The second Midlands CREW (Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers) fieldtrip for the 2013 season took place on Saturday 9 November at Lake Lyndhurst in Fort Nottingham. There were lots of flowers on the road verges. After meeting at Els Amics in the village, we headed through New Forest where the uMngeni river spills down from uMngeni Vlei, up to Lake Lyndhurst. Evert joined us having ridden his bike through Ivanhoe from the Dargle side. Ayanda and Nkanyiso admired the wetland and the views. The plateau was covered with Festuca costata – a grass usually found at higher altitudes. It appears to be moving down and increasing in places not previously abundant. The vegetation was typical of Mooi river Highland Grassland – part of the Highland Sourveld. Didn’t take long before the photographers were down on their knees getting up close to little floral treasures. Experts and amateur botanists decided to head towards a rocky outcrop to see what they could find. Hypoxis filiformis, Graderia scabra, Eriosema distinctum, Helichrysum aureonitis which is also used as imphepho although Helichrysum cynosum is the more classic imphepho species. We were amazed at all the Delopspermum (probably sutherlandii). Eve commented that she didn’t really expect to find them here – they seemed to belong in the Karoo. There was lots and lots of yellow Morea flowering. Is it alticola? graminicola? Most likely spathulata. Interesting we found it was far more abundant in the areas where there were cattle and not apparent in the area cattle were excluded from. Senecio erubescens – very sticky, Gerbera kraussia (sometimes called ambigua) Eriosema kraussianum, Schizoglossum flavum, Buchnera simplex – gorgeous deep blue, Gladiolus parvula had most of us fooled as we thought it was a Dierama Nkanyiso spotted a rinkhals on a rock which quickly slithered into a hole nearby when all the cameras were focussed on him. Amongst the rocks we found Maytenus acuminata, Myrsine Africana, Veronia hirsute, Tulbaghia leucantha, Cineraria with soft grey leaves One of the nicest things about CREW fieldtrips is that everyone helps everyone else to learn something new. We disturbed a common quail, saw lots of Rhodohypoxis baurii – mostly white but a patch of pink near a stream, Chlorophytum cooperii, Hebenstretia dura Helichrysum pilosellum, Polygala gracilenta – dark pinky purple, Aster perfoliatus with leaves that clasp the stem Psammotropha myriantha, Dierama florifirum (an educated guess), Osteospermum juncundi – gorgeous bright pink, Alepidea natalensis (not flowering yet), Protea simplex – new leaves sprouting from what is essentially an underground tree. We found Thesium natalense, Xysmalobium parviflorum, Sue spotted Eulophia aculiatum – tucked next to a rock, a very unusual find and pretty exciting Hypoxis sp maybe argentia, Ledebouria cooperi, Ledebouria sandersonia, and Ledebouria monophylla (which is not known in this location, so pretty exciting), Gerbera piloselloides – a wonderful yellow. We sploshed across a wetland (sensible Nkanyiso wore gumboots), where we found Eriocaulom dregei, Aponogetom junceus, Anthericum sp and Ranunculus multifidus (Zulu name appropriately uxaphozi, which means wetland), Acalypha penduncularis, Pelagonium luridum with gorgeous spidery leaves edged in red, Eucomis (not flowering yet), Coccinea hirtella, Diclis reptans, Nemesia caerulea, Watsonia – was it lepidea? Some discussion about our altitude which would help with identifying the species – we were at 1900m above sea level. Aloe, Peucodanum caffrum, Senecio speciosa, Hirpircium armeroides with Peter announced had “fearsome bracts”,
Drosera, Unidentified Erica – Isabel took a piece home to identify), Pentanisia prunelloides, Scilla nervosa – not flowering, Jamesbritennia breviflora, Tulbaghia natalensis. We had been puzzled by something as we crossed the wetland and hoped to find it on the way back with a few of the experts in tow. Astonishingly, Gina lead us right to it. Peter guessed Veronia and Sue searched through the book until we decided on Veronia thodii. Much to our delight Isabel confirmed it and Barbara explained how it should be pronounced (a German name).
As we left Lake Lyndhurst, we spotted two secretary birds on the hillside. On the way back down we stopped to admire the fresh, clean water tumbling over the rocks, feeling sad about the state of the uMngeni river just a little further down the valley. Thanks to Roy and Val Tabernor for their assistance in accessing Lake Lyndhurst. If you are keen to join CREW and help search for special plants, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter Warren has posted some of the plants we found onto iSpot where interesting discussions have followed. Do have a look here: http://www.ispot.org.za/search/node/lake%20lyndhurst – make a comment or post some of your own observations.