I mentioned a few weeks back that there had been a fire on Flower Valley in autumn and all sorts of flowering treasures are appearing in the veld on a weekly basis. While guiding a group of hikers on the Fynbos Trail over the weekend, I walked to the summit of Grootberg overlooking Flower Valley and photographed these beauties:
Liparia splendens subsp. splendens (mountain dahlia, skaamblom) is able to resprout from an underground root stock after fire. As you can see in this photo, this enables it to flower in the first spring following fire. It flowers profusely after fire and to a lesser extent between fires. It is pollinated by sunbirds and carpenter bees. When the sunbird pushes its head between the petals to get nectar, it causes the stamens and style to pop out from the enclosing keel petals, which puts the pollen bearing anthers and the stigma in contact with the birds throat feathers. Liparia seeds have a fleshy collar-like aril that attracts ants which disperse the seeds underground. It has a natural distribution from the Cape Peninsula to Mossel Bay and is classified as a vulnerable species.
The fire heath, Erica cerinthoides, is also a reprouting species. This erica is the best know and most widely distributed member of the Erica genus in southern Africa. As with Liparia, this erica uses food stored in its rootstock to rapidly resprout following fire and flower within just a few months. If left unburnt it can reach 1.8m tall but will become sterile in the long-term absence of fire.
Gladiolus debilis has been aptly named the little painted lady as a result of the delicate and distinctive red flower markings. These include chevrons, diamonds or streaks and lines in a very regular pattern. It flowers in September and October and is restricted to sandstone slopes from the Cape Peninsula to Bredasdorp.
Other species flowering in the burnt area on Grootberg at the moment include:
Baeometra uniflora – beetle lily
I cant wait to see what appears in the next few weeks time!