Saturday, 23 July 2016

Bulolo Slopes, Western Heights

In view of the many flowers seen recently at the Western Heights, we decided to walk on another section of the arson burn overlooking the Bulolo Gorge. From the outset it was evident that there was a new flush of different species in flower where others had already finished flowering. As we got out of the car we found several clusters of Leobordea pulchra, and a few Helichrysum griseum with open florets. Close by we saw the first of the season's Eriosema untamvunense, and a short distance down the slope Anne found the first of the delicate and frilly-lipped Disa baurii.
Leobordea pulchra

Helichrysum griseum
Eriosema umtamvunense
Disa baurii
At the bottom of the slope we reached the edge of the forest where we found a Canthium vanwykii in flower, and draped over this shrub was a Diospyros villosus with ripening fruits. A bit further along the kranz edge we could see the bright red flowers of Alberta magna.

Alberta magna
Canthium vanwykii
Diospyros villosus fruits
Just above the forest edge we found the unusual Senecio citriceps which looks very much like a Berkheya umbellata.
Senecio citriceps
Pelargonium luridum is a common plant in our grasslands, but occasionally one comes across one with unusual coloration like this deep pink one.
Pelargonium luridum
We found a number of our less common endemic species at our lunch spot in a fairly dry stream bed with a dramatic view over the gorge. There were a few Struthiola pondoensis with some remnant flowers at the edge of the stream, as well as some fronds of the attractive fern, Lycopodiella cernua.
Struthiola pondoensis
Lycopodiella cernua
Sharing our lunch spot were several Crassula streyi - unfortunately these had only old flower stalks. At the edge of this riverine forest patch we found a few Manilkara nicholsonii with new fruits.  We were very annoyed at once again missing this species in flower! Alongside these were some shiny leafed Mimusops obovata with their pendant flowers.

Crassula streyi
Manilkara nicholsonii
Mimusops obovata
Also in the forest we spotted the odd looking larvae of Flatid Bugs on their host plant, Salacia gerrardii, some of which had flowers.
Salacia gerrardii
Flatid bug larva close to Salacia gerrardii
Another member of this small forest patch was Bersama swinnyi - we found an open woody seed capsule on the ground below the tree.
Outer surface of Bersama swinnyi seed capsule

Heading back up the slope after lunch took us back into the grasslands and here we saw a few delicate Dianthus mooiensis. Even more spindly was an orange-flowered Argyrolobium tuberosum. Near some rocks was a single Schizoglossum atropurpureum subsp. virens, and nearby was an old inflorescence of a Ursinia tenuiloba with pappus scales which look distinctly flower-like.
Dianthus mooiensis
Argyrolobium tuberosum
Schizoglossum atropurpureum subsp. virens
Receptacle of Ursinia tenuiloba with white pappus scales
Also showing off their unusual seed heads were several Othonna natalensis.

Othonna natalensis
Reaching the rocky top of the slope we came across a Burchellia bubalina showing off its bright orange cluster of flowers, and in a nearby crack was a diminutive Carissa bispinosa in flower. On another rocky patch a Delosperma lineare shyly showed its bud, and tucked underneath the rock was a Cineraria albicans.
Burchellia bubalina
Carissa bispinosa
Delosperma lineare
Cineraria albicans
Much more in your face was a cluster of scarlet Erythrina lysistemon flowers on bare branches. On this same rock was a single Haemanthus albiflos in flower. 
Erythrina lysistemon

Haemanthus albiflos
Back at the offices at Beacon Hill we noticed a Bonatea porrecta hiding under a shrub.
Bonatea porrecta

Admiring the view up the Bulolo River gorge

Participants: Anne S, Dorothy M, Graham G, Kate G, Maggie A, Uschi T.

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