We met at the Beacon Hill herbarium, with specialists Marianne le Roux and Natasha Visser from SANBI in Pretoria and Prof. Dan Nickrent from Carbondale University in Illinois, USA. After they had an opportunity to go through the Thesium specimens in the herbarium, we took a walk to the rocky promontory where the commemorative plaque is mounted, where we found many Thesium cupressoides.
We then drove to the Red Desert Nature Reserve where we were able to find Thesium pallidum and Thesium natalense. Along the way, Marianne was able to examine some of the Fabaceae genera which were flowering, while Dan was kept busy taking photographs of the many hemi-parasitic species in the family Orobanchaceae encountered - plants with which he is familiar but had not previously encountered in the field.
The following day we arranged to meet with the rest of the Thursday group at the Western Heights where we would look for Thesium angulosum. Fortunately, having previously collected this species near the swamp forest, it did not take us long to find several plants. This gave me the opportunity to check on a known population of the Rare endemic Emplectanthus dalzelii and we managed to find two plants flowering. Subsequently the group found another on in flower some distance away at the side of the Cascades stream - a previously unknown location!
|Dan giving an impromptu Thesium master class in the field (Photo K Grieve)|
|Lunch at the Cascades (Photo M Abbott)|
|Tephrosia bachmannii; the creeping form as opposed to the |
bushy form seen at Oribi last week
|Natasha trying to keep hold of her hat while enjoying the view of the |
Umtamvuna Gorge and still avoiding getting blown off the cliffs
|The Thesium hunters at the Vulture Restaurant|
|The Thesium Hunters overlooking the Gorge (Photo K Grieve)|
Participants to all the walks during the Thesium hunters' visit: Anne S, Dan N, Dorothy M, Gail B-W, Graham G, Kate G, Maggie A, Marianne le R, Uschi T, Natasha V.