April hikes to Maiden Peak in Silvermine, Noordhoek Fire Lookout and Sirkelsvlei at Cape Point

  

by Diana Studer

- gardening for biodiversity

 in Cape Town, South Africa

 

Hiking among wildflowers

in the mountains

around Cape Town

 

Fynbos ramble to Silvermine Maiden Peak. Backlit against the autumn sun, fire club rush Ficinia deusta. Erica ericoides white with burgundy dangles. On the bank of the lily pond pink Drosera capensis. Again backlit, weird daisy Seriphium cinereum. Pink and stripy Gladiolus brevifolius signals autumn. What is the red against the rocks; we stumbled across to see Disa ferruginea.

 

Maiden Peak at Silvermine April flowers
Maiden Peak at Silvermine April flowers

Short detour for me to greet Widdringtonia nodiflora (mountain cypress) off the path to the waterfall.

 

Widdringtonia nodiflora in the centre
Widdringtonia nodiflora in the centre

Back to Silvermine for Noordhoek Fire Lookout and our target species on that ridge. Lovely lichens. Target is sticky (to deter nectar thieves) white bells Erica physodes. Floofy Phylica imberbis. Pink Oxalis polyphylla (many divided leaves) and this is pentaphylla with five divisions. Covering that slope from soft to deep cherry pink Erica plukenetii (Prof Plukenet was gardener to Queen Mary) another with dangles

 

To Noordhoek Fire Lookout for Erica physodes in April
To Noordhoek Fire Lookout for Erica physodes in April

From here we look back to our valley and Fish Hoek, with Simon's Town in the next bay sheltering the navy from winter's worst storms.

 

Noordhoek Ridge to Fish Hoek then Simon's Town
Noordhoek Ridge to Fish Hoek then Simon's Town

To Cape Point Sirkelsvlei. Picking our way thru ericas. Deep pink bells, marshy Erica clavisepala. White with a burgundy golf tee stigma Erica lasciva. Mid-pink bells Erica obliqua. Blue Psoralea affinis shows there is water here, on the tiny bridge as we cross the stream. Endemic Erica capensis in softest pink and clear white.

 

Cape Point April ericas with Psoralea
Cape Point April ericas with Psoralea

Among the flowers is life. Swollen restio beetles Pseudorupilia. Keeping me company at teatime this black girdled lizard. I wonder did he want me to get OFF his sunny patch? Neatly symmetrical fasciation, almost the jowls of a bulldog, on Serruria villosa.

 

Swollen restio beetle, black girdled lizard, fasciation
Swollen restio beetle, black girdled lizard, fasciation

The path winds across to Sirkelsvlei where we hiked just after a bad fire, returned for fire flowers, and after the drought years to see the first rains filling the dam of once were farmers here.

 

Sirkelsvlei at Cape Point
Sirkelsvlei at Cape Point

This week our target was Witsenia maura. A woody iris which like to grow with wet feet. One of us squelched into a muddy puddle! Across the foreground some pink Erica, but most of this picture is that yellow iris. You need to squelch up close and personal to find...

 

Marshy Witsenia maura in April
Marshy Witsenia maura in April

Amazing flowers. The yellow top velvety. Lime green then black shimmering. And the unique trio of colours perfectly matched to our bokmakierie. How unlikely is that!

 

Witsenia maura flowers in April

Our hikes are listed on my page.

 

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Pictures by Diana Studer

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Comments

  1. You have a mind-boggling array of wildflowers in your corner of the world.

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  2. Oh so fascinating and beautiful! Your plants are so diverse and colorful, year-round! That iris is lovely and unique.

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  3. Given all the wildflowers you encounter on these hikes, I'm amazed that you still make new discoveries with each trip.

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    1. Dedicated annual pilgrimage to the right place in the right month for our fynbos ramblers. But also - our leaders have never seen THAT before!

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  4. I'm always fascinated by the variety of wild flowers and your photos.

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  5. It is as if something is always blooming there. Always enjoy hearing from you.

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  6. The tiny blossoms are so delicately designed, isn’t nature incredible, the black lizard is a striking companion. I’ve missed visiting, hope you are well, 👍❤️

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  7. Such an amazing variety of wildflowers! I'm fascinated by the name Erica ericoides -- an Erica that looks like an Erica ??

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I complained about that name too! Blame the taxonomists. Linnaeus had it as a Blaeria ... which looked like an erica.

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