Friday, 14 October 2016

A quick walk at Beacon Hill

With rain anticipated we had postponed our planned trip to Jolivet until Saturday, and therefore decided to go to Beacon Hill and do some curation in the herbarium. When we arrived the sun was still shining so we decided to have a quick walk near the offices. 

We soon come across a new flush of flowers on the Eriosema untamvunense and these were accompanied by Pelargonium luridum. Scattered amongst these and the ubiquitous Helichrysums were some of the bright magenta flower heads of Cyanotis speciosus. Growing in a rock crevice was a stunted Asparagus densiflorus with a small scattering of flowers.

Eriosema umtamvunense
Pelargonium luridum
Asparagus densiflorus

Cyanotis speciosus
Also amongst the rocks was an Eriosemopsis subanisophylla, clumps of Helichrysum diffusum and some well-posed Hypoxis colchicifolia.

Eriosemopsis subanisophylla
Helichrysum diffusum
Hypoxis colchicifolia
In the distance we saw the boundary fence fire break covered in flowers so we worked our way through a wetland to see what had come up there. On the way, we were lucky to find a Disperis paludosa in flower; this is the most northerly occurence of this species recorded so far as it is otherwise restricted to the Western and Eastern Cape. 
Disperis paludosa
When we reached the wetland at the bottom end of the fire-break a veritable feast of orchids awaited us. --. Disa similis, Disa tripetaloides, and masses of Satyrium longicauda. This is an interesting late record for Disa similis to be flowering in our area as we started seeing them in late July this year. 
An abundance of Satyrium longicauda
Satyrium longicauda
A tall grass-like plant caught the eye with its terminal yellow flowers - Xyris capensis.

Heading back up the fire-break as the weather was starting to threaten, we found ourselves in a cluster of Disa stachyoides. These were accompanied by a Sisyranthus virgatus.

The masses of flowers in the fire-break
Disa stachyoides
Display of Disa stachyoides
Sisyranthus virgatus
Back at the office we could spend the rest of the day filing some recently-mounted voucher specimens.

As we had had some new specimen cupboards installed in the herbarium we look forward to the day we can start re-organising our collection.  This will be done once we have completed capturing data into our BRAHMS database, a task we hope might be completed by the end of the year with the assistance of post-grad student Lindo Tshapa.

Participants: Graham G, Kate G, Uschi T.

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