August hikes to Silvermine, Elsie's Peak, Saint James and Rondebosch Common
by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa
Hiking among wildflowers
in the mountains
around Cape Town
At Silvermine we walked up to the Ridge, from where we had a glimpse of snow on distant mountains.
|Silvermine Ridge down to the dam and across to Cape Hangklip
We looped back along the dam and admired the reflection on unriffled water. Xiphotheca fruticosa substantial shrubs dotted below the ridge. Erica physodes is sticky, to deter nectar thieves. UNsuccessfully? Moederkappie Disperis capensis.
|Silvermine Ridge August flowers
Up Elsie's Peak. Where we admired Protea lepidocarpodendron. Unusual in lush red, a blonder variant lacking dark pigment
|Protea lepidocarpodendron in red
Elsies's Peak in August
It has been a thin year for Audouinia capitata. Serruria cyanoides which we visit on the firebreak. Lobostemon montanus soft blue flowers and soft silky leaves. Cullumia setosa but in a soft lemon yellow not the usual rich golden one. Checked in on our Teedia lucida up on the rocky peak. Closing with a bietou Osteospermum moniliferum absolutely covered in yellow daisies!
|Elsie's Peak August flowers
From Saint James mule track we looped to Weary Willy's to cross the stream. Babiana ambigua.
St James mule track in August
Silvermine towards Junction Pool. First stop next to the parking, a reminder of earlier times and ideas when horticulture was deliberately planted here. Gladiolus hybrid of huttonii and tristis. Ranging from soft cream thru gentle yellow, then dancing from gold to orange. Each plant that little bit different in colour and pattern. All standing tall where they were on display.
|Gladiolus huttonii x tristis
in August, originally planted there
Then we walked towards Junction Pool. Enjoying our true wildflowers. Roepera sessilifolia is white with a dollop of cherry. Streams flowing strong after rain. Right time, right place. Turning to look at the view across and along the valley with a rainbow!
|Roepera at Silvermine in August
Tetraria thermalis makes great clumps on the mountain slopes with sturdy spears of flowers. Stream bubbling and frothing like cappuccino. Curved (ever so slightly) Erica curviflora. Erica glabella bunches of long pink flowers with orangey calyx.
|with ericas at Silvermine in August
Rondebosch Common to enjoy squilching along in our wellies thru pools of water from good winter rain. Four herpers agree. We saw a sand toadlet. Most observed species on Rondebosch Common on iNat! Cautious photographers on a slippy slope down to the water for Pauridia aquatica and Sparaxis bulbifera (purple reverse and seasonally wet). At the low wetter parts of the path buttery pools of Moraea fugacissima.
|Rondebosch Common in August
wet bulbs and sand toadlet
We loop around and across the Common. Moraea gawleri, usually salmon but this one in cream. Baeometra uniflora russet buds to sparkling yellow with a chunky green stigma. Moraea fugax with its one leaf, exactly as tall as one of our little ladies! Trachyandra chlamydophylla has tall bunches of thick leaves with its flowers tucked away around the base, the reverse of our usual species which flaunt their flowers on high. Peacock eye Moraea aristata happily re-established. Quiet flowers but zebra striped leaf bases Lachenalia unifolia.
|Drier bulbs at Rondebosch Common in August
Where the paths meet much purple Muraltia macropetala. Polygala garcinii purple with a white brush. Puddles of white Struthiola dodecandra. Pterygodium catholicum orchid below pine trees. Hermannia multiflora flaunting yellow and red twirly bells.
|And the not bulbs at Rondebosch Common in August
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