23 November 2015

Two black dogs go up the mountain again

It was great to have Sue and Honey back with us again today for our walk up Ou Kraal to Mimetes Valley.
Lots of moss growing on the cliff after the lovely rain we had yesterday.
And Christmas decorations festooning some of the plants. This is the False Dodder or Devil's Tresses (Cassytha ciliolata) that, weirdly, is related to Stinkwood trees in that they both belong to the family Lauraceae.
Far below us there was lots of whooping and ululating and we saw that there was some religious ceremony going on in the tidal pool.
The Food Lady was rather slow as there were just hundreds of phlowers to photograph. This is a Cape Scabious (Scabiosa africana) - one of several mauve flowers on the mountain this morning. The beetle is a Common Metallic Longhorn - one of the timber beetles.
Moraea tripetala clinging to the cliff.
These Rush Irises (Bobartia indica) overlooking Muizenberg have really enjoyed the burnt veld and are everywhere.
Most of the rare and endangered Tree Pagodas (Mimetes fimbrifolius) in Mimetes Valley were singed by the fire, but seem to be back on the road to recovery thanks to their thick, fire-resistant bark and their ability to re-grow from "epicormic shoots" that remain protected under the bark on the upper branches. They also re-seed, and there are lots of seedlings coming up everywhere -
including these leucadendron seedlings.
An unusual little Pelargonium pinnatum with characteristic withered leaves, 
the Table Mountain Watsonia (Watsonia tabularis) starting to flower,
and there are still clumps of aristeas everywhere - these are probably Aristea bakeri.
Tea spot chosen after some bundu-bashing to get out of the rather chilly little breeze - and Harvey and Lad have us covered - no baboon or mountain mugger will surprise us!
Sue and Honey with the Alph - and Kalk Bay harbour and Fish Hoek in the background.
On the way back we saw lots of geelkalossies (Ixia dubia) all lit up and glowing in the veld.
Harvey was happy to find a pool for a quick cooling dip, and so was I as the sun was warm and the breeze doesn't reach us so low down.
Another flower slipped in by the Food Lady - Corymbium africanum - a member of the Asteraceae that looks a bit like a Pseudoselago (a member of the Scrophulariaceae) and not unlike a Scabious (Dipsacaceae). All attracting the same sort of pollinators perhaps?
Soon it was time to go down again - some of these rocks are quick big for a hot, plump, black Scot and I needed some help, although Laddie and Harvey went shooting ahead with the Alph.
This is my kind of path - soft, shady,
with the occasional flower (Watsonia borbonica) to take the Food Lady's attention away from me
when I smell something delicious and tempting and I need to leave the path to investigate.
Cover blown! Damn. Just as I was getting close to the bergie paté.

17 November 2015

From Stinkbeans to Opium Poppies - and lots in between

Here we are back at the mountain with the name that makes us cringe. Not surprisingly, no-one else felt like joining us today.
The Friends of *#*#berg had put up a notice asking people to pull up invasive alien Stinkbean  (Paraserianthes lophantha subsp. lophantha) seedlings,
and those of us with opposable thumbs did quite a lot of uprooting,
although not the full 10 minutes as we were distracted by a nice new bench
with a plaque on it to George Laporta who the humans bought our house from many years ago. We were sad to hear he had died.
As well as Stinkbeans there were lots of this twining Fumaria - possibly Fumaria muralis - which is a member of the poppy family (Papaveraceae) and hails from the Mediterranean.
The Food Lady is doing a factsheet for Veld & Flora on the life cycle of the moss (sorting out the sporophytes from the gametophytes) and was intrigued to see this moss growing in the sand - with all its little spore-filled sporangia nodding in the breeze waiting to be dispersed across the landscape when it rains.
In spite of all the millions of Stinkbeans coming up, there were quite a few of the Endangered Silver Tree (Leucadendron argenteum) seedlings popping up,
and lots of magnificent spires of Blue Sceptre (Aristea).
Laddie on Baboon Watch.
There was a plethora of flowers and the Food Lady is having a hard time persuading me to put more onto the blog post, but really, enough is enough! This is the Gladiolus carneus.
Up and up we toiled in the heat.

A clump of Rush Iris (Bobartia indica) - also in huge abundance up here in the burned area.
To my enormous relief, the sun disappeared behind a large ominous looking cloud, and a cool breeze blew up when we reached the top. Before we knew it, it had started to drizzle a bit. Luverly!
OK - a few more pink and fluffy flowers as I am in such a good mood remembering the lovely rain! This large daisy is Gerbera crocea which is called the "Fire Afrodaisy" on iSpot.
And one of our favourites, the firework flower - Dilatris. The Food Lady has no idea which species it is as they all look the same to her.
We picked a lovely tea spot up a track off the main path and the Food Lady took a selfie seeing there were no other peeps with us today.
The Lad and I kept watch - each taking 90 degrees to scan for baboons, rodents, rooikats,
and rock monsters. Today they were all rather avian,
Just checking the heavens ...
while the Food Lady photographed this rather bedraggled Grey Tree Pincushion (Leucospermum conocarpodendron subsp. conocarpodendron).
And while the Alph strode ahead and the Food Lady found  a pink and fluffy wild hyacinth - possibly Lachenalia orchioides var. glaucina,
we watched some zipliners zinging and swooshing to and fro across the valley - 
this one only holding on with one hand.
And talking of hands - this is the Lady's Hand (Cyanella hyacinthoides).
There was even a thistle for us Scots!
Looking back up the path we had just come down - with Swearword Peak at the top. Apparently the bad sounding name means Flag Mountain in Dutch - and it looks like there should be a flag or two flying up on that peak.
Right at the end of the walk we came upon some Opium Poppies (Papaver somniferum) which was appropriate because when we got home in the drizzle, we all took to our beds and fell asleep.