We parked near the gate and immediately noticed several large patches of yellow flowers in the distance and decided to head in that direction. These turned out to be Senscio heliopsis and were growing in a wetland. Walking through the wetland proved to be challenging as it was necessary to step from tussock to tussock to avoid getting bogged down.
|Wetland patch of Senecio heliopsis|
While there were Satyrium longicauda buds scattered around the proximity of the wetland, these were not open. There were also many Ledebouria cooperi hiding amongst other herbs and a myriad of Eriospermum cooperi showing their white inflorescences about half a meter tall. In the wetland the fruits of Cyrtanthus breviflorus could be seen everywhere, the remnants of the flowering show covered in an earlier blog post.
Once across the wetland we were on more even ground and progress was easier. We soon came across the first of the Merwilla plumbea patches - and we were to see many on this walk, as they cast a blue haze over the grasslands.
|The blue haze of hundreds of Merwilla plumbea|
We walked along the cliffs until we found a spot where we could see the view down into the Umtamvuna gorge but were sheltered from the cold wind while we had lunch. On the way back we first headed up a small hill to see if we could find any Euphorbia bupleurifolia plants, as we know that they occur in this area. After a lot of searching we found one, and then nearby, another with fruits.
Here the Satyrium longicauda, Sopubia simplex, Eriosema umtamvunense and Kniphofia pauciflora were all flowering well. We even saw remnant flowers on a few Disa similis and the first of the Disa versicolor were starting to show themselves. We strolled along, enjoying this show until we came to a special find, Watsonia pondoensis, probably flowering better than we have seen them before. This narrow-endemic, Endangered species is not often found and we only know it form a few locations on the Western Heights.
Participants: Anne S, Carolina D, Gail B-W, Graham G, Kate G, Maggie A, Moraea P, Miguel C-Z, Sarah B-W, Uschi T.