Before we set off on our walk we had a short strategy session with Ruth Mathias, who is managing the data capture process for the Hugh Nicholson - Tony Abbott herbarium at Umtamvuna. The final steps in the quality checking of BRAHMS rapid data entry files have yet to be completed before we import these files into the final BRAHMS database. We will be participating in a National Botanical Collection Data Management Workshop in Cape Town next month to help determine how we will make the data of the vouchers in our collection available.
As we had had good rains during the previous week (somewhere between 240 and 300mm) we decided to walk at Cubica Heights to see how the Outeniqua Falls looked with a good volume of water. The sky was clear and although it was still pretty warm we set off at a good pace. Soon we were coming across flowering plants: Aspalathus chortophila, Dianthus mooiensis and Dierama igneum as well as a few remnant Exochaenium grande flowering too.
When we reached a spot where we could see the falls and down into the gorge, it was a pretty impressive sight. Unfortunately we were a little late to catch the morning sun on the falls and the contrast made it difficult to get a good photograph.
|The other waterfall|
After managing to find a vantage point where these other falls could be seen, we found a different way out of the forest to avoid further disturbing the bees. We then headed across towards Cubica Heights. On the way we found Cotyledon orbiculata on an exposed ledge and in a small forested edge of the cliffs there were a number of the Rare species Crassula sarmentosa var. integrifolia. Another plant found flowering in these forest patches was Lauridia tetragona, while on the exposed edges we found Euryops brevipapposus.
Some of the other sun-loving species we saw along the clifftops were Loxostylis alata, Pelargonium capitatum, and Dolichos sericeus.
There were several Robsonodendron eucleiforme in fruit and the Rapanea melanophloeos were just starting to flower. The Aloe arborescens were also putting on a show.
We found some Schefflera umbellifera peeking over the cliff edge and exposing new umbels of flowers, while nearby the Tarchonanthus trilobus were flowering well.
|Tarchonanthus trilobus flower|
On a flat top of some rocks we found Crassula nudicaulis and as we worked our way along the cliff tops we saw Apodytes dimidiata and Rothmannia globosa in fruit.
We then returned to Beacon Hill to meet the new Manager of the Umtamvuna Nature Reserve, Enoch Mahlangu, so we could fill him in on our activities in the reserve.