Monday, 28 March 2016

Mpumalanga sojourn #1: Wakkerstroom

Kate and I had planned to travel to a farm near Waterval Boven in Mpumalanga in which we have an interest, but having met Mike and Jenni Maxted from Wakkerstroom at the CREW workshop, we decided to stop over in Wakkerstroom to provide moral support for their fledgling CREW group as well as to see the vulnerable Nerine platypetala which had been seen flowering on a farm near the town.

We arranged to stay on the farm Forellenhof where the Nerines were growing in the wetland. Despite the welcome wet conditions we walked with our hostess, Ronelle van Eeden. None of the other potential members of the CREW group were able to join us as the access roads were very slippery. It did not take us long to find the first of the Nerine platypetala plants in the nearby wetland. Although clearly past their best, this population had flowered well and there were many old flower heads visible. The majority of those still flowering had no leaves, but there were a few with leaves.

Nerine platypetala
Nearby we found the interesting member of the Apocynaceae family, Cordylogyne globosa hidden in the grass.

Cordylogyne globosa 
On higher ground above the wetland we found several Athrixia gerrardii with their large, bright pink flowers .
Athrixia gerrardii
In the afternoon, under threatening skies we decided to try to walk up into the nearby hills. We worked our way up to a quartsite ridge, on the way finding many interesting plants such as the Gnidia gymnostachya shown below.

Gnidia gymnostachya
There were numbers of bushy Felicia filifolia and low-growing Hermannia geniculata.

Felicia filifolia
Hermannia geniculata
On the slopes we found lots of Diospyros lycioides covered in orange fruits and along the quartsite ridge there were several Otholobium caffrum in flower.

Diospyros lycioides
Otholobium caffrum
At this stage with the rain coming down steadily and being thoroughly soaked already, we called it a day and walked back along an avenue lined with the pretty alien Cosmos bipinnatus.

This is definitely a place worth visiting again - hopefully in better weather conditions. Our best wishes for stimulating field trips in the future to the new CREW group.

Homeward bound
Participants: Graham G, Kate G, Ronelle v E.

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