Eastern Cape Trip

Mary Sue Ittner msittner@mcn.org
Tue, 15 Feb 2011 17:51:20 PST
Thanks to those of you who have commented and thanked me for this 
project as it has really helped a lot to keep me motivated since it 
has involved so much more time than I anticipated.

On our last day we drove from Morgan Bay to Port Elizabeth with a 
couple of brief stops along the way to look for plants. On the first 
stop we saw Tulbaghia cominsii which is an easy plant to grow in a 
container, but is very localized in South Africa.

At the same place we saw a Chlorophytum identified as Chlorophytum 
bowkeri. I asked for help from John Manning early on about 
identifying this genus as I get Trachyandra, Chlorophytum, 
and  Drimia (Tenicroa group) confused even though they aren't even in 
the same families. They have white flowers with six petals. So he 
gave me a way to tell apart the first two:
Chlorophytum-- leaves more fibrous, bracts longer, more than one 
flower per bract
Trachyandra-- leaves more succulent, generally more flowers, one 
flower per bract, bracts usually smaller
So wouldn't you know it, Chlorophytum bowkeri is the exception as it 
only has one flower per bract. I emailed John who agreed and gave me 
some more differences:
Chlorophytum- anthers as long or longer than the filament and 
attached at the base; style is downflexed
Trachyandra- anthers very much shorter than the filaments and 
attached at the middle, style mostly straight

Another plant we saw at this place that those of us from California 
were really taken with is one of those marginal plants for the wiki, 
Cyanotis speciosa. It is in the Commelinaceae family and most of my 
books describe it as a perennial, but it does have a swollen 
rhizome.  With a little encouragement, I'll make a page for it.

Later on our drive, Cameron turned off the main road and led us down 
a side road. There didn't look like much promising in the way of 
vegetation even when we stopped and were told we needed to take a 
little hike to find the plant he was hoping we'd see. But we were 
rewarded with finding Cyrtanthus sanguineus growing on the rocks. 
This turned out to get the most votes for plant of the trip and it 
was truly spectacular, but it did have the advantage of being the 
fresh in our memories when we voted. We would have never seen it 
without Cameron's guidance.

On our several trips to South Africa my husband and I have been 
impressed with the ability of many of the South Africans to be able 
to spot plants they haven't expected to find while driving at a 
reasonable fast speed. I can't remember who spotted this one, but we 
were all delighted to discover that the yellow flash someone saw was 
Eulophia ensata growing in the grass. Another use for umbrellas was 
demonstrated as Rachel Saunders used them as a shelter from the wind 
so we could all photograph it. It was moderately windy and Rachel has 
learned to assist Rod with his photography over the years.

At this same spot we found a lovely colored Watsonia we speculated 
could be Watsonia knysnana. Something was eating one of the flowers.

So that concludes most of our trip with the exception of Naude's Nek, 
a high elevation Drakensberg area. I'll need some time to go through 
our photos for that spot.

Mary Sue

More information about the pbs mailing list