, ii. 203 ; bridge of, 

described, ii. 219 
PEPEROMIA, i. 33, ii. 283 ; fern-like, 

i. 6 

Perama hirsuta, i. 441, 467 
PERIDIUM, i. 83 
Peristeria Huinboldtii^ i. 458 
Persea gratissitna, ii. 376 
PERU, desert of Northern, ii. 327-30 
PESCHIERA, ii. 288 
Pesehiera latiflora, i. 71 
PETIOLES, inflated, ii. 397 
PHASCUM, i. 382 
PHASEOLUS, ii. 245, 284 
P/iaseolus monophyllus, i. 468 


Phyllantfms fluitans, i. 115, 230, 

Phyllanthus salvi&folius, i. 105 

Phyllogiiini fulgens, ii. 140 
PHYLLOGONIUM, ii. 100, 147 
Phymatodes Schomburgkii, ii. 401 
PHYSALIS, ii. 340 
PHYSOCALYMMA, i. 265, ii. 44 


Phytelephas eqt/atoria/is, ii. 132 
Phytelephas microcarpa (fig.), ii. 133 
PIAROA Indians, i. 454 
PIASSABA palm, gregarious, i. 422 ; 

got specimens of, i. 499 
PICHINCHA mountain, ascent of, ii. 

PICTURE-WRITING, on Rio Negro, i. 

260 ; in Casiquiari, i. 395-400 ; 

Indian, ii. 474 
PIEDRA DEL Cocui, drawing of, i. 


PlLK.E, ii. 279 

PIMICHIN, condition of road, i. 450 
PlNDO, the Jibaro settlement, ii. 14 
I'INHOBA palm, i. 66, 87 
I'n'ERACE.'E, ii. 283 
Piptadcnia Niopo, ii. 426 
PIRARUCU, i. 177 
PISTIA, i. 1 1 1 
Pistia St rat totes, i. 55 





PITCH, native, i. 52 
PlTHECOLOBiUM, ii. 1 82 ; at Para, 

i- 5 
Pithccolobiiini caiiliflorum , i. 150 

PlURA, ii. 333 ; residence at, ii. 324-7 

PlURA and Chira, notes on, ii. 327 ; 
vegetation of, ii. 333-40 

PLAGIOCHILA, i. 383, 497, ii. 147, 

PLANTAGO, ii. 231, 232, 264 

PLANTAINS, eaten by dogs, ii. 376 

PLANTS, gathered by swimming, i. 
169 ; estimate of species in 
Amazon valley, ii. 208 ; new 
species left in Uaupes, ii. 208 

PLANTS and animals, relations of, ii. 

Platycarpum oriiwcense, i. 470 


PLEOPELTIS, i. 48, ii. 291 

PLEROMA, i. 469 

PLUMIERA, i. 467 

PI K i i i",-, i phagedenica, i. 67 

PODOCARPUS, ii. 265 

I'olKiSTKMACK.K, ii. 283 
l'i H.YBOTR1A, ii. 29O 
POLYCAKP.KA, ii. 283 

PolycarpiEa brasiliensis, i. 146 

POLYGALA, i. 214, ii. 159, 318 

Pm.YGAL/ic, i. 157 

Polyguhi gracilis, i. 467 

Polygala paniculata, ii. 281 

Poly gala sitktilis, i. 441 

Polygala variabilis, i. 467 

Polygala Tulgaris. i. 43 

POI.YGALE/E, i. 453, ii. 182 ; and 

ants, ii. 401-2 
POLYGONUM, i. 399 
I'UI.YLEPIS, ii. 265 

POLVI I-.M, ii. 205, 291 

Polyfi'ii'/iiiin jituipi't'in t/nt, i. 71 
PI (NCIANO, pueblo of, i. 394 
PONTKDF.KIA, i. 4OO, ii. 279, 30! 

J\itt'<ti-ria i- >< is. </'/>, f, i. 56 
PoKA'.n'Kii: \ s|)., i. 339 
I'. IKI- i i \, ii. 100 
I'm; i IM, \CA, ii. 283, 340 

POSoollKRIA. ' 4 2 

Poi'Knr\iA, i. 26; sp., i. 339 
POZUELOS village of, ii. 300 

PRAIN, Lieut. -Col., on Tococo, ii. 


PRIMEVAL forests, i. 17 
Prosopis horrida, ii. 335 
PROTEACE^E, frequent on Rio Negro, 

i. 291 

PROVISIONS for voyage, i. 273 
PSIDIA, ii. 286 
PSIDIUM, i. 339 
Psidium ovalifolinm, i. 163 
Psophia crepitans, i. 340 


Psychotria linibata, i. 469 

PTERIS, ii. 291 

Pteris i-audata, i. 69, 218, ii. 99, 

PTEROBRYUM, ii. 100 

Pterocarpus ancylocalyx, ii. 398 

PUCA-YACU, village, ii. 123 ; track 
from, to the Napo, ii. 124; fine 
view of Andes from, ii. 127 

PUCA-YACU river, ii. 117 

I'UMA in Tarapoto, ii. So 

PUPUNHA palm, i. 223 

PURTS river, ii. 2 

OUALEA, i. 441 

('tfit/i'ii acuminata, i. 33^ 

( V )UICHUA terms explained, ii. 511 

(JuiNINE, local objection to, ii. 272 

QUIRABUENA, on Casi(|uiari, i. 391 

QuiRlQUlRY lake, i. 85 

nrrro, visit to, ii. 212 

RACIONALES and Peones, i. 471 

K \KFLESI ACE/E, plant allied to.ii.2O7 

k \i r, construction of, ii. 304 

RAFT-VOYAGE to (iuayaquil, ii. 307 

RAIN in desert, effects of, ii. 318 

RAI.I [GH nn the " Aina/ons," ii. 467 

RANDIA, i. 43, 468, ii. 287 

K \\r\, ii. 181, 231, 249 

/\ii/</iiit A/Y/V;v;w, i. 45 

k iPiDS, lirst. on Rio Negro, i. 262 ; 

great, <>f ki N<--gro, i. 278, 286 
I\A VI I .i-.sNAKF, CM-apc- from, ii. !O 
KAVN \i , Alibi'-, ii. 459 
RKKKLI.ION of 1835, i. <>i 
ki.u llAuk. supposed of, ii. 272 
RF.D I'.AKK foiv-.ts, vegetation of, ii. 

ki.u li\KK tiers, ii. 243 ; search for, 

ii. 237 ; seedlings and cutlin: 

ii. 294-5 





REMIJIA, i. 433, 440, ii. 405 

Remijia physophora, ii. 396 

REVOLUTION, in Peru, ii. 77-9 ; in 
Ecuador, ii. 251 

Ru \COPILUM, ii. 100 

Khacopiliiui polythrincium, ii. 292 

Rhacopilum tomentosum, ii. 292 

Ru \\INUS, ii. 249, 337 

Khcxia leptophylla, i. 468 




RIIIEIRO, H. de, ii. 462 

RICCIA, i. 115 

RICE, gathering wild, i. 235 

RIOBAMBA, ii. 213 ; visits Dr. Taylor 
at, ii. 190 ; fatiguing journey to, 
ii. 191 ; description of, ii. 196, 
203 ; snowy peaks seen from, ii. 
199 ; with Dr. J. Taylor, ii. 232 

Rio NEGRO, entrance of, i. 200 ; 
voyage up, i. 259 ; voyage down, 
i. 487 ; plants seen during voyage 
down, i. 494-5 

RlO VERDE, arrival at, ii. 160 ; cas- 
cade of. ii. 161 

RIVER-BANKS, description of, i. 234 

RIVER voyage, enjoyment and perils 
of, i. 276 

RIVERS, as affecting health, i. 117 

ROAD from Pimichin to Tavita, i. 


ROADS, none in Ecuador, ii. 224 
AV. i-lla tinctoria, ii. 320 
ROCHEFORT on medicine -men, ii. 


ROCK, rarely seen in Andes, ii. 235 

RUCKS in Aripecuru, i. 100; in the 
Casiquiari, i. 396 

ROOTS, of palms, exserted, i. 22 ; 
aerial, i. 24 

ROUPAI.A sp. , ii. 182 

RUBBER, how produced, i. 511; 
price in 1849, i. 511 ; increased 
use of, i. 5 I2 ' now prepared, i. 
515; export from Para, i. 515: 
supply in the Amazon valley in- 
exhaustible, i. 5 1 6 

RlMlllKK-COLLECTING, i. 185 

Rrr.i.\rE.K at Tarapoto, ii. 99 
RUBIADS, abundance of, i. 42 
Ruhiit l\clboun, ii. 287 
Kn;rs, ii. 284 

RUDC.EA, i. 468 

RUMEX, ii. 264 

Rl 1TRECHTIA, ii. 4O2 

Rupprechtia Jamesoni, ii. 405 
RUYSCHIA, i. 433 

SACRED drum, ii. 417 

ST. JOHN, Feast of, i. 246-54 

Salix cinerea, ii. 339 

Salix Ilnmboldtiana, i. 60, 106, 504, 

" 3, 7, 336 

SALSAPARILLA, ii. 243 ; how ob- 
tained, i. 312, 316 

SALTING an ox, i. 462 

Sah'i'ftia convcillarioidcs, i. 159 

SALVIA:, ii. 249 

SALVINIA, i. 1 1 1 

SALVINI/E, i. 506 

Salvinia fnspida, i. 83 

SANANCAJAS, paramo of, ii. 192 

SAN CARLOS, famine at, i. 348 ; 
danger from Indians at, i. 348-52 ; 
excessive damp at, i. 381 ; casa 
real of, i. 472 ; effect of spirits 
on Indians of, i. 474-5 ; the 
recent growth of, i. 475 ; thunder- 
storms at, i. 484 


SANDSTONE of Lower Amazon, i. 137 

451 ; its inhabitants, i. 452 ; to 
Maypures, i. 453 ; return to, i. 

SANGAY, explosions of, heard at Puca- 
yacu, ii. 129 


SAN JOSE, old painting of, i. 455 

SAN REGIS, ii. 7 

SANTA CRUZ, on Casiquiari, i. 391 

S i \. ISABEL, i. 425-30 

SANTANDER, deserted pueblo, ii. 109 

SANTANDER, Spruce's account of, ii. 
345 ; his letter to Spruce, ii. 347, 

SANTAREM, i. 62 ; voyage to, i. 54 ; 

river at, i. 64 ; campos at, i. 65 ; 

vegetation at, i. 66-72, mistletoes 

at, i. 68 ; residence at, i. 108 ; 

inundations at, i. 113; sickness 

at, i. 117; explorations at, i. 

SAO GABRIEL, arrive at, i. 286 ; 

criminals at, i. 293 ; views of, i. 

296-7 ; in 1854, i. 493 
SAO JERONYMO, residence at, i. 319 





S.v PAULO, ii. 2 
Sapindus ccrasini/s, i. 162 
S.U'OTACEOUS fruits, ii. 316 
SAKA-YACU river, ii. 119; gold in, ii. 
119; village, ii. 120 

S ARCOSTEMMA, ii. 339 

SATR.U-.IA, ii. 282 
SCALIA, ii. 100 
Schickia orinocetisis, i. 467 
SrilNELLA, i. 38 

Schnella splendcns, i. 28 
SCIRPUS, ii. 340 
Srirpits validits, ii. 219 
SCLERIA, ii. 277 ; sp. , i. 360 


S<l,Tolobiuin odoratissiinuin, ii. 398 
S, I, rolobiitni paniciilatitin, ii. 398 
Sclerololnitm tiiictorhtvi, ii. 39& 
Scoparia dit let's, ii. 340 
SCORPIONS and centipedes, ii. 70 
SEALING-WAX tree, i. 5 
SEASONS, i. 2 
SKI, \<;INELLA, i. 454, 468, ii. 25, 
290 ; climbing, ii. 205 
>n, lla I'arkeri, i. 47 
Si MANN, Dr., letter to, i. 224 
SKA in M..K.I:, ii. 293 
SENECH is, ii. 250 
SKKIANIA, i. 38, ii. 4, 281 
SI-.K.IAMAS, i. 228 
SKKPA, i. 195 
Si i i: \ DOG \M A, collection at, i. 297 ; 

expedition to, i. 303. 312 
SKI ARIA, i. 441 

SIIIKCKI, a deserted village, ii. 106 
SIIUNA, the crossing of, ii. 148 
SlAl-A river, i. 392 
Sid, i ^liniii rtita, ii. 281, 285 
S/'i/ii ri<liiiiili<:n<is, ii. 264 
SILK.NK, ii. 181 

Sn.K-coiroN tree (fig.), i. 186 
Sll.K-ro'i ION trees, i. 18 
Siiniinihii Tt-rsii'iilor, i. 72 
Sii'AM.A, i. 433 

acinifolia, i. 469 

xloiHt-nita, i. 469 

limnophila, i. 154 
.S'//w//<vr ocynioidcs, i. 7 I 
Sipdiiea radicans, i. 468 
Sipancu rupifola, i. 433 
Sii'HorAMi'YU, ii. 287 

SIPHONIA, i. 37 
Siphonia brerifolia, i. 507 
Siphonia elastica, i. 58 
Sifhcnia littca, i. 451, 507 
Siphonia Spruceana, i. .153 
SISYMBRIUM, ii. 281 
SLATER, Mr. M. B., letter to, i. 255 
SMILAX, i. 29, 467, ii. 279 
SMITH, letters to Mr. John, i. 225, 

SNAKE-BITE, fatal, seen by Spruce, 

i. 367 ; effects of, ii. 62-5 
SNAKES, ii. 274 ; and swine, i. 340 ; 

venomous, ii. 66 
SNUFF, native, ii. 426-30 
'Sob rali a dichofoiiia, i. 360 
SOCIAL customs in Ecuador, ii. 252 
SOLANA, ii. 289 
SOLANO, old village on Casiquiari, 

i. 390 

SOLAN UM, ii. 406 
Solatium Janiait V//AV, i. 303 
Solatium nigruni, ii. 340 
SOLAN r MS at Para, i. 5 
SDI.IMOES, vegetation of, ii. 3 
SONCHUS, ii. 340 
SIICNHS of life on Amazon, i. 168 ; 

strange, in forest, i. 423 ; mysteri- 
ous, ii. 43 8 "44 

SOUTHEY, Hist. <'/'/>/<?://, ii. 462 
Sparlinin junt'i inn, ii. 163 
Si'F.i !!> of plants in Ama/onia, ii. 

SPECIMEN'S collected during voyage 

up the Rio Negm, i. 265 

SrilAHNnKCETlS, i. 383 

Srini-.Ks, bites of, ii. 67 

Sri \ NINC, cotton-, ii. 82 

Si'i>\DlA>, edible fruit, ii. 310 

SroNi \. ii. 279 

SrRUCE, at Para, i. I-J, 50-53: at 
C.uipi, i. 7-15 ; at Tauau, i. 
15-50; at Santarem, i. 02-76, 
108-165; at Obydos, i. S i N4 ; 
in Trombetas river, i. 85-107 ; 
lust in forest, i. 92, 90 ; and King, 
accident to, i. 120 ; at Manaos, i. 
203-58, 495-504; at Sao (ialniel, 
i. 289-316; up the Uaupt'-s river, 
i. 317-42 : letter to A. K. \V. 
from I'aupcs, i. 3H) ; letter lo 
A. K. \V. from San Carlos, i. 329; 
hard work on Uaupcs, i. 336 ; 
besieged in San Carlos, i. 348-52 ; 





at San Carlos, i. 348-84; stung by 
ants, i. 362-6 ; escapes from snakes, 
i. 366 ; journey to Maypures on 
the Orinoco, i. 449-70 ; at May- 
pures, i. 454-70 ; dangerous ill- 
ness of, at San Fernando, i. 463 ; 
threat to poison him, i. 466 ; plot 
to kill him, i. 487-93 ; virulent 
chilblains at San Carlos, i. 499 ; 
confidence in Indians, i. 500 ; at 
Nauta, ii. 6-7, 29-34 ; at Yuri- 
maguas, ii. 11-19; at Tarapoto, 
ii. 37-101 ; residence at Tarapoto, 
ii. 37; cures a snake-bite, ii. 62-5; 
stung by caterpillars, ii. 71-3 ; his 
dog mad from fright, ii. 104 : at 
La Lagnna, ii. 105-6 ; at Andoas, 
ii. 111-15; at Sara-yacu, ii. 120; 
at Puca -yacu, ii. 121-30; at 
Canelos, ii. 130; at Bailos, ii. 
167-85, 218; at Ambato, ii. 186, 
199-209, 223-53 5 at Riobamba, 
ii. 190-99, 213-20; at Quito, ii. 
209-12 ; in the forests of Alausi, 
ii. 228-50; in the Cinchona forests, 
ii. 258-306 ; at Guayaquil, ii. 302- 
24 ; on shores of Pacific, ii. 312 ; 
mode of working, ii. 314; at 
I ).uile, ii. 3 1 4 ; at Chanduy, ii. 3 1 7 ; 
loss of savings, ii. 320; at Piura, 
ii. 324 ; in England, ii. 343 ; on 
plant and animal relations, ii. 
362 ; on ant -agency in plant- 
structure, ii. 388 ; later views of, 
on ant -agency, ii. 411-12; on 
narcotics and stimulants, ii. 413 ; 
on " medicine "-men, ii. 430; on 
Indian spirits m demons, ii. 437 ; 
on strange forest sound and its 
cause, ii. 438 ; on rarity of cura- 
tive drugs among Indians, ii. 444 ; 
on usr (if guarana, ii. 448 ; on 
cupana, ii. 450 ; on gnayusa, ii. 
453 ; on women-warriors, ii. 456 ; 
>n Indian Rock-pictures, ii. 474; 
mi a hidden treasure of the I 
ii. 489, 490 

STAHI.KK, Mr. G., ii. 413 
SIAIIIYS. ii. 231, 245, 289 

Si \t II V I AKI'IIKTA, ii. 285, 289 

Stafhytarpheta iniitiifn'/ix, i. 468 
STARS, brilliancy of reflected, i. 270 
STKDMAN on medicine-men, ii. 433 
Stelis calodyction, ii. 278 

STELLARIA, ii. 181, 283 
STEMODIUM, ii. 340 
STEMS, elongated, ii. 401 
Stenolobium fa~nilenm, i. 87 
STIMULANTS, Indian, ii. 446 
STIPA, ii. 231, 263 
STORY of a slave, i. 443-7 
STRANGE sounds in forest, ii. 438- 


STREAMS of hot water, ii. 20 
Streptopogon erythrodontus, ii. 210 
Strychnos brasiliensis, i. I59i J 64 
Strychnos rondeletioides, i. 164, 337 > 

ii- 377 

SUCA-UBA, i. 67 
SWARTZIA, i. 26 

Swartzia argentea, i. 398 
Swartzia grand if olia, i. 97, 433 
Swartzia microstyles, i. 469 
SYMMERIA, ii. 402 



TABLAS, Rio de, ii. 267 

TACHIA, ii. 402 

TACHIGALIA, i. 338, ii. 397, 404 

Tachigalia caripes, ii. 397 

Tachigalia ptychophysca, ii. 397 

TACUARI, i. 159 

TAGETES, ii. 266 

TAGIPURU, Canal de, i. 55 

TAMARIND, i. 70 

Tantalus locitlator, migrations of, ii. 


TAPAJOZ river, i. 64 
TAPIR, hunt of, in water, ii. 119 
TARAPOTO, ride from Juan Guerra, 
ii. 35 ; residence at, ii. 37-101 ; 
description of, ii. 38-47, 49 ; tem- 
perature at, ii. 47 ; European 
genera at, ii. 48 ; ferns at, ii. 50 ; 
Campana mountain, ii. 5 I- 56; 
Lamas (view of), ii. 55 ; botanical 
excursions, ii. 83 ; roads, ii. 84-89 ; 
rest-houses (tambos), ii. 88 ; col- 
lecting near, ii. 90 ; Guayrapurima 
mountain, ii. 91 ; fern locality very 
rich, ii. 92 ; mountains north of 
(view), ii. 94; Cerro Pelado, ii. 
95 ; Potrelo, ii. 96 ; Pingulla 
mountain, ii. 96 ; Tabalosos (view 
at), ii. 97; species collected at, ii. 
100 ; to Canelos in canoes, ii. 102 





TARUMA waterfall, excursion to, 

i- 495 
TAUAU, visit to, i. 15 ; pottery of, 

i. 1 6 ; Brazil-nut trees at, i. 16 ; 
vegetation of, i. 46 ; fern-valleys 
at, i. 47 

TAYLOR, visit to Dr. James, ii. 190 
TEASDAI.E, letters to Mr. John, i. 
237, 238, 241, 268, 348, 373, 
403, 470, ii. 26, 34, 38, 76, 183, 
186, 225, 251, 302, 316, 317, 324 
TECOMA, i. 27, 37, 150, ii. 236 
Tecotna toxophora, i. 209 
Teleianthera peruviana, ii. 340 
TENITIS, ii. 291 
Tephroiia nitida, i. 86 
J^ephrosia toxicaria, i. 86 
TERMINAI.IA, i. 150, 424 
Tessaria legit i in a, ii. 4, 288, 339 
THALIA, i. 47 
THALICTRUM, ii. 266 
Theobroma Spruceana, i. 82 
THEVET on medicine-men, ii. 434 
Thevetia nerii folia, i. 343 
THIBAUDIA, ii. 282 
THUNDERSTORMS, i. 49 ; remark- 
able, i. 484 

Tiaridimn indicm/i, ii. 301, 340 
TILIACE.K, ii. 281 
TILL/EA, ii. 181 
TOADS, huge, i. 49 
TOBACCO as medicine, ii. 435 
TOCOCA, i. 338, ii. 388 

Tococa bullifera, ii. 390 

Tococa di solatia, ii. 390 

Tococa iiiacrophysca, ii. 391 

Tococa parv (flora, ii. 391 

Toco fa plan (folia, ii. 391 

Tococa pterocalyx, ii. 391, 405 

Tococa scabriuscula, i. 83 

Tocoycna puhcnila, i. 67 

Tocoyena velutina, n.s., i. 467 

TOMO, on the (iuainia, i. 450 

TONMUIN bean, i. 483 

Toro river flooded, ii. 149 ; three 
days' delay at, ii. 157 

Toitula agraria, ii. IOO 

'1'orlnla denticulata, ii. 210 

TORTUL.K, ii. ioo 

TRACHYPUS, ii. 292 

TRAIL, Prof., on Tococa, ii. 409 

TREASURE of Incas, Note on, ii. 513 

TREE, supposed poisonous, ii. 239 
TREES, buttresses of, 1.20,23 '> broken 

down by mosses, ii. 147 
TRICHILIA, ii. 283 
TRICHOMANES, i. 47, ii. 244, 291 
TRIPLARIS, ii. 283, 402 
Triplaris Schomburgkii, ii. 403 
Triplaris sitrinain<:nxis, ii. 3, 402-5 
TROMBETAS river, the, i. 77 ; ascent 

of, i. 85 

TRUMPETER and snakes, i. 340 
TRUNKS, forms of, i. 25 ; perforated, 

i. 26 

TUCANDERA ant, sting of, i. 362-6 
TUCANO Indians, ii. 5 
TUNGURAGUA, grand cone of, ii. 1 78 ; 

very woody, ii. 181 ; cataract on, 

ii. 203 

TlTRNERA, i. 467 

TURTLE, modes of cooking, i. 239 

TURURI, i. 28 

TUSSACIA, i. 468 

TussARf, chief of Maquiritares, i. 

412; portrait of, i. 412; his 

travels, i. 413 
Typha Trnxillcnsis, ii. 340 

UANAUACA, i. 263 

UAUPES Indians, portraits of, i. 
325, 328 

UAUPES river, expedition to, i. 317, 
342 ; rise and fall of, i. 332 ; vege- 
tation of. i. 337 ; Picture-writing 
in, ii. 482-8 

UMBELI.IFER, new minute, ii. 232 

UNCARIA, ii. 287 

Uncuriii ^iiiancnsis, i. 29, ii. 2X7, 


URANIA sp., i. 339 
URARINAS, ii. 10 
URi'MU - COAKA, on the 'Uaupes, i. 

322 ; Meniardo's house, i. 323 
UTRICUI.AKIA, i. 147, 469 
I i Kirui.Aki.T., i. 453 
Utricularia quinqueradiata, i. 157 
Utricularia Spruceana t i. 148 

VACI IN' i A, ii. 267, 282 

\ AI.KKIANA, ii. l8l, 231, 264, 287 

V \I.VERDK, story of, ii. 490 
\"AN I IKCVEL, ii. 461, 470 
/ 'iirronia rotnndij'olia, ii. 338 
VASIVA lake, entrance to, i. 393, 423 





\ KGETABLE IVORY palm, ii. 131 
\ 'KGETABLE oils, letter on, i. 479 
VEGETABLE products of Para, i. 50 
VEGETATION, aspects of, at Santarem, 
i. 145 ; of Temi and Atabapo 
rivers, i. 452 ; of Rio Negro, i. 
494 ; of Solimoes, ii. 3 
YKI.ASCO quoted, ii. 460, 465 
YERRENACEA, ii. 182 

/ 'crbe-na lifforalis, ii. 340 
YERNONLK, ii. 288 

Vemonia polycephala, ii. 288 
VERONICA, ii. 181 

}~i,toria ainazonica, i. 75 
VILLAGE, deserted, ii. 106 
Yn i. A NOVA, i. 172 
YILI.AVICF.NCIO, Ur. M., ii. 424-5 
VIOLA, ii. 181, 264 
VIOLET trees, i. 43 
YISMIA, ii. 300 

Visinia guiaiit-nsis, i. 5 

/ 'ismia macropkylla, i. 399 
VITEX, edible fruit, ii. 316 

/ 'itt \ in-iiith'i'nsis, i. 469 

l\>, hvtiii l't'>'rti^in,-ii, i. 158. ii. 44 
VOLCANIC boulders, localities of, i. 

135, 143 

Y'lt.rANic rocks, Professor Branner 
on, i. 144; suggested origin of, 

i- MS 

VOYAGE to Santarem, i. 54 ; to the 
Kin Negro, i. 166 ; up Huallaga 
river, ii. 19 

WAKER on Indian customs, ii. 419, 

WALLACE, A. R., ii. 459; at point 

of death, i. 267 
WATER-LILIES, annual, i. 76 
WEINMANNIA, ii. 76, 285 
Weissia calcarea, i. 98 
WERNERIA, ii. 250, 264 
WERNERI/E, ii. 231, 288 
Werneria nubigena, ii. 231 
WETTINIA, ii. 169 
Weltinia Maynensis, ii. 136, 443 
WOMEN warriors, ii. 456-73 
WOOD, a remarkable, ii. 238 
\]'nlffia stenoglossa, i. 468 

XING i", mouth of, i. 60 

XlPHOPTERIS, ii. 290 

Xvi.di'iA, i. 399 
Xylopia salicifolia, i. 467 
Xylopia Spruceana, \. 338 
XYRIDES, i. 157 
XYRIDS, i. 453 

V ABAKAN AS Indians, i. 427 

YAGUACHI river, ii. 236 

YAMADU, the mythical, i. 423 

Yangua tinctoria, ii. 38 

YELLOW fever at Para, i. 116 

YUCA DEL MONTE, ii. 334 

YURIMAGUAS, ii. ii ; history of, ii. 
12; church of (drawing), ii. 13; an 
admirable priest, ii. 15 ; industry, 
food, etc., of, ii. 17, 18 

ZANNY, visit to Senhor. i. 230 


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