On Friday 4th a group of Botanical Society members braved the heat and headed up into the burn, – and how rewarding it turned out to be!
We found the very rare orchid Evotella rubiginosa, only ever seen in the first year after fire – after which it disappears only to show itself again 10-20 years later! It is very beautiful, the flowers coloured dusty-pink and ruby-red – with a little flash of yellow.
Other orchids seen were Disperis paludosa, Disa bolusiana, the bright pink flowers of Disa racemosa, Ceratandra atrata and Ceratandra harveyana. The latter we have been scouring the mountains for over the last few weeks – so it was an exciting find by a member of Belle’s botanical group. It has a zig-zag stem and flowers which tend to face up towards the sun.
On our route we came across the rare blue-flowered Aristea zeyheri, and a ‘white-form’ too. It is a dainty plant, the flowers opening at the top of its wiry stem. A member of the Iridaceae family.
Fernkloof has 6 species of Chironia, (Gentianaceae family), 5 of which are reasonably common, so we were lucky to come across Chironia melampyrifolia, the one species not often seen. It supports itself in the branches of other plants and has the showiest of the Chironia flowers.
Of note too are the lovely grasses that come through after a burn – the photo shows the grasses lining the paths on the way up. Please if anyone can put an id on them let us know!
There were many ruddy faces when we sat down for lunch – the heat was oppressive, so some had a fully-clothed shower in the ‘secret waterfall’ …..-
We extend thanks to Cameron, one of the Fernkloof Field Rangers, who joined us on our walk and made sure we all returned home safe.
Article – Sandy Jenkin; Images – Sandy Jenkin and Pat Miller.