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Life Wonderings of a Nature Lover: August 2019 Sitamani Country Diary

The Indian Summer extended into August, really most unseasonable, the only usual weather pattern was gusty, windy days.

01b 9 Aug Misty day IMG_1176

Two days were cooler, the 9th and 12th with misty conditions, 3C was the lowest temperature, but the average high was 21C with the highest day time recorded 26C. Only slightly more rain, 2.5mm was measured and the exposed ground is either cracking or dusty. There were no snowfalls to be seen on the Southern Drakensberg.

01b 15 Aug Full Moon IMG_2714

01b 15 Aug Full Moon IMG_2715

A beautiful Full Moon rising on the 15th .

01b IMG_2759

Despite the very dry conditions the hillsides are greening.

 

Not many spring flowers have yet appeared, however there are some bright spots.

02 Apodolirion buchananii IMG_9818

One of my favourite, scented flowers Apodolirion buchananii waved cheery small flags.

 

02 Cyrtanthus tuckii IMG_9819

02 Cyrtanthus tuckii IMG_9820

Bright red Green-tipped Fire-lilies, Cyrtanthus tuckii, appeared in burnt off areas.

 

02 Gazania krebsiana IMG_9821

Gazania krebsiana are flowering singly and in clumps.

 

02 Hypoxis sp IMG_9835

A few tiny Hypoxis sp. dot the bare earth.

 

02 Ledebouria ovatifolia IMG_2757

Many Ledebouria ovatifolia plants are in bloom.

 

02 Ouhout Leucosidea sericea 01 IMG_2791

02 Ouhout Leucosidea sericea 02 IMG_2784

02 Ouhout Leucosidea sericea 04 IMG_2789

Perhaps the most obvious reminder that the season is changing is the prolifically flowering Ouhout, Leucosidea sericea.

 

I love the delicate Urginea species, and August is their time for blossoming.

02 Urginea calcarata IMG_9957

A really minute species, the flowers less than 5mm in diameter, and particularly difficult to photograph is what I think is Urginea calcarata, this is the first time I’ve managed a reasonable photo over the years!

 

02 Urginea capitata IMG_9889

02 Urginea capitata IMG_9891

Urginea capitata has crowded inflorescences creating little bouquets.

 

02 Ursinia tenuiloba IMG_2739

02 Ursinia tenuiloba IMG_9829

Many clumps of Ursinia tenuiloba are covered with vibrant pale yellow flowers.

 

02b Bracken Pteridium aquilinum IMG_2760

Graceful green Bracken fronds, Pteridium aquilinum, have started unfurling.

 

Earlier in August I really didn’t think many Orchids would appear,

03 Eulophia hian var hians IMG_2782

however Eulophia hian var. hians,

 

03 Eulophia hians var inaequalis 01 IMG_9971

03 Eulophia hians var inaequalis 02 IMG_9967

03 Eulophia hians var inaequalis 03 IMG_9975

Eulophia hians var. inaequalis and

 

03 Eulophia parviflora (short-spurred form) 01 IMG_2764

03 Eulophia parviflora (short-spurred form) 02 IMG_9893

03 Eulophia parviflora (short-spurred form) 03 IMG_9903

03 Eulophia parviflora (short-spurred form) 05 IMG_9904

03 Eulophia parviflora (short-spurred form) IMG_9950

Eulophia parviflora (short-spurred form), have flowered.

 

Where flowers are blooming, particularly in the Buddleja salviifolia, Leucosidea sericea, Ursinia tenuiloba and Gazania krebsiana there are feeding insects!

04 Bee on Buddleja salviifolia IMG_2730

Bee on Buddleja salviifolia.

04 Bee on Ursinia tenuiloba IMG_2751

Bee on Ursinia tenuiloba.

04 Drone Fly Bee-mimic on Buddleja salviifolia IMG_2727

Drone Fly Bee-mimic on Buddleja salviifolia.

04 Hover Fly on Leucosidea sericea 01 IMG_2723

04 Hover Fly on Leucosidea sericea 02 IMG_2724

04 Hover Fly on Leucosidea sericea 03 IMG_2725

I watched this Hover Fly on Leucosidea sericea for some time, very busy,

04 Woolly bee fly Systoechus sp on Gazania krebsiana IMG_9840

04 Woolly bee fly Systoechus sp on Gazania krebsiana IMG_9848

04 Woolly bee fly Systoechus sp on Gazania krebsiana IMG_9849

as well as a Woolly bee fly Systoechus sp. on Gazania krebsiana.

 

04a Gaudy Commodore Junonia actavia IMG_2742

A very tattered winter form of Gaudy Commodore, Junonia actavia, enjoyed a sunlit rock.

 

04a Moth Emerald sp IMG_9949

A leaf green moth, an Emerald sp. found on the kitchen door.

 

05 Common Cannibal snail Natalina cafra IMG_2740

On a walk over the hillside I found an empty shell of a Common Cannibal snail, Natalina cafra, that had succumbed to fire.

 

06 Common Reedbuck IMG_9886

Early one evening I surprised a group of three Common Reedbuck. They and the Grey Duikers are loving the new grass and are seen regularly grazing on the hillside. The Black-backed Jackals have been very vocal, evenings and early mornings.

 

The two birdbaths we keep topped up with water attract a flow of birds, to bathe and drink, Olive Thrushes, Cape Robin-Chats, Cape White-eyes, Dark-capped Bulbuls, Southern Boubous, Red-winged Starlings and the Black-backed Puffbacks.

07 African Stonechat male and female IMG_9912

07 African Stonechat male IMG_9913

One afternoon I saw the male and female African Stonechats on one of their favourite perches overlooking the valley below.

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Life Wonderings of a Nature Lover: July 2019 Sitamani Country Diary

The Indian Summer extended into July, we had only two really frosty mornings after dry cold fronts passed over, the coldest morning was -1C on the 20th and a very balmy high of 26C on the 15th , only 0.5mm of rain for the whole month and that was during the night of the 31st.

01b IMG_2657

Billowing clouds on the 1st didn’t come to anything.

01b IMG_2661

July is fire month, controlled firebreaks are burnt off and there is an ever present anxiety in the dry conditions that a fire might come through before they are completed. As a result there were some stunning smoky sunsets.

01b IMG_2688

Photograph by Philip Grant

Our controlled firebreaks were done on the 16th

01b IMG_2689

leaving behind blackened hillsides.

01b IMG_9564

Sunset on the last day of July.

 

Despite the burning, some flowers survived,

02 Aloe maculata IMG_2693

in fact some Aloe maculata plants have sent up new buds!

02 Aloe maculata IMG_2695

Aloe maculata

 

In burnt areas despite the dry soil, leaves are starting to emerge

02 Berkheya setifera IMG_2677

like this tiny Berkheya setifera.

 

Winter is made complete by clouds of flowering inflorescences on the

02 Buddleja salvifolia 01 IMG_2664

Buddleja salvifolia bushes. We have cream and a pale lilac forms,

02 Buddleja salvifolia 02 IMG_2667

Buddleja salvifolia cream form,

02 Buddleja salvifolia 03 IMG_2679

Buddleja salvifolia pale lilac form,

02 Buddleja salvifolia 04 IMG_9554

the heady scent wafts in waves and attracts myriads of insects.

 

02 Euryops laxus IMG_9558

The yellow Euryops laxus flowers shine in the dry grass.

 

02 Pachycarpus natalensis seeds IMG_2686

Amongst the burnt area I found this seed capsule of a Pachycarpus natalensis split open.

 

03 Ascomycota (sac fungi) Foliose lichen IMG_2690

Incredibly Ascomycota (sac fungi), Foliose lichen also survived the flames.

 

Birds have been very active, particularly visiting the two birdbaths we kept topped up with water. Cape Robin-Chats, Cape White-eyes, Dark-capped Bulbuls, Southern Boubous and the Black-backed Puffback are often seen together as they drink and splash.

04 01 Yellow Canary near-endemic and common resident IMG_2709

Yellow-fronted Canary

and Cape Canaries are also frequent visitors. The pair of Amethyst Sunbirds are a delight as the flit amongst the few available flowering plants. I have heard a Fish Eagle calling from the valley below and on two occasions heard an owl hooting in the early mornings.

04 Speckled Pigeon IMG_2712

The resident Speckled Pigeons take every opportunity to sun themselves on the roof, contentedly cooing.

04 Wailing Cisticola IMG_2668

04 Wailing Cisticola IMG_2669

04 Wailing Cisticola IMG_2670

One morning I watched a Wailing Cisticola basking and preening in the sun.

 

Apart from frenetic ant activity,

05 Fly IMG_2681

I saw this fly resting

05 Moth IMG_1051

and this lovely moth in the sink.

06 Grass funnel-web spider waiting in its web IMG_2674

A Grass funnel-web spider waiting in its carefully reconstructed web in the ashes caught my eye.

 

07 Snake hole IMG_2684

I wasn’t quick enough to photograph a snake quickly slithering backwards into this hole. It had been sunning itself, then realized I was too close. I think it was a Rhombic Night Adder. Although I waited motionless for about 10 minutes it didn’t reappear.

 

Duiker and Reedbuck come regularly to feed near the house in the early morning or evening. Black-backed Jackal can be heard calling most nights.

Life Wonderings of a Nature Lover: June 2019 Sitamani Country Diary

Golden yellow and orange with blue skies defines June, which as usual experienced stunning weather, cool to mild, with sunny skies. The coldest day was just after a cold front passed over on the 11th, yielding only 2mm of rain, but a frosty day on the 13th after the clouds had cleared, with a low of 1 and high of 6 degrees Celcius.

02 Cover IMG_9168

Full moon on the 17th was stunning and still picture perfect the following morning.

 

Although there were few flowers in bloom some of the seed heads from the summer still persist and add to the winter atmosphere,

03 Agapanthus campanulatus IMG_2578

such as these Agapanthus campanulatus seeds.

 

03 Aloe maculata IMG_2569

03 Aloe maculata IMG_2576

Aloe maculata create bright orange spots of colour on the hillside.

 

03 Buddleja dysophylla IMG_2635

Dainty Buddleja dysophylla are my special June flowers, seen here with a Hover Fly feeding from the blossom.

 

03 Chrysanthemoides monilifera subsp canescens Bush-tick berry IMG_2581

Chrysanthemoides monilifera subsp. canescens, Bush-tick berry, showing why they have their common name.

 

03 Flowers Berkheya setifera IMG_2656

Berkheya setifera flower almost continually throughout the year, however at the moment only the stunningly intricate seed head remains.

 

03 Halleria lucida IMG_2653

All the Halleria lucida, Tree Fuchsias are in full flower with the buzz of many attendant feeding insects and birds.

 

03 Helichrysum glomeratum IMG_2565

Helichrysum glomeratum and

 

03 Helichrysum umbraculigerum IMG_2563

Helichrysum umbraculigerum dried flower inflorescences add detail to the warm glow of winter grasses.

 

03 Watsonia socium seedheads IMG_2585

Rust coloured Watsonia socium seedheads stand out against frosted and bleached grass.

 

04 Grass Aristida pos junciformis IMG_2560

Some grasses still have seed heads, Aristida (possibly) junciformis and

 

04 Grass Melinis sp IMG_2628

an ethereal Melinis species.

 

05 Lichens IMG_2651

05 Lichens IMG_2652

Lichens decorate bared branches, incredibly varied and intricate forms.

 

06 Buff-streaked Chat male IMG_2630

A male Buff-streaked Chat surveyed the rocky hillside while sunning himself.

 

06 Cape Turtle-Dove IMG_2617

Usually we hear the cooing of the Cape Turtle-Doves more than we see them, however after the coldest nights they sunbask on the lawn.

 

06 pos Southern Boubou nest common endemic IMG_0760

Under shrubbery I found this beautiful nest, most probably built and used last season by the pair of resident Southern Boubous, they are a common endemic species.

 

Not a great photo,

07 Moth IMG_2603

but still a wonderfully subtle patterned moth.

 

07 Painted Lady Cynthia cardui IMG_2625

The colours of this Painted Lady, Cynthia cardui blended perfectly with the dry grass.

 

07 pos Flower Assassin Rhinocoris sp IMG_2592

An amazing glittery bug, possibly a Flower Assassin, Rhinocoris species caught my eye.

 

07 Wingless Meadow Katydid pos Megalotheca sp IMG_2598

This small, almost shrimp like insect with really long antenna intrigued me, a Wingless Meadow Katydid, Megalotheca species.

 

08 Snake skin IMG_2583

08 Snake skin IMG_2584

A slow walk over the hillside revealed this iridescent snake skin.

 

Duiker and Reedbuck come regularly to feed near the house in the early morning or evening. Black-backed Jackal can be heard calling most nights, and a very special sighting one morning from our bedroom window was a Caracal strolling up the track towards the top of the property.

Life Wonderings of a Nature Lover: As darkness descends

2019 06 19 Umhlanga IMG_0844

Sparkling sea sings an endless song

as waves come to shore

careless children with no purpose

armed with garish disposable plastic nets

pry and poke in rock pools

disrupting tranquil inhabitants

 

A young boy’s joy of a flitting yellow butterfly

severed by his mother’s intent

on a gadget monitored run

to achieve transient fitness

oblivious to the hum of bees in the

glowing aloe lined paved pathway

where the intricate beauty of a small caterpillar journey is unheeded

 

Malevolent Mordor monster machines

roar in a lava flow of

red tail lights to the horizon

rubber trail, oil, fumes and impersonal

glinting metal leviathans

etch into the landscape as darkness descends

We are all complicit in the destruction

 

Serene blue skies

white trailing high cloud

graced by a waning moon

a skein of birds fly through clear air

cool golden grass lies quiet on winter sunbathed hills

 

Gaia does not need this plague

a species driven by the apple

of oversaturated high definition unreality

dis-ease

We need to stop, take check and reconnect

realizing we cannot exist without her.

 

 

(Reflections the day after a trip to Durban, normally I focus on all the positive things I observe, however as darkness descended on the way home, thoughts of things I’d seen bubbled up. The day was actually a happy one, having a routine service done on our vehicle and spending time with treasured friends we’d not seen in many years.)

 

Life Wonderings of a Nature Lover: May 2019 Sitamani Country Diary

Very mild to warm, dry autumn days this May, so far no real frost. There was a light dusting of snow on the top of the southernmost part of Drakensberg on the 4th May in the early morning.

02 IMG_0468

02 IMG_2531

Often the sky was hazed by smoke from tracer burning creating lovely atmospheric sunrises and sunsets.

02 Full moon 18 May IMG_2535

On the morning of the 18th May I drove to Underberg under a glorious full moon.

The total rainfall this month was 7.5mm, only two days when precipitation was recorded. The lowest and highest temperatures recorded were 5 and 25 degrees Celsius.

 

The birdlife here has been very active.

03 Black-backed Puffback IMG_2504

03 Black-backed Puffback IMG_2505

03 Black-backed Puffback IMG_2506

A male Black-backed Puffback was intent on seeing off the male rival reflection on the windowpane.

The Speckled Pigeons have been busy raising a late season brood of two juveniles.

03 Speckled Pigeon adult IMG_2545

Adult Speckled Pigeon

03 Speckled Pigeon juvenile IMG_2542

Two juvenile Speckled Pigeons on the nest

03 Speckled Pigeon juvenile IMG_2543

Juvenile Speckled Pigeon

One morning I heard the distinctive cackle of Green Wood-Hoopoes and saw them flying overhead, most evenings there is a fly past of a flock of Egyptian and Spurwing Geese. I saw an owl fly off in the headlights of my car one morning.

 

I noticed a few

04 African Common White Belenois creona severina IMG_2511

African Common White, Belenois creona severina

04 African Common White Belenois creona severina IMG_2515

African Common White, Belenois creona severina foraging in sparse flowers.

 

One evening I spotted what is probably

05 Steatoda capensis IMG_0478

a male Steatoda capensis spider

05 Steatoda capensis IMG_0483

a male Steatoda capensis spider.

 

Very few flowers this May, however the

06 Halleria lucida IMG_2549

Halleria lucida have started flowering and there were a few

06 Sutera floribunda IMG_2537

Sutera floribunda flowers.

 

Black-backed Jackals have been very vocal in the cool evenings.

Life Wonderings of a Nature Lover: April 2019 Sitamani Country Diary

1b IMG_2422

There have been some dramatic spells of weather during April. On the 8th I drove through successive thunderstorms from Underberg, back home. Driving up Faber’s Hill was very slippery, the road was completely covered in hail. At home leaves and buds were stripped from trees and plants and the veggie garden was annihilated. Then although we were spared flooding, we had an unusually high rainfall starting on the 20th and finally clearing on the 24th, 68mm. The total rainfall this month was 133mm. The lowest and highest temperatures recorded were 8 and 25 degrees Celsius.

1b IMG_2434

1b IMG_2470

1b IMG_8375

1b IMG_8377

As a result of the variety of weather we had some stunning sky-scapes.

 

The rain and cool conditions were ideal for fungi and I saw 11 different species, though there were probably more!

2 Amanita rubescens IMG_2488

Amanita rubescens;

2 Astraeus sp IMG_2455

Astraeus sp.;

2 Bolete IMG_2485

2 Bolete IMG_8371

what I think is a type of Bolete;

2 Clavulina cristata Crested Coral Fungus IMG_8390

Crested Coral Fungus, Clavulina cristata on the top right of this image with as a yet unidentified mushrooms;

2 Conocybe tenera Dunce Cap IMG_2468

Dunce Cap, Conocybe tenera;

2 Hairy Crustcap Stereum hirsutum IMG_8373

Hairy Crustcap, Stereum hirsutum;

2 IMG_8385

I would love to know what this tiny mushroom is;

2 Lepista sordida IMG_8387

Lepista sordida;

2 Small Pine Cap Gymnopilus penetrans IMG_2466

Small Pine Cap, Gymnopilus penetrans;

2 Sulfur Tuft Hypholoma fasciculare IMG_2487

Sulfur Tuft, Hypholoma fasciculare and

2 Umbo Toadstool Incocybe eutheles IMG_8389

Umbo Toadstool, Incocybe eutheles.

 

Before plants were stripped by the hail I saw this

3a Fly Philoliche sp IMG_2446

Fly, a Philoliche sp. feeding on Plectranthus calycina flowers;

3a Hopper casting IMG_2453

an exoskeleton discarded by a Hopper;

3a IMG_2456

a delightful tiny beetle and

3a Mantid Miomantis sp IMG_8204

this elegant Mantid a Miomantis sp..

 

Although I have seen several butterflies I didn’t manage to photograph them, the exception was this rather poor image of an

3b Eyed Pansy Junonia orithya madagascariensis IMG_2465

Eyed Pansy, Junonia orithya madagascariensis;

3c IMG_8352

3c IMG_8659

there have also still been several moths,

3c Orange Plume Moth Crombrugghia wahlbergi IMG_8661

including this Orange Plume Moth, Crombrugghia wahlbergi.

 

On a wet morning

3d Slug IMG_8207

I spotted this tiny slug on the back doorstep.

3e False house button spider Theridiidae Theridion IMG_8381

A False house button spider, Theridiidae theridion had caught and was trussing up a hairy caterpillar much larger than itself!

 

4a Cape White-eye nest IMG_2500

think this was a Cape White-eye nest.

 

We haven’t seen

4b Baboon IMG_8324

Baboons since March 2017, (this photo was taken then),

during the middle of the month a troop of about five individuals were around for a few days.

 

Twice an Eastern Green Snake, Philothammus occidentalis has come in doors briefly before going outside to glide up into the shrubbery, so lovely to see it!

 

The flowering plants were stripped by the hail, I did get a photo of

5 Plectranthus calycina IMG_2449

Plectranthus calycina

5 Satyrium macrophyllum IMG_2462

and a Satyrium macrophyllum prior to the storm.

In the last few days

5b Buddleja salvifolia IMG_2495

Buddleja salvifolia buds are starting to appear.

 

6 Moss IMG_2496

Moss has flourished is shady corners!

 

Life Wonderings of a Nature Lover: March 2019 Sitamani Country Diary

02 IMG_2276

March has been milder, though there have been thunderstorms most evenings. Although there has been less rain fall this month, 116mm, there haven’t been long hot spells between, so the soil has remained moist. The lowest and highest temperatures recorded were 10 and 28 degrees Celsius.

02 IMG_2314

In the mornings there is now a crispness in the air, the sun rises after 6am since the Autumn Equinox on 21 March, and the leaves on the exotic trees have started turning colour.

 

A first for me was finding

03a i Caterpillar of Gaudy Commodore Precis octavia sesamus IMG_2330

a caterpillar of the Gaudy Commodore, Precis octavia sesamus on one of its host plants, Plectranthus calycina. Throughout the year we see adult butterflies in their

03a ii Caterpillar of Gaudy Commodore Precis octavia sesamus IMG_0593

Gaudy Commodore, Precis octavia sesamus, summer form

03a iii Caterpillar of Gaudy Commodore Precis octavia sesamus IMG_0941

Gaudy Commodore, Precis octavia sesamus, winter form; a visual delight, they are the butterflies of our home!

 

03a iv Common Blue group of butterflies Leptotes sp IMG_2360

Another small butterfly seen on a Geranium schlechteri was of the Common Blue group of butterflies Leptotes sp., not certain which one.

 

As often happens in Autumn there have been many moths, ready to lay their eggs for the next Spring season;

03b Duster Pingasa abyssinaria IMG_8051

Duster, Pingasa abyssinaria;

03b Handmaidens moth Family Ctenuchidae IMG_8164

one of the Handmaidens moths, Family Ctenuchidae;

03b IMG_2300

03b IMG_8052

03b IMG_8055

a few unidentified ones;

03b Longhorn moth Family Adelidae IMG_8116

Longhorn moth, Family Adelidae;

03b Many-plume moth Family Alucitidae IMG_2306

Many-plume moth, Family Alucitidae;

03b Pretoria Red Lines Cyana pretoriae IMG_2308

Pretoria Red Lines, Cyana pretoriae

03b The Horn Moth Ceratophaga vastella IMG_2304

and the very small The Horn Moth, Ceratophaga vastella.

 

On my wanderings I discovered some lovely insects;

04 Antlion Hagenomia lethifer IMG_2291

an Antlion, Hagenomia lethifer;

04 Flower Mantid Harpagomantis tricolor IMG_2337

a stunning Flower Mantid, Harpagomantis tricolor;

04 Grasshopper IMG_2387

a vibrant Grasshopper;

04 Leafcutter Bee Family Megachilidae IMG_8198

a Leafcutter Bee, Family Megachilidae;

04 Museum Beetle Anthrenus verbasci IMG_8193

some tiny Museum Beetles, Anthrenus verbasci with an even smaller thrips;

04 Paper wasps Polistes fastiotus IMG_2416

a new colony of Paper wasps, Polistes fastiotus

04 Stick grasshopper Acrida sp IMG_2388

and a Stick grasshopper, Acrida sp..

 

04a Millipede IMG_8188

I always enjoy watching Millepedes!

 

In protected places I spotted some lovely spiders;

04b False house button spider Theridiidae Theridion sp IMG_8168

a False house button spider, Theridiidae theridion;

04b Hairy Field Spider Araneidae Neoscona sp of blondeli IMG_8058

a delightful Hairy Field Spider, Araneidae Neoscona sp. of blondeli, its abdomen looked like a miniature tapestry,

04b Pisauridae Nursery web spider IMG_8171

and the discarded exoskeleton of a Pisauridae Family, Nursery web spider.

 

05 Juvenile Striped skink IMG_2294

This juvenile Striped skink caught my eye, sunning on the edge of a step.

 

On the last day of March I had a wonderful fleeting glimpse of a male Cryptomys mahali Mole-rat as it scurried, unusually, over the ground. In 2005 Prof. Nigel Bennet came and spent a few days here looking for Cape Mole-rats, Georychus capensis, as we had found a dead one and he thought it might be part of a remnant population. They eluded him, but he did find

06a 05 12 14 Cryptomys mahali male

Cryptomys mahali male (2005),

06a 05 12 14 Cryptomys mahali female

and Cryptomys mahali female (2005).

06a Cryptomys mahali male IMG_2419

06a Cryptomys mahali male IMG_2420

Cryptomys mahali male. This is the first time I have seen one since then, so although the photos aren’t perfect it’s a special record!

 

06 Common Reedbuck in the mist IMG_2297

One misty evening the male Common Reedbuck paid a visit close to the house.

 

Several used, and now abandoned bird nests have become visible,

07 Malachite Subird nest IMG_2386

beneath a Plane tree I found a Malachite Sunbird nest, the interior beautifully lined with soft cobwebs.

07 Nest IMG_2368

Then there was a nest about 2 meters up in a tree which is unraveling when the wind blows.

 

There are still quite a variety of flowers out,

08 Alectra sessiliflora IMG_2334

Alectra sessiliflora;

08 Berkeya rhapontica IMG_2322

Berkeya rhapontica;

08 Berkeya rhapontica IMG_2324

Berkeya rhapontica;

08 Berkeya setifera IMG_8184

Berkeya setifera;

08 Crassula vignata IMG_2338

Crassula vignata, can you see the Flower mantid at the top right?

08 Dwarf Spikethorn Gymnosporia uniflora IMG_2340

this fruiting Dwarf Spikethorn, Gymnosporia uniflora looked festive;

08 Dwarf Spikethorn Gymnosporia uniflora IMG_2341

Dwarf Spikethorn, Gymnosporia uniflora;

08 Dwarf Spikethorn Gymnosporia uniflora IMG_2342

Dwarf Spikethorn, Gymnosporia uniflora;

08 Geranium schlechteri IMG_2362

Geranium schlechteri;

08 Helichrysum cooperi IMG_8190

Helichrysum cooperi;

08 Helichrysum cooperi IMG_8191

Helichrysum cooperi;

08 Helichrysum umbraculigerum IMG_2325

Helichrysum umbraculigerum;

08 Helichrysum umbraculigerum IMG_2327

Helichrysum umbraculigerum;

08 Hesperantha baurii IMG_2319

Hesperantha baurii;

08 Otholobium polysictum IMG_2353

Otholobium polysictum;

08 Printzia pyrifolia IMG_2375

Printzia pyrifolia;

08 Schizoglossum bidens subsp bidens IMG_2356

Schizoglossum bidens subsp. bidens seedheads;

08 Silver Bramble Rubus ludwigii IMG_2321

the last of the Silver Bramble, Rubus ludwigii berries;

08 Stachys aethiopica IMG_8187

Stachys aethiopica;

08 Sutera floribunda IMG_2346

Sutera floribunda;

08 Sutera floribunda IMG_2349

Sutera floribunda

08 Watsonia confusa IMG_2352

and Watsonia confusa.

 

Tall clumps of

09 Giant Turpentine Grass Cymbopogon validus IMG_2379

Giant Turpentine Grass, Cymbopogon validus;

09 Giant Turpentine Grass Cymbopogon validus IMG_2383

Giant Turpentine Grass, Cymbopogon validus stand sentinel on the hillside.

 

A fern I haven’t seen before popped up in a shady corner.

10a Fern Ophioglossum vulgatum IMG_2392

Ophioglossum vulgatum subsp. africanum;

10a Fern Ophioglossum vulgatum IMG_2402

Ophioglossum vulgatum subsp. africanum fertile spike;

10a Fern Ophioglossum vulgatum IMG_2404

Ophioglossum vulgatum subsp. africanum fertile spike;

it is a Pteridophyte or true fern, part of the Family Ophioglossacae, Adder’s tongues.

 

“Fossil evidence of Ophioglossacae has been traced to the Palaeocene (±64.5-55.8 million years ago). It is a primitive and isolated family and is not closely related to any other fern group. Recent molecular studies showed that Ophioglossacae is a primitive subclass of the true ferns.”

Ferns of Southern Africa A Comprehensive Guide: N R Crouch, R R Klopper, J E Burrows, S M Burrows

pub. Struik 2011 ISBN 978-1-77007-910-6

 

As often happens when we have damp conditions a number of fungi appear;

10b Amanita rubescens IMG_8179

Amanita rubescens;

10b Astraeus sp IMG_8176

False Earthstar, Astraeus sp.

10b Scleroderma sp IMG_2394

and a potato like fungi, Scleroderma sp..