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Photograph by Wilson Popenoe THE HARDY PAPAYA OF THE NORTHERN ANDES
This large melon-like fruit of tropical lowlands is well known to residents of southern Florida, the West Indies, and many other parts of the world. It is replaced in the Colombian highlands by a hardier species, whose fruits are much smaller.
cobblestoned, into a region of dense forest dripping with moisture. from the clouds which blow up from the Magdalena Valley and impinge upon the escarpment. I felt a thrill as I realized that this was the region in which Dr. Frank M. Chapman,* of the American Museum of Natural History, had first observed the giant blackberry.
It had been some years since he visited Colombia, but the story which he told us on his return had not been forgotten. Indeed, the giant blackberry had been on the list of rare plants which I was to seek when I left Washington; but it had looked a long way off to me at that time. There was the lengthy journey up the Magdalena to be made, and then the trip southward from Bogotá. Now, at last, I was actually at the place where Dr. Chapman had seen this remarkable fruit! I strained my eyes, hoping to catch sight of it along the roadside.
Several days previously my imagination had been fired by the sight of several quarts of gigantic berries in the Bogotá market.
Impatiently we pushed on. I was tempted to leave the trail and go off hunting through the forest. But we needed another man to do the work properly and had planned to get him at Fusagasugá.
*See, also, "Over the Andes to Bogotá," by Frank M. Chapman, in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE for October, 1921.
WHERE STRAWBERRIES ARE SOLD BY THE YARD
Two kinds of strawberries are sold in the markets of Bogotá-one, the wild European variety, Fragaria vesca, which has become naturalized in the Andes, and the other, the largefruited Chilean species, Fragaria chiloensis. The last named is rare and is considered a great delicacy; the fruits are strung together by their stems and hung up in the market, where the customer can purchase as many feet or yards of strawberries as his purse will permit.
BERRIES TOO LARGE TO BE TAKEN AT A SINGLE MOUTHFUL This giant blackberry, from the mountains near Fusagasugá, has been named the Colombian berry in honor of its native country. Its botanic name, Rubus macrocarpus, seems unusually appropriate, for it is one of the largest berries in the world. Single specimens sometimes measure more than two inches in length by an inch and a half in thickness. Plant breeders may find this berry valuable for hybridizing with North American forms, in order to produce new varieties of unusually large size.
It was nearly sundown when we entered that town. We found comfortable quarters at the small hotel, and a hot sancocho, together with fried plantains, rice, and potatoes. I was tired and stiff and turned in as soon as we had finished the meal. Hernando, even less accustomed to long tramps than myself, sat up another hour or more, applying native remedies to his feet, which were galled by the steep descent of the afternoon.
A NIGHT OF DISTRESS
We turned out early and looked about for a man to carry the baggage and assist us in our hunt for plants. Marcos seemed to meet the requirements and was added to our party. We braced him for the journey with a good meal and took the road back toward El Peñón, the region we had passed on the previous day.
The small tavern of this name stands beside the rocky trail and offers none but the most meager supplies. The place
makes no pretense of furnishing quarters overnight, so that we were forced to put up with two wooden benches which had not even been designed to serve as beds. There were no blankets available, and the building was already enveloped in a cold Andean fog when we arrived, in the late afternoon. I had a thin cotton blanket, Hernando a muffler, and as for Marcos I don't think he had anything at all, which was probably his customary bedding.
Stretched upon the bench, wrapped in my inadequate blanket, I attempted to pass the night with the minimum of suffering. It was one of the longest and hardest vigils I have ever experienced. The room was not boarded up securely, and the chill, damp wind off the mountain tops came through on all sides. My bones ached incessantly, and when I finally arose. at dawn, it was to find Hernando and Marcos shivering in the lean-to kitchen, where a small fire was being kindled by our hostess.
These roots, known in Bogotá as cubios, are produced by a plant which is closely related to the nasturtium. Botanically it is known as Tropaolum tuberosum; it grows in the cool, moist climate of the higher Andes and has been used for food since prehistoric days. Cubios are boiled with meat or other foodstuffs.
We made out a breakfast of sorts and photographs as best we could, for it was proceeded to business.
In the excitement of being at last in the very region where the giant blackberry had first been discovered, my discomfort was soon forgotten. Marcos led the way, machete in hand.
A drizzling rain was falling, and the boggy ground beneath our feet suggested that this must be the usual condition. It was one of the most curiously fascinating regions I have ever seen. Moisture, moisture everywhere; everything was dripping with it, and the plants looked as if they had never seen brilliant sunshine.
THE GIANT BERRY IS FOUND
Suddenly Marcos stopped and reached forth with his machete to cut a branch which crossed our path. Looking up, I saw that it bore upon its outer end several red fruits the size of large walnuts-undoubtedly the giant blackberries for which I was searching. I grasped the branch
with a shout.
We dug roots, picked fruits, and took
drizzling steadily and we felt certain that it would be raining harder by afternoon. The plants were abundant, and their long, prickly canes scrambled to lengths of 15 feet or more. Their purple flowers, an inch across, were only less interesting than the gigantic berries, which I found to be flavored like loganberries, but to have larger and harder seeds.
We packed up our spoils and took the trail for Sibaté. It was a long, hard climb through the rain, but we finally got our precious freight on board the train, and late that night found ourselves back in Bogotá, where Bernardo, the youthful manager of the hotel in which I was stopping, was busily engaged in writing ardent verses to the photograph of a young lady, which stood upon the table in my
Bernardo had not, of course, seen the young lady; indeed, he did not even know her name, which seemed to "cramp his style" a bit. But he had fallen violently in love with her, he explained to me, and