From May Day to Audouinia

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

On May Day, Worker's Day, at Silvermine I caught this quick image. MANY hiking groups, distant pair of high tech base jumpers fledgling mountaineers carrying soft landing cushions. Sandwiched in is Hoerikwagga who spoke to us in Khoi - a language of waterfalls and birdsong, music not words to my unskilled ears. He (dressed in animal skins and feather headdress) was perhaps a herbalist with his apprentice.

Hard to capture Othonna quinquedentata dancing above all else. Second golden daisy Cullumia setosa with prickly leaves.

Green flasks on Erica urna-viridis, sepals with darker green keeled tips. Tiny protea Diastella divaricata, large bearded Protea speciosa.

Two peas, Indigofera cytisoides and Cape satin bush Podalyria sericea. Golden restio Elegia. Red-stemmed Asparagus rubicundus.

Furled Oxalis polyphylla bud. Pink stars on dogface Trichocephalus stipularis. Tuberous climber Kedrostis nana pumpkin family. White bracts with central actual pink flowers Staavia radiata.

May Day flowers at Silvermine
May Day flowers at Silvermine

Rare Brachysiphon fucatus, cool sandstone slopes, from his Nursery and Cecilia Ravine hike.

Brachysiphon fucatus in May
Brachysiphon fucatus in May

Erica pulchella crowded pink urns. Erica ericoides pink, burgundy dangling anthers. Erica plukenetii warm pink, long burgundy anthers dangle. Protea repens sugarbush (suikerbossie).

Athanasia trifurcata (the trident on the leaves). White fluff for bird's nests Tarchonanthus littoralis. Flower buds Searsia tomentosa.

Blue African skies Salvia africana-caerulea. We hiked to the waterfall but poor Silvermine River was dry. Furled buds Zaluzianskya capensis cherry red with white margins. Colours echoed in Pelargonium myrrifolium.

Twining Astephanus triflorus. Milkweed Gomphocarpus cancellatus. Encouraging cluster of mountain cedar Widdringtonia nodiflora saplings emerging after the big fire in March 2015. Early settlers removed large trees for good timber.   

May flowers around Silvermine waterfall
May flowers around Silvermine waterfall

From Clovelly Ridge, his view across False Bay to Cape Hangklip above the winter smog.

View from Clovelly Ridge to Cape Hangklip
View from Clovelly Ridge to Cape Hangklip

Walking along Steenberg Plateau (Silvermine) a blend of pink, straw and ivory Metalasia densa - the varieties sadly not named.

Metalasia densa in pink, straw and ivory in May
Metalasia densa in pink, straw and ivory in May

Searsia tomentosa showing the velvety underneath. Stoebe cinerea against faded bracken. Diosma oppositifolia fragrant buchu and citrus family.

Dark tips on pink Erica corifolia. Spider with her zigzag stabilimentum. Minute yellow flowers Cliffortia ruscifolia with a signal fly.

Tight pink Protea cynaroides bud. Female cone and golden leaves of Leucadendron laureolum.

Steenberg Plateau flowers in May
Steenberg Plateau flowers in May

He hiked Chapman's Peak via Blackburn Ravine to see Hout Bay harbour and The Sentinel.

Hout Bay from Blackburn
Hout Bay from Blackburn

We hiked to Chapman's Neck (not even their tea stop ;~) Curvy leaved Pentameris curvifolia. Bearded Protea lepidocarpodendron. White pompoms Brunia noduliflora.

Furry pink balls Erica hirtiflora. Spiky pompoms Stilbe vestita endemic fynbos family. Something Cyperaceae. One long petal for Selago luxurians.

Purple Lobelia pinifolia. Yallery brown Gladiolus maculata on Renosterveld clay. Rich yellow Aspalathus juniperina. Royal purple and white Muraltia heisteria handle with care!

Weird lobed leaves Gerbera linnaei. Yellow daisies local Capelio tabularis, and canary creeper at the roadside Senecio tamoides introduced from the Eastern Cape. On the sandstone magnesium dendrites.

Chapman's Neck flowers in May
Chapman's Neck flowers in May

We hiked the ridge above the coastal Shipwreck Trail at Cape Point. Tylecodon grandiflorus (poisonous to livestock for earlier farmers). Berries and white flowers Cassine peragua. Serruria villosa golden spiderhead.

Furry leaves and furled pink flowers Oxalis hirta. Lemon yellow Oxalis luteola. Deep orange Gladiolus priorii.

First blue Aristea africana. Yellow autumn star Empodium plicatum. White bracts and central pink and white flowers, endemic Staavia dodii. Statement furry leaves Capelio tabularis.

Yellow daisies sturdy Othonna arborescens and tiny annual Gymnodiscus capillaris. Last Cape snow Syncarpha vestita. Luminous white Arctotis aspera.

Shipwreck Trail ridge flowers in May
Shipwreck Trail ridge flowers in May

Audouinia capitata rich cherry flowers spikes arranged in Fibonacci spirals, endemic to extreme South-western Cape.

Looking back to Slangkop.

Folded sandstone. Unusual pure white Amphithalea ericifolia, usual pink and purple.

Audouinia and Amphithalea in May
Audouinia and Amphithalea in May

hike with U3A each week.

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Pictures by Diana and Jürg Studer

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Comments

  1. As always, I'm utterly amazed by the range of plants you find on your hikes. I imagine that plant hunters must comb your mountains too, hopefully under supervision that prevents any unauthorized appropriations. I'm also impressed by your ability to identify all these plants.

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    1. We do have to battle poachers - especially succulents in the Northern Cape, lizards, spiders, beetles. For plants there are also huge issues around (illegally) harvesting bulbs or bark for traditional remedies.

      Credit for naming goes to the women who lead our fynbos rambles (we only name plants in flower, or with truly distinctive leaves)

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  2. I agree with Kris, the range of wildflowers even in winter, is amazing. I am also surprised they survive the winds that I remember in that area. Anyway, the flowers are a joy to behold.

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    Replies
    1. The daisies are the fragile flowers, easily offended if the weather is not perfect - we don't like wind, or rain, or cold - balmy midday is fine.

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  3. As always, the variety and beauty of your wildflowers amazes. You mentioned the river being dry. Is that normal at this time of year?

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    Replies
    1. No, June has been about half our usual rain, but we have more coming this week. I was disappointed, I expected to see a gentle flow not high and dry stepping stones!

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  4. So many beautiful blooms...and that view of Hout Bay...wow! Your hikes must be spectacular. And, I echo what the others said about year-round blooms...amazing!

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    Replies
    1. Our urban edge is either Table Mountain National Park or the Atlantic Ocean which does equal spectacular views. And always an embarrassment of choice from my flower photos each week.

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  5. Your mountains resemble animal heads and your flowers resemble candy. What a wonderful place you live in :-)

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  6. Dear Diana,
    I'm always learning and learning and learning so much when I read your posts. Thank you for that and your lovely words.
    Have a wonderful time
    Big hugs
    Elisabeth

    ReplyDelete

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