The Highlands of the Western Ghats
After we spend a short night in the highlands of the westghats, we drove to the first habitat at 1,500m placed in the middle of a tea plantation. We were surprised as we found some Eriocaulon Horsten, which grew up to 60cm. Unfortunately this species isn’t suitable for the aquarium – but they look fantastic. Very fast though we found some smaller species from this genus. A mini Hydrocotyle species as well as some Acorus plants have formed a plant community with the Eriocaulon. Water suited shoes are a must have here, because we partly sunk in knee-deep into the muddy ground – a nice contrast to the bleached legs of the Dennerle guys by the way.
At this height the morning hours are relatively cool but nevertheless nicely fresh compared to the hot coastal area. The next step on our curvy trip was a small waterfall with many mosses and an attractive mini fern and this one can probably grow underwater, too. We will definitely test this when we are back in Germany. After we drove for hours on the serpentine road, we reached a small river in the plain with countless known aquarium plants as well as the newly described Lagenandra toxicaria. It forms grandly leaves above and underwater – definitely a great species! Eleocharis, Cryptocoryne spiralis, Ceratopteris and Limnophila aquatica have formed a beautiful contrast in this scenario. Another botanical highlight was a red something on ground. At first we thought it had to be some sort of an algae, but this beauty turned out to be a plant from the genus Podostemaceae. Unfortunately it can’t be kept in the aquarium, because of its extreme adaption to fast flowing waters.
Satisfied and tired we went off to bed, after we had some delicious Indian finger food and two beer.