Monday, 30 May 2016

To the Beacon and Nic II in search of Struthiola pondoensis

Graham and Kate did not walk with the group this week -- Graham was recuperating after his altercation, while riding his bike, with a male bushbuck and Kate stayed behind to prevent any ideas of getting back on the bike. However, Mervyn has decided to re-join the group - a warm welcome back!  Anne contributed the following outing report.

Four of us set off from the offices at Beacon Hill up to the Beacon to show Mervyn the commemorative plaque. He had previously scoured the neighbouring koppie to no avail. After having savoured the view we clambered down the steep side and then set off down to the dam on the stream we initially thought was Mr. Nic’s Gully and which we have now named Nic II.

Along the way we passed Helichrysum populifolium, Tricalysia capensis, Watsonia pillansii, Canthium van wykii. Moving away from the dam, we stumbled on the first Struthiola and then they were everywhere in various stages of bud and flower. Tucked deeper into the steep stream banks were Clivia robusta, Indigofera natalensis. Robsonodendron eucleiforme and Pavetta bowkerii and a really large Peddiea africana.

Struthiola pondoensis
Clivia robusta
We puzzled awhile at a healthy stand of Leucadendron spissifolium subsp natalense looking for signs of cones either old or new but found none.

After lunching on the warm rocks next to the Beacon Hill form of Syzygium cordatum we explored the stream bed to find Anastrabe integerrima, Streptocarpus leaves but unfortunately no flowers or fruit and, below a grand waterfall, a lovely swimming pool. Roll on summer!

Further down the gully towards the drop off into the Bulolo we saw many other old friends but very few in flower, Burchellia bubalina, an unidentified Ochna species, Schefflera umbellifera, Bersama spp  and the list goes on. For dry looking veld a pretty good haul.

We curtailed our wanderings to have time for visits to Joan and Graham on the way home.

Participants: Anne S, Dorothy M, Mervyn T, Uschi T

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