Thursday, May 21, 2015

South Africa 6. North of Cape Town

Looking back on Cape Town and Table Mountain from the north, as we begin our journey up the west coast.
The countryside around Cape Town is similar to much of the south coast region: rich in flowering shrubs and geophytes - plants that emerge from bulbs, rhizomes and corms for the brief spring season.  It is a region of towns, farms, and nature reserves.  The people here are well aware of their incredible botanical heritage, and quite proud of it.  I don't know anywhere else where native plant societies dominate all others as they do here.  There are numerous wildflower shows during the flowering season, and many wildflower and nature reserves where the spectacular South African flora can be seen in its natural setting.

In a short trip to the area just north of Cape Town, the highlight was the Waylands Wild Flower Reserve, off Highway R315 north.  It was in spectacular full bloom in mid-September.  From there we made our way to the West Coast National Park, where we could view native coastal vegetation, as well as wildlife such as springbok, sacred ibis, ostriches, oryxes, wildebeest and eland.  As usual, I will let the pictures talk for themselves.  There are a lot this time, so brace yourselves!  As usual, I welcome corrections to any mistakes in identification.
Ornithogalum thyrsoides (Asparagaceae), blooms at the Waylands Wild Flower Reserve.

Hermannia sp. (Sterculiaceae) is a fynbos shrub
that is covered with creamy, bell-shaped flowers
in the spring.

A species of Geranium sports its
characteristic crane's bill fruits.
Sparaxis bulbifera (Iridaceae). Most members of this family
don't look like our familiar irises.

The bright blue and white flowers of this species of
  Heliophila are unusual in the Brassicaceae.

Ixia maculata (Iridaceae)

Geissorhiza radians, also in the Iridaceae, has a white ring
separating the blue and red regions of the flower.
Geissorhiza eurystigma lacks the white ring.

Gladiolus meliusculus is one of many African species of this
genus of garden favorites, and is also in the Iridaceae.

Albuca flaccida (Asparagaceae)

Coricium orbanchoides (Orchidaceae),
one of many ground orchids in South Africa.

Solanum linnaeanum (Solanaceae), a South African relative of the tomato
and potato .

Crassula dichotoma, a member of the widespread succulent
family, Crassulaceae.

Helichrysum revolutum (Asteraceae) 

Indigofera incana (Fabaceae)

Monopsis debilis (Campanulaceae)

Senecio elegans, in the Asteraceae, might be confused with Felicia.

A wildflower bed at Waylands, featuring Arctotis and Senecio.

Grielum grandiflorum (Neuradaceae) was once considered a member of the rose family,
but is now known to be more closely related to the hibiscus family.

Zaluzianskya villosa (Scrophulariaceae) with radially symmetrical flowers, doesn't look much like other members of the figwort family, which used to include the snapdragons. (See "Whatever became of the snapdragon family?"

A yellow form of Arctotis hirsuta with Zaluzianskya
There is a member of the genus Papaver (P. aculeatus) that is
native to South Africa, but this one here appears
 to be an escaped specimen of P. orientale,
 the horticulturally popular oriental poppy..

Waylands Wild Flower Reserve is one of nature's grandest flower gardens.

Zygophyllum flexuosum (Zygophyllaceae)

The coastal dunes of the West Coast National Park are covered with wildflowers
in the spring.

Didelta carnosa (Asteraceae) in the coastal dunes
Cyanella hyacinthoides (Tecophilaeaceae)

Drimia filifolia (Asparagaceae)

An lone oryx in a coastal grassland.

Dorotheanthus bellidiformis (Aizoaceae)

Romulea tabularis

Gazania pectinata (Asteraceae)

Conicosia puginiformis (Aizoaceae)

Romulea eximia (Iridaceae)

Moraea tripetala (Iridaceae) displays the
familiar 3-parted architecture of  garden