Cape Flowers in March

Cameron McMaster
Mon, 09 Feb 2009 12:20:50 PST
The comments on Cape flowers in March prompt me to remind PBS members that the Eastern Cape is a great venue for wild flowers not only in March when all the Brunsvigias and Nerines are out, but throughout the summer starting in October with a great variety of bulbs, orchids and other flowers to be seen from spring through to autumn.  This part of South Africa is not as well known as the Western Cape but can be very exciting as a destination for wild flower viewing.

I have just returned from guiding a group of ten members of the Alpine Garden Society on a 14-day botanical tour of the Eastern Cape, covering all the biomes from Thicket, Nama Karoo, Grassland including Alpine Grassland in the Southern Drakensberg, Afromontane forest and Sub- tropical coastal vegetation.  We saw an enormous number of flowers. Highlights were the the Maclear area where over 30 ground orchid species can be viewed in a day, Naudes Neck Pass (2500m altitude), Balloch farm (2000m altitude), Satans Neck Pass (1800m altitude) and Morgan Bay on the East Cape coast.  Each day we recorded well over 100 flowering species and each day we voted for plant of the day, many of which were bulbous plants.  They included Haemanthus carneus (endemic to the Somerset East region), Crocosmia masonorum (endemic to the Satan's Neck area) Brunsvigia grandiflora, Romulea macowanii, Disa porrecta (a rare terrestrial orchid), Dierama pulcherrimum, Cyrtanthus obliquus, Cyrtanthus huttonii, Scadoxus membranaceus and Disa polygonoides,  Brunsvigia grandiflora was voted Flower of the Tour.

Our next tour with a group of horticulturists from the UK starts this weekend and we expect to see as many flowers.  Galleries of pictures of flowers seen in the East Cape in summer can be viewed on our website

Cameron McMaster 

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