A birthday outing by Botsoc members on Friday 13th to find the blue nivenias of the Kogelberg turned into both a birthday and a botanical treat!
We followed the Highlands Road just after the Kleinmond turnoff. We had not travelled far when the first sky-blue colours of the flowering Nivenia stokoei were spotted.The plants were flowering in profusion, the blooms still wet after a good shower of rain. Many of the plants were growing in scrubby fynbos amongst young alien pine trees, others in the fynbos slope across the road.
Nivenia stokoei occurs between Betty’s Bay and Kleinmond and is endemic to the region. It is described as rare in the Red Data List and is known from only 10 populations.
Seed of Nivenia stokoei was first collected by James Niven, an avid plantsman and gardener, in the early 1800’s and sent to England. Plants raised from this seed flowered in 1805. The species was only fully documented in 1924 by TP Stokoe.
We decided to explore further and were happy to discover the creamy-white pendulous flowers of the tall Erica viscaria subsp. pendula, the pale-lime-coloured sticky flowers of Erica viscaria subsp. longifolia, the bright pink dainty urn shaped flowers of Erica pulchella and were then rewarded with the find of a very large shrub of Erica monadelphia, with many heads of closely packed sticky rusty-red flowers.
A floral feast indeed for a birthday!