Rare Treasures in the Hills

Edgeware in Boston and Beacon Hill in Howick are two wonderful examples of Midlands Mist-belt grassland and revel floral jewels whenever they are explored.

David and Barbara Clulow of Midlands CREW took Hlengiwe Mtshali and Mbali Mkhize CREW staff from Durban, to Edgeware last week.  They hoped to find some target species of wildflowers that they had not had success in locating the previous season, and to monitor the Schizoglossum bidens subsp hirtum (DD) population.  David compiled this report.

The flowers were out in masses. Watsonias, Eriosemas, Moraeas and Acalyphas were there in green carpets and clumps, poised to bloom in the next week or two.


We were more than happy with what we saw. The climb was certainly worth it. Starting with the delightful Christmas Bells, Sandersonia aurantiaca


and as we walked upwards, a host of flowering plants, including Cycnium racemosum





Eulophia leontoglossa


Eucomis autumnalis


Reaching our goal, the first person to spot a Schizoglossum bidens was sharp-eyed Barbara.


Then another 12 of these rare plants were found in the area. Not easy to identify with the fine thin leaves – only the flowers to alert one. (While eating my lunch I found one only 4 inches from my foot, nearly crushed by my rucksack). One of the other target species, Asclepas bicuspis was also recorded. This was the only example of a Asclepias bicuspis which we found, also very fine leaves as typical of the ground orchids in this genus.


Then another unexpected discovery on the way down again – a Disa crassicornis, which we had never before seen here or anywhere.


There were four plants, one of which had been broken off by a wandering cow, so we took it as a Herbarium specimen.

DSCF4040Hlengiwe, Mbali and Disa crassicornis

Hlengiwe and Mbali had a great day in the Midlands and learnt lots from the ‘oldies’!  We also spotted a few enormous  mushrooms.


Eve Hughes (also a Midlands CREW member) spends a lot of time on Beacon Hill so often spots real treasures there.  This week, she found a few specimens of the Vulnerable Asclepias woodii in bloom.


Asclepias woodii is a Midlands Mist-belt endemic found in unburnt grassland and also on the CREW target list.IMG_3052

Eve’s sharp eyes spotted this delightful Schizoglossum stenoglossum

Schizoglossum stenoglssum

and Pachycharpus grandiflorus.

Pachy carpus grandiflorus

Eve leads a walk on Beacon Hill on the last Sunday of each month – there is something different in flower every time. Contact her to join the walk on 082 872 4333.


1 thought on “Rare Treasures in the Hills

  1. Meriel mitchell

    Such dainty and beautiful flowers seen and discovered by the group. Well done to those with good eyes for spotting the difficult-to- find plants!



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