24 February 2009

Scotties on Top!

Us on TOP! Table Mountain behind us. This is the trig beacon at 928 m. (Me still on the lead!) Our humans and Alice (my best!) left early and went via Elephant's Eye cave to the top of Constantiaberg, which was quite windy and chilly.
(The Foodlady left her camera behind so all these lovely photos are Alice's.)

These plants sound like the Alpha Male's name - they are Stoebe rosea and are endemic to the Cape Peninsula. In fact they are so rare that they are known only from two localities: Constantiaberg and in the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. They only grow on rocky ridges below 600 m and flower from January to February. For more on Stoebe, click here.

This is the Table Mountain beauty butterfly Aeropetes tulbaghia, the pollinator of the red disa Disa uniflora, visiting Tritoniopsis triticea (commonly called mountain pipes or the summer snake flower). The red plant above is also a disa, the cluster disa Disa ferruginea, and it has no nectar to offer the butterfly so it mimics the Tritoniopsis and the insect-brained Table Mountain beauty (or Table Mountain pride) butterfly is tricked into visiting it and pollinating it without reward. It is the only pollinator of the cluster disa.
There were quite a few of these blue disas out - Disa graminifolia. They are pollinated by carpenter bees who are also tricked by the blue disa's sweet smell into thinking that it has some nectar to offer but in actual fact the disa has none. (It's as bare as Old Mother Hubbard's horrible cupboard!).

Tea and rusks -and us huddled out of the wind with the Constantiaberg mast looming above us. It looked like it was about to topple over as the clouds ripped past it.
Then for a while the Alpha Male let me off the lead as we walked down the other side to the viewpoint over Blackburn Ravine and Hout Bay. It was fantastic to be free!
When we got back to the car it was quite chilly in the wind so we didn't swim in the dam, and just went home - luckily after passing a few dogs (mostly rather wild golden retrievers like Charlie) - a good end to a really nice walk.

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