Saturday, 2 July 2016

A sparkling day above Scarborough, Western Cape

While on a family visit to Cape Town Graham and Kate took the opportunity to walk with Callan Cohen in the mountains behind the hamlet of Scarborough on the Cape Peninsula. Callan knows this area well and was soon pointing out local endemics. While we set out in the cool of the morning with the sun behind the hills, it was not long before we crested the rise and found ourselves in sunshine.

A fire swept through this area several months ago and this exposed many interesting plants. Many of these plants are narrow endemics, being restricted to the Cape Peninsula, and therefore rank in the Red List as being some of the more endangered species.

One of the first plants we encountered was something which looks like Afroaster perfoliatus but which turned out to be Othonna perfoliata. Not far beyond this we saw a late-flowering Tritoniopsis dodii.
Othonna perfoliata
Tritaniopsis dodii
Onithoglossum viride
Serruria villosa (Rare)
As we crested the rise we could see southwards across the hills towards Cape Point. 

Looking southwards towards Cape Point
Looking southwards towards Cape Point - Mimetes fimbriifolius in foreground
There were several Erica species in flower - the Erica corifolia were particularly bright.

Erica corifolia
 In the bare sandy areas exposed by the burn, we found Euphorbia tuberosa and a very protea-like legume, Liparia parva.

Euphorbia tuberosa
Liparia parva (Vulnerable)
In a seep we encountered a colony of Montinia caryophyllaceae and several Haemanthus sanguineus with bright red fruits. Yellow Moraea collina.dotted the slope nearby.

Montinia caryophyllacea
Moraea collina
There were several Lobelia coronopifolia in flower. It was interesting to compare this species with the similar looking Pondoland species L. tomentosa (previously incorrectly called L. coronopifolia).
Lobelia coronopifolia
Also growing in the bare sand patches were Othonna bulbosa, Gnidia juniperifolia and a very attractive small Wurmbea, the Vulnerable Wurmbea hiemalis.

Othonna bulbosa
Gnidia juniperifolia
Wurmbea hiemalis (Vulnerable)
At the side of the track, delicate Disa obliqua with its bright pink flowers stood out against the stony ground.

Disa obliqua
Finally we walked over the rise and saw Scarborough below us.

Scarborough beach
Thanks go to Callan for sharing his time and the flowers of the peninsular with us. Callan provided plant names along the way but with so many new species, errors are always possible and we take responsibility for any incorrect names for the plants included here.

Participants: Callan C, Graham G, Kate G.