Enjoying winter rain and flowers in July

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

Hiking among wildflowers
in the mountains
around Cape Town

In July we hiked the Red Track at Cape Point, on the level, stopping at each 'flower'. Flat blades like a bulb but weird tassel flowers. Thanks to sedgesrock at iNaturalist Chrysitrix capensis capensis.

The dead protea bush remembers the November 2017 fire, as does all the fresh green enjoying the rain. Among the tracks heading for the gurgling stream is this eland hoofprint. Protea cynaroides seedling.

Red Track at Cape Point in July winter rain after the fire
Red Track at Cape Point in July
winter rain after the fire

Erica lasciva has a long stigma. Cream and burgundy Erica labialis with a weeping willow habit. White bells endemic Erica capensis. White head Stilbe vestita.

Sunshine from Leucadendron laureolum. Red legs or Berzelia abrotanoides. Everlasting Syncarpha speciosissima bud. Moraea collina olive green stripes on butter yellow.

Salmon Watsonia zeyheri. Gladiolus merianellus in the expected red / orange. Pauridia capensis striped reverse and yellow face.

July flowers along the Red Track at Cape Point
July flowers along the Red Track at Cape Point

Hiking round Spitskop at Silvermine. We walked along the Silvermine River then crossed it, among swamp daisies Osmitopsis astericoides and marsh pagoda Mimetes hirtus. Staavia radiata (Brunia family) the mauve is the actual flower.

White Romulea flava with central yellow cup. Yellow Oxalis luteola. Pink and blue Lobostemon fruticosus. Striped sepals on Euryops abrotanifolius.

Ivory bracts and male cone Leucadendron xanthoconus. Female cone Leucadendron salignum. Green protea beetle Trichostetha fascicularis. Tall pink Erica curviflora near streams.

July flowers around Spitskop in Silvermine
July flowers around Spitskop in Silvermine

Folded layers of Table Mountain sandstone at Steenberg Buttress from his hike.

Folded sandstone at Steenberg Buttress
Folded sandstone at Steenberg Buttress

Protea nitida (waboom) at Myburgh's Kloof looking across Hout Bay to Chapman's Peak.

Protea nitida at Myburgh's Kloof in Hout Bay  in July
Protea nitida at Myburgh's Kloof in Hout Bay in July

Mushroom and fern. Arctopus echinatus bear's paws (!)

Apple green Protea coronata. Feathery Phylica pubescens.

Toothed leaves Othonna quinquedentata. Erica baccans flowers in fours, sturdy shrub in a fire protected pocket.

July flowers at Myburgh's Kloof in Hout Bay
July flowers at Myburgh's Kloof in Hout Bay

His hike a day late to enjoy waterfalls on Mowbray Ridge after fierce weather cancelled on their usual day.

Waterfall at Mowbray Ridge
Waterfall at Mowbray Ridge

On Elsie's Peak we walked across towards the abandoned quarry above the sea. White pompoms Brunia noduliflora. Lobostemon fruticosus pink throat. Blue stripes Lobostemon montanus.

Cape witch orchid Disperis capensis. Just above the quarry where I found a piece of mudstone to bring home.

While we waited to start, that 'sour fig' above the road is a prostrate pincushion Leucospermum hypophyllocarpodendron (red listed as vulnerable, rose scented for pollinators, depends on ants to disperse the seeds underground). Female cone Leucadendron xanthoconus. The beard of the bearded Protea lepidocarpodendron.

July flowers on Elsie's Peak above the quarry
July flowers on Elsie's Peak above the quarry

He hiked from Redhill to Scarborough and found the rare yellow form of Gladiolus merianellus.

Rare yellow Gladiolus merianellus at Redhill in July
Rare yellow Gladiolus merianellus at Redhill in July

We hiked along Steenberg Ridge, the landscape keeping us always just ahead of that cold front and its fingers of cloud. Velvety Gnidia tomentosa. Yellow crowned Struthiola ciliata. Lobelia pinifolia.

Scrambling Bolusafra bituminosa, tar-scented leaves, striped buds, and yellow pea flowers. Ladybird on balls of Berzelia lanuginosa.

White Erica caffra, flowers and trunk are one plant. Furry pink bells Erica hirtiflora. White sepals and urn Erica luteola. Black heart in white Erica calycina.

Leucadendron spissifolium cone. Podalyria calyptrata sweetpea bush. Amphithalea ericifolia covered in flowers! Adenandra villosa china (as in porcelain) flower.

July flowers along Steenberg Ridge
July flowers along Steenberg Ridge

Two years of learning flowers on Fynbos Rambles and new flowers every week.
hike with U3A (listed as False Bay)
His hike with U3A each week (listed as Cape Town)

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Pictures by Diana and Jürg Studer

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  1. That cape witch orchid is a kick! As usual, you've identified and photographed plants I've never before seen or heard of. The variety within the Erica genus impressed me, underscoring my interest in trying some of the limited species available here.

  2. August is the time here to admire the heatherfields. Purple everywhere. You place Ericaceae in a whole new light; beautiful dainty little flowers.

  3. Yellow daisies and pink ericas - I always have to concentrate hard on which is who each week.

  4. My favorite of all these wonderful flowers is the striped Pauridia capensis. I'm sure you are happy to see rain, even if it does mean an occasional cancelled outing. We have been seeing mushrooms that pop up after rain here, too. I just took a class on edible mushrooms, so I'm trying to get better at identifying the ones that grow under my trees.