The Pretty Otholobiums of Fernkloof

The common name of Skaapbostee certainly doesn’t do justice to the appeal of our Otholobiums, their striking flowers set amongst attractive leaves.

There are 53 species worldwide. The SW Cape has 15 species, 6 of which are found in Fernkloof.  Otholobiums belong to the Fabaceae family.

Otholobium dreweae, O. thomii, O. rotundifolium and O. zeyheri are found flowering in the first year after fire, resprouting from underground rootstocks.  They may flower in the second year after fire but much less abundantly.

Otholobium dreweae is a particularly special plant named in honour of Priscilla Drewe who discovered it in Fernkloof after the fire of 1996. The naming of this beautiful little plant recognizes not only her discovery but also her involvement and commitment to the Hermanus Botanical Society and her many years of after-fire research on the Kleinrivier Mountains.

O. dreweae was found flowering in October and November at an altitude of about 400m on a west-facing slope. The flower colour was described by Priscilla as a ‘rich clerical-purple’. The leaves are 1-foliolate.

The plants of Otholobium rotundifolium carpet the ground after fire.  The striking flowers are pale-lilac or white, the calyxs covered in thick silky-hairs.  It is found from 200-500m and often on clay. The leaves are 1-foliolate.

Otholobium thomii has beautiful bright blue to rich purple flowers, grows to a height of 40cm, and was seen flowering on the Klipspringer contour path after the fire of 2008. The leaves are 1-foliolate.

The photograph of Otholobium zeyheri was taken on the mountain above Voelklip, but it is also found at lower altitudes. The flowers are borne on longish slender flower stalks and the leaves are 3-foliolate.

It is named after Carl Zeyher (1799-1858) a plant and insect collector who collected extensively in South Africa.

Otholobium bracteolatum is a shrub-like plant growing up to 2m and is found flowering in coastal scrub between November and April. The pretty mauve and white flowers are borne in compact round heads and the leaves are 3-foliolate. It would be a good plant for the garden if only one could find it at the Nurseries.

Otholobium virgatum is a groundcover type plant with 3-foliolate leaves, producing attractive little mauvy-pink flowers when rains have been good. It flowers between August and November, from 50m to 400m in altitude, and often found in disturbed areas.

Article and images by S Jenkin, unless credited otherwise

Die Pragtige Otholobiums van Fernkloof

Die algemene naam vir Skaapbostee laat nie reg geskied aan die aantrekkingskrag van ons Otholobiums met hulle treffende blomme tussen die aantreklike blare nie.

Daar is, wêreldwyd, 53 spesies.  In die SW-Kaap is daar 15 spesies waarvan ses in Fernkloof voorkom.   Otholobiums hoort tot die Fabaceae-familie

Otholobium dreweae, O. thomii, O. rotundifolium en O. zeyheri blom in die eerste jaar na ‘n brand, voortspruitend uit ondergrondse wortelstokke. Hulle kan selfs in die tweede jaar na ‘n brand blom, maar minder welig.

Otholobium dreweae is ‘n besonderse unieke plant, vernoem ter ere van Priscilla Drewe wat dit na die brand van 1996 in Fernkloof ontdek het. Die naamgewing van hierdie pragtige klein plantjie erken  sowel haar ontdekking van die plantjie as haar betrokkenheid by en toewyding aan die Hermanus  Botaniese Vereniging en talle jare se  na-brandnavorsing in die Kleinrivierberge.

Op ‘n hoogte van omtrent 400 meter is die O. dreweae in Oktober en November teen ‘n westelike  helling raakgeloop waar hulle in blom gestaan het. Die kleur van die blomme is deur Priscilla as ‘n ryk, geestespurper beskryf. Die blare is enkelstandig.

Die plante van Otholobium rotundifolium vorm na ‘n brand ‘n tapyt oor die grond. Die treffende blomme ligpers of wit, die kelke bedek met dik, sy-agtige hare. Hulle word aangetref van 200-500m, en dikwels in klei. Die blare is enkelstandig.

Otholobium  thomii  het pragtige, helder blou tot ryk, purper blomme, groei tot ‘n hoogte van 40cm en  en is  na die brand van 2008 in blom waargeneem  op die Klipspringerkontoerpaadjie.

Die foto van Otholobium zeyheri is op die berg bokant Voëlklip geneem,  maar dit is ook  op laer hoogtes bo seespieël waargeneem. Die blomme word aan  lang, slanke blomstele gedra en die blare is driestandig. Dit is vernoem na Carl Zeyher ( 1799-1858),  ‘n plant-  en insekteversamelaar wat uitgebrei in Suid- Afrika  versamel het.

Otholobium bracteolatum is ‘n struikagtige plant wat tot 2 meter hoog groei en wat aangetref word waar dit  tussen  November en April  in die kusgebiedruigte groei. Die pragtige ligpers  en  wit  blomme    word  in  kompakte,  ronde    koppe  gedra  ,  en die blare is driestandig. Dit  sal  ‘n goeie  tuinplant  wees  as  ‘n  mens  dit  net   by  kwekerye  kon  kry.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Otholobium  virgatum is  ‘n grondrankplant  met  3-standige blare wat  na  goeie  reëns aantreklike klein pers-pienk  blommetjies  voortbring . Dit blom, tussen Augustus en November van 50mm   tot  400mm  bo  seespieël   en word dikwels  in versteurde gebiede aangetref.

Vertaaling deur Andre Van Der Spuy

About roncorylus

He who wants the kernel must crack the nut
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