Silvermine flowers and India Venster
by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa
Hiking among wildflowers
in the mountains
around Cape Town
Back in November his first hike was above the next bay to ours, which is Kalk Bay with the fishing harbour. Looking along the coast to Simon's Town.
We began by walking up the firebreak along Silvermine Village and on the Old Wagon Trail (drenched last time). Luckily in time to see, the flowers before they were weed-whacked. Not the fire hazard bushes, but all the blooming tinies!
Leucadendron xanthoconus, cones in yellow bracts, new leaves silver and wine-red. Creamy Brunia lanuginosa. Gladiolus carneus with spade-shaped deep red marks on lower petals. Small pink Erica mauritanica.
Polygala garcinii with white tassel. Pink locust with double set of legs (we are a pair!) Green-ringed yellow daisy Ursinia paleacea. Mauve pea Otholobium virgatum.
Gold Helichrysum cymosum. Tiny annual Helichrysum indicum. Tiny mat-forming Helichrysum tinctum. Lobelia pinifolia.
We hiked up Elsie's Peak to see Erica halicacaba, which likes to grow on cliff faces. Large bush at the base of the summit, with a smaller one midway up.
Yellow Bobartia indica (looks like a reed out of flower). Terracotta and gold Ixia dubia. Fynbos on slope of Elsie's Peak.
Lady's hand Cyanella hyacinthoides. Dilatris pillansii with stamens, 2 long and one short. True pink Watsonia borbonica.
Love the blaze of pink, lemon yellow and russet Syncarpha gnaphaloides against its billow of silver leaves! Red blister beetle on Cullumia setosa.
Aspalathus callosa with its egg-shaped cluster. Aspalathus carnosa flowers cupped in beauty. Aspalathus chenopoda requires its spikes to be kept at a respectful distance, especially when it grows along the path. Tornleaf Lichtensteinia lacera is an umbel.
Banded blue Roella ciliata. Pseudoselago spuria (with devouring monkey beetle). Purple pea Otholobium fruticans. White Scabiosa columbaria.
The usual yellow Microdon dubius. Trailing pincushion protea Leucospermum hypophyllocarpodendron. Yellow Linum africanum. Pelargonium longifolium in shell pink with burgundy.
Twice in November he climbed via India Venster (= window), an opening in the rock on the face of Table Mountain between the cable stations. The shape of a green patch on the mountain, seen from the City, reminded British settlers of India.
Around Maiden Peak in Silvermine. This Saltera sarcocolla stand out in the landscape like an orange traffic cone. Vehement shiny pink flowers! Out of bloom the tall columns of ranked leaves remain distinctive. Mid-pink and one almost white too.
A patch of fallen BLUE sky Aristea africana grows low along the path. Aristea capitata raises blue spears. Drifts of white Macrostylis villosa. Wisps of cloud against that matching blue African sky.
Yellow Wachendorfia paniculata. Red leaves Oxalis pentaphylla. Soft silky yellow Aspalathus sericea. OTT terracotta and gold pea family Liparia splendens.
The darker form of Microdon dubius. Silvermine River flowing down the mountain. Shrubby rich pink flowers and gently folded and toothed leaves Pelargonium cucculatum ssp tabulare.
Proteas - bud of Protea speciosa, cone of Leucadendron laureolum, white feathers of Mimetes fimbriifolius.
Restio undulating in waves with the wind. Orchids - Yellow Disa tenuifolia and Acrolophia bolusii with its lower petal corrugated and turned up.
White daisies flamboyant Syncarpha vestita and understated Metalasia side by side. Soft buttery yellow Edmondia sesamoides. Athanasia crithmifolia named for its leaves.
Short list for Silvermine North Plateau this week as my lost sunglasses gave me a migraine (now using his wraparound cycling glasses)
This was new to our group Aspalathus tridentata. Psoralea pinnata in white and blue.
Purple striped Indigofera candolleana. Ursinia paleacea most beautiful for its identifying translucent bracts. Gone to seed a different sort of beauty for Syncarpha speciosissima.
Senecio rigidus with rough leaves. Syncarpha vestita, Cape snow, hides dark purple flowers within the luminous white bracts, and a monkey beetle in a yellow suit of pollen. Pink and white balls of Brunia abrotanoides.
But one of the best bits of each hike, is our tea stop, choosing a place to gaze my fill of Syncarpha vestita and the iconic mountain of Cape Town ... sigh. His India Venster is just behind the left corner of Table Mountain.
I 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
Pictures by Diana and Jürg Studer
Teal blue text is my links.
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I'm glad that you timed your trip to allow you to see all these glorious blooms before they were weed-whacked! I fully appreciate the need to clear the undergrowth to limit fire risk but it'd have been heartbreaking to discover nothing but dead plant material. Your Syncarpha vestita is stunning!ReplyDelete
Simply wow! Syncarpha gnaphaloides double wow.ReplyDelete
Do you know all these at first sight from years of hikes, or see new rarities now and then? Seems like it might be a stroll more than a hike because there are so many gems to discover, rediscover, and admire. Thanks for taking us along via your camera.
I can, mostly get to genus - but rely on our 3 leaders for the species.Delete
Year by year, drought or recovery from fire - the selection varies.
The real mysteries I take to iNaturalist.
At least our choices on each hike, are limited by endemic distribution and the season. Otherwise I would be overwhelmed! We have an easy pace from flower to flower.
It was -24C here this morning and we are "warming up" to -10C today. Thank you for sharing this post full of richly varied flora and descriptions of your adventures!ReplyDelete
I'd have to hibernate at -24C !!Delete
Oh yes what a multitude of beautiful flowers, all I generally see is a daisy or buttercup gorse and fuchsia, rarely ever a stunning little wildflower which is so sad. Our hikes are more forestry tracks (which are pretty barren) and roads. Sometimes we get lucky and see little orchids in the bogs but something like the bounty we have - lucky!ReplyDelete
Always a magical moment finding wild orchids!Delete
The Syncarpha gnaphaloides looks delightful! And the Syncarpha vestita looks as though it might make a good everlasting--do you know?ReplyDelete
I am always so deeply impressed by the wealth of flower varieties you have around you. And I am loving seeing that blue, blue sky drifting through the backgrounds of your pictures. How I miss the big, blue sky of the desert!
We have many varieties of strawflower / everlasting. Used to export them, I wonder if we still do?Delete
It was only when I lived in Switzerland, and the sky was always a little greyed out. Low cloud in the cold seasons, and smog in the warm ones. That I learned to appreciate our vivid blue African sky!