12 February 2018

AGM and talk on Moraea aristata

Photo: Moraea aristata in its habitat at the South African Astronomical Observatory. Photo: Geert Sprangers.
will be held in the Meadowridge Library on Monday 26th February 2018 at 7.30 pm
After the brief business part of the evening, ALEX LANSDOWNE, Restoration Horticulture Conservationist, will be giving a talk on the Rondebosch Common Restoration Project and the introduction of Moraea aristata to the Common.
We hope to see you. Refreshments will be served and secure parking provided.
For more information, please contact Roger Graham at 021 7159206.

There are many conservation stories of species only just holding on against extinction. Moraea aristata stands out. This critically endangered, enigmatic irid has persisted on the grounds of the SA Astronomical Observatory for decades. Rondebosch Common, a sister conservation area to Meadowridge Common, is the only natural habitat left within its range.
Together with the Friends of Rondebosch Common, Alex Lansdowne managed the introduction of the Peacock Moraea (Moraea aristata) to Rondebosch Common which shares a similar veld type (Cape Flats Sand Fynbos) to Meadowridge Common.

The talk will focus on establishing a new population of Moraea aristata, and the ambitions of the Rondebosch Common Restoration Project.

06 November 2017

Bark Spider

Bark Spiders (Caerostris) contruct a large orb web at dusk, after first establishing a long bridge line. At dawn the orb web is destroyed and the spider retreats to a tree or bush on the bridge line.
This is the female of the species Caerostris sexcuspidata which is very common and widespread.


18 October 2017

Talk cancelled

The Friends of Meadowridge Common are sorry to announce that the talk by Prof. Eugene Moll on SHEPHERDING BACK BIODIVERSITY that was scheduled for Monday 30 October at the Meadowridge Library Hall, has been cancelled. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

09 October 2017

Spring Walk 2017

This year's spring walk on Meadowridge Common was held on Sunday 20 October in the early afternoon. Taking time off from his studies for his Ph.D.,Stuart Hall (centre) very kindly led the walk. Cape Town is in the grip of one of its worst droughts, but there were still many interesting flowers to see. The weather was overcast and even a bit drizzly,
but the sun came out from time to time to reveal flowers like this little sun-loving sporrie (Heliophila africana) - a member of the cabbage family or Brassicaceae -
and the abundant and floriferous Kusmalva (Pelargonium capitatum).
Yellow daisies (Ursinia anthemoides ) were flowering all over the Common,
and some interesting insect visitors put in an appearance as well. This is a Nomad (Sympetrum fonscolombii).
Stuart, pointing out one of the Common's specials - the Redlisted Lampranthus stenus - which doesn't flower at this time of the year, but it is still growing here despite all the trampling that occurs from humans and dogs.
A monkey beetle in the centre of the wild iris (Moraea fugax), several of which were in flower this afternoon. These flowers only last for one afternoon - and we all hoped the monkey beetle was pollinating the flower and not just eating it.  
Stuart demonstrating the tough and stringy the bark of Passerina corymbosa - a member of the Thymelaceae or Tie-me-laces family.
Cuttings from the original plant of Ruschia geminiflora yielded many more plants of this little succulent shrub that grows all over the Common and is flowering now.
The Common has two species of Struthiola - this one is S. ciliata and the other, a bigger shrub nearer the library building, is S. dodecandra. They are also members of the Thymelaceae family.
Albuca juncifolia or 'Sentry in a box".
Artist, Lyn Northam, photographing on of the Commons orchids - the sweet-smelling Satyrium odorum.
The other orchid that occurs here is Disa bracteata.
Rooikanol (Wachendorfia paniculata), a member of the bloodroot family, Haemodoraceae.
Another Common pelargonium - Pelargonium myrrhifolium.
The tiny, lacy flowers of Adenogramma glomerata carpet the sand between the daisies and grass.
Another of the Common's "specials" is the rare and endangered Cape Flats Silkypuff (Diastella proteoides). For more about this plant, click here.
And on most afternoons, the small flowers of Trachyandra revoluta open.
In the various wild storms that we have had this winter, seven of the Common's enormous pines blew down - and the evidence is still around. The City of Cape Town seems to be unable to muster the wherewithal to remove them.
Not flowering, but the presence of several seedlings of another of the Common's "specials", Erica subdivaricata, was an exciting find.
Treading carefully on the Common - as you never know what is underfoot.
Stuart with Fiona Watson who has painstakingly photographed and identified the plants that occur on Meadowridge Common - which amount to almost 140 species, not counting the aliens.

And its not only the flowers that are interesting. This is a nest of Community Nest Spiders that occur on the Common. Read more about them, and other spiders, here.
In the rehabilitation area of the Common several plants of Serruria glomerata are thriving. These are all grown from cuttings taken from other plants of this Cape Flats Sand Fynbos protea growing elsewhere on the Cape Peninsula. According to William Purcell's list of plants on the farm Bergvliet, they would have once grown here.
And finally, at the carpark, a bush of the Tortoise Bush (Muraltia spinosa also known as Nylandtia spinosa) with its spectacular fruit. These are edible and rich in Vitamin C - but taste very astringent.

Common spiders

Download a copy of this poster on Spiders on Meadowridge common here.

27 September 2017

Meadowridge Common Annual Spring Walk

The Friends of Meadowridge Common's Annual Spring Walk will take place on Sunday 8 October at 14h00.
Stuart Hall, a botanist from the Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology and Centre for Invasion Biology at Stellenbosch University, will lead the walk, which usually takes about an hour.
The meeting place will be on the gravel road that leads off Faraday Way towards the soccer fields on Meadowridge Common. Click here for directions.
The walk is free of charge and anyone is welcome to attend. 
For more information, phone Fiona Watson at 021 712 0696.

18 September 2017

Garden Cities and the Common

Our latest poster on the history of Meadowridge Common will be placed on one of the storyboards on the common soon. To download a PDF of it, click here.