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