Friday, 16 December 2016

Braving the heat at Smedmore

With high maximum temperatures forecast, we elected to go to Smedmore where we always have the option of sheltering in the forest, rather than spending the day in the sun on the Western Heights. Geoff Nichols had asked to accompany us as he wanted to capture information on selected trees on an mobile tree app and fortunately we quickly managed to find two of his wish-list species while other members of the group were having their tea.

While this was happening, Lindo was busy capturing data on the last few specimens into BRAHMS RDE files - the end of this phase of a major undertaking in a small herbarium supported by volunteers and virtually no funding. The next phase will be to check and then import the data into Brahms and then it can be made accessible via a server.

Some of the Pondoland CREW team with Lindo while he captures data on the last specimen
We set off in two vehicles and when we arrived at Smedmore the heat was pretty energy-sapping but we nevertheless decided to walk the upper edge of the cliffs first. It was not long before we found a large-flowered Pachycarpus coronarius - a short distance away from a Pachycarpus asperifolius.

Pachycarpus coronarius

Pachycarpus asperifolius
A little further along we found Cryptolepis capensis in flower - without flowers this creeping plant tends to be very unobtrusive. There was also Clerodendrum glabrum (now renamed Volkameria glabra) with clusters of flowers.

Cryptolepis capensis
Volkameria glabra
 In the forest below us we saw a tall Chrysophyllum viridifolium in fruit and close to the cliff edge was a Faurea macnaughtonii covered in flower buds, with one flower just starting to open. A stocky Bersama swinyi was found to have some open flowers, and there were several Pavetta lanceolata trees in full flower, scattered along the cliff edges.

Faurea macnaughtonii
Bersama swinnyi
Bersama swinnyi
Pavetta lanceolata

Another fruit-bearing tree below us proved to be Ptaeroxylon obliquum, while there were several Rhynchocalyx lawsonoides nearby.

Rhynchocalyx lawsonoides
Ptaeroxylon obliquum
By this stage the heat was becoming uncomfortable so several of us sat in the shade of a Syzygium cordatum watching as Geoff showed how to capture the best photos of a Pachycarpus.

Geoff demonstrating photographic technique
We turned back here and quickly made our way back to the vehicles and then into the forest where we sat and enjoyed lunch in the cool shade. Here we noticed Disperis lindleyana in the leaf litter of the forest and on the cliff faces we found clums of Streptocarpus primulifolius.

Enjoying the coolness of the forest
Disperis lindleyana
Streptocarpus primulifolius
After a bit more exploring in the forest we made our way back to Beacon Hill. Here we did some filing of new specimens before bidding Lindo farewell - with his data capture task completed he will be heading back to his family near Durban.

Participants: Anne S, Debbie K, Dorothy M, Geoff N, Graham G, Kate G, Lindo T,  Maggie A, Uschi T.

No comments:

Post a Comment