17 February 2011

A summer stroll

Take a stroll on the Common and although it looks hot and dry, you will be amazed at what you find. One of the storyboards has a display of the flowers you might come across ... Erica subdivaricata is just starting to flower ... and the Sour Fig (Carpobrotus edulis) flowers are opening too.
This beautiful little aristea, Aristea dichotoma, was flowering resolutely in the hot sun. It was identified by Fiona Watson and she observes that it seems to prefer to grow where it gets some shade. The leaves are tough, narrow and point vertically upwards to avoid direct sunlight. In this photo you can see the three-winged fruit.
The Common Sugarbush (Protea repens) was flowering too, and was covered in honeybees. Strictly speaking, this particular bush was planted here, but it might well have occurred here naturally in days gone by. Come along to the AGM on Monday 28 February, to find out more about the flowers of Meadowridge Common and the fascination of bees. These butterfly flowers are definitely not indignous. They are Gaura lindheimeri and hail from Texas and Louisiana.
You will notice lots of snails in the low shrubs on the Common. These are introduced snails - snailiens - that have become a bit of a pest in the Cape. More about them here.