January hikes to Elsie's Peak, Jonkersdam Trail and Rooihoogte at Cape Point
by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa
Hiking among wildflowers
in the mountains
around Cape Town
Staying close to home we began January at Elsie's Peak. Low growing in a deep vivid blue Agapanthus africanus. This species is adapted to mid-summer in our mediterranean climate, unlike the commonorgarden praecox that wants water.
Elsie's Peak January
Our first weird daisy, with only one petal per flower Disparago ericoides. Familiar pink and blue Lachnaea grandiflora and Roella. Metalasia divergens has twisted leaves showing the velvety lower surface. On the former dunes Phylica ericoides. You can imagine how confusing all these 'looks like Erica' species are, when we only have leaves and not flowers (or fruit) to help with naming.
|January flowers on Elsie's Peak|
To the other end of our valley and Jonkersdam Trail lingering among low vegetation on an older jeep track. Two women on horseback looked at me incredulously when I said - go past, we are looking at flowers. What? Here?!
|Jonkersdam old jeep track|
Target was Gladiolus jonquilodorus. We had to hunt for the few surviving plants, but fresh buds were hopeful. Last month's Bobartia indica flowers are now fruit.
Fried egg yellow and white. Rafnia triflora, see the pod, have to concentrate to count three flowers. Felicia tenella, usual flowers but weird narrow leaves, with bristles. Chironia baccifera in white, not pink. Helichrysum niveum would need to be very fresh to sparkle like snow.
|Yellow and white flowers|
Jonkersdam in January
Blue Aristea glauca, blooms later and has papery bracts. Baboon spider would like to be left in peace. The second weird daisy looks like a bulb with long broad leaves and a head of pink flowers Corymbium glabrum.
Bottom right is where we circle to see what has emerged after fire.
Bottom right after fire corner
For Rooihoogte at Cape Point I was sidetracked by eroded sandstone rocks as we climbed the slope. Baboon memories of Kataza exiled up North to Limpopo. Then duck, jaws and tripod.
|Rooihoogte Cape Point|
Not red but pinkly pretty. The third weird daisy is our target, pink and white marshmallows with yellow sprinkles Stoebe rosea. Growing below the path, I picked one flower for our identifier. Those white bracts with tiny dark tips (Brunia not daisy family) are still fresh in my vase today. Tiny pink tipped white flowers in the centre are long since faded Staavia dodii. We stopped at the marshy bit on the drive home for Erica laeta. And I can never resist all those lichen colours!
|Rooihoogte January flowers|
For tea we sat in a wide arc, chatting and admiring the view. I looked up to see a Cape baboon sitting on a rock at the far end of our arc. He kept us company for a few minutes, then bounded forward, poised at the top of the slope. With a click click he was gone!
|Tea with a Cape baboon|
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Every time I think there can't possibly be more flowers I've never seen nor heard of, you come up with dozens - and baboon spiders too! The sandstone rock formations are stunning.ReplyDelete
Lovely to see your local flora and fauna. A beautiful area. And what a view. B xReplyDelete
Beautiful, beautiful...I wish I was there, although I'm in wonderful Texas now where it's much warmer than my home state with a blizzard. The Agapanthus are such a beautiful color and form!ReplyDelete