March Fynbos Rambles to Silvermine and Smitswinkel Bay


by Diana Studer

- gardening for biodiversity

 in Cape Town, South Africa


Hiking among wildflowers

in the mountains

around Cape Town


Back in March our first hike was to Noordhoek Fire Lookout. Last one with a twirly start at 08:30. And that view of my Table Mountain with Devil's Peak to the right.


Table Mountain from Silvermine
Table Mountain from Silvermine

At Disa ferruginea we were divebombed by Table Mountain Beauty butterfly - large and lovely - but took off as I focused! Erica ericoides the usual pink. Ifloga has fascicles of leaves. New development on a former kaolin mine. Strip the vegetation, leaving strategic pines for fires?


Noordhoek Fire Lookout March flowers
Noordhoek Fire Lookout
March flowers

Looped around Silvermine Village, which is kinder to its firebreak wildflowers. Starting again at 09:30 - flower time! An unusual Brunsvigia orientalis, just the one - in white with soft yellow stripes along the petals.


White Brunsvigia orientalis  Silvermine in March
White Brunsvigia orientalis 
Silvermine in March

Neighbouring plant striped in a gentle colour between the common red and this white.


Striped Brunsvigia orientalis Silvermine in March
Striped Brunsvigia orientalis
Silvermine in March

Continue to Silvermine Mule Track along Noordhoek Manor firebreak and verge, strimmed to within an inch of its life. African Coromandel - Asystasia intrusa - sprawling groundcover - hived off from gangetica which is bigger and bluer. Ours is dainty in white with a purple filigree on the lip. Phyla nodiflora - another sprawling groundcover with spikes of scroph flowers (petals fused to a child's scrawled drawing of A Flower). Two clumps of March lilies - Amaryllis belladonna - permitted their frou frou pink and white cancan skirts. (Accompanied by a surviving plague of invasive Australian acacia seedlings)


Silvermine Mule Track  March flowers
Silvermine Mule Track 
March flowers 

Rafnia triflora fruit. Rafnia is a pea, and those 'twirled leaves' are its fruit (I despair). Counting teeth on Struthiola dodecandra flowers. Erica ericoides - one in white. Lonely pink Erica viscaria.


Silvermine Mule Track with Rafnia in March
Silvermine Mule Track
with Rafnia in March

Down to Smitswinkel Bay where it was autumn equinox at 5AM in Cape Town. Leucadendron macowanii - mother (has also been strimmed!) and a younger one. More plants in the reserve behind the fence. A and I walked a few minutes further to dolerite intrusion / dyke. Tea on the rocks, while wary of equinoctial waves. Cape beach lichen. Seaside sunburst lichen.


Leucadendron, dolerite and lichen Smitswinkel in March
Leucadendron, dolerite and lichen
Smitswinkel in March

Big fern is Blechnum capense. Medium is coral fern. Cliffortia obcordata, with its stacked coin leaves, haunted me at the City Nature Challenge. Mimetes cucullatus - the smaller one. Standard red Brunsvigia permitted to flower on the firebreak this year. Effective biocontrol on invasive Australian wattles.


Smitswinkel Mimetes in March
Smitswinkel Mimetes in March

Smitswinkel beach. A treasure trove of rocks. Long haul back up, with my rocks!


Smitswinkel beach - treasure trove of rocks
Smitswinkel beach - treasure trove of rocks

Back to Silvermine past the waterfall. Looking for Witsenia maura. Foiled us as the plants have moved further towards Ou Kaapse Weg. Didn't even find leaves! L's dog doing zoomies at the lily pond, and showering mud - loved his Fynbos Ramble! Tea break on the rocks with - what is that flash of red? Disa ferruginea. Staavia radiata 's pink flowers require close attention. Gladiolus brevifolius each one that little bit different!


Silvermine Waterfall path in March
Silvermine Waterfall path in March

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  1. I envy you your hikes, Diana. Walking through my surrounding area doesn't offer many sights as compelling.

  2. Great views and plants--wow! The white montage with the Brunsvigia orientalis is so graceful. And the beach view with the rocks...sigh. Lovely.

  3. Thank you for taking us along on this hike, Diana. I've not been able to spend much time in the Cape and have only seen fynbos and Cape wildflowers in urban settings

  4. Those tiny Staavia radiata flowers are exquisite!


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