The Purple-Pink Spitfire

Outramps CREW Diaries
19th March 2019

Here is the link to the ALBUM -

For captions or info click on i on the top right-hand side. A good way to go - the Slideshow is found at the top of the page on the rt hand side by clicking on the 3 dots. Featured this week – Gadiolus engysiphon, Bloukrans Adventure, Featherbed Nature Reserve, Planning meeting with Ismail and a field trip to Camferskloof with the Cape Town CREW Team.

MCSA Bloukrans River wade
During the hot summer month of February, a group from our local MCSA section undertook a ”cool off day “ in the Bloukrans river. It is the first time I have managed to join this annual event. I was expecting a float and a wade. Well a fun day – however, this turned out to be a full 5-hour body workout. I was exhausted!

We started off from the old road which winds up from Natures Valley and worked our way down in the river and then to the beach and back. There are a few large pools to swim through, a few bushy and alien infested river banks to gingerly step through, while most of the day was spent wading in ankle to thigh deep water. Tough, as I could not see anything apart from slippery brown rocks gleaming below. It was a balancing and crawling act all the way. The river water – a pleasant temperature today – however, much colder as we approached the end - here the entering sea water was obviously colder.

Great scenery, as the river widens and narrows, some good patches of sunshine, great acoustics below the famous Bloukrans River Bridge on the N2 Toll, as yet another madman plunges with loud screams to the end of his or her bungee jump line. Some very pretty spots of red on the river banks and drooping from above. These were the gorgeous George lilies / Cyrthanthus elatus in full flower. There were odd clumps of Chasmanthe aethiopica and Dietes iridioides. Monopsis sp. and Lobelias lined the river banks – gorgeous cushions of blue and purple. The Lobelias, mainly Lobelia erinus, Lobelia neglecta and Lobelia cuneifolia. Judging by the numerous alien invaders, Sanparks can certainly be kept very busy as they continue to try to eliminate these Black Wattles, Blackwoods and Lantana from the Garden Route river courses.


Yams at Featherbed
Thursday 7th March
Dioscorea is a genus in the family Dioscoreaceae. They are tuberous lianas with heart-shaped leaves. They are mostly dioecious. In August 2016, Lize von Staden from SANBI asked the Outramps to keep an eye out for Dioscorea burchellii. This was as a result of a request from a Dioscorea expert, Dr Paul Wilkin, who was concerned about its status. This started the hunt. Firstly, our challenge was to identify members of the genus – hunting for heart-shaped leaves that twisted to the left…there seemed to be a lot of different vines that did this in the areas we searched, but we finally got the hang of it and found new populations of D. burchellii. This has been reported in our dispatches. An interest had been sparked and now we are able to identify (usually) the genus at least. We have been interested in the species and have followed up on several plant sightings.

Last week, I got a WhatsApp from Nanna Joubert notifying me that the Dioscorea at Featherbed was in full bloom. I contacted Martin Hatchuel, the horticulturist at Featherbed and he made arrangements for six of us to visit the property on Thursday. This was an opportunity we could not ignore!

We all met at the parking lot at Lake Brenton and bundled into Nanna’s bakkie. We were met by Martin at the Featherbed nursery. He led us down to the restaurant, where quite some time was spent admiring the beautiful tables made from a collection of different hardwoods. After being dragged away from the study of hardwoods, we made our way along the coastal path. Martin chatted about the alien removal, the different methods that had been used to prevent erosion since the Knysna wildfires in June 2017, the problems and successes, including the planting of various species of ground cover that had been propagated from plants collected on the property.

We found 7 Dioscorea plants. We are not sure of the species (possibly two), but there were male and female plants in flower. Specimens collected by Johan Baard have been submitted for identification. We keenly await the verdict.

With cameras clicking and long discussions along the way, it was a slow walk to the turnaround point, which is Martin’s favourite place on Featherbed. The photographs will be added to iNaturalist increasing the number of plants on the Featherbed plant list. A few of us climbed the stairs to admire a population of flowering Brunsvigia orientalis, where Nanna spotted another Dioscorea plant in flower. It was too difficult to access, but it was definitely there!

We made our way back to the restaurant where we enjoyed cappuccinos while sitting at a table made of wood from Olinia ventosa and Podocarpus latifolius.

Thank you, Martin, for giving us the opportunity to visit Featherbed and to see the Dioscorea in flower.


CREW Planning Meeting
The average age at the planning meeting must have been about 40. This wasn't because the "older than God" members had "passed on", as it is euphemistically described. It was due to an influx of young, aspiring CREWites from NMU and some ex-students doing internships. They were hugely welcome in our ageing ranks, especially as some of them are keen to find a few of the more elusive species that Ismail trotted out in our Priority list for 2019/2020. An example of this is an obscure Asteraceae species only seen once by Elsie Esterhuysen in 19 voetsek on the rocky pinnacles of Towerkop in the Klein Swartberg.

We were happy to hear from Ismail that most of the things we're doing are being done pretty well. It has been a challenging year for CREW in the Western Cape. Some of the stalwarts have died and some have had to give up their CREW activities. Fortunately, the highly productive Outramps CREW Group is alive and well. Here are some of our stats for last year.
STATS for 2018
iNat observations to date – 41 740 (Nicky 20 000 and counting)
Species to date – 11 297
ID’s given to date – 61 688 (Di 24 861 id's)
Field trips 2018 – 140
MSB collections to date – 130 (sterling work done by Sally)
2018 Herbarium specimens – 200 (Russell)
Site sheets for threatened plants since October 2017 - 335

We are optimistic that some of the young will be able to join us on field trips. Watch this space! And many thanks to Ismail, Gigi and Joti for an excellent meeting and for being such wonderful guests. Looking forward to seeing you all at the CREW Workshop at Riebeek-Kasteel in May.


Northern Ridge of Camferskloof
It was a crack of dawn start to the day. We had suggested that a trip to monitor Disa arida (Endangered) would be a fun thing to do with the CT CREW Team. Ismail was enthusiastic, as he has never seen the plant, originally discovered by Jan Vlok and known to us as "Jan's Arid Orchid".

Our route up to the ridge was not the usual route up the firebreak. We started the ascent much further east on the Burnsleigh property. We were almost immediately rewarded by a large stand of thriving Rafnia vlokii (Vulnerable) in full flower. They were a sight to behold. In amongst the gold, the blue petals of Psoralea diturnerae (Endangered) and the even paler blue of Prismatocarpus candolleanus provided a gentle contrast. The deep brick red Oxalis pendulifolia (Near Threatened) was scattered across the slope. An unexpected find was a clump of Kniphofia cf. uvaria at the base of a rocky outcrop near the top of the ridge. This section is pretty badly degraded with Hakea and Pines. It was startling to see the difference between the private land and the Cape Nature land.

It was a stiff pull to the top, but there there was another reward. The views in all directions were spectacular and well worth the effort. The scramble across the ridge-line was enlivened by the exquisite Aloe lineata, which is alive and well.

After a short break at the beacon, we scrambled across the ridge to the west to find an untried line for the descent. By this stage, I was anxious that we were going to miss our target plant for the day. Were we too early, too soon after the burn in October 2018, or was it simply too dry? These were some of the questions I was asking. But a little way down the south-facing slope, I saw the first Disa arida (Endangered), which looks like a miniature purple-pink Spitfire. It is the most enchanting plant and one of our favourites.

We only saw 3 plants, although we spread out across the slope. Evie gave a shout of triumph when she found a clump of Lobelia dichroma (Data Deficient) on a rock face. A bit lower down Otholobium heterosepalum (Rare) appeared and on the flat, under Pinus radiata, Aspalathus glabrescens (Endangered) is putting on a brave show.

List of Rares for the day
Oxalis pendulifola (Near Threatened)
Rafnia vlokii (Vulnerable)
Psoralea diturnerae (Endangered)
Disa arida (Endangered)
Lobelia dichroma (Data Deficient)
Otholobium heterosepalum (Rare)
Aspalathus glabrescens (Endangered)


Some years ago, on a regular jog to the gate, I noticed a spindly Gladiolus peeking out of the roadside Bobartia. There may have been just one or two specimens. I dutifully posted the pics, but got no firm ID. In subsequent years I found a couple of plants every February or March, but never agreed with the suggested identifications. At first glance the flowers are reminiscent of G. carneus although much smaller and definitely showing in the wrong season.

After posting the latest pics a day or two ago, the French based planto-bibliophile "prismatica" quietly suggested G. engysiphon which has been confirmed by Jan Vlok. I sincerely hope the plants can continue to elude the bossiekapper and roadscrapers in the years to come.

The latest posting is here:

Sally at Slakplaas

Field Trips
This week, SIM is visiting Meijersrust on the southern side of Bloupunt (2066m) just above Meiringspoort in the Swartberg on the western side. For us, this is a brand new destination, so very exciting. We will be spending 3 days there and we will be driving the Fortuner and the Drifter, as the road is evidently not too good. We are looking forward.

Some of the Outramps visited Die Groote Kosyn near Plett on Sunday and a few will be joining the MCSA on a trip to Baviaanskloof from the 20th to the 24th March. Reports on these will filter through into the Diaries ITFOT.
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, Collinshoek and the Big Tree -
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, Swartberg Pass to Bothashoek high and low -
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
DFKIAA - A very funny video in Afrikaans is doing the rounds. It refers to the current power outages.

Publicado por outramps-tanniedi outramps-tanniedi, 18 de marzo de 2019


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