CREW Fieldtrip to Stormy Hill

Article written by Kathy Milford

Six dogs of all shapes and sizes rushed out from their home at Stormy Hill, Boston to meet the wild flower enthusiasts who had arrived in search of Brunsvigia undulata. Caroline McKerrow and her dogs welcomed the nine ladies and they were soon all on their way up to Mt. Shannon driving through a maze of roads in the Mondi plantations.

Brunsvigia undulata

Brunsvigia undulata

The first stop was at a strip of grassland between the plantation and the road. There they were! Five Brunsvigia undulata, four with rich deep red flowers and the fifth going to seed.

Eulophia tenella

Eulophia tenella

The stream running through the grassland was bordered with bright orange Crocosmia potsii, dark blue Agapanthus sp and the pale Pycnostachys reticulata.

Crocosmia

Crocosmia potsii

Three enormous Eucomis comosa and a single Nerina appendiculata also bloomed on the banks. Sutera floribunda, Pentanisia angustifolia, Oxalis sp, Geranium sp and Vernonia sp were all blooming in the grassland.

Eucomis comosa

Eucomis comosa

Kniphofia angustifolia, and the strangely beautiful Habenaria dives the Death orchid, were blooming.

Habenaria dives

Habenaria dives

From there it was another drive past banks covered in hundreds of blooming Agapanthus sp and Papaver aculeatum to the next stop. There were two more Brunsvigia undulata!

Brunsvigia undulata students

Brunsvigia undulata

This area was being invaded by the ever present bramble. A beetle was busy on a Berkheya speciosa while Suvarna was happily Botanising with her students!

Berkeya speciosa

Berkeya speciosa

The excursion continued in the 4x4s through the maze of roads back to the top of Stormy Hill. Caroline’s magnificent horses were grazing between the orchids and a thousand other flowers.

Caroline and horses

Pelargonium luridum, Vernonia capensis, a Habenaria laevigata and a Kniphofia gracilis were the first flowers encountered.

Habenaria laevigata

Habenaria laevigata

A white Crassula alba was blooming next to a rock. Eulophia ovalis both the white and the yellow varieties were scattered about the entire area in their dozens.

Suvarna and Eulophia ovalis

Suvarna photographing an Eulophia ovalis

The strange looking, data deficient Schizoglossum bidens was excitedly spotted next to a rock.

Shizoglossum bidens

Shizoglossum bidens

An initial count amounted to 8 plants but as the morning progressed several more were found. A Zuluzianskya sp had its drumstick buds tightly closed in the midday sun. The graceful Alepidia amatymbica and Heliophila sp were growing together, nearby was the unusual Moraea brevistyla.

Alepidida amatymbica and Heliophila

Alepidida amatymbica and Heliophila sp.

Leonotis intermedia, Stachys kuntzei, Lotononus corymbosa, Kniphofia angustifolia, Striga sp and Berkheya speciosa and many more were all blooming.

Kniphofia angustifolia

Kniphofia angustifolia

Being completely saturated with the profusion of flowers and the view over Boston it was time to turn back.

Kniphofia on Stormy Hill ridge

Kniphofia on Stormy Hill ridge

The return walk yielded Satyrium longicauda, and a startling single specimen of possible Pterygodium magnum. The magnificent plant was over a meter tall had a spike with dozens of beautiful little delicately fringed flowers.

Pterogdium magnum

Pterogdium magnum

On the last stretch of the homeward walk, everyone had become quite blaze and simply stepped right past Scabiosa columbaria, a lonely bright Gazania krebsiana and the little carpet flower Craterocapsa tarsodes!

Rhus berries

Rhus berries

Thanks go to Caroline for being a wild flower spotter extraordinaire and for patiently sharing her excellent observations with Midlands CREW. Thanks to Alison Young for the orchid identifications.

Asparagus on Stormy hill ridge

Asparagus on Stormy Hill ridge

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5 thoughts on “CREW Fieldtrip to Stormy Hill

  1. David Clulow

    Clearly a most successful expedition. It was crying out for a good write-up, so “well done” and many thanks for a thorough description with lots of lovely photos – from one who wasn’t there but wishes he was.

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  2. Meriel mitchell

    Sounded very exciting. Except for the use of 4×4 and a great camera, your expedition made me think of the early botanists and others on their trips of discovery! Thankyou for sharing.

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    1. Caroline McKerrow

      Being at Stormy Hill Horse Trails I should have taken them out on the horses. After all, that’s how I saw the Brusvegia Undulata in the first place.

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      Reply

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