Mountainside cycads at Kuzuko

Cycads, or as we know them in Afrikaans, Broodbome, (all Encephalartos species and Stangeria eriopus) are the most threatened plant group in South Africa. They are also one of the most threatened groups of plants in the world. In South Africa almost 70% of our cycad species are threatened with extinction, with four species on the brink of extinction and seven species with fewer than 100 plants left in the wild. In South Africa it is illegal to buy or…

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Giant cacti at Obesa

I have always had a love for cacti and succulents.  Perhaps because there are so many different species, because they often surprise you with the most beautiful little flowers or because they don't need much looking after or water.  But nothing I knew about succulents could prepare me for what I encountered at the Obesa Cactus Nursery in Graaff-Reinet.  We were in town for a long weekend and had a couple of hours on our hands to explore, so when…

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Red Hot Poker on the Wild Side

The Latin name for the Red Hot Poker is Kniphofia and its also sometimes known as a Torch lily or Poker plant.  According to Wikipedia, it is a genus of plants in the family Xanthorrhoeaceae, subfamily Asphodeloideae, that includes 70 or more species native to Africa.  This specific one I found close to Schoenies.

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Finding bracket fungus while out caching

On my way home this afternoon I stopped to pick up a few Geocaches and at one of the cache locations on Kragga Kamma Road I found this very distinctive bracket fungus growing on the back of the tree.  Polypores are a group of fungi that form fruiting bodies with pores or tubes on the underside and is also called bracket or shelf fungi.  Their woody fruiting bodies are called conks and they inhabit tree trunks or branches consuming the…

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My air plants are flowering

I don't have big flowerbeds in my garden.  For that I just don't have enough time and green enough fingers.  I do have a few different plants and lots of succulents though and one of those I probably get most excited about when they flower is my air plants.   Air plants (Tillandsia) is a member of the Bromeliad family and is actually very easy to grow.  They don't need soil and you only need to water them slightly (like…

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Floradale Nursery’s new premises

The Floradale Nursery that used to be on William Moffet recently moved into their new bigger and better premises on Circular Drive.  We stopped by for a look last weekend and wasn't disappointed.  In addition to a bigger shop and expansive outside display area of plants, pots, ornaments and other garden accessories, the popular The Rose Garden coffee shop also has a new space with both inside and outside seating.Just for interest sake, Floradale is one of the oldest garden centres in South Africa…

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Reinet House and the oldest grape vine in South Africa

I really enjoy visiting small town museums.  There is always something interesting to discover in them and no better way to learn more about the history of a place.  Graaff-Reinet has a number of very good small museums but if I had to choose only one to go to I would choose Reinet House. The Graaff-Reinet Museum or “Reinet House” is a former Dutch Reformed Church parsonage and was built in 1812.  It was the home of three ministers prior to 1822,…

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Forest scenes and senses from the Tsitsikamma

The Tsitsikamma is famous for its stunning scenery, magnificent forests and exciting adventures.  I often wonder how many people visit here and marvel at the big things but totally miss the little ones.  Ferns with new leaves opening up, soft moss growing on a rock, bracket fungus on the side of a log, the sound of a forest stream slowly flowing through the underbrush and over a little waterfall and the call of baboons in the distance.  What about the sound of the…

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Sour fig or Ghaukum

Carpobrotus deliciosus (sour fig, perdevy, ghaukum, ghounavy ) is a fairly well know sight in this area.  They have purple, pink or white flowers, almost straight, green leaves and sweet fruits that make excellent sour fig preserve.  They grows on sand dunes and in rocky grassland along the southern and eastern coast of South Africa from Riversdale in the Western Cape through the Eastern Cape to KwaZulu-Natal.  This one was photographed in The Island Nature Reserve west of Port Elizabeth.

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Old Man’s Beard

I'm sure most people have seen the lichen generally referred to as Old Man's Beard.  One sees quite a lot of it in the Tsitsikamma forest, but in this case I found it on the Bushbuck Trail in The Island Nature Reserve.  Usnea is the generic and scientific name for several species of fruticose lichen in the family Parmeliaceae, that generally grow hanging from tree branches and resembling grey or greenish hair.  It is often referred to as Old Man's Beard, but also…

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