Tag Archives: Flower

Lilies and peacocks: prolific flowering on the mountain

When you wake up morning after morning and the first thing you hear is the thudding of rain on the zinc roof it is not really conducive to getting out on the farm to run and photograph flowers. Even the dogs stand at the doorway and barely want to get their feet wet.

The weather finally improved on Sunday and late in the day we finally got out onto the mountain. There is so much out there, the rain has made flowering prolific and the frustration is that we must have missed so many flowers that have had their brief moment of glory and disappeared.

There is something about this mountain at the end of the day, as the light fades to the east and the last glow of sunlight flares in a spectacular display of light and colour. There is one huge tree, a bluegum or Eucalyptus that stands in splendid isolation high on the mountain. An alien, it doesn’t belong here and I cannot imagine how it came to survive so high; it must have found a spot where it is slightly sheltered from the howling winds. This evening it made a frame for the setting sun.

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As we descended I caught this shot of the mountains behind us caught in spectacular orange.

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Before us the sun was just about to go down behind Paarl mountain and you can see the mist gathering over the Berg River at the bottom of the valley.

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The light was perfect as we ran up the mountain and captured flowers. There are many that flower like this, at the top of a spike of needle or threadlike leaves and this is a lovely one that we found right at the top of the farm. I couldn’t find it in the book and generally these are hard to identify.

Unidentified spike

Unidentified spike

Another beautiful spikey thing is this white one. Again I haven’t identified it yet – it’s gone into the unidentified folder for when I have some more books and helps.

White spikes unidentified

White spikes unidentified

While on the theme of unidentified shrubs, here’s another one. In one damp and quite shady place there are lots of these, little shrubs covered in white flowers, pretty enough to be cultivated in any garden. And indeed they probably are – so if any reader knows what they are please do let me know.

White flowering shrub

White flowering shrub

The waterfall is pounding away and my theory that at some point it will be flooded with evening sunshine seems likely to come true as the sun needs to be just a little higher and a little further to the south and the whole fall will be lit up for a few weeks.

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I had a lot more luck identifying the flowering bulbs and there are lots of them. Just behind the house the bank is full of these brilliant blue flowers, Geissorhiza aspera.

Geissorhiza aspera

Geissorhiza aspera

And just above it the bank and many roads on the farm are littered with these white stars. I think it might be Strumaria spiralis but I do need to check as the identification is not 100 % confirmed.

Identity uncertain

Identity uncertain

I am completely sure of this one however. It is Baeometra uniflora, known as the Beetle Lily and there are plenty of them in damp areas at the top of the farm.

Baeometra uniflora - the Beetle LIly

Baeometra uniflora – the Beetle LIly

This was a busy run, a lot of flowers needing recording and worrying about more weather to come, and a lot more flowers, I wanted to be sure we’d capture them. One I saw during a quick morning run in the week, in between the showers, is this lovely little pink spike and I was worried that it might have disappeared by the time I got back to that part of the farm again with good light and time to do a long run. But no, here it is and it is known as a Spike Lily, Wurmbea punctata. I love it when we get a really clear identification of something new and there is no doubt about this one.

Wurmbea punctata - the Spike Lily

Wurmbea punctata – the Spike Lily

Another absolutely unmistakable flower and always a treat when they appear, as if out of nowhere, is the lovely Spiloxene Capensis, one of the Cape stars and known as the Peacock flower. We were rewarded by this sight at the very top of yesterday’s climb and before the light abandoned us.

Spiloxene capensis - the Peacock flower

Spiloxene capensis – the Peacock flower

This was much harder to identify and I think it must be the Grass Lily, Chlorophytum rigidum perhaps? It has a very localised habitat and this is exactly the right area. But the picture in the book isn’t great so I would be happy to be corrected.

Chlorophytum rigidum?

Chlorophytum rigidum?

Glorious Sunday Fynbos Flowers

After a golden day on Saturday when we were out all day with no time to run on the farm, we finally set off late on Sunday morning, the dogs and I.  Just as we left the house a light drizzle began to fall and I went back, wisely as it turned out, for a rain jacket.  It was only drizzling as we ran down the drive and then started to climb, but by the time we got high on the farm the weather had closed in.  Somehow this line of pines with the dams below always seems a little Japanese to me – is that an odd thought here in the uplands of Paarl?  Perhaps it is.

The landscape Japaned by the mist and the light

The landscape Japaned by the mist and the light

Luckily the weather hadn’t deterred us and some flowers glow and seem to photograph even better in the rain.  Take this Cyphia volubilis, the delicate white creeper.  There is one on the drive that is climbing all the way up this unidentified and rather plain shrub.

Cyphia volubis

Cyphia volubis

A close up reveals the charm and beauty of this delicate flower, notice the tiny pink spots at the centre, and of course the drops of rain, proof of our damp run.

Cyphia volubilis - detail

Cyphia volubilis – detail

All over the farm these yellow shrubs are flowering profusely, it is Hermannia grossularifolia I believe; there are as many as 60 fynbos subspecies but this one looks right, it belongs on these sandstone slopes and is flowering at exactly the right time of year.

Hermannia grossularifolia

Hermannia grossularifolia

Another flowering shrub is this one that I’ve posted before, unidentified until a friend pointed out that it is the common Tickberry (thank you Gilly), which used to be called Chrysanthemoides monilifera but is now correctly identified as Osteospermum moniliferum.  This shrub, although included as fynbos, is not unique to the fynbos region but grows happily, wild and in gardens, all the way up to tropical Africa.

Osteospermum moniliferum

Osteospermum moniliferum

An oft-posted winter flower was the wild rosemary, Eriocephalus africanus and I though it would be interesting to post it now that it has gone to seed.  With so many seedheads one can understand why it is so prolific on the mountain.

Eriocephalus africana - gone to seed

Eriocephalus africana – gone to seed

The light lent itself perfectly to capturing the magnificent white Erica which I believe to be the plukenetii.  It could be the coccinea, but the book says that particular subspecies does not exist in white and this is most definitely white.  Magnificent with its protruding anthers.  This is a common Erica and occurs all over the farm in many colours.

Erica plukenetii (?)

Erica plukenetii (?)

At this time of year the lands are full of flowers among the buchu.  The overall effect can be hard to photograph although this field of senecio high up in the lands gives a good sense of the colour and effect even on a dark day.

The lands full of flowers, primarily Senecio

The lands full of flowers, primarily Senecio

Saving the best for last.  One of the loveliest sights on the farm occurs at this time of year when this particular Leucadendron turns coral coloured. One of the interesting things about the Leucadendron family is that although less flashy than the protea to which it is related, it tends to be highly localised, fussy and choosy about where any particular subspecies will grow.  This appears to be Leucadendron tinctum, the name giving away the remarkable change in colour at this time of year.  The shrubs are everywhere in the higher parts of the farm and the effect is magnificent, one of our all time favourites.

The magnificent Leucadendron tinctum

The magnificent Leucadendron tinctum

 

I hsd planned a long run covering most of the farm, but by the time we reached what we call the look out it was raining heavily, I was tired slow and a bit sore after a lot of travel and show jumping on Saturday. The dogs were soaked and had been very patient as I took photos on the way up, not that they care, they happily sniff and hunt although Seamus, who misses us when we are gone, never left my side. So we put away thoughts of fynbos and plodded a little wearily down the hill to lunch, a fire and an afternoon in front of the TV.