Fire Diary – week sixteen

Some four months after the fire and following good autumn and early winter rains the landscape is full of floral surprises. Splashes of pink on the upper sandstone slopes turned out to be these beautiful pink flowered Gladiolus meridionalis.
Gladiolus meridionalis on www.fynboshub.co.za
This large flowered Gladiolus is adapted to sunbird pollination. It has a long flower tube with large quantities of sucrose dominant nectar hidden at the bottom of the flower. A feast for a hungry sugarbird!

A bit lower down, on sandier soils, were these hedgehog lillies, Massonia pustulata.

Massonia pustulata on fynbos hub blog
This species is a low, ground-hugging, bulbous plant characterised by two broad, flat, leathery leaves that have rough, blistered (pustulate – hence the species name) upper surfaces. The rivulets formed on this upper surface capture condensation and channel moisture to the bulb. The flowers are densely clustered between the two leaves and are creamy-white, pink or yellow. It is pollinated by honeybees and butterflies in search of the nectar held in the bottom of the long floral tubes. It is widespread and relatively common from Namaqualand to Port Elizabeth and the Karoo.

The bright red flowers of Lachenalia rubida were abundent in the deep sands near to the Walker Bay coastline in the first wineter following the fire. This species has one or two lance- to strap-shaped leaves that are plain green or spotted with darker green or purple. It is a species of the coastal sandy flats from Hondeklip Bay to the Cape Peninsula and eastwards to George.

Lachenalia rubida on www.fynboshub.co.za

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