SENECIO PTEROPHORUS

Senecio pterophorus sounds akin to a species of dinosaur, instead it is a flower commonly found growing along road sides. The Eastern Cape veld is brightened up by these clusters of yellow flowers at the moment.

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GLADIOLUS DALENII

Newly greened grass stretched either side of the road I was travelling along – a glorious sight after such a long period of shades of brown. When my attention was drawn to a small splash of red – I had to stop for a closer look.

The long bracts of hooded-shaped flowers and the fan of sword-shaped leaves immediately identified it as one of our indigenous Gladiolus species. As I neared it, I was assailed by the memory of swathes of these plants growing in a patch of garden on the farm where I grew up. My mother used to collect bulbs from around the farm to plant in the garden – for which there was never enough water – and over the years these multiplied to provide a glorious show of flowers. This is the Gladiolus dalenii, also known as the Parrot Gladiolus or – a name I am unfamiliar with – the Natal Lily.

Although this was the only specimen I could see in the area, this plant generally thrives in grasslands throughout the eastern parts of South Africa.

WHAT FLOWER IS THIS?

What does this flower look like to you? I have seen examples of it elsewhere too far away to photograph so ‘nabbed’ this one recently – certain that I would at last find out its identity. I have looked through my collection of volumes on indigenous flowers to no avail; I have scanned Google Images to no avail – yet this is such a familiar looking flower!

Granted, this specimen was growing next to the road near a place where I have seen garden rubbish dumped before. Evening primroses are not indigenous to South Africa – and I doubt if I have ever knowingly seen one – but are the only flowers I can find so far that match the size, shape and general look of this plant.

Put your sleuthing hats on and help to satisfy my curiosity. If you know what it is, please let me know.

NAMAQUALAND DAISIES

These indigenous Namaqualand Daisies (Dimorphotheca sinuata) are grown in gardens all over South Africa, providing a riot of colour during the late winter months. All gardens except for mine that is! Somehow, neither the many packets of purchased seeds, nor handfuls of collected seed have ever found favour here – until the first sprinkling of rain at the end of September this year.

I see these flower seeds are now marketed under the umbrella name of African Daisies, which I think is a misnomer – there are so many ‘African’ daisies to choose from. Interestingly enough, the name ‘Daisy’ originates from the ancient Saxon term ‘Day’s eye’ referring to its habit of  opening during the day to show its ‘eye’ and then closing at night – or when the sun is not shining. As you can imagine, these Namaqualand Daisies look their best in the full sunshine.

BLOOMING IN ADDO

We were too early to witness the full flush of spring flowers in the Addo Elephant National Park. The first rains have wrought a beautiful change nonetheless. See what a section of the park looked like in March 2015:

This is what it looks like now:

The Erythrina lysistemon at the Main Rest Camp provides a bright introduction to spring blooms:

Banks of the Common Gazania (Gazania krebsiana) line the roads:

Very beautiful splashes of yellow are also provided by Rhigozum obovatum:

Then there are Felicia aethiopica, also known as Bloublommetjie:

Along with Felicia filifolia, known as Draaibos:

Pretty (as yet unidentified) flowers include the following:

If any of my readers is able to put a name to them I would be grateful.

PINCUSHION PROTEA

I have not travelled down to the Western Cape, which is the natural habitat for these flowers, but photographed this beautiful Pincushion Protea (Leucospermum cordifolium) in a friend’s garden in our town, where it appears to be thriving on a steep slope.