It may be the middle of the summer in the Cape but there are still some floral treats to be enjoyed in the fynbos. I took a walk over the weekend on Witkransberg and came across these beautiful Watsonia schlechteri.
This species grows singly or in small clumps on rocky exposed slopes between Ceres and the Kouga mountains. The bright red-orange flowers are usually stimulated by fire but plants can also bloom in mature veld povided it is not taller than about 60 cm.
This is a relatively common bulbous plant with small nodding blue flowers with rough filaments striped blue and white. It is widespread on flats and slopes between Namaqualand and the Eastern Cape.
The third species found flowering along the trail was Aristea africana. This widespread species grows from th Gifberg, which is the northern edge of the fynbos down to the Cape Peninsula and eastwards to Riversdale. It is a small evergreen and usually branched perennial with flattened stems and linear leaves. It has blue flowers that tend to be difficult to photograph as they often turn out purple on the image. It has translucent spathes with dark keels that are finely fringed and sometimes rusty brown at the tips.
These were just three of the plants flowering in early January. There were many more including Staavia radiata (altydbos), the daisies Ursinia tenuifolia and Stoebe capitata, the yellow lobelia (Monopsis lutea) and Roella incurva. All these plants flowering at the hottest and driest time of the year – proving again how well adapated fynbos species are to the harsh climate of the region.