Those Pale Green Pants

Those Pale Green Pants
Outramps CREW Diaries
29th January 2019

Pale Green Pants
29th January 2019
Those Pale Green Pants……..…….with nobody inside them. A fleeting thought.

We walk through the hops vines to the ridge which lies behind the obligatory post field trip pizza stop at Waboomskraal. Each hops plant is led up in a V to meters above us. They look just like Dr Seuss’s ‘Pale Green Pants with Nobody Inside Them’ – but upside down.

The ridge is the west-facing part of Camferskloof. Spikier than sea urchins with its ever increasing pine and hakea cover - in the whole wide world it is only Di who would choose to explore that ridge. We see it with every to and fro drive through the valley. It is rocky, steepish and now it has burnt too.

We see: Lobelia linearis, Pelargonium tricolor, gradations between P ternatum & fruticosum and higher up the same in P scabrum/ribifolium, one Leucadendron cuneiforme, two Protea nitida, Psoralea diturnerae spread across most of the site, Aspalathus sceptrum–aureum, Aspalathus rubens and Machairophyllum albidum. Wedged in rocks are quite a bit of Euclea polyandra and Searsia rosmarinifolia, also Adromischus maculatus, a bulbine-aloe lookalike Curio sp. with unusual, unnatural looking new leaf growth and a very cute small, tufted Crassula. Erica cerinthoides caters for Jenny, as do plenty of the attractive Cliffortia crenata with its round leaves. Gentle tones of Tritoniopsis antholyza are scattered all over.

The newly named species nova, Hermannia denudiata, features here and there. Some plants are leggy, but higher up a little group is severely cropped into mats. A hungry bokkie? There is a leggy white Selago. As we enter the pine fringe there is virtually no plant cover below the partially burnt trees. Rocks, pine needles, some Carpobrotus, more pine needles. "It is Pinus pinaster", says Mike. This is not a plantation, just rampant encroachment of Pines and Hakea! It is all a bit bleak. The splash and sprawl of yellow over a faraway rocky perch on the steep eastern slope distracts and looks promising. The recce involves slithering, hanging onto charred trunks and rock scrambles – those I enjoy thoroughly - but it is only a sickly yellow Teedia lucida. Di spots a miserable looking Protea lorifolia amongst unburnt Hakea sericea as I return in one piece.

Pines and Hakea reign, at the cost of Fynbos. A co-operative intervention is urgently needed here. An unknown white daisy stops us – Senecio perhaps? Jan says, "Senecio umbellatus - a fire weed". Exit Jen (remarkably clean) and I (astonishingly filthy), backtrack to retrieve my hiking stick at the first Hermannia denudiata reunion. Di and Mike carry on and explore to the west. Her report follows.

Whilst wrapping up my report the smoke plume of the Hartenbos Heuwels fire trails across the bay. It dampens thoughts of our fun CREW day and trips up a potential quirky end to this report. So here goes. No, I am not afraid of Those Pale Green Pants with Nobody Inside Them, but right now I do wonder: Is this Angry Earth saying ‘Wie nie hoor - nie moet voel"


Mike and I took a slither down a steep slope more to the north, so that we could cover more ground. Huge burnt skeletons of Hakea sericea are all over this degraded piece of veld. Very depressing, as there are lots of seedlings coming up. But our find of the day was right near the bottom. A prostrate Otholobium ( a couple of plants) is managing to grow in among all the degradation.I will need to consult someone on the id. It could be O. heterosepalum (Rare), which occurs in Camferskloof, but it could also be something different.

We are hoping that it will be something exciting to make that steep degraded scramble worthwhile..


Sputnik to Camferskloof Nek
HAT Evie’s Report on Camferskloof Nek and Peak “Ten67”.
Recently Evie , Tony and Rosie hiked from Sputnik (on the Outeniqua Pass) up to Camferskloof Nek. An interesting short upward hike through Fynbos. I previously hiked here last October – shortly before the month end fires – very interesting to note the changes.

On this southern slope various burn areas alternate with unburnt ground, mainly amongst the rocky outcrops where the fire effect is minimal. Here the old Fynbos continues as before - such as Leucadendron uliginosum; Berzelia intermedia, Erica discolor ssp. hebecalyx, Erica lanata, Agathosma mundtii. However, in an open area I was sad to notice that the pretty clump of Leucadendron conicum (NT) was completely black. Around their feet new plants of Mairia crenata make the most of the open ground. Higher up in the Pine forest – the burning was not nearly as intense as I would have expected. Old clumps of Mimetes cucullatus remain in good shape, while some are resprouting; small leaves are resprouting on Protea cynaroides; as well as numerous sprouting Psoralea plants. The Lobelia dichroma (DDT) seen on my previous visit seemed absent?? – Lobelia neglecta may have taken the gap.

As we crossed over the saddle- and onto the northern side – a very burnt and grey vista down into the valley, while on the peak – pockets of old Fynbos remain. It was interesting to notice numerous new rock features and overhangs - these were probably previously hidden by the dense vegetation. Oldenburgia paradoxa – very sad – but signs of new life from within; while the pretty clumps of Leucospermum cuneiforme seen last October - have a long way to go before they reveal their pincushion wonders.


Slanghoek - An impossibly Perfect Day
Chris (Vynbos on iNat) joined Werner and myself for a long day in the Slanghoek mountains, with a total of 26km walked and 1400m of climbing. Parking near Eerste Tol in Bainskloof, we set off for Slanghoek Peak (1697m) by following a path along the Witterivier. This path ended shortly after reaching the MCSA property (Springstygbeugel) from which it was a steep scramble up to Slanghoek Peak.

For all the effort to get to the peak, we were rewarded with a stunning display of Disa uniflora and Gladiolus cardinalis in just about every waterfall and seep on the mountain. However, the most magnificent display was on the cliffs of "A Private Universe", which features a sheer rock-face that is hundreds of metres high.

After all the excitement and climbing, we relaxed in the huge rock pools of Bainskloof, which concluded an impossibly perfect day! I'm still in the process of sorting through the plant photos, but all the observations for the trip can be found with the iNat tag 2019-01-20 Slanghoek Peak.

Peter -Stellies Node

Strawberry Hill Fern Trail
Last Saturday, it was the annual scramble/swim down the Kaaimans Gorge from Strawberry Hill organised by Cheryl Devine of the Mountain Club (South Cape section). The rivers were running strongly and it was a cloudy, cool day. By the time the group got back to Strawberry Hill, some of them were blue with cold. Numerous cups of hot coffee soon returned them to a more normal colour.

A smaller party came with me to do the Fern Trail. When we reached the first crossing, the water was high enough to reach mid-thigh. Weather conditions were not conducive to enjoying a very damp walk, so we decided to do various loops on the trail that avoided crossing the Silver River.

We all came together afterwards for a very pleasant Bring and Braai. And the bonus - I might have successfully recruited 2 new members from Plett. When they know the ropes, we are hoping that they'll start a Plett node and do some work in the much neglected east.


Monkey Business
Monkeying Around - Lost & Found in the Langkloof
In December 2014 Fred and I went to visit my school friend in the Langkloof. She lives there with her four-legged and two-legged rescued friends, which include tortoises, cats, dogs, horses, cows, owls, storks, herons and a troop of baboons.

During that visit we walked down a kloof to botanise. We had to clamber up a steep slope to get to the base of a cliff to view some interesting-looking plants. We then made our way to the top of the well-vegetated cliff. On reaching the top, I realized that somewhere along the steep cliff slope, my camera had dropped out of its pouch. As the sun was setting, none of us were prepared to go down again to look for it. My friend commented that her baboons would find it and would bring it back. We chuckled.

The next time we visited, a few months later, we decided to use the GPS track we had made and do the hike again, just on the off-chance that we might find the camera, but no luck.

Last weekend, (18 – 20 January 2019) we paid another visit to the Langkloof. On our arrival, I was presented with a very dilapidated camera. About three weeks ago my friend had been feeding her owl (which is done at night), when she saw something shining on the path in the owl enclosure. She soon realized it was a camera and wondered how her baboons had got hold of hers: they are very attracted to anything shiny. She then realized that it was the one I had dropped in the kloof four years previously. One of the baboons must have been playing with it when it visited the owl and accidentally dropped it into the enclosure. It had obviously been an object of great interest to the baboons. The camera is covered with bite marks, and everything that can be removed has been removed. The battery compartment has rusted closed: it has rained and snowed in the four years it has been missing! My friend managed to prise open the compartment containing the memory card, as she really wanted to see what was on it. All 72 pictures were still there! I have put some of them into the album.

My friend thinks it is likely that the camera had been a treasure for the baboons for a long time and that they might have carried it over a considerable distance. She imagines that the member of the troop that dropped it irretrievably into the enclosure would have been severely reprimanded. It is fun to speculate. It is just a pity they didn’t take any selfies…

Maybe another troop of baboons is looking after the camera I dropped in Perdepoort on one of the Outramps trips to monitor Mimetes chrysanthus? Maybe one day the pictures on that one will also make it onto iNat?


October 27th 2018 was the start of the George fires. On Wednesday, I walked Groeneweide to see how far the fire had penetrated into the afro-temperate forest to the north of Strawberry Hill. It was an amazing sight. The aliens (mainly Eucalypts) that fringe the forest at the top are burnt to a cinder. The Keurbooms, which were busy pioneering have also been incinerated, although a thicket of seedlings is already in evidence. Only a few of the forest trees have been burnt on the outer edge. The rest are fine. It is comforting to know that this patch of forest is protecting the properties that lie further south.

Unexpectedly, the state of the Silver River banks was a bit alarming. The trees that lined them are well and truly burnt, although a few are showing signs of new leaves. I had always planned to bail out to the rivers below, if a fire swept through the area. Strawberry HIll shares a boundary with Groeneweide. I am definitely having second thoughts about that, after seeing the upper reaches of the Silver River.

The prevailing landscape is green with Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum ssp. capense), which is becoming a rather boring sight over large sections of the lower slopes above George. This fern provides protection for the emerging Fynbos, so I suppose we shouldn't moan. The only spot of colour around was the bright yellow Bobartia aphylla and the brilliant scarlet Tritoniopsis caffra.

SANparks, the upper part of the trail close to the burnt Eucalypts is in urgent need of attention. There are lots of windfalls and clambering over, crawling under and skirting the obstacles became somewhat trying after a while. This trail carries significant walking traffic and needs to be kept in good order. The lower sections are looking good.


Stop Press:

Kyle and I were walking on the unburnt section of the Blesberg Ridge during the December outing. He called me over to look at a strange orchid - almost over but not quite. We thought it might be Disa obtusa ssp picta but weren't sure. It now turns out to be Disa linderiana - a very rare orchid indeed. Only two previous records on GBIF (Di and Nicky on Swartberg Pass in 2015 and Bytebier in the southern Cedarberg in 2006). Sterkte Kyle.....!
Dave aka Onderbos

Great Brak River has a vibrant community and a small but active Conservancy. Clean ups, bat boxes, tubes for the scourge of fishing line (which is recycled into weed eater string) and as you’ll see on the Album an Alien plant hack, are some of their initiatives. Join them for the Wolwedans trail on Sat 9th February and follow this great team on Facebook.


Field Trips
Currently there is significant rain forecast for the whole coastal plain on Friday. I was toying with the idea of the St Blaize Trail for SIM, but will have to put it on the back burners for the moment. The temperatures in Oudtshoorn on Friday are going to be high, so we will probably go for something in between. There is an interesting ridge which goes up from Waboomskraal towards Doringrivier. It could produce some surprises. However, with the weather forecast changing on an hourly basis, we will have to make our final decision closer to the time.

LOT will be visiting Eseljagt West on Friday 1st Feb. 2019 .
Hamba Kahle
Groete en dankie

Di Turner
Outramps CREW Group
Southern Cape

All id’s subject to confirmation by Doc Annelise and Jan Vlok, Steven Molteno, Dr Tony Rebelo, Nick Helme, Prof Charlie Stirton, Dr Robert Archer, Dr Robert McKenzie, Dr Ted Oliver, Dr Christopher Whitehouse, Adriaan Grobler, Prix Burgoyne, Dr Kenneth Oberlander, Dr Pieter Winter, Dr David Gwynne-Evans, Malthinus and Mattmatt on iNat. Thank you all for your ongoing help and support.

Outramps Places on iNaturalist – You can browse through the observations or refer to the checklist which is in alphabetical order eg. Animals, birds etc.
Area covered by Southern Cape Herbarium -
Cola Conservancy -
Dune Molerat Trail -
Featherbed Nature Reserve -
Gamkaberg -
Gerickes Punt -
Gouriqua -
Gouritzmond -
Heaven in the Langkloof -
Herolds Bay -
Kammanassie -
Klein Swartberg -
Knysna - Westford Bridge
Kouga Mountains Kliphuis -
Kranshoek -
Langeberg Grootvadersbosch -
Masons Rust -
Mons Ruber and surrounds -
Mossel Bay Aalwyndal -
Mossel Bay Diosma Reserve -
Mossel Bay - :

Mossel Bay -
Mossel Bay -
Mossel Bay St Blaize Trail -
Natures Valley -
Outeniquas Bobbejaanberg -
Outeniquas Camferskloof -
Outeniquas - Cradock and George Peak Trail -
Outeniquas Doringrivier East -
Outeniquas East -
Outeniquas Eseljagt -
Outeniquas Eseljagtpoort -
Outeniquas Flanagans Rock -
Outeniquas Lange Berg -
Outeniquas Montagu Pass North -
Outeniquas Paardekop -
Outeniquas Paardepoort East -
Outeniquas Paardepoort West -
Outeniquas Pizza Ridge -
Outeniquas Southern Traverse -
Robberg Corridor -
Robberg Corridor -
Rooiberg -
Spioenkop -
Strawberry Hill -
Swartberg Spitskop -
Swartberg Waboomsberg -
Uitzicht Portion 39 -
Uitzicht -
Western Head -
Western Head –
Western Head -
Western Head -
White Heather -
Wilderness Brown Hooded Kingfisher Trail –
Wilderness Kingfisher Trail -
Witteberg Kromme Rivier -

Outramps CREW Stellenbosch HAT node
Jonkershoek created by Vynbos -
Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve -
Papegaaiberg -

Outramps Projects on iNaturalist
Ericas of the Southern Cape -
Fungi of the Southern Cape -
Lianes and Creepers in the Southern Cape and Little Karoo -
Veg Types of South Africa -

Flowers of the High Drakensberg -

Abbreviations Glossary

MCSA – Mountain Club of South Africa
MSB - Millenium Seed Bank based at Kew in the UK
WIP – Work in Progress
HAT – High Altitude Team
LOT – Lowland Team
SIM – Somewhere in the Middle Team
WAGS – Wednesday Adventure Group
VB – Vlok Boekie “Plants of the Klein Karoo” and our Plant Bible
ITRTOL – Another thread “In The Rich Tapestry Of Life”(It describes a challenging situation, usually to do with the Buchu Bus)
ITFOT – In the fullness of time
WOESS – Fair Weather Hiker
FMC and JW – too vulgar to translate, but the equivalent is “Strike me Dead” - An expression of surprise and delight on finding a new “Rare”
Kambro – same as above
Fossick – A meter per minute, scratching around looking for rares
SIDB – Skrop in die Bos – Another name for a field trip, this one coined by Prix
BAFFING – Running round like a blue-arsed fly
SYT – Sweet Young Thing - Anyone under the age of 40
TOMB – Get a move on
Mayhem - Needless or willful damage or violence
SESKRYNG – “Sit en staan kry niks gedaan” ,with thanks to Brian
SOS – Skelms on Scramblers
FW – Idiot
BOB – Another name for the Buchu Bus when she’s misbehaving.
CRAFT – A symptom of Old Age
DDD - Metalasia tricolor (Damned Diabolical Daisy)
VP – Vrekplek – Retirement Village
Qàq – Self-explanatory Inuit word describing some of our local problems
Mr Fab – Our Fabaceae specialist, Brian Du Preez – originally Boy 1
Muisvoel -The Mathematician – Peter Thompson
Boy 2 – Kyle Underwood who works on Orchids and is still at school
Sharkie – Finn Rautenbach – Our latest SYT is a surfer in his spare time and is now the Curator of the Garden Route Botanical Garden
Sicko – Someone who suffers from Car Sickness. With 4 in the Group, allocating seating in the Buchu Bus is tricky
VAG – Virgin Active Garage, which is our meeting place when we head north
MATMUE – Meet At The Mall Under E - Meeting place when we head West
WG – Waves Garage in Wilderness East. - Meeting place when we’re going east.
VU- Vulnerable
DDT – Data Deficient and Taxonomically ?
NT – Near Threatened
EN – Endangered
CR – Critically Endangered
PE – Presumed extinct
LC – Least Concern
TBC – To be Confirmed
TLC – Tender loving care
JMS – An expression of absolute disdain
FOMO – Fear of Missing Out
Milk – the fruit of the vine
Condensed Milk – Scotland’s finest export
Full Cream Milk or Fat Milk – Any product of Humulus lupulus eg. Milk Stout
Milk of the Gods – Rooibos and Brandy
Milk Shake - Sparkling Wine
NS – Species of conservation concern new to the Outramps
PS -Priority Species allocated to the Outramps by our CREW Cape Co-ordinator , Ismail Ebrahim
iNatFD – iNaturalist for Dummies as compiled by Sally
Mizzle – Mist and drizzle combined. A regular feature of George in the ”good old days”.
FE – Fire Ephemeral – only appears immediately or after a couple of years after fire
Squirrel – aka President Ramaphosa
WOG – Wrath of God – eg. incurred when you put a young Pine tree on iNat as Leucadendron album
Skedonk - A banger - old, battered motor car more than 30 years old
Hoedown - redneck gathering, usually involves shouting catchy phrases like "yee-haw" and "the south will rise again"
VHF - Vat Hom Fluffie - our nickname for furry or woolly plants
SA - Stay Attractive is Google's translation of "Mooi Bly"
OTL - Out To Lunch is used to describe the Buchu Bus when she's taking a break after she's behaved badly

Publicado por outramps-tanniedi outramps-tanniedi, 29 de enero de 2019


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