Friday, 20 May 2016

Foster's Folly for late flowering species

Although the weather forecast predicted light rain for the afternoon we decided to walk to Foster's Folly at the north western end of the Western Heights in the Umtamvuna nature reserve as we have often come across good flowers along the south-east facing slopes in this area. This time was no exception; it was not long before we came across an early flowering Senecio natalicola.

Senecio natalicola
A little further on we found a solitary Disa poygonoides still in flower. Judging by the number of old stalks in fruit, this must have been an exceptional show a few weeks back - pity we missed it.
Disa polygonoides

On the banks of the nearby stream and hanging out over the clear water were several Disa tripetaloides. The white and pink tinged flowers seem to be present for much of the year.
Disa tripetaloides

Other water-loving plants were also flowering. There were one or two Genlisea hispidula amongst the grasses at the waters' edge and we were lucky to find some Utricularia prehensilis twining up waterside grass stems.

Genlisea hispidula
Utricularia prehensilis
Across a side stream we arrived at an area covered with an abundance of Erica cerinthoides - the sort of numbers we had hoped to find on our earlier visits to Iron Crown. They, together with Moraea spathulata, were really putting on a show.

By the time we got to Foster's Folly the weather had turned cold and windy so we sheltered in the forested top of this rock peninsula while eating our lunch. It was interesting to see the number of Cytorchis arcuata plants growing under the trees. There were many Ceropegia linearis growing in the leaf-litter, one bravely sporting a fruit. We could see that we had just missed the flowering of a few Trichocladus grandiflorus trees, and there were also several Pterocelastrus echinatus with orange fruits.
Ceropegia linearis fruit
Pterocelastrus echinatus fruit

The views from the approach to Foster's Folly are spectacular so we stopped for a group photo at the edge of the cliffs above the Umtamvuna River.

A waterfall on the swamp forest stream
Participants: Anne S, Dorothy M, Graham G, Kate G, Uschi T.

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