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.
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.
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.
If there's a cave ... he is in. This one 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.
Detoured for Witsenia maura bokmakierie's tail, a woody iris standing 1-3 metres high. Stoebe cinerea with Leucadendron.
Fynbos is fire adapted but deep in the kloofs along tumbling mountain streams trees survive to grow old. Halleria lucida in 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)
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
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!
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.
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.
I hike with U3A each week.
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