Peter Warren joins the regular Midlands walks often, delighting in the differences each season brings to our grasslands and forests. He reports on some of the flowers spotted during the February walk on Gartmore in Karkloof.
Water mint (Mentha aquatica). I have only ever seen this growing in the water, previously.
Leafy Flowered Ipomoea ( Ipomoea crassipes var. crassipes) is one of the indigenous morning glories. Sometimes the flower is mauve as well.
The next two are interesting because both are KZN endemics (as Gareth suggested) and concentrated in the Midlands. The first is Small White Poker (Kniphofia buchananii). I do not know what the bugs are but it would be very interesting to find out. (Ed’s note: Beetles are probably Fruit Chafers)
The second is Slender Poker (Kniphofia laxiflora). and not K. gracilis as I wrongly thought while on the walk. I have only seen these in the boulder fields around Yarrow Falls although it is not considered particularly rare. (Ed: learn more about K. laxiflora at http://www.dargleconservancy.org.za/wildflowerarchive/wfa032013.php)
The Hibiscus is what you correctly identified as Common Dwarf Wild Hibiscus (Hibiscus aethiopicus)
The grass parasite is always very pretty – Silvery Sopubia (Sopubia cana var. cana)
Fishbone Dwarf Cassia (Chamaecrista mimosoides) Very much indigenous but has a global widespread distribution.
The next is a puzzle to me because there appear to be only two Thunbergia creepers, Back Eyed Susan (T. alata) and White Thunbergia (T.pondoensis). It is not the former, so it must be the latter however it is not reported in this region. I have tracked the controversy back to 1906 and there does not appear to be any progress since then. Until it can be resolved I will stay with my tentative identification. (Ed’s Note: What about Thunbergia dregeana?)
There were lots more I did not photograph including the small yellow pea with the red stripes. I thoroughly enjoyed the walk.
Next walk to Yarrow Falls in Karkloof will take place on Wednesday 5 March. Contact Robyn to book 082 802 8949 www.karkloofconservation.org.za