04 October 2012

Witches brooms and pixie ericas

A Sunday morning lie in? Not a chance!
We were soon labouring up that mountain in an effort to get rid of that extra bit of fat that we all seem to have accumulated in the last month! Sue leading the way up Farmer Peck's Valley. Also walking were Thea, Paul and Pauline, Alice and Maddie.
A pretty pink and yellow Fringe Spray-flower or Stroopbossie, Struthiola ciliata.
Thea and me taking a breather.
Witches Broom on a Protea bush. This is a strange disease that afflicts lots of proteas. The cause seems to be a microscopic mycoplasma-like organism. (Mycoplasmas are bacteria that do not possess cell walls.) A toxin from these mycoplasmas is thought to stimulate the bud to divide and subdivide to form the witches’ broom growth. 
Aaah, a blissful tummy cooler!
There were lots and lots of back-lit Green Sticky Heaths (Erica urna-viridis) along the steep and steady climb up the Pecks path. These occur in a small area around here and nowhere else in the whole world.
Can you spot Dougal in the fynbos?
Phew - we were all a little out of condition.
 Alice leading the way through the ericas. Nothing wrong with her and Maddie's condition!
An Aandblom not quite awake: (Hesprantha falcata).
There were so many flowers that the Food Lady was a bit mind blown - especially after the "shades of brown" landscapes they had been driving through for three weeks. Here is Pauline admiring the tapestry.
And Dougal doing his thing.
Then we came across lots and lots of these Erica pyxidiflora plants in full bloom. Another Peninsula endemic. This one even had a little pink worm on it. They seem to like to grow in damp places, but we have never seen them here in such profusion before. The air was honey scented with them! The Food Lady calls them Pixie ericas but she says that its not really because they have anything to do with pixies, but because the word pyxidum means a fruit or capsule in Latin.
Little does she know!
This bush of the Green Tree Pincushion or Kreupelhout (Leucospermum conocarpodendron) had flame coloured pollen presenters instead of the usual yellow ones.
Tea time. Maddie, Alice, Paul, the Alph, Dougal, Pauline, Thea, me and Sue. Does this little group remind you of anything? Baboons with colourful clothes perhaps? Perish the thought! Baboons don't have dogs.
An intriguing Sundew (Snotrosie) flower - Drosera cistiflora - which just happens to the Kirstenbosch Plant of the Week. According to Monique of Kirstenbosch the flowers are self-pollinated, but what really is happening here with all these elaborate structures is beyond the Food Lady.
The leaves of the Sundew - the snot part of the name.
Painted Lady (Gladiolus debilis). Always a thrill.
Drifts of Wild Cineraria (Senecio elegans) and a discussion about the lost Border Collie, Lola, that we looked for but couldn't find. Sure hope they found her in the end.
  Looking for Lola and observing the antics of the humans on Muizenberg Beach on the way back. They were trying to break a record for the most surfers surfing one wave. Unfortunately they didn't.
Then it was home for the Alph and Dawnie to mow the lawn which was tree high to a scotty!

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