Up Cape mountains through April flowers

by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

Hiking among wildflowers
and in the mountains
around Cape Town

In April he hiked up Constantiaberg. Look down at Hout Bay, the fishing harbour, and new roads ripping up the slope for upmarket houses.

Hout Bay from Constantiaberg
Hout Bay from Constantiaberg

Next day we too walked along Steenberg Ridge. As we turned down to Silvermine dam I looked up to the Constantiaberg mast where he was. Me up there? You must be joking!  Carpenter bee on Aspalathus capitata. Remember the black girdled lizard and snake battle? Usually they bask in the sun, guard their rock.

Silvermine Steenberg Ridge
Silvermine Steenberg Ridge

Disa ferruginea sharing the colours of the Jersey lily. Daisy flower bracts on Ursinea paleacea. Tritoniopsis triticea is a more common 'red spike'. Gladiolus brevifolius where I admire the varied markings on the lip.

Furry red Erica cerinthoides. Radiating Erica ericoides smells of honey. Erica plukenetii has dangly bits and long leaves. Erica hirtiflora with small furry pink balls.

Erica lutea in cream is tiered. Leucadendron xanthoconus young male flowers in silvery red. Leucadendron spessifolia in chunky red. Diosma oppositifolia a fragrant buchu.

Struthiola ciliata with tiny golden crowns. Softly mauve Pseudoselago serrata. Feathery Phylica imberbis. Blue daisy (NOT Felicia) Zyrphelis taxifolia with needle leaves in damp places.

Silvermine Steenberg Ridge April flowers
Silvermine Steenberg Ridge
April flowers

If there's a cave ... he is in. This one at Grotto Ravine.

Cave reflection at Grotto Ravine
Cave reflection at Grotto Ravine

Beetling in apple green Protea coronata at Silvermine towards Noordhoek. Protea cynaroides bud. Erica multumbellifera (in white not the usual deep pink)

Perfect globes of pink Brunia abrotanoides and ivory Brunia noduliflora. Silver grey leaves Gnidia imbricata. Strawberry buds of Anaxeton laeve dance across the landscape.

Yellow daisies Athanasia crithmifolia (named for samphire) and Euryops abrotanoides. Oxalis polyphylla showing its feathery leaves. Feathered antlers on Bulbine favosa.

Silvermine Noordhoek April flowers
Silvermine Noordhoek
April flowers

Detoured for Witsenia maura bokmakierie's tail, a woody iris standing 1-3 metres high. Stoebe cinerea with Leucadendron.

Silvermine Noordhoek Witsenia maura in April
Silvermine Noordhoek
Witsenia maura in April

Fynbos is fire adapted but deep in the kloofs along tumbling mountain streams trees survive to grow old. Halleria lucida in Woody Ravine.

Halleria lucida in April at Woody Ravine
Halleria lucida
in April at Woody Ravine

At Elsie's Peak Zygophyllum spinosum up then down. Reddish Erica coccinea also dangly bits but short leaves. Pink bells of Erica pulchella. Erica viscaria has large pink flowers. Erica nudiflora with flowers that lean to one side (exposing a bared stalk)

Elsie's Peak Ericas in April
Elsie's Peak
Ericas in April

Cassine peragua covered in white flowers. Lachnaea grandiflora (which is small!) Delicate Pelargonium myrrifolium. Little Stoebe capitata in pink.

Blue banded Roella ciliata. Mountain aloe on Elsie's Peak Aloe succotrina. Ivory female Leucadendron xanthoconus

Pink stars on Trichocephalus stipularis. Yellow bell of Linum africanum. Yellow daisy Osteospermum moniliferum (my tapestry hedge on the verge). Staavia radiata with deep pink hearts

Elsie's Peak April flowers
Elsie's Peak
April flowers

I once bought Jurg a birthday King protea in Zurich - from a chic florist. Now he has the real live Protea cynaroides on St James' Peak!

Protea cynaroides on St James' Peak
Protea cynaroides on St James' Peak

Tiny pink hibiscus Anisodontea scabrosa. At Gifkommetjie - Tylecodon grandiflorus is also poisonous for stock farmers. Bronze Manulea tomentosa. Lichen.

Olea capensis ironwood smothered in white. Eriocephalus africanus wild rosemary white sparked with yellow and pink hearts. Chaenostoma hispidum (was Sutera). Mauve Muraltia heisteria (beware of pointy bits!)

Cullumia setosa with teeth. Yellow daisy Othonna arborescens (tree delusions) this one with toothed leaves. White Erica capensis. Pink Erica abietina flowers splay out

Red berries on Maurocenia frangula. Autumn star Empodium plicatum. Tiniest protea Diastella divaricata. Even tinier squash Kedrostis nana.

Gifkommetjie April flowers
Gifkommetjie
April flowers

I fell in love with Serruria villosa - and now have a thumbsized plant from Kirstenbosch Plant Fair! Big white daisy with burgundy buds Arctotis aspera. Cabbage tree has the weirdest flowers Cussonia thyrsiflora.

Gifkommetjie Serruria villosa in April
Gifkommetjie
Serruria villosa in April

hike with U3A each week.

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Pictures by Diana and Jürg Studer

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Comments

  1. The incredible range of flowers in your part of the world never ceases to amaze me, Diana. Seeing all those pretty Ericas has me wondering once again why I've never tried to grow any (among the few varieties available here). I adore the Diastella divaricata, yet another plant I've never seen before but now will covet, although I very much doubt it'll ever make it into the US nursery trade.

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  2. Thank you for always sharing the rich diversity and beauty of the area so freely. Always informative and beautifully captures the magnificence that surrounds us.

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  3. What a view from that height! I am always in awe of the array of plants you have growing in your area and I’m glad you were able to find the one you like so you will now have it in your beautiful gardens! I think I would not want to venture in the caves lol, no correction, I know I would not go in the caves lol

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  4. You have some fascinating places to hike, and as always, stunning wildflowers! I'm jealous of your hills and mountains...and the views!

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  5. Thank you for amazing me yet again. Brunia! Roella! Mountains, with the ocean beyond!

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  6. I hope to see these beauties in person someday!

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    Replies
    1. If you do come to Cape Town, it would be wonderful to see our flowers thru your Tennessee eyes.

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  7. it's incredible that you have all these amazing flowers in the beginning of your autumn, this could be Spring in Europe.<3

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  8. So lovely, Diana, to see your blogpost today. I have just reread one of my posts, which you commented under, a poem about longing for South Africa 'home'. Gorgeous to see your pics. X

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  9. There is just a huge range of plants and flowers. How wonderful to be able to climb and walk amongst them. I like your comment: if there is a cave he is in it! What would you hubby say about you in this vein?

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    Replies
    1. SO slow, all those flower pictures, never get anywhere.

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  10. Your carpenter bee looks nothing like the carpenter bees around here. So interesting.
    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

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  11. A 1-3 metre high iris? Wow, unbelievable! Next time you should take a selfie with this incredibly tall iris.

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    Replies
    1. I hadn't thought of a picture with hikers for scale

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  12. The cabbage tree flower really is weird-looking. Do you know what kind of co-evolution or adaptation has made that shape functional?

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    Replies
    1. The newer PZA articles include pollinators - but this one is unfortunately not updated.
      http://pza.sanbi.org/cussonia-thyrsiflora

      Pollinated by sunbirds who like a sturdy perch.

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