Friday, 2 December 2016

More water in the waterfall at Syncolostemon Slopes

With the good rains we have had over the last month we decided to visit Syncolostemon Slopes again to see the waterfall. With a fully-loaded vehicle we navigated the bumpy roads to our parking place and set off.

We soon founds ourselves in the midst of lots of flowering Hesperantha lactea, and scattered amongst these were some Craterostigma sp. nov.
Syncolostemon rotundifolius; the area living up to its name
Hesperantha lactea
Craterostigma sp. nov. 
We made our way down the slope to where we could see the waterfall and there was a much greater volume of water flowing than on our previous visit in March this year, to the extent that we decided it would be too slippery and dangerous to try to climb down as we had done last time. Instead, we crossed the stream and walked towards the next outcrop where we could get a good view of the full extent of the falls.

As we crossed the stream we found three species of Utricularia together: U. livida, U. prehensilis and U. subulata. And nestled up against the edge of rock plates were numbers of the velvety-flowered Tinnea galpinii. 
Utricularia subulata
Tinnea galpinii
On the way across the grassland we found a robust Berkheya rhapontica, few Erica aspalathifolia in flower (and many other dead heads) as well as a bright pink Harveya pauciflora
Berkheya rhapontica
Erica aspalathifolia
Harveya pauciflora
Investigating the rocky cliff edges we found the first of this season's Rangaeris muscicola in bud and some in flower, together with Tridactyle bicaudata subsp. rupestris.

Rangaeris muscicola
There was an impressive view down into the gorge at that point. Further along on the cliff edge we found a Salacia gerrardii in fruit.

Maggie at the cliff edge
Lindo admires the view
Salacia gerrardii fruit
We scrambled up the next rocky incline where we previously found the Ypsilopus erectus - the plants were still there perched precariously on the cliff edge, but no flowers yet - and found Stenoglottis macloughlinii just starting to flower and Streptocarpus haygarthii and Bulbophyllum scaberulum hiding under a rock.
Stenoglottis macloughlinii
Streptocarpus haygarthii
We had lunch at the top of the outcrop with a great view of the Umtamvuna River, to the sound of a Mocking Chat announcing where his territory was.

Back across the stream and Kate found herself in a low forest of Erica aspalathifolia - while there were a few new flowers and some dead heads, it is likely that many more flowers are to come and this should be an impressive sight.

Kate amongst the Erica aspalathifolia
Anne deciding if she should swim across

Back at the vehicle we saw an unusual white colour variation of the Vulnerable endemic Watsonia inclinata.
A white Watsonia inclinata
Participants: Anne S, Dorothy M, Graham G, Kate G, Lindo T, Maggie A, Uschi T.

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