Friday, 23 April 2021

Fosters Folly - Umtumvuna - 15 April 2021

 We had decided to go to Foster’s Folly in the Umtamvuna Nature Reserve in search of the Indogofera longipes which Kate is researching.  Cautiously Maggie drove her car filled with passengers and then when we finally reached our destination, we climbed through the old barbed wired fence and walked through the hillside. 


Indigofera longipes

The Ornithogalum juncifolium had never looked so good, they had enjoyed the rain received a week prior to visiting this area.  We didn’t go far in distance as we were quite content to mull in one area and normally we beeline for Forster’s Folly, but this time took a right and found ourselves in a gully.  The grasslands had recovered from the scorching burn that had happened in the Covid lock-down period of 2020 and trees had pushed through their new leaves.  Tarchonanthus trilobus had taken on a new look.  We were on such great heights that we literally could look down on the canopy of trees which were in flower.


Sitting under the shade of an odd looking Tarchonatnthus trilobus

Tarchonanthus trilobus

We did find the Indogofera longipes as well as the fragile and beautiful Asclepias praemorsa with narrow leaves as long as one’s hand. 


Asclepias praemorsa

The group then divided, not intentionally but Anne and Tracey had found themselves in a deep gully pulling out alien invasive species.  The bug-weed leaves a horrible smell on one’s hands that Tracy did not find quite desirable when eating our picnic lunch.


The ants were too terrible for words, they scrambled around on every earthly surface and carried away baby centipedes that had just been born.  Life can be savage. 


On the cliff’s edge, on the rocks one Stenoglottis macloughlinii was flowering in the dry shade.  The Crassula were flowering, Caputia medley-woodii was in bud beautifully protected in a rock crevice.   Cyanotis robusta flowered both in a crimson red and purple.  Commelina erects, Lobelia intermingled with each other.  Simon cautiously accepted some fruit from Gail of the Rhipsalis seeing that it was safe when she popped the small pink pearl into her mouth. 


Kalanchoe rotundifolia

Commelina erecta

Helichrysum populifolium

Crassula obovata var obovata

Acridocarpus natalitius

Rhipsalis baccifera subsp. mauritiana
Rhipsalis baccifera subsp. mauritiana

Stenoglottis macloughlinii

We sat closely together in the shade that dappled the rocks under a Tarchonathus trilobus and ate our lunch.  It was too hot in the sun and then when the breeze came up, we migrated a little further along the edge of the cliff’s looking down into the Umtamvuna River.  A crow sat squawking on a branch, one is always surprised at their impressive size.  Gail, scrambling cautiously over the rocks placed her hand onto a rock and came to a stop.  There was this this small scorpion which was dead.  Baboons frequented this rocky area. 



A deceased scorpion


Gerradina foliosa  and Cryptocarya wyliei where in fruit.  Their magnificent colours were like Christmas decorations on branches.

Gerradina foliosa

Gerradina foliosa

Loxostylis alata

Loxostylis alata

Cryptocarya wyliei

Lotononis eriocarpa and Syncolostemon rotundifolius were to be found and when we meandered back as we had run short of time and still had a way to travel, we found Wahlenbergia capillata nestled in the grass.  Tracy had spotted a Wahlenbergi huttonii.    Rabdosiella calycina had awakened and it was wonderful to see Aspalathus gerrardii.  The beautiful yellow flowers against the soft grey foliage.  One’s hand goes out to touch this plant with little sighs expelled.  A small Streptocarpus grew in a cave. 


Aspalathus gerrardii


Rabdosiella calycina

Buyi and Anne

Dorothy and Maggie

Buyi, Dorothy, Maggie and Tracy

Dorothy and Simon

Stangeria eriopus

Buyi inspecting the Stangeria eriopus to see if it was a male or female plant.

Syncolostemon rotundifolius


We had finally reached the top of the hill, our water in our bottles had now been sipped to the last icy drop.  The Striga asiatica was like the miniature beacon in the grass.  What incredible colours nature can produce.  One gentle  Dianthus mooiensis waved us good-bye.  We had had many laughs during the day with a rock taking on the anatomy of a female and Gail thought required some censoring when viewing.  


Striga asiatica

Dianthus mooiensis

Dorothy had opened the day with Gail having to take out her spyglass to look at the gland dots found on the leaf tip edges of the Maytenus undata which had been inspected the week before in Oribi and then she closed off the day with a talk about the recycling of banana skins and their place in nature.


What a wonderful day it was to be out in pristine reserve and to appreciate nature.  Grateful for Thursdays and to this Pondoland C.R.E.W. group.


Wahlenbergia capillata

Wahlenbergia huttonii (Photo credit:  Tracy T)

Lotononis eriocarpa
Lotononis eriocarpa


Aeollanthus parvifolius
Heading back through the proteas.



Gail living on the edge.

Pondoland C.R.E.W:  Anne, Gail, Simon, Maggie, Tracy, Buyi and Dorothy

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. —Albert Einstein

Thanking all who made this day possible and for the knowledge shared in creating this blog.