Flowers!

Ornithogalum dubium, 22 September 2020. Copyright 2020 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
Ornithogalum dubium, the Yellow Chincherinchee, photographed 22 October 2020

South Africa is in the midst of spring, and there is no end to the flowers.1 Every few weeks, there are new arrangements of shape, size and colour at the waysides that come and go in turn.

Some sparkle on shrubs that in every other season give nothing away of their splendour. Some burst from bulbs straight from the ground—just stem, no leaves at all. Some flutter gently amid the grasses—shy, though they need not be so.

Some dazzle with striking colour, insisting one stops and stares. Some are strange, barely recognisable as what they are—for that reason, all the more lovely. Some are so small that on hands and knees one must descend to see them at all.

Were I to catalogue every species I have seen this season, my updates would be frequent and long, but permit me one more occasion to show some of the specimens that now are in bloom:


  1. Or wild animals: late Thursday afternoon, I saw for the first time a pair of Otocyon megalotis, Bat-eared foxes! I regret I was not able to photograph them.

Pelargonium, possibly P. suburbanum, 19 September 2020. Copyright 2020 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
Pelargonium, possibly P. suburbanum (19 September 2020)
Cotula ceniifolia, 19 September 2020. Copyright 2020 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
Cotula ceniifolia (19 September 2020)
Moraea miniata, 19 September 2020. Copyright 2020 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
Moraea miniata (19 September 2020)
Geissorhiza nana, 19 September 2020. Copyright 2020 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
The near-threatened Geissorhiza nana (19 September 2020)
Moraea elegans, 20 September 2020. Copyright 2020 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
The endangered Moraea elegans in its green spot variation (20 September 2020)
Moraea elegans, 20 September 2020. Copyright 2020 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
The endangered Moraea elegans in its green and orange spot variation (20 September 2020)
Eucomis regia, 20 September 2020. Copyright 2020 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
Eucomis regia, commonly known as the Pineapple Lily (20 September 2020)
Oxalis zeekoevleyensis, 20 September 2020. Copyright 2020 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
Oxalis zeekoevleyensis (20 September 2020)
Printzia polifolia, 20 September 2020. Copyright 2020 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
Printzia polifolia (20 September 2020)
Holothrix villosa and Disa bracteata, 29 September 2020. Copyright 2020 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
Holothrix villosa (left) and Disa bracteata (right) (29 September 2020)
Holothrix mundii, 29 September 2020. Copyright 2020 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
Holothrix mundii (29 September 2020)
Moraea unguiculata, 8 October 2020. Copyright 2020 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
Moraea unguiculata (8 October 2020)
Moraea lewisiae, 8 October 2020. Copyright 2020 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
Moraea lewisiae (8 October 2020)
Aristea africana, 14 October 2020. Copyright 2020 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
Aristea africana (14 October 2020)
Lobelia erinus, 14 October 2020. Copyright 2020 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
Lobelia erinus (14 October 2020)
Moraea setifolia, 14 October 2020. Copyright 2020 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
Moraea, likely M. setifolia (22 October 2020)
Felicia hyssopifolia, 22 October 2020. Copyright 2020 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
Felicia hyssopifolia (22 October 2020)
Polygala garcinii, 22 October 2020. Copyright 2020 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
Polygala garcinii (22 October 2020)
Sebaea exacoides, 22 October 2020. Copyright 2020 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
Sebaea exacoides (22 October 2020)
Berkheya armata, 22 October 2020. Copyright 2020 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
Berkheya armata (22 October 2020)

Little Red Pipes

On Thursday, I passed through the Houwhoek Mountains and flashes of red amidst the autumnal greens caught my eye. I ascended a precipitous hill—camera in hand—to investigate and was rewarded by my first ever sighting of what I believe to be Tritoniopsis triticea. It is known in Afrikaans as the Rooibergpypie1 (“red little pipe”) and is related to Tritoniopsis antholyza, an equally fiery-flowered plant that adorned the Perdeberg2 (“horse mountain”) slopes I visited in early summer3, 2018.

In fact, when I saw the red flowers scattered upon the Houwhoek Mountain slopes on Thursday, I instantly thought of Tritoniopsis antholyza. Both flower between January (mid-summer) and April (mid-autumn)—though Tritoniopsis antholyza starts two months before in November—and so I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was a new species (to me) in the same family. Tritoniopsis triticea is more delicate4 and taller but no less beautiful. I hope to see more in the weeks to come!

Tritoniopsis triticea, 4 April 2019. Copyright 2019 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
Tritoniopsis triticea, 4 April 2019. Copyright 2019 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.

Footnotes

  1. Pronounced “Roowuhoyee-behRCH-pey-pih”, with a trilled “R”, “CH” the guttural “kccch” sound in “loch” (not the “ck” in “lock”) and the “ih” in “did”.
  2. Afrikaans for “horse mountain”, pronounced “pehR-dh-behRCH”, with a trilled “R” and “CH” the guttural “kccch” sound in “loch” (not the “ck” in “lock”). Incidentally, the “Houwhoek” in Houwhoek Mountains is to the best of my knowledge a combination of the surname Houw and hoek, the Afrikaans word for “corner”.
  3. It is summer in South Africa from December to February. I wrote about Tritoniopsis antholyza on my blog in “This December” (part of a year-long series of monthly digests in 2018).
  4. It had rained earlier, hence their slightly dishevelled appearance.