IT KEEPS ON GIVING

The Cape Honeysuckle is a plant that keeps on giving. We look forward to its bright orange blooms every season, usually appearing at a time when the garden is looking rather drab. This blaze of colour is in our back garden, which tends to be neglected during winter.

Seen close-up, you can appreciate why the blossoms would be popular with pollinators such as ants, bees and butterflies.

There is plenty for everyone.

The tubular flowers are a favourite among the sunbirds. Here a Greater Double-collared Sunbird slips his perfectly formed bill in to reach the nectar.

Weavers generally peck holes in the base of the tube, or snip the flower off its base to get the sweetness they desire. This explains why so many flowers end up on the ground even on the finest of days. Once the flowers are over, one might be forgiven for thinking there would be nothing more to offer. This plant keeps on giving though: its seeds are sought after by, amongst others, Streakyheaded Seedeaters.

Recently I have spotted several bees on the leaves. I cannot be sure what sustenance they are finding there, but I see a few of them out almost daily.

27 thoughts on “IT KEEPS ON GIVING

  1. A real treasure of a plant!
    We have two in our garden – a yellow and a red; while the yellow one flowers throughout the year the red one seems only to come into bloom in autumn and through winter but by spring all its flowers are gone again. Very peculiar.

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    • I have seen yellow blossoms at different times of the year too. Our orange variety usually has a longish flowering period during autumn and winter and then tends to end abruptly. I’m not sure if the yellow one is ‘natural’ or has been ‘created’ by horticulturalists for I have also seen a pink variety – only in gardens though.

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    • While the tubular flowers produce copious amounts of nectar, they are not particularly fragrant – they probably don’t have to be as their bright colour is attractive enough. As for the bee, it might be – I will take a closer look next time I see one on the leaves!

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