Elusive Orchids of Mahaqwa

Midlands CREW arranged a field trip to Mahaqwa, also known as Bulwer Mountain, in the hope of finding flowering orchids with enchanting names like Disperis cardiophora, Satyrium neglectum, Disa versicolor, Disperis renibractea. We didn’t find them.

2015 01 04 CREW Mahaqwa 01 P1020287

Many species are flowering later than usual this year and obviously, we were a little early. We did however find plenty of other delights to satisfy our passion for plant hunting. Including: Protea caffra and Protea roupellia, Morea inclinata,

IMG_3225

Aristea woodii,

2015 01 04 CREW Mahaqwa 02 Aristea woodii P1020308

Schizoglossum elingue (a first for most of us),

2015 01 04 CREW Mahaqwa 02 Schizoglossum elingue IMG_2500

usually with white flowers, but a few pink flowered ones too.

IMG_3235

Wahlenbergia sp,

IMG_3238

2015 01 04 CREW Mahaqwa 02 Wahlenbergia sp with pollinator P1020248

Senecio macrocephallus, really tall specimens of Geranium pulchrum beside a stream,

2015 01 04 CREW Mahaqwa 02 Geranium pulchrum P1020260

Gunnera – used medicinally during childbirth and in Lesotho the raw stems are eaten as sweets,

2015 01 04 CREW Mahaqwa 02 Geranium pulchrum and Gunnera perpensa P1020258

Helichrysum spiralepsis,

IMG_3231

Lotononis lotonoides, Helichrysum splendidum, Ranuculus baurii with big leaves

2015 01 04 CREW Mahaqwa 02 Ranunculus baurii P1020261

and the dainty little Ranunculus multifidus,

2015 01 04 CREW Mahaqwa 02 Ranunculus multifidus P1020255

Silene belladoides, Epilobium capense 

2015 01 04 CREW Mahaqwa 02 Epilobium capense P1020269

Ornithogalum graminifolium, Urginea macrocentra  

2015 01 04 CREW Mahaqwa 02 Urginea macrocentra IMG_2508

Stachys kuntzei,

2015 01 04 CREW Mahaqwa 02 Stachys kuntzei P1020259

Agapanthus campanualata, Mysotis semiplexicaulis

2015 01 04 CREW Mahaqwa 02 Mysotis semiplexicaulis P1020264

A curious fern like leaf that must have be part of the parsley family, perhaps Anthriscus sylvestris?

2015 01 04 CREW Mahaqwa 02 Anthriscus sylvestris Cow Parsley pos ID P1020265

We spent ages trying to decide if the slender Kniphofia parviflora was in fact that,

2015 01 04 CREW Mahaqwa 02 Kniphofia parvifolia _ IMG_2507 Alchemilla woodii

2015 01 04 CREW Mahaqwa 02 Alchemilla woodii P1020262

Commelina africana, Drosera natalensis 

2015 01 04 CREW Mahaqwa 02 Drosera natalensis P1020279

Sebea sedoide,

2015 01 04 CREW Mahaqwa 02 Sebea sedoide IMG_2509

Of course, we don’t just look at the plants, we spotted a African Harrier Hawk swirling below us and heard Barrett’s Warbler.  Saw these beautiful butterflies too.  Might this one be a Marsh Blue?

2015 01 04 CREW Mahaqwa 03 Butterfly Marsh Blue pos ID IMG_2510

and this possibly a False Silver-bottom Brown?

2015 01 04 CREW Mahaqwa 03 Butterfly Flase Silver-bottom Brown pos ID IMG_2522

Gaudy Commodore on Erica caffrarum,

2015 01 04 CREW Mahaqwa 03 Butterfly Gaudy Commodore IMG_2519

Rubus ludwigii,

2015 01 04 CREW Mahaqwa 02 Rubus ludwigii IMG_2515

Morea trifida,

2015 01 04 CREW Mahaqwa 02 Moraea trifida P1020270

Hypericum lalandii,

2015 01 04 CREW Mahaqwa 02 Hypericum lalandii P1020272

Plenty of Brunsvegia undulata (not in flower yet), Dierama,

IMG_3263

Ajuga ophrydis,

2015 01 04 CREW Mahaqwa 02 Ajuga ophrydis P1020274

Berkheya macrocephala (also not flowering yet), Scabiosa columbaria, Indigofera hedyantha,

2015 01 04 CREW Mahaqwa 02 Indigofera hedyantha P1020284

Alepidea natalensis , Streptocarpus pussilus,  Cycnium racemosa

2015 01 04 CREW Mahaqwa 02 Cycnium racemosum IMG_2506

Eriosema distinctum, Craterocapsa tarsodes, Heliophila rigidiuscula, Aspidonepsis diploglossa,

IMG_3275

Delosperma hirtum

2015 01 04 CREW Mahaqwa 02 Delosperma hirtum Fruits IMG_2527

Rhodohypoxis baurii with this tiny crab spider.

2015 01 04 CREW Mahaqwa 03 Crab spider on Rhodohypoxis baurii P1020304
Aspidonepsis flava

2015 01 04 CREW Mahaqwa 02 Aspidonepsis flava P1020299

Zaluzianskya microsiphon

2015 01 04 CREW Mahaqwa 02 Zaluzianskya microsiphon P1020276

Lotononis pulchella

2015 01 04 CREW Mahaqwa 02 Lotononis pulchella P1020252

Lotononis corymbosa

2015 01 04 CREW Mahaqwa 02 Lotononis corymbosa P1020309

We puzzled over a very tall Helichrysum with red stems and clasping leaves. Anyone know what species it is? Thanks Alison Young for providing an id – Helichrysum mutabile .

2015 01 04 CREW Mahaqwa 02 Helichrysum sp P1020254

and this – possibly Muralita sp

2015 01 04 CREW Mahaqwa 02 Muralita sp pos ID P1020278

We climbed to 2013m above sea level – the views of the surrounding valleys were spectacular.

2015 01 04 CREW Mahaqwa 01 P1020298

On the way back down, we did come across a few orchids, yay! – Satyrium longicauda and Disa stachyoides.

2015 01 04 CREW Mahaqwa 02 Disa stachyoides IMG_2528

As we enjoyed a picnic (Eve’s Lebkuchen were particularly memorable), hang gliders launched themselves from the edge of the mountain and floated past like giant dragon flies. A special day with unexpected surprises – you never know how adventures will turn out.

Thank you Eve Hughes and Christeen Grant for the photographs.

IMG_3262

 

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2 thoughts on “Elusive Orchids of Mahaqwa

  1. David Clulow

    Pshew !!!! You may not have seen many orchids, but the rest of the wildflower-spread sure made up fo it and the records you have made are lovely. Many thanks for sharing your very successful day with others

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  2. Peter R Warren

    Helichrysum mutabile is not in the Bulwer area. Can H. cooperi be considered as the actual identification.

    Peter

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