Flower Hunting in Fort Nottingham

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. r Lake Lyndhurst 005 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. r Lake Lyndhurst 149 Evert joined us having ridden his bike through Ivanhoe from the Dargle side. res Lake Lyndhurst 006 Ayanda and Nkanyiso admired the wetland and the views. r Lake Lyndhurst 008 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. r Lake Lyndhurst 018 Didn’t take long before the photographers were down on their knees getting up close to little floral treasures. r Lake Lyndhurst 017 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. r Lake Lyndhurst 068 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. r Lake Lyndhurst 021 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. r Lake Lyndhurst 089 Senecio erubescens – very sticky, Gerbera kraussia (sometimes called ambigua) r Lake Lyndhurst 023 Eriosema kraussianum, Schizoglossum flavum, r Lake Lyndhurst 035 Buchnera simplex – gorgeous deep blue, Gladiolus parvula had most of us fooled as we thought it was a Dierama r Lake Lyndhurst 039 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. r Lake Lyndhurst 043 We disturbed a common quail, saw lots of Rhodohypoxis baurii – mostly white but a patch of pink near a stream, Chlorophytum cooperii, Hebenstretia dura res Lake Lyndhurst 049 Helichrysum pilosellum, Polygala gracilenta – dark pinky purple,  Aster perfoliatus with leaves that clasp the stem res Lake Lyndhurst 060 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. res Lake Lyndhurst 067 We found Thesium natalense, Xysmalobium parviflorum, r Lake Lyndhurst 073 Sue spotted Eulophia aculiatum – tucked next to a rock, a very unusual find and pretty exciting res Lake Lyndhurst 082 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), r Lake Lyndhurst 145 where we found Eriocaulom dregei, Aponogetom junceus,  Anthericum sp and Ranunculus multifidus (Zulu name appropriately uxaphozi, which means wetland), r Lake Lyndhurst 112 Acalypha penduncularis, Pelagonium luridum with gorgeous spidery leaves edged in red, Eucomis  (not flowering yet), Coccinea hirtella, r Lake Lyndhurst 102 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. r Lake Lyndhurst 131 Aloe, Peucodanum caffrum, Senecio speciosa, Hirpircium armeroides with Peter announced had “fearsome bracts”,

Lake Lyndhurst

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.  res Lake Lyndhurst 118 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).

Lake Lyndhurst

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. r Lake Lyndhurst 151 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 info@midlandsconservancies.org.za

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. r Lake Lyndhurst 109

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3 thoughts on “Flower Hunting in Fort Nottingham

  1. David Clulow

    To have missed this wonderful outing would have been ……….. sad ………… to say the least
    Many thanks to Nikki for taking the trouble to record it.

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  2. Peter. R. Warren

    There is a problem with the identification of the Berkheya rather it it a Gerbera, G. kraussii to be precise. It does not end there however. It is distinguished, or so they say, from G. amgigua by the raised veins on the back of the leaves (Pooley). My photos show this clearly. However The Red Data List simply sees G. kraussii as synonym for G. ambigua. That might explain when Isobel identified as i “G, kraussii” she added “but I suppose they will shoot us down”. So next time you battle to identify a daisy remember that in some cases the taxonomists do as well!

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  3. Peter. R. Warren

    And I make it Moraea spathulata because it was observed at 1800m and M. alticola is only found above 2400m. It also does not have the fine network of fibers (Pooley:MF p 122). I was hoping it would be M. graminicola subsp. graminicola which is near threatened and found the the Nottingham Rd area (Gibson : Inland p30) but alas that is a much paler yellow. Sigh!

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