Steenberg and Elsie's Peak, Noordhoek and Gifkommetjie in November

  

by Diana Studer

- gardening for biodiversity

 in Cape Town, South Africa

 

Hiking among wildflowers

in the mountains

around Cape Town

 

To Silvermine and Steenberg Peak. Fynbos daisies. Russet buds for Dimorphotheca nudicaulis. Ursinia paleacea. Twice golden Chrysocoma coma-aurea. Purple Senecio umbellatus. Looking to Noordhoek beach and Kommetjie. Tall yellow Senecio rigidus with sandpaper leaves. Edmondia sesamoides leaves tightly packed against the stem, ranging across white and cream to soft yellow, or gentle pinks.

 

Daisies at Steenberg Peak in November
Daisies at Steenberg Peak in November

Seeking blue Disa maculata. Pea family in yellow Rafnia angulata fading to orange,  and purple Otholobium virgatum. Mauve Pseudoselago spuria. Dilatris pillansii with black reed bee. Peachy Geissorhiza bonaspei. Serruria fasciflora. Dischisma ciliatum with 4 fingers up. Yellow stars Gnidia juniperifolia.

 

November flowers on Steenberg Peak
November flowers on Steenberg Peak

Criss-crossing Noordhoek wetland. Aspalathus cordata - large heart-shaped prickly leaves - smaller fleshy leaves on Aspalathus divaricata. Limy daisy Athanasia dentata with monkey beetle. Carpanthea pomeridiana, blooms in the afternoon, opened for us as we looped back.

 

Yellow flowers at Noordhoek wetland in November
Yellow flowers at Noordhoek wetland in November

Again Disa but tall and chunky cornuta here. Struthiola dodecandra. Helichrysum pandurifolium leaves have undulate margins. The blue bell family. Tiniest annual Microdon glomeratus . Creeping white Wahlenbergia procumbens. Tall and vivid Wahlenbergia capensis.

 

Noordhoek wetland November in blue
Noordhoek wetland November in blue

Second half we returned to Chapman's Peak Nature Sanctuary. Now those lovely handcrafted wooden signs are sadly weather-beaten. Tracked down the gossamer seeds to pods on Microloma sagittatum. Looking up to Chapman's Peak (which we can also see from our window, my landmark) Bokhoringtjie Cynanchum africanum. Mystery with leaves edged in Velcro is Galium tomentosum (Rubiaceae). Hermannia pinnata, the usual Hermannia bells, but this species is large, vivid deep orange and flares open.

 

Chapman's Peak Nature Sanctuary November
Chapman's Peak Nature Sanctuary November

Elsie's Peak for Erica halicacaba and Teedia lucida with fruit this year. Diastella divaricata. A different pea Indigofera candolleana. Pelargonium psammophilum - easier to remember now I know that 'psammo' is Greek for sand so sand-loving. Pelargonium longicaule (long stalks to the individual flowers) White Corymbium africanum, is a daisy, not a bulb. Yellow pea species teased apart by the bracts Aspalathus callosa. Heading home an unusual yellow pea Lebeckia meyeriana, with tall leaves like the teeth of a comb!

 

Elsie's Peak for Teedia in November
Elsie's Peak for Teedia in November

A yellow pincushion but this one creeps along the ground Leucospermum hypophyllocarpodendron. Bracts on yellow daisy Osteospermum polygaloides. Linum africanum (flax but yellow). Ixia dubia tall and yellow, usually like this with deep orange buds and a deep dark green heart. Even taller and prouder Watsonia borbonica. Zigzag petals Codonorhiza corymbosa. Midnight blue Aristea africana. Shell pink Gladiolus carneus catching welcome drizzle.

 

November bulbs on Elsie's Peak
November bulbs on Elsie's Peak

One of my favourites. Silver leaves and bronze bracts. Cherry and yellow for the flowers. Syncarpha gnaphaloides.

 

Syncarpha gnaphaloides Elsie's Peak in November
Syncarpha gnaphaloides Elsie's Peak in November

Looping the long route to Gifkommetjie for blue Disa purpurascens. Agathosma capensis. Diastella divaricata. Ruffle lichen on a branch Parmotrema.

 

Blue disa near Gifkommetjie in November
Blue disa near Gifkommetjie in November

Gifkommetjie. At the top of the path a purple vygie Lampranthus falciformis has sickle leaves. Wind down among the rocks. Lobelia boivinii on the steps. Tucked to the side lady's hand Cyanella hyacinthoides. So difficult to tell apart in photos - gentian family. In life Chironia is small and low with linoides leaves. At the bottom of the path crossing the wetland tall Orphium frutescens. Along the shore just above the tideline tiny purple Psoralea repens and scarlet Crassula glomerata. Almost back to the car sticky Moraea elsiae.

 

Gifkommetjie bulbs in November
Gifkommetjie bulbs in November

More daisies? Tiny clear yellow Gymnodiscus capillaris. Helichrysum tinctum in russet and cream. White with a yellow heart, beach groundcover Helichrysum crispum. Chrysocoma coma-aurea. Sweep up again past Arctotis aspera. Then look down to see a herd of eland following our path below.

 

Scrophulariaceae - I have that petal shape in my mind now, softly looping like a child's drawing. Chaenostoma hispidum. Hebenstretia repens with orange throat. Zaluzianskya villosa is one of the first that I learnt decades ago!

 

Gifkommetjie daisies and scrophs in November
Gifkommetjie daisies and scrophs in November

Our hikes are listed on my page.


Another Christmas in limbo. Yesterday a cautious carol service, this year (carefully) the family lunch we missed last year.

I wish you and yours a happy Christmas!

 

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Comments

  1. Even recognizing that it's nearly summer in your part of the world, I'm astounded by the array of wild blooms, Diana. How I wish I could be there to hike alongside you! Best wishes for an enjoyable Christmas even given the circumstances. Events are shutting down right and left here but I managed an outdoor lunch with a group of friends and a visit from another as my husband and I slide into relative isolation for the remainder of the holiday season.

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  2. this is the true meaning of diversity - some of the tinier flowers brought to full attention with your focus too. Disa maculata caught mine!
    Wishing you a Happy Christmas and a not too dry summer! Thnak you for all your visits too x

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    Replies
    1. Many fingers, fighting the wind and forcing my camera to look here, at this flower!

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  3. Oh my goodness...summer! Where does one start to comment? All are incredible. Best holiday wishes, and here's hoping we'll find a way to move through and beyond this nasty pandemic.

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  4. Someday, I will visit your part of this beautiful world and will be prepared to see all these beauties
    '

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  5. It's always a joy to visit your blog and see all these wonderful photos.

    I hope you had a lovely Christmas. All the best for the new year! :)

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  6. This post was the perfect balm for my winter weary eyes! It’s drab and rainy, and mildly warm here, but honestly, I’d rather have snow!

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